Everyone in Kansas City knows we punch above our weight when it comes to visual and performing arts, and that the arts are a key driver in the downtown development boom. Now the rest of the country is starting to take notice.
In April, Travel + Leisure ranked Kansas City the Fourth Most Cultured City in America.
That distinction, like HuffPo naming Kansas City the Coolest City to Visit last September, is deeply unscientific. But it is proof the image the rest of the country has of us has radically shifted.
Before, we were known for good barbecue (still true, see here and also here), great steakhouses (less true) and as a perennial contender in the fattest city sweepstakes — #2 in 2000 but only #35 in 2014, possibly related to the decline in steakhouses.
What a difference a decade makes.
Now, Kansas City has become the “it” place to visit for hipsters on both coasts, a sort of insider secret that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy buzzwise. We’ve transformed from Tracy in “Hairspray” to Sandy in “Grease.”
The culture-love from HuffPo was based on museums, performance halls and chef-driven cuisine.
Snagging individual mentions were The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, the Lyric Opera, the Kauffman Center, the Blue Room, the American Jazz Museum, and Grünauer.
Now the only question is, what has Providence, R.I. (#2), got that we don’t?