Kansas City, the 18th & Vine historic district (Scarborough photo)There are plenty of reasons to visit this friendly Midwestern city that straddles the Kansas/Missouri border, but three of the best are clustered together in the historic 18th and Vine district.

**  A great meal at the Peachtree.      For a fabulous Southern cuisine dinner (“Soul Food with Elegance”) don’t miss the food, ambiance and live music at the Peachtree Restaurant.  My daughter and I had to wait in line for a little while, but it was well worth it. I had some terrific catfish with black-eyed peas and collard greens, and my teenager had the meatloaf.  The sweet potato rolls were divine.  We were a little underdressed since we hadn’t planned on ending up there, but the staff made us feel most welcome.

(Update 9 Sept 2008 – Local expert Alan Carr at the Kansas City Convention and Visitors Association told me in an email today that “the Peachtree has relocated from 18th & Vine to the new Power & Light District downtown. They should open in October 2008.” Thanks, Alan!)

**  Jazz at the Museum.      The live music venue Blue Room is attached to the American Jazz Museum and it’s just up the street from the Peachtree.  Minors are allowed with an adult, so it’s also a good place to take older kids to hear live jazz performances four nights a week.  This coming Saturday, November 3rd 2007 is a Katrina benefit concert featuring the Midnight Blue Quartet, led by the American Jazz Museum executive director Greg Carroll, a highly accomplished vibraphonist.

**  Play (segregated) Ball.     The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum is also located in this historically black section of town. Anyone who likes baseball should pay a visit to this tribute to players who had “a league of their own” until U.S. baseball was finally integrated, when Jackie Robinson was recruited from the Kansas City Monarchs to play for the Brooklyn Dodgers.  The Negro Leagues actually lasted until the 1960s before they folded.

Coastal urban centers like New York and San Francisco certainly have their many charms, but little gems like Kansas City will amply reward your visit.

Technorati tags:  travelKansas City, jazz, Negro Baseball Leagues

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I'm a writer and speaker specializing in tourism, travel and social media. NHRA drag racing fan. Co-founder of Tourism Currents. U.S. Navy veteran. Caffeinated.