Union Station picture
Henryk Sadura/Getty Images

Key Info

30 W Pershing Rd, Kansas City, MO 64108


Monuments and Memorials, Museums Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
  • 4.0Value
  • 3.0Facilities
  • 3.5Atmosphere

Kansas City’s Union Station was built in 1914 and primarily used as a train station at that time. During World War II, the 850,000-square-foot compound continued to welcome patrons with restaurants, a barber shop and a cigar store, as well as professional spaces like railroad offices and the country’s largest Railway Express Building (for shipping freight and mail). Union Station shut down in the 1980s and almost faced demolition on several occasions. It reopened in 1999 (following a three-year revitalization project) and has since drawn tourists from around the world with its stunning chandeliers and 95-foot ceilings.

In addition to hosting weddings and business meetings, Union Station also displays exhibits ranging from the newly redesigned KC Rail Experience to an interactive center known as Science City. There is also a planetarium and theaters featuring giant-screen movies and live shows. The station still shows its roots, though; just like a century ago, you can still hop on an Amtrak train and head to a new destination. Recent visitors said the historical, beautifully restored building is a must-see. They also said it’s especially great for families traveling with kids (thanks to a number of child-friendly exhibits) but noted there is something there for people of all ages.

Admission costs vary, depending on which part of the station you wish to visit. There is a flat rate of $7 per person to visit the Arvin Gottlieb Planetarium, while seeing a movie at the Regnier Extreme Screen Theatre can cost anywhere from around $5 to $10 per person. Enjoying a live performance at the City Stage Theatre may cost between $10 and $20 (or more or less, depending on the show). Tickets can be purchased online or in person. Entering the station itself is free of charge; you can do so between 6 a.m. and midnight every day of the week. To learn more, check out Union Station’s website.

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Time to Spend
#1 Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art appeals to many kinds of visitors, such as little kids who appreciate the giant badminton birdie installations (four 18-foot shuttlecocks, to be exact) on the 22-acre lawn, or adults who enjoy the play of light in Caravaggio's "Saint John the Baptist in the Wilderness." The art museum's permanent collection spans thousands of years, includes more than 35,000 pieces and features art from Europe, Asia and America. The museum also displays interesting architectural pieces like centuries-old furniture and stained glass windows, in addition to more modern paintings, prints and drawings, sculptures and photography. What's more, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art showcases different exhibitions every year across a variety of mediums; check the site for upcoming exhibits during your visit.

Visitors are consistently impressed with this museum, saying they could spend hours perusing the interesting art. Recent travelers called out the massive sculpture park for its host of unique installations and said the grounds were delightful to stroll on a nice day. Many said they also appreciated that there was no fee to browse this museum's extensive collection of works.

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Courtesy of Visit KC
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