One of the more impressive buildings dedicated to the performing arts, the Kauffman Center is the highlight of the city's cultural scene. Located downtown, this multifaceted event center is dedicated to enhancing stage arts in the city by hosting nationally and internationally renowned artists, as well as providing a platform for local artists to share their expression with a bigger audience. Spread over approximately 285,000 square feet, the center is comprised of venues like the Muriel Kauffman Theatre and Helzberg Hall.
Chicago has the Green Mill and Kansas City has the Green Lady, a couple of things they have in common are great jazz and loads of ambiance. The only difference with the K.C. version is that guests can enjoy a couple of small bites while listening to some up-and-coming local artists. The cocktail menu is also filled with a lot of old-school drinks like the Manhattan, Rob Roy, Old-Fashioned and their very own Green Lady made with apple jack brandy. Check website for complete calendar of musicians and other information.
The Phoenix is what Yoshi's is to Oakland and The Blue Note is to NYC, most notably it is the city's number one jazz restaurant. Guests come down six nights a week to listen to a varied mix of jazz musicians from around town as well as those touring the U.S. The jazz hall also functions as a restaurant, so you can watch the show while you eat. They have a great happy hour from 3-6pm and on Saturdays their 'Bloody Mary Brunch' allows you to make your own Bloody Mary as you wish! Check website for complete calendar and show times.
If you are looking to see how Kansas City appeared back when Charlie Parker roamed the streets, stop by the Blue Room. Although the original Blue Room, where the 'Bird' blew saxophone is long gone, this jazz joint is a fine replica of the 1930's club. Located in the historic 18th & Vine district, it is a bit of a museum, with pictures of greats that cover the walls and relics of Kansas City's jazz era adorn the tables. Live music still gets the place swinging four nights a week. No food is available and smoking is not allowed, but there is a fully stocked bar.
The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema is one theater in a chain of theaters that began in Austin, Texas. It no longer belongs to the original owners (it was sold along with the name in 2004), however some of the old-school policies remain, for instance, no child under the age of six is allowed to see a film and you will be thrown out if you continually text or talk during the movie. The six screens here at this Alamo show contemporary films from Hollywood that are a bit quirky, independent and non-blockbuster. Check website for details and show times.
The Gem was constructed in 1912 using a Baroque-style motif in its architecture and was originally planned as a movie house in the historic 18th & Vine District. Today, it is a live music, dance and theater stage that hosts various acts, from musicals to live jazz, the Gem is always abuzz with activity. The theater is run under the benevolent auspices of the American Jazz Museum (located a few doors down on 18th) and is most notably known for its "Jammin' at the Gem" series which features some of the best musicians in the world.
A much-welcomed addition to the cultural weave of this city, the Muriel Kauffman Theater is located inside the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. Promising to be a venue that presents an impressive variety of artists and events, this theater is definitely a venue to visit for those who really wish to know intimately the liveliness of Kansas City. Named after a local leader, this theater is a proscenium venue, with a capacity of 1,800 seats. Appointed with the latest in technology, this theater can make an audience experience quite memorable.
Helzberg Hall is the base of the Kansas City Symphony and one of the main performing halls of the impressive Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. Its vineyard-style seating reminiscent of terraces in a grape plantation ensures there is no single bad seat. Due to this arrangement, there is an intimate feel to this hall, where you can catch your favorite artists from a very close range. This oval-shaped concert hall also boasts to have one of the best pipe organs in the country. The Julia Irene Kauffman Casavant Organ, Opus 3875 was custom built for this facility and is a key part of this venue's excellent acoustics.