#TravelThursday – Kansas City

Posted October 16th, 2014 at 5:21 pm (UTC-4)
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Kansas City skyline

Kansas City skyline

Happy #TravelThursday, everyone!

It always feels good to go home. Last weekend, I traveled to my hometown of Kansas City for a few days of fun and relaxation.

It takes about three hours by plane to get to Kansas City from Washington, D.C. It’s a common expression here in the U.S. to call states in the Midwest region “flyover states.” This expression basically means that states in the middle of the United States aren’t worth visiting, but are simply land that you fly over to get from one coast to the other.

In reality, there are many things that make Kansas City worth exploring. Here are just a few!

Kansas City jazz

Kansas City jazz

To start, no visit to Kansas City is complete without checking out the American Jazz Museum, which displays the city’s rich jazz history. One of the major attractions is the Charlie Parker Memorial, dedicated to the famous jazz artist, who just happens to be from Kansas City. The jazz district, at 18th and Vine, is a great place to soak up the jazz culture. And many restaurants and clubs have nightly jazz shows.

Visitors should also soak up the city’s nearly 200 fountains. In fact, Kansas City has the second-most fountains of any city in the world, after Rome, Italy. Many of the most beautiful fountains are located within the Country Club Plaza, an open-air shopping area designed in 1922 to resemble the Spanish city of Seville.

The Plaza lights during the holiday season.

The Plaza lights during the holiday season.

It’s a great area to walk around and explore not only its fountains, but also its artwork, shops, and cafes.

Walking around is definitely a good thing to do after eating some of Kansas City’s barbecue, a method of cooking meat. Many Kansas Citians argue that their barbecue is the best in the country. Other famous barbecue areas include Memphis, Tennessee, and the states of Texas and North Carolina. Each region has its own style and secret ingredients that set them apart.

In Kansas City, the meat is slow-smoked over wood, but the real special ingredient is the sauce. Kansas City barbecue sauce is tomato-based, and also includes ingredients such as garlic, ginger, chili powder, and brown sugar.

Take it from expert barbecue eater and Kansas City local, Steve Thompson (okay, he’s just my father): “I’ve been to Carolina. I’ve been to Memphis and Texas. Tried it all, but KC barbecue is by far the best. Meat smoked low and slow with sweet and spicy tomato-based sauce is perfection.”

Kansas City celebrates the Royals' win on Oct. 15, which sent them to the World Series

Kansas City celebrates the Royals’ win on Oct. 15, which sent them to the World Series

Kansas Citians may be proud of their barbecue tradition, but they’re also proud of the recent (and shocking!) success of the city’s baseball team, the Kansas City Royals. The team just made it to the baseball World Series for the first time in 29 years.

While I was at home last weekend, the city’s famous fountains even had ‘Royal’ blue water in honor of the hometown team.

My mom and I pose in front of one of the many blue fountains.

My mom and I pose in front of one of the many blue fountains.

I was never much of a baseball fan before, but it’s hard not to get excited and to feel Kansas City’s pride. Some people may call it a flyover state, but I’m glad I can call it home!

*What do you miss most about your hometown? Write about a place, food, or experience that you can only get while you’re home. Try using some of the Travel Words for practice! 


Travel Words: 

explore – v. travel in or through (an unfamiliar country or area) in order to learn about or familiarize oneself with it.

attraction – n. a thing or place that draws visitors by providing something of interest or pleasure.

open-air – adj. positioned or taking place outdoors; outside.

local – n. in this usage, a person from a specific city or region.

soak up – phrasal verb. to take in; to experience

set apart – phrasal verb. to distinguish one thing from another.

tradition – noun. customs or beliefs passed down from generation to generation.

Ashley Thompson
Ashley Thompson works at VOA Learning English. She is a fan of languages, waterfalls and dogs.



Confessions of an English Learner is a place for you to practice your writing and share the joys and pains of learning the language. We will post a weekly prompt, to give you a chance to practice your writing and to comment on others’ writing.


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