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  • Overview

    Straddling the Missouri River and the state line dividing Kansas and Missouri, Kansas City is famous for its stockyards, jazz, barbecues, and juicy steaks. It is vibrant and diverse, a distinctly American city with a European flavour.

    Established as a fur trading post in 1821, Kansas City served as a convenient point of departure for pioneer wagon trains heading west over the Santa Fe, Oregon, and California Trails. Railroads and the construction of the Hannibal Bridge across the Missouri River established the city as a bustling business community and a world leading cattle centre.

    It has Parisian tree-lined boulevards, parks, Spanish-style architecture, and hundreds of fountains reminiscent of Rome, giving it its nickname 'The City of Fountains'. Almost all points of interest to visitors are on the Missouri side of the city, while a sprawl of suburbs occupies the section in Kansas.

    People consider Kanas City the nation's barbecue capital, with more than 60 restaurants offering grilled specialities. After World War I, Kansas City became a centre for jazz music, with musicians like Charlie Parker and Duke Ellington playing in the nightclubs of the 18th and Vine District.

    Family theme parks include the Worlds of Fun and Oceans of Fun, harbouring live entertainment, water attractions, and hundreds of rides. The Country Club Plaza offers retail stores, fine dining, and nightlife.

    Riverboat casinos are a popular diversion, and the restored downtown waterfront district hosts the colourful River Market with merchants offering a wide variety of produce and crafts. The city's frontier history is explored in Liberty, where the Jesse James Bank Museum is the site of the country's first daylight bank robbery.

    St Joseph is the birthplace of the historic Pony Express, telling the story of the messenger riders recruited to face death daily. Associated with the 33rd US president Harry Truman, the neighbouring city of Independence offers more modern history.

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    Kansas City has a humid continental climate, with four distinct seasons and moderate rainfall. The climate tends to be mild but extremes of hot and cold are possible. In the summer months, June to August, temperatures average between 66°F (19°C) and 90°F (32°C).

    In the winter months, December to February, temperatures average between 22°F (-6°C) and 44°F (7°C). Snowfall is common in winter. Kansas City sits on the edge of 'Tornado Alley' and powerful storms are possible in spring and summer. The wettest time of the year is summer.

    Useful Contacts:

    Hiring a car is the most popular and convenient means of getting around Kansas City. Traffic is seldom too congested and parking is plentiful. Many taxi companies operate in the city and wider region so it's possible to get around by taxi, but this can prove expensive.

    Kansas City is steadily developing cycling lanes and tracks and hiring a bicycle is a fun option in the downtown area. Public transportation consists of a streetcar system and a bus service. The streetcar is free to ride and operates from 6am to 12am, Monday to Thursday, and until 2am on a Friday, with a limited weekend schedule.

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