The Best of the Best: Kansas City Entertainment

Rainy day adventures, axe throwing therapy, hipster hangs and finding your place of Zen because the best entertainment is never one size fits all.

Best Bookstore


Prospero’s Books  
Walking into Prospero’s is like getting a hug from your grandmother. It feels good and smells a little musty with an overlay of Joy perfume and whatever is cooking in her kitchen. All of this makes you want to linger and enjoy the books and the company because Prospero’s is equal parts bookstore, café and a place to recharge your 21st-century soul through the community of the written word.

Best Museum You’re Not Going To


National Museum of 


This museum is not just about toys, it’s also a look into how we used to live. Since getting an eight-million-dollar makeover in 2015, this museum is ready for lots of play dates.

Best Sleepover


Kansas City Zoo There are sleepovers and then there are s-l-e-e-p-o-v-e-r-s, and the Kansas City Zoo is the place to upgrade your overnight experience. From spending the night with stingrays to chilling with the polar bears, the Zoo’s nocturnal offerings are an upgrade from the ordinary overnight.


Kansas City Zoo

kansas city zoo, photo courtesy kansas city zoo

Best Indoor Pool


Lenexa Rec Center 

14,000-square feet of indoor swimming space make it summer all year long at the Lenexa Rec Center. Add in two 40-foot-tall water slides, a climbing wall where you can “fall” back into the pool, a lazy river and a “warm water wellness pool,” and you’ve got something for everyone.

Best Museum That Will Make You Ask How Come I Never Learned This In School?


National World War I




This museum tells the story of World War I in such a way that you’ll be mesmerized and astonished at what you didn’t know about the “Great War.” Continually ranked as one of the best museum’s in the country, it’s an experience not to be missed.


Best Place to Get a “Little House in the Prairie” Vibe


Deanna Rose Children’s 

Farmstead Baby goats, milking cows, a fishing pond, horse-drawn carriages and a one-room schoolhouse all make the Farmstead a lovely way to travel back in time to rural Kansas without the use of a DeLorean. If you haven’t taken your family here yet, put it on your list.

Best Sci Fi/Super Hero Family Event


Planet Comicon 

Nothing says family bonding time like dressing up as fictional characters and roaming Bartle Hall with thousands of other comic book and sci-fi fans. Planet Comicon is the region’s largest pop culture convention and with 19 years under their superhero belt, event organizers know how to give fans what they want.

Best Way to Prepare

For Everest


RoKC  When you summit the tallest peak of the Himalayan mountain range, you can thank RoKC for getting your rock-climbing career up and running. There are two climbing gym locations, one in North KC in an industrial building that was once used to build tanks and trains, and the other literally 10 stories underground in an old mine near Coleman Highlands. Both gyms are designed for beginners, experts and everyone in between, and no matter your experience level, they provide a great way to get in shape by trying something new!



Best Local Podcast


The Kansas City Podcast Former Worlds of Fun “carnival barker’ (who had his 15 minutes of fame after being on NPR’s This American Life) and current toy salesman, Cole Lindbergh sits down with a native Kansas Citian every Monday to talk about what they do, life in KC and even take a KC-centric quiz. His easy style and exuberance for his hometown make this podcast an engaging 60 minutes.

Best Way to Skydive Without Plummeting to Your Death


iFly When jumping out of a plane is not an option because, well, you don’t want to die; there’s another much safer way to experience “free-fall.” It’s iFly, where you can enjoy the thrill of skydiving in a safe, indoor environment thanks to wind tunnel technology. Anyone three and older can don a flight suit and helmet and after a brief class, find themselves suspended in midair thanks to blasts of wind keeping gravity at bay.


Best TV Channel That Won’t Induce Mom Guilt


KCPT Kids This 24-hour kid’s channel from the local PBS station, KCPT is celebrating its first year of broadcasting educational-only children’s programming with zero commercials. The shows range from classic PBS shows such as “Sesame Street” to newer programs like “Super Why!” KCPT Kids also showcases local stories for kids by kids and holds the annual KCPT PBS Kids Writers Contest.

Best Place to Relive Your Childhood Without Shame


LEGOLAND Discovery Center LEGOLAND’s “Adult Night” caters to the kid in all of us. Most especially those who secretly play with Legos after their little-ones go to bed or 30 somethings that still cherish the plastic building blocks. With themed games, refreshments and the chance to win prizes, the adult Lego night has elevated the “Gee, why can’t I be a kid again” experience. For adults who want to feel really extra, there are frequent costume nights because apparently, you’re never too old to play with Legos while dressed as your favorite superhero.

Best Stress Reliever


Blade & Timber Paul Bunyan was almost certainly a mellowed-out guy, probably because he spent much of his time driving an ax through a tree trunk. At Blade & Timber, you can do the same by throwing axes at a target in a similar style to throwing darts. Break out your competitive edge, too, by going with a group of friends or co-workers.


Blade and Trimmer

photo courtesy blade and trimmer 

Best Outdoor Pool


SpringS Aquatic Center 

It takes almost a million gallons of water to make this much fun. The pool has a zero-depth entry area, a lazy river, two water slides that dump you off into a plunge pool and a vortex that kids like to call the toilet bowl for its nonstop swirling action. (Pro tip — Hold on to your two-piece.) Add a spray park for younger children, and you’ve got a pool that makes you feel like you’re on vacay.

Best Place To Take Your Kids On A Rainy Day


Union Station With Science City, the largest movie screen in the metro, the trains and the rotating mega exhibits, Union Station is a one-stop destination for super-sized family-fun. The current exhibit, "Dinosaurs Revealed: Journey Across America" with 26 animatronic, life-sized dinosaurs is a must-see for any dino-lover in your family who craves getting a little one-on-one time with a 20-foot T-Rex.


Best Entertainment Venue


Sprint Center Whether it’s for music or basketball, the 11-year-old arena is tough to beat. By garnering top talent on the stage and on the court, the Sprint Center’s calendar boasts the biggest names in music, as well as the Big 12 Men’s Basketball Tournament, a few Jayhawk home games and even the occasional NBA preseason game. Plus, the surrounding Power & Light District helps make for one big night out.

Best Hipster Hang


Manifesto It’s frequently called one the best bars in America for its imaginative, handcrafted cocktails, but what makes the Manifesto truly unique is it’s hard to find location (housed in the basement of the Rieger Hotel, the bar has a back-alley entrance where you have to be buzzed in) that only seats a few dozen peeps. The Manifesto calls it “intimate.” We call it creating a hip factor that is off the charts.


Manifesto KC

photo courtesy manifesto

Best Water Attraction Without Getting Wet


Sealife Kansas City 

Jellyfishes, sharks, seahorses, turtles, octopuses are all a part of Sealife and this aquarium though not big in size, packs a lot of ocean punch. From a 180-degree tunnel where you are strolling beneath the sea to the new “Race to the Ocean” exhibit that educates you about sea turtles the aquarium is mixing education, conservation and an ooh and ahh experience seamlessly.

Best Place to Encourage Your Young Artist


Hallmark’s Kaleidoscope The wonderful thing about Kaleidoscope is not that it’s free (although that’s a bonus) or that it offers a creative activity using all recyclable materials. (The materials are leftovers from the Hallmark manufacturing process.) The winning detail here is that it’s art without rules. Children can make whatever they want and sometimes kids need a place to create without restrictions on their vision.


Hallmark Cards

photo courtesy hallmark kaleidoscope/hallmark cards, inc 

Best Twitter Account



Officer Drew Fennelly simply wanted to expand the department’s social media presence in 2015, since then, the account has exploded in popularity. With hilarious tweets featuring downtown disturbances or the department’s take on KU sports, the account has amassed more than 108,000 followers, which amounts to 13,000 more people than the city’s population itself.


Best Thrill Attraction


The Patriot at Worlds



of Fun Sure, it’s been around for more than a decade, but the Patriot still packs a punch in the gut. You’ll experience 123-foot drops, an 89-foot loop and a “zero-g roll” all while your feet are dangling in the air leaving you equal parts exhilarated and queasy.

Best Zen Experience – Kansas


Overland Park Arboretum &

Botanical Gardens



It’s the trails at the Arboretum that give you all the feels. A walk can take you through grassland prairie lush with wildflowers to rocky bluffs where you can enjoy an impressive sunset. The best part about the experience is the calming quiet that envelopes you and soothes your soul.




Best Zen Experience – Missouri


Powell Gardens  This 970-acre botanical garden is rich in verdant landscapes. A stroll through this beautifully cultivated environment, lush with colorful flora and fauna will leave you feeling inspired by the quiet magnificence of nature.

Categories: Art, Arts & Entertainment, Best of KC, Best of KC 2019, Features