Photographing Kansas City: Starting Spring Break Off Right

Over the last few years I have had the opportunity to visit my cousin and her fiance in Kansas City, Missouri. The two live in the downtown area, not far from the Power and Light District, or from the market, and making a trip through their neck of the woods gives my wife and me a chance to recharge and do something we wouldn’t normally do.

This last trip to K.C. was no different. We got coffee at Quay, which I have been told, quite strongly, is pronounced like key, a boating term for a structure built parallel to a bank that could serve as a landing for your boat. Pretty neat term, and I suppose it makes sense that Quay Coffee is located near the banks of the Missouri River. Beyond coffee… which now sounds like a stupid thing to write. What is there beyond coffee? Anyway, we also had time to drive around a visit a few stores, restaurants, and tourist attractions along the way.

The interior of the Kansas City Public Library

The highlight of the trip is easily the time we spent in the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. This sprawling campus is not only the home of some incredibly large shuttlecocks, but also a great place to just walk slowly and take in the art that has showcased humanity for centuries. My favorite part of the Nelson-Atkins was an exhibit titled “Through the Lens: Visions of the African American Experience 1950-1970”. I was awestruck around every corner by the works of Gordon Parks, W. Eugene Smith, Charles Moore, and a plethora of other incredible photographers whose work defines a genre and a generation. Too, this exploration in photography touched closely to my time spent in Chicago as I explored the Stony Island Arts Bank. If you haven’t read that post, you can find it here.

Art from the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

Beyond exploring photography exhibits, I had the chance to dance between raindrops to get a few images myself. We spent some time driving around the West Bottoms, which proved to offer some beautiful, gritty structures. As we continued to drive around for interesting elements of various neighborhoods, we ate a few new places throughout the weekend.

Building from Kansas City's West Bottoms

Some of the places that stand out in my mind are Succotash, where we got breakfast, Burrito Bros for lunch, and Cooper’s Hawk for dinner. And I can't forget about a root beer float from Little Freshie, which has become a place we return to time after time. We’ve been Burrito Bros each time we have visited and it’s just simple, good food. Cooper’s Hawk had, arguably, the best gnocchi I’ve ever eaten and it’s definitely on my list of places to revisit.

Little Freshie

I have to admit that Kansas City is growing on me. The art scene is incredible and worth the drive on its own. I'm looking forward to our next adventure in Kansas City.