Just south of downtown, north of Union Station and west of Troost, the Crossroads Arts District offers an abundance of unique local options for food, drink, entertainment and art, all accessible by the new, free streetcar system. Just hop off at the 19th and Main stop and take a walk around.
It’s hard to avoid great, browse-worthy art galleries on a quick walk through the Crossroads, and the area is also home to some of Kansas City’s most awarded restaurants. Don’t be intimidated if you’re not ready to shell out for a multicourse experience, though – there are plenty of places to eat affordably.
Food and Drink
The Brick’s Saturday brunch features $1 Bloody Marys, and its everyday lunch menu is one of the best deals downtown. You’d be hard-pressed to spend more than $10.
Spanish-themed local favorite La Bodega has select tapas for half-price all week from 2‑6 p.m.
Nara, specializing in sushi and other Asian dishes, has a Ladies Night on Wednesdays with rock-bottom prices on food and drinks. On top of that, their traditional happy hour runs Monday-Saturday 3-6 p.m.
Pezzettino Italian Deli & Market has an early evening “Aperitivo” menu that pairs cocktails and wines with appetizers, and the market is stocked with traditional Italian products that make great gifts for foodies.
For other eclectic, affordable bites, check out Lulu’s, Blvd Tavern, Pizzabella and Café Gratitude. Experience fine dining for less at Extra Virgin, where the happy hour menu is half-price between 11:30 a.m. and 6 p.m.
CrossroadsKC at Grinders is a popular live music venue that sometimes offers free admission to its outdoor concerts, and the attached pizza joint is a Kansas City institution. The next free concert features Delta Rae Sept. 6.
Check out Up-Down, an ‘80s- & ‘90s-themed arcade and craft beer bar, for a nostalgic date night. Games normally cost $0.25, but head there on a Thursday and you’ll only pay $0.10 per token.
You’ll have more space to stroll on other days, but everyone should experience First Fridays at least once. Galleries break out new exhibits, frequently accompanied by artist receptions and talks, and sidewalks and parking lots are filled with freelance artists and musicians showing off their work, too. People-watching can be the most entertaining part of First Fridays, with art lovers showing off their personal style. And it’s all free.
As summer comes to a close, get outside and explore areas of Kansas City you aren’t as familiar with. Stay tuned for guides to a few of my other favorite neighborhoods, and how to visit them affordably.
Kat's Money Corner is posted on Dollars & Sense every Tuesday. Kat Hnatyshyn, when not blogging or caring for her little ones, is a manager with CommunityAmerica Credit Union. For more financial chatter, click http://twitter.com/savinmavens or visit http://communityamerica.com.