This impressive cluster of bars, restaurants, lofts and cafes known as River Market is located where the new city was first established in the 1850's. The district sits on the South side of the Missouri River and its location provides beautiful views while city dwellers shop in the wide variety of specialty stores, markets and boutiques. Every day of the week more than 40 local vendors haul in regional goods and crafts which attract hordes of shoppers to the massive City Market. The reasonable prices and unique choices are only part of the draw; many of the quaint in-house businesses can be found in some of the oldest and most beautiful buildings in Kansas City.
This hip, arts & crafts store managed by the Simmons sisters is one of the most eclectic shops in K.C. It is located in the Brookside neighborhood and it features original works from more than 300 different artists and companies. Some of the wares here include jewelery, art, clothing, knick-knacks, local products and souvenirs. The sisters also give back to the community with their art classes, birthday parties at the store, charity work and even business consulting services! Overall, a great family 'sis-and-sis' store.
This kitschy shop harkens back to an age where Betty Page was all the rage and Elvis still graced the stage. Inside, visitors will find a blend of old and new designers like Lux De Ville, Sourpuss, Rago and the popular Lucky-13. Some of the items they sell are handbags, furniture, housewares, clothing, knick-knacks and anything else that screams 1950. Overall, it is another great shop on 39th Street in the hip Volker neighborhood.
Prospero’s Books is a bright, colorful bookstore that has many rare books as well as plenty of popular and contemporary tomes. Additionally, the owner even publishes his own titles through his small publishing house, Spartan Press. As you enter, the smell of paper wafts incessantly through the door and as you go upstairs, you will find many photographs and paintings for sale. Downstairs, there are adventurous, underground tunnels filled with books, including the massive kids section, used records, and much more. Prospero's will also buy your used books at a fair price as well as offer trades. The bookstore is known for promoting literary events around Kansas City and fostering the writing careers of young artists. Oftentimes visitors will walk-in on a book signing or a reading throughout the week. In fact, it was here where the world’s longest poetry reading (120 hours) was held in celebration of National Poetry Month back in 2010.
If one place could illustrate the heartbeat of Kansas City, it would be Country Club Plaza. Known as one of the first malls in the world, this outdoor district has 180 shops, 38 restaurants, numerous hotels and several entertainment venues. The Plaza abounds with activity almost around the clock and the Spanish Colonial architecture combined with the many fountains for which Kansas City is known, create an atmosphere unparalleled anywhere else in the city. During the holidays, the district glows with the twinkle of millions of Christmas lights.
If you came to shop in KC, you must take part in the Crown Center experience. This upscale complex, spread over 85 acres, is home to 80 shops and restaurants, as well as two luxurious hotels and the international headquarters of Hallmark Cards. Created in 1968, the shopping center connects to the Hyatt Regency Crown Center, Westin Crown Center Hotel and Union Station via a skywalk. The facility attracts convention groups to the Destination Crown Center and it offers 140,000 square feet of meeting space. If you want to catch a movie, there is the Crown Center Cinemas on the third level.