Kansas City is cosmopolitan yet accessible, providing families with big city fun at smaller town prices. Wherever your tastes run (it helps if you crave melt-in-your-mouth barbeque), there's a wide array of things for families to do here. While many downtown areas fall dormant outside of business hours, Crown Center and nearby Union Station bustle with family-friendly activities. Kids will delight in bounding through the "now you see them, now you don't" Crown Center Square fountains and you'll practically have to pry them out of the inner workings of the city-within-a-city experience of Science City at Union Station. With an enormous city park that boasts a world-class zoo, major and minor league sports teams, and the best barbecue in the world, kids will be having far too much fun to utter the words "I'm bored" during your stay in Kansas City.
Known as the "City of Fountains" for the sculptural fountains and boulevards (many located at Country Club Plaza) that give the city a European feel, a visit during the spring, summer, or fall ensures the fountains will be spraying in full force. Fall in particular is a lovely time to see the city, when crisp, cool days and nights are the norm and colorful foliage is abundant. The holiday season is magical here, with special events like the annual Mayor's Christmas Tree Lighting at Crown Center.
Kansas City residents enjoy each of the four seasons, with less summer humidity than cities to the south and milder winters than those further north. Late summer and early fall are particularly pleasant times to visit, with bright, sunny days (temperatures average in the high 70s to low 80s), less humidity than during the peak of summer, and cooler nights. Winters are cold but bearable, with highs in the low 40s and lows in the mid-20s, with some snowfall. Spring temperatures fluctuate from the 40s to the 60s, with plenty of rainfall, and summers are hot and humid -- temperatures run anywhere from the high 60s to the high 80s in July and August.
Nearly six million passengers pass through Kansas City International Airport (KCI) each year; the 50-plus nonstop flights from airports around the country make it a convenient place to fly to. Most major U.S. airlines offer service to KCI, including discount airlines Southwest and Midwest. The city's location in the geographic center of the country and its proximity to interstates 70 and 35 make it a convenient city to drive to as well. Historic Union Station is located downtown, serving as a depot for Amtrak; Greyhound provides regional bus service to the area, as does Megabus.
A car is a necessity for getting around Kansas City. Though much smaller than some metro areas, there's fun stuff to do both within and beyond city limits; and even within the city, there are gaps between popular areas that aren't walkable. You'll find most major car rental companies at Kansas City International Airport. The MAX (Metro Area Express) is the new rapid transit bus service operating along Main Street and connecting the major areas (such as the River Market, downtown, and Country Club Plaza). The downtown area, including Union Station and Crown Center, is walkable, but you'll need to drive or take a taxi or bus to reach popular areas such as the Power and Light District to the north and the Plaza shopping district to the south. If you're planning to see only a few destinations beyond downtown, taxi service is available at reasonable fares -- stands can be found at most major hotels and shopping districts.
The Convention and Visitors Association website, VisitKC.com, is packed with helpful information for visitors, including several sections devoted to family fun.
The Special Offers page of VisitKC.com includes a searchable database of promotional offers by region and type. The Convention and Visitors Association also offers the Discover KC Pass, a free coupon book featuring special offers from merchants at local shopping outlets, including Crown Center and Country Club Plaza.