So you're moving to Kansas City! Did you know KC has more barbecue restaurants per capita then any other city in America? You do? Okay, then do you know you have a choice of more than 40 venues where you can go to enjoy authentic jazz? Hmm, you know that too. Guess you've done a lot of research. Okay, what about the fountains? Aha! You haven't found out about the fountains.
Kansas City is known as The City of Fountains. The current count is 200, 48 of them publicly owned. The early fountains, such as the Carl DiCapo Fountain, once a natural spring and watering hole, were utilitarian, existing to provide water for humans and animals, but over the years more and more were built for reasons all their own. Some like the Firefighters Fountains were conceived as memorials. Others were built for their sheer beauty, like the spectacular Meyer Circle Sea Horse Fountain that graces a traffic circle at two of the city's major boulevards. The good news is they're clustered in a way that you can tour some of the city's most beautiful in one shot.
No doubt you'll work up an appetite after touring the fountains, but don't worry, no matter where you end up, you're not far from barbecue. As to which one to pick, just stop the next person you see and ask for a suggestion. Every Kansas Citian has his/her own favorite, ranging from cozy mom and pop ventures, to family-friendly eateries, to sophisticated white table-cloth restaurants. Ask 100 people and you just may get 100 suggestions. That's because KC is home to over 100 BBQ restaurants. Whether you choose pork ribs, short ribs, beef brisket, pork shoulder, chicken, or ham, you'll be sampling the mouth-watering result of up to 18 hours of slow smoky cooking. Okay, you've feasted on the beauty of the fountains and the bold taste of BBQ but the night is still young. There's time to sample some sizzling jazz.
Kansas City and jazz have been a twosome since the early 1900s when African American musicians got together to jam. They started with what today is known as blues, added some ragtime and ended up with jazz. By the 1920s and 30s, the city had become a mecca for jazz as musicians, put out-of-work by prohibition, flocked to KC which was considered "Open Territory", due to its laissez-faire attitude toward the serving of liquor. Jazz could be heard everywhere, pouring out into the street from nightclubs, vaudeville houses, and dance halls, as well as gambling parlors and brothels. And when they closed their doors for the night, the musicians would pack up their instruments and head for after-hours jam sessions. At one point, there were said to be over 200 jazz venues in KC.
A good place to get your feet wet is the historic jazz district in the vicinity of 18th and Vine. The Blue Room, housed in the American Jazz museum holds sway nightly, Mondays through Saturdays, with an eclectic mix of new bands, seasoned veterans, and internationally acclaimed jazz artists. But don't stay out too late. Your new city will be waiting to show you more of its wonders in the morning!