Love Letter to Kansas City
Updated: Dec 13, 2019
To be completely honest, I never would have believed you if you had told me when I was 18 years old that I would be living in Kansas City. I came to the midwest to attend the University of Kansas, but I had every intention of moving right back to my hometown Fort Worth (seriously, I had only lived in one house up to that point of my life). Fast-forward 12 years and I've been in Kansas City since 2012. My love affair with Kansas City started off as just falling into "like," but in the last few years I've experienced more of this city than I ever could have expected. It also helps that the local pride in Kansas City is akin to the pride we Texans are engrained with from birth and that local pride means that there are countless local businesses. My love for Kansas City has never been stronger than in the last year because I want Lou to experience all this city has to offer, but I also want to make sure that Taylor and I take time to have fulfilling lives as a couple as well which is why we recently had our 3rd KC staycation. These two desires mean that I've been experiencing more of this city than ever before which is why I felt it was time to share why I love Kansas City so much.
To back up to the beginning, when I moved to Lawrence for college it was only the second town I had been to in Kansas (the first being Clay County which is a small, rural town and the birthplace of my paternal grandfather) and my only experience in Missouri was a camp located in Lampe and Branson. So my experiences in the area were a summer camp, a sleepy farm town and a liberal college town. I truly had no opinion of Kansas City because there was no reason for me to even think about it. That is until I fell in love with a guy who grew up in Overland Park (fun fact: Taylor was born in Texas because his parents are Texans so I did find a Texan husband in Kansas, sort of). It wasn't until I was a senior in college that I realized there was anything else to the metro besides Overland Park, but it became very clear that was just the tip of the iceberg. In April of 2012 I decided to follow Taylor to KC since he had graduated the class above me and was already settled in with a career. I was always still thinking about how I could eventually convince him to move to Fort Worth. Obviously, I never got around to convincing Taylor to move because I was too busy exploring every nook and cranny of Kansas City. Kansas City reminds me a lot of Fort Worth and not just because they are both full of local pride. Kansas City is a sizable metro that has that small town feel. You run into friends while out, people often smile as you walk by on the sidewalk, and even a transplant can find genuine connections in this town. I now fully embrace life as a Texas native living as a Kansas City local.
As I mentioned above, my efforts to broadly explore KC have grown more and more in the last year. This is for two very good reasons; I've realized the best way to experience Kansas City is deep diving into all of the unique neighborhoods, and we love to explore the city with Lou.
It was amazing to see the rest of the country realize that Kansas City is a growing metro during the the Royals' 2015 bid for the World Series. What people across the country couldn't see is just how many amazing neighborhoods truly makeup the KC area. This was honestly lost on me as well until I moved here. I cannot tell you how many times Taylor used to correct me when I would ask if we were going to visit his parents in Kansas City...promptly he would reply Overland Park. As much pride as there is for the overall metro, there is so much pride in the individual neighborhoods. In addition, there is so much diversity amongst these neighborhoods to the point that you can experience many cultures without even driving more than 30 minutes. This neighborhood pride is why I'm starting a new series called KC Neighborhood Love to showcase the individual personality and businesses of each neighborhood. I'll be exploring everywhere from Olathe to Weston to Lee's Summit and everything in between! I feel like there is no better way to give back to the city I love than to shine a light on its unique neighborhoods and local businesses. Follow along here and on Instagram with the hashtag #KCNeighborhoodLove.
Of course exploring Kansas City with Lou has also become a passion of mine because there is nothing like experiencing this city through his eyes. It helps that there is no shortage of restaurants, breweries, and activities across the city that are family-friendly. So far Lou is growing up to be social and adventurous which I think can largely be credited to his experiences tagging along with Taylor and me since he was only 3 weeks old (his first outing was brunch at Rye). We were told from the beginning that eating out only gets more difficult as littles ones transition from baby to toddler, but we've found that as long as we are armed with plenty of snacks and engaging toys that Lou has as much fun as we do. It is also of course key to pick and choose where you go with little ones. We're constantly searching for new places to take Lou, but we've also found a great list of go-to's that we can count on whether we want to grab a beer or meal with Lou in tow. This is why I'm also expanding Lou's hashtag #LouExlporesKC into a blog series so I can share more and more of our favorite places to take Lou around Kansas City along with tons of tips.
I could seriously go on and on about why I love Kansas City which is why I'm starting these two new Kansas City series in January 2020 so I can continue to share this love with y'all. Hopefully you all enjoy following along with our adventures around KC!
Comment below with why you love your city!