Best Things to Do in Kansas City at Night: 12 Unique Experiences & Activities

by Jen
Best Things to Do in Kansas City at Night
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Are you on the lookout for the best things to do in Kansas City at night? Discover some of the most exciting and unique nighttime activities and attractions Kansas City has to offer. Prepare to immerse yourself in the vibrant after-dark scene of Kansas City!

If you’re wondering what Kansas City, a Missouri gem, has in store for you at night, you’re in for a treat. This city, a hidden gem in the heartland of America, really comes alive when the sun goes down. I’m here to walk you through the best spots and activities that make Kansas City’s nights unforgettable.

Think of Kansas City not just as a place, but as an experience. Whether it’s tapping your feet to some live jazz, which, by the way, is a must-do here, or digging into some of the best barbecues you’ll ever taste, there are fun things to do in Kansas City at night for everyone. And it’s not all about food and music. The city’s got a vibrant scene of arts, history, and some really cool places to just hang out and soak in the vibes.

I’ve spent many nights exploring every nook and cranny of this city, and I’m excited to share my personal favorites with you. From the lively Power & Light District to the quaint streets of Westport, every spot has its own unique flavor. So, let’s dive in and discover what makes Kansas City at night a truly special experience. Here are twelve of the best things to do at night in Kansas City.

The top places to visit in Kansas City at night right now

Best Things to Do in Kansas City at Night: 12 Nighttime Activities

Ready to find out what’s fun in Kansas City at night? Kansas City has lots of cool things to do after dark. Keep reading to learn about the best places and activities for a great night out in Kansas City.

Want to check out Kansas City’s lively nightlife, maybe in the Power & Light District? Or do you prefer a chill evening, maybe strolling around Westport? Whether you’re into awesome jazz music or tasty barbecue, Kansas City has plenty of great night activities for everyone. Here are the top things to do in Kansas City at night that you shouldn’t miss!

1. Experience Kansas City’s Jazz Scene

If you’re in Kansas City, immersing yourself in the local jazz scene is a must-do. One of my all-time favorite spots is The Blue Room at the American Jazz Museum. The atmosphere here is electric, and the live performances are always top-notch. You’ll find both big names and local talents taking the stage.

Another gem is The Green Lady Lounge. This place has a cozy, almost speakeasy-like vibe, and the jazz here is as authentic as it gets. What I love about it is the no-cover charge policy. It’s a great pick for anyone looking for free things to do in Kansas City at night. Grab a drink, settle into one of the plush seats, and let the smooth jazz wash over you.

For a more upbeat experience, head over to The Phoenix. It’s a historic venue with a lively atmosphere. They serve great food too, so you can enjoy some bites as you listen to the music. I recommend trying their famous Phoenix Burger while you’re there.

If you’re looking for something truly unique, check out Mutual Musicians Foundation. It’s more than just a jazz club – it’s a piece of history. The late-night jam sessions here, which often run into the early hours of the morning, are legendary.

Kansas City’s jazz is not just a genre of music. It’s an experience that connects you to the city’s rich cultural heritage. Each club has its own personality, so I recommend trying a few to soak in the Kansas City nighttime atmosphere.

Experiencing The Blue Room is one of the best things to do in Kansas City at night.
Discover electrifying live jazz performances by big names and local talent at The Blue Room.

2. Indulge in World-Famous Barbecue

When it comes to dining in Kansas City at night, you can’t miss out on the world-famous barbecue. This city takes its BBQ seriously, and there’s no shortage of amazing spots to get your fix.

One place that always stands out for me is Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que. Located in a gas station, it might not look like much from the outside, but trust me, the barbecue here is out of this world. The Z-Man sandwich is a local legend – you’ve got to try it!

Another must-visit is Q39. This spot is a bit more upscale but still has that laid-back, friendly Kansas City vibe. Their ribs? Absolutely to die for. And if you’re a fan of brisket, theirs is some of the best in town. Make sure to save room for their apple coleslaw – it’s a perfect side dish.

For a more traditional, old-school experience, head over to Arthur Bryant’s Barbeque. It’s one of the original Kansas City BBQ joints and has a history as rich as its sauces. The burnt ends here are a classic choice – smoky, savory, and just melt-in-your-mouth delicious.

And if you’re exploring Kansas City nightlife, why not combine BBQ with some live blues music? BB’s Lawnside BBQ offers just that. It’s one of the coolest places to visit in Kansas City at night where you can enjoy a mouth-watering barbecue while listening to some fantastic live blues.

To truly appreciate Kansas City’s barbecue culture, I suggest visiting different joints to experience the variety and depth of flavors that make this city’s BBQ scene so special.

Q39 nails upscale city vibes with irresistible ribs, top-notch brisket, and perfect apple coleslaw.
Q39 nails upscale city vibes with irresistible ribs, top-notch brisket, and perfect apple coleslaw.

3. Explore the Power & Light District

The Power & Light District is the heart of Kansas City’s nightlife and a place you simply can’t miss. This vibrant area, buzzing with energy, is where you’ll find some of the best bars, restaurants, and entertainment options in the city.

Start your evening at Kansas City Live!, an outdoor entertainment plaza known for its live music and lively atmosphere. It’s a great spot to feel the pulse of the city and maybe catch a free concert. The variety of bars and eateries around the plaza means there’s something for every taste.

If you’re into craft beers, make sure to check out McFadden’s Sports Saloon. It’s a favorite among locals and visitors alike, and their beer selection is impressive. For those who prefer a more upscale cocktail experience, The Chesterfield is the place to go. Their creative cocktails and chic decor make it a perfect spot for a sophisticated night out.

Remember to take a stroll around the district too. The vibrant lights and buzzing energy are quintessential Kansas City. And if you’re looking for where to go in Kansas City at night for a bit of dancing, clubs like Howl at the Moon and PBR Big Sky offer a fun and energetic atmosphere.

The Power & Light District is a lively hub that captures the spirit of Kansas City’s nightlife. If you’re looking for a casual beer, a fancy cocktail, or just a great place to hang out with friends, this area has it all. Check it out when you’re looking for cool things to do in KC at night!

Experience city's nightlife at the Power & Light District, home to the city's best bars, restaurants, and entertainment.
Experience city’s nightlife at the Power & Light District, home to the city’s best bars, restaurants, and entertainment.

4. Visit Country Club Plaza

Country Club Plaza is a Kansas City landmark that comes to life at night with its stunning Spanish-inspired architecture and ambient lighting. This is the place to be if you’re looking for a more relaxed yet upscale evening experience.

Strolling through the Plaza is like walking through an open-air museum. The intricate designs and statues make for a visually stunning experience. It’s perfect for those evenings when you just want to take it easy, maybe do a bit of window shopping, or simply enjoy the atmosphere.

For dining, there are numerous options. I personally love Gram & Dun for their patio dining experience. It’s a great spot to enjoy some creative American cuisine while soaking in the Plaza’s ambiance. If you’re in the mood for something sweet, stop by André’s Confiserie Suisse for some exquisite Swiss chocolates.

The Plaza also hosts a variety of events throughout the year, from art fairs to live music. It’s worth checking out what’s on during your visit. And for art lovers, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art is just a short walk away, offering evening strolls through its sculpture park.

The blend of fine dining, shopping, and art in this beautifully designed space makes it a must-visit for anyone exploring the best things to do in Kansas City at night.

Country Club Plaza shines at night with stunning Spanish-style architecture, offering a relaxed, upscale experience.
Country Club Plaza shines at night with stunning Spanish-style architecture, offering a relaxed, upscale experience.

5. Catch a Show at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts

For a night of culture and sophistication, catching a show at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts is a top choice. This architectural marvel isn’t just a feast for the eyes. It’s the heart of Kansas City’s performing arts scene. Enjoying a performance here is one of the coolest things to do in Kansas City at night.

The Kauffman Center hosts a wide range of performances, from the Kansas City Symphony and Opera to Broadway shows and contemporary dance performances. I had the pleasure of watching a symphony here, and the acoustics were simply phenomenal. It’s an experience that elevates live performances to a whole new level.

Before the show, I recommend dining at one of the nearby Kansas City restaurants. Webster House offers a unique dining experience in a beautifully restored 19th-century school building, with a menu that complements a night of elegance.

To make the most of your visit, consider arriving early to explore the center’s stunning interior and enjoy the city views from the lobby. Also, check if there are any pre-show talks or events – these can greatly enhance your understanding and enjoyment of the performance. It’s these little extras that turn a night at the Kauffman Center into a memorable Kansas City experience.

Immerse in the culture at the Kauffman Center, the heart of the city's arts scene.
Immerse in the culture at the Kauffman Center, the heart of the city’s arts scene.

6. Visit the Historic Neighborhood of Westport

When thinking about what to do in Kansas City at night, a visit to the historic Westport neighborhood is something I highly recommend. It’s a place that combines history with a lively, modern vibe. As such, it’s one of the hidden gems in the Midwest that you ought to know about.

Walking through Westport feels like you’re in a different era, thanks to its well-preserved architecture. But it’s the bustling bars, unique shops, and local eateries that give it a contemporary edge. My advice? Start your evening with a leisurely walk to soak in the ambiance.

For dinner, I highly recommend Westport Cafe & Bar. It’s a cozy spot with a menu that perfectly balances sophistication and comfort. If you’re after something quick and casual, Joe’s Pizza Buy the Slice is a local go-to for a delicious late-night bite.

Westport’s nightlife is diverse. For live music fans, The Riot Room is a great venue to catch both local and touring bands. If you prefer a laid-back evening, Kelly’s Westport Inn is an iconic Irish pub where you can unwind with a drink and friendly conversation.

A pro tip: Keep an eye on Westport’s event calendar. The neighborhood often hosts street fairs and festivals, adding an extra layer of excitement to your night out.

Exploring Westport is one of the best things to do in Kansas City at night.
Don’t miss the historic yet lively vibe of the Westport neighborhood.

7. Enjoy a Performance at the Starlight Theater

A visit to the Starlight Theater is one of the most unique things to do in Kansas City at night for anyone who loves outdoor performances. This historic venue, set under the stars, offers a unique theatrical experience that you won’t find anywhere else in the city.

The Starlight Theater hosts a variety of shows, including Broadway musicals, concerts, and comedy acts. I had an unforgettable evening watching a Broadway show here. The combination of the open-air setting and the quality of the performance was simply magical!

I recommend arriving a bit early to make the most of your visit. This gives you time to explore the theater’s beautiful grounds and find your perfect seat. If you’re planning to see a popular show, booking your tickets in advance is a good idea to avoid disappointment.

Make sure to check the weather forecast before you go. Since it’s an outdoor venue, being prepared can make a big difference in your comfort and enjoyment of the show

.

The Starlight Theater isn’t just about what’s on stage. It’s about enjoying a night of entertainment in one of the city’s most iconic outdoor venues. It’s a perfect blend of culture, nature, and entertainment.

Enjoy unique outdoor performances at Starlight Theater, a historic venue under the stars.
Enjoy unique outdoor performances at Starlight Theater, a historic venue under the stars.

8. Take a Stroll at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

Next up on our list of the best things to do at night in KC is exploring the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. Whilst the museum closes at 17:00, it’s the outdoor Sculpture Park that truly comes alive after dark.

The park’s walking paths are beautifully lit, creating a mesmerizing ambiance that enhances the sculptures. It’s a peaceful experience, perfect for those who enjoy a blend of art and nature.

For photography enthusiasts, this is a golden opportunity. The play of light and shadow on the sculptures makes for some stunning photographs. Don’t forget to bring your camera!

If you’re visiting on a Friday, you’re in for a treat. The museum often extends its hours to 21:00 on Friday evenings, allowing access to the indoor galleries. It’s a great chance to see the exhibits without the daytime crowds.

I recommend wearing comfortable shoes. The park’s paths are perfect for leisurely walks, and you’ll want to explore every corner. Also, keep an eye on the museum’s event calendar for special nighttime events or exhibitions.

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art at night offers a peaceful retreat from the city’s bustle, combining art, nature, and the unique beauty of nighttime exploration.

Nelson-Atkins Museum offers a serene nighttime blend of art, nature, and city escape.
Nelson-Atkins Museum offers a serene nighttime blend of art, nature, and city escape.

9. Check out Kansas City Live!

If you’re wondering where to go in Kansas City at night for a lively and entertaining experience, “Kansas City Live!” in the Power & Light District is the place. This open-air venue is a hotspot for live music and a bustling atmosphere, perfect for a night out.

Here’s what I love about Kansas City Live!: it’s a melting pot of dining and entertainment. You can grab a bite at Guy Fieri’s Dive & Taco Joint for some bold flavors, or head to McFadden’s Sports Saloon for a relaxed vibe and a great selection of beers. The variety here means there’s always something new to try.

Live music is a big draw at Kansas City Live!. The central stage features everything from local bands to big-name artists. The experience of enjoying a concert outdoors, with the city lights around you, is truly special.

For a smooth experience, here’s my advice: the area can be busy, especially on weekend nights. Plan to arrive a bit early to find a good spot, and check their event schedule ahead of time for any special performances.

Kansas City Live! is a vibrant part of Kansas City’s nightlife where you can experience the city’s energy firsthand. It’s a great spot to make new friends, enjoy live music, and immerse yourself in the local culture. Without a doubt, it’s one of the most fun places to visit in Kansas City at night.

"Kansas City Live!" at Power & Light District boasts a lively hub for music and a vibrant night out.
“Kansas City Live!” at Power & Light District boasts a lively hub for music and a vibrant night out.

10. Explore the River Market

For a blend of history, culture, and vibrant city life, exploring the River Market area is one of the best things to do in Kansas City at night. This bustling district, with its riverside charm, offers a unique experience that combines urban excitement with a sense of historical significance.

The River Market is renowned for its diverse array of eateries and bars. One of my personal favorites is Il Lazzarone, known for its authentic Neapolitan pizza. It’s a great spot for a casual yet delicious meal. If you’re in the mood for something different, the area is also home to various international cuisines, from Vietnamese to Middle Eastern.

After dinner, take a walk along the river. The views of the city skyline are spectacular, especially at night. It’s a peaceful contrast to the lively market area and a great way to digest after a good meal.

For those interested in local products and fresh produce, the City Market, part of the River Market area, hosts an evening farmers market on select days. It’s a great opportunity to sample local flavors and pick up unique Kansas City souvenirs.

As a heads up, parking in the area can be limited, especially on weekends. Consider using public transport or a ride-sharing service to avoid the hassle of finding a parking spot.

Explore the River Market area, where riverside charm meets urban energy.
Explore the River Market area, where riverside charm meets urban energy.

11. Try Your Luck at One of Kansas City’s Casinos

Are you searching for fun places to go at night in Kansas City? Why not add a bit of excitement with a visit to one of the city’s lively casinos? These entertainment hubs offer a blend of gaming, live shows, and delicious dining, all under one roof.

Ameristar Casino is a fantastic choice for an evening out. Here, you can try your hand at various games, from classic slots to exciting table games. The casino isn’t just about gambling. It’s a lively spot with regular live music and entertainment that adds to the fun atmosphere.

If you’re new to casino games, don’t worry. Many casinos in Kansas City offer free lessons, which makes it easy and fun to get started. It’s a great way to learn a new game in a friendly environment.

For a diverse experience, head over to Harrah’s North Kansas City. Along with its gaming options, the casino boasts several dining venues, including the renowned ’37 Steak. It’s perfect for a delicious meal to round off your night.

Remember, joining the casino’s reward programs can offer extra perks like free plays and dining discounts. It’s a smart way to enhance your casino experience!

Ameristar Casino is an exciting evening destination offering diverse games, live entertainment, and a lively atmosphere.
Ameristar Casino is an exciting evening destination offering diverse games, live entertainment, and a lively atmosphere.

12. Relax at the Boulevard Brewing Company Beer Hall

Last up on our list of best Kansas City nightlife experiences is a visit to the Boulevard Brewing Company Beer Hall. For beer enthusiasts or anyone looking to unwind in a relaxed atmosphere, this spot is a must-visit!

The Boulevard Brewing Company is renowned for its wide range of craft beers. You can sample everything from classic lagers to innovative ales. The beer hall’s tasting room offers a chance to try their signature and seasonal brews, which is a great way to start your visit.

What sets this place apart is not just the beer but also the tours they offer. You can learn about the brewing process, the history of the brewery, and the story behind each beer. It’s both educational and enjoyable, especially for those interested in the craft of brewing.

If you’re planning to visit, my tip is to check their event schedule. The beer hall often hosts live music, trivia nights, and other fun events. This makes it one of the most lively places to visit in Kansas City at night.

In the warmer months, make sure to spend some time on their outdoor deck. The views of the city are fantastic, and it’s a great spot to relax with friends.

Exploring Boulevard Brewing Company is one of the best things to do in Kansas City at night.
Explore Boulevard Brewing Company offering diverse craft beers in the tasting room.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the Best Things to Do in Kansas City at Night:

Are you keen to expand your knowledge of the best things to do in Kansas City at night? Here are some common questions (and answers) I get asked a lot about the best nighttime activities in Kansas City.

Does Kansas City have nightlife?

Yes, the nightlife in Kansas City is excellent! If you’re into live jazz music, gourmet dining, bustling nightclubs, or cozy bars, there’s something for everyone. The Power & Light District is particularly famous for its lively atmosphere, offering numerous bars, restaurants, and entertainment venues. For a more laid-back evening, the historic Westport neighborhood provides a mix of charming pubs and casual eateries. And of course, jazz clubs throughout the city offer a taste of Kansas City’s rich musical heritage.

Can you walk with alcohol in Kansas City?

In Kansas City, open containers of alcohol are generally not allowed in public spaces. However, there are exceptions in certain entertainment districts. For instance, in the Power & Light District, you can purchase and enjoy alcoholic beverages in designated outdoor areas, thanks to their special open container policy. It’s important to stay within the marked boundaries of these areas and follow any posted rules. Outside of these specific zones, it’s best to finish your drink before you head out onto the street.

Power & Light District bustling with activity and vibrant lights.
Power & Light District bustling with activity and vibrant lights.

What time do bars have to close in Missouri?

In Missouri, the closing time for bars is generally 1:30 AM. However, some bars in Kansas City have a special permit that allows them to serve alcohol until 3:00 AM. It’s worth noting that closing times can vary depending on the establishment and the specific area of the city, so it’s a good idea to check with the bar or their website for exact hours.

Are there any free things to do in Kansas City at night?

Here are some free things to do in Kansas City at night:

  1. First Fridays in the Crossroads Arts District: On the first Friday of each month, galleries, shops, and restaurants in this vibrant district stay open late. You can enjoy art openings, street performances, and food trucks.
  2. Kansas City Art Institute’s ArtWalk: Stroll through the campus and surrounding neighborhood to view public art installations and student works.
  3. Kansas City Public Library Events: The library often hosts free evening events, including lectures, film screenings, and book readings.
  4. Window Shopping at the Country Club Plaza: This famous shopping district is beautifully lit at night, making it perfect for a leisurely evening walk.
  5. Live Music at Local Venues: Some bars and restaurants in Kansas City offer free live music performances, especially in areas like Westport and the Power & Light District.
  6. Visit the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art: While not open late every night, the museum offers extended hours on certain days, allowing free access to its world-class art collections.
  7. Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art: Another great art venue, the Kemper Museum also offers free admission and has occasional evening hours.
  8. City Market: Explore the historic City Market area, which often hosts free events and entertainment, especially during the summer months.
  9. Scenic Walks: Take a walk along the picturesque paths of the Riverfront Heritage Trail or through one of the city’s many beautiful parks.
  10. Star Gazing: On clear nights, head to areas away from city lights and enjoy stargazing. While not an organized event, it’s a peaceful way to spend an evening.

Remember to check the latest event schedules and opening hours. They can vary and might be affected by seasonal changes or special events.

Is it safe to walk around Kansas City at night?

Like any major city, safety in Kansas City at night can vary depending on the area. Popular districts like the Power & Light District, Country Club Plaza, and Westport are generally considered safe and are well-frequented by both locals and tourists. These areas are well-lit and often have a visible police presence. However, as with any urban environment, it’s wise to stay aware of your surroundings, especially if you’re in less familiar areas. If you plan to explore at night, it’s a good idea to stay in populated areas, avoid walking alone if possible, and consider using reputable ride-sharing services or taxis for longer distances.

Wrapping Up the Best Things to Do in Kansas City at Night

As we wrap up our journey through Kansas City’s vibrant nightlife, it’s clear that this city has something special for everyone. From the soulful tunes in jazz clubs to the lively streets of the Power & Light District, each experience here adds a unique flavor to your night out.

Personally, my favorite activity has to be indulging in the local jazz scene. There’s something incredibly moving about listening to live jazz in a city that’s played such a pivotal role in the history of this music genre. It connects you to the heart and soul of Kansas City in a way that’s both profound and exhilarating.

Whether you’re a local or a visitor, exploring Kansas City at night is an adventure you won’t forget. Each spot we’ve discussed offers its own unique charm and excitement, making your nights here as memorable as they are fun. Additionally, discovering cheap places to fly from Kansas City can add another dimension to your overall experience.

The top things to do in Kansas City at night for all types of travelers
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