3 Days in Kansas City: happy 816 day

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Happy one year anniversary to this blog!  In honor of that milestone, here’s the very first blog post showcasing one of my favorite places I’ve lived, Kansas City!  And it just so happens to fall on 8/16 day!

Kansas City is underrated.  You will hear me say this over and over again, but it’s true.  There is literally something there for everyone, for all budgets and tastes.  It has Midwestern values combined with a sophisticated art and dining scene comparable to any of its urban counterparts, but psst…it’s more affordable.  I used to tell people back in California that KC is a sleeper city (I’ve heard the term flyover country more times than I care for), but the secret’s out.  KC is having a real moment right now.  After the MLB All Star game in 2012 and the Royals winning the World Series in 2015, people have started to take notice of this city as a travel destination.

I lived in the heart of America for eleven years, so when I visit, I try to hit all of my favorite spots in 2-3 days.  This is a tall order because there’s so much to eat do! Of course, this itinerary assumes that you’re not coming for a specific concert or sporting event.  I could write a thousand posts about that (and maybe I will), but for now here’s my way to spend 3 days in Kansas City, MO (with a cameo from Kansas City, KS, too).

Click those red heels like Dorothy, because there’s no place like home…

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know before you go: STL

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name a more iconic duo…i’ll wait

Really, the only thing you need to know is that Lambert International Airport (STL) serving St. Louis, Missouri has Ted Drewes custard machines.

This alone should give it a top rating.  These babies serve 6 concrete flavors, ice cold, smooth and creamy deliciousness, I would book a flight there today just for that.  Bold statement coming:  you have not lived until you’ve had Ted Drewes custard.  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Lambert Airport (named after a famous STL Olympian and aviator) is one of more historic airports in the country, as it is the site of the first use of air traffic control, and it had close association with Charles “Spirit of St. Louis” Lindbergh.  It has two terminals, Terminal 2 is made up of Concourse E for Southwest and international travel, with WOWAir starting this month to Iceland.

Terminal 1 is slight into 4 concourses:  A serves Delta, United, Air Canada Express, B is vacant and used for events; C is used by American, Frontier, Cape Air and Air Choice One (question mark?), D is mostly vacant except for those renamed as E gates and used by Southwest.  Because many gates are vacant right now, it’s hard to tell how many are actually in use, but probably ~40 active gates.

Remember: ✈️ = E.I. E.I uh-oh to  ✈️✈️✈️✈️✈️ = meet me in st. louis

Convenience to the city: ✈️✈️ (about 14 miles from Downtown, it’s not that close, but it does sit quite prominently on i-70)

Ease of navigating through terminals: ✈️✈️✈️ (it’s all one long connected strand)

Convenience of check in/security lines: ✈️✈️✈️ (better than most)

Dining: ✈️✈️✈️✈️✈️  (five ✈️ for Ted Drewes; if you’re eating anything other than a concrete from one of the three vending machines in this airport, you’re just being unnecessary…although I can make an exception for a Schlafly at one of the two brewery locations).

Bathrooms: ✈️✈️✈️  (can use a little updating, but usually clean)

Charging stations/wifi: ✈️✈️✈️ (free wifi available for 60 minutes)

Amenities: ✈️  (Well, you didn’t come here to shop.  There’s an American Airlines Admirals’ Club and a Wingtips common use lounge, but otherwise just find a Ted Drewes to keep you occupied)

3 days in Chicago

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Chicago is one of the best cities in the country…nay, the world, to visit.  An epicenter of food, culture, art, sport, and architecture–it has it all.  I’ve been to the Windy City at least a dozen times (and I’m heading back there this weekend), and undoubtedly, I’ve had some of the best times of my life there.  This guide is my ideal time in the city, but there’s no humanly way possible you can eat to your heart’s content in such a short period of time.  But no one will hold it against you for trying.

Do you remember when? Fireworks at Lake Michigan, cuz I’m coming home again –‘Ye

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24 hours in Minneapolis

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Did y’all see that game last night? It was a classic, with the Minnesota Vikings pulling off a miracle last play to win over the Saints.  And since the Super Bowl is happening in Minneapolis this year, here’s a repost of the 24 hour guide to the city of 10,000 lakes to prepare those who are heading that way in February!

 

you’re gonna make it after all…

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weekender in Omaha

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Omaha is not just something Peyton Manning yelled a lot while he quarterbacked for the Broncos.  It’s also a lovely metropolitan area in the corniest state the Midwest–literally, not figuratively.  It is comfortable, young, hip, and up and coming. So up and coming that Facebook is going to open some sort of offshoot HQ there in the next few years.

I had briefly traveled to the Cornhusker state for a weekend years ago, but one of my favorite friend couples lives there, so I visited Nebraska’s most populous city again to hang out with their family.  It’s a very family friendly place, and you can see why it’s becoming more and more popular amongst young couples.  The pace of life is decent, there’s a lot of industry and tech moving into the area, and proud Nebraskans are opening up cool restaurants and shops all over the city.

Omaha, Omaha set hut!

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day trip to Des Moines

When I lived in the Midwest, I used to drive all over the place.  It’s so easy to get from point A to point B in the US.  The freeways are well kept and well demarcated, and it’s really low stress driving along the open highway.

Des Moines is an underrated, sleeper city.  A capital city, it’s the most populated in the Hawkeye state.  What you might be surprised to find is that there’s a ton of arts and culture in this city.

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The gold domed State Capitol building is one of the more ornate state capitols.  Along Locust, Grand and Walnut streets are local boutiques focusing on home decor, clothing and gifts.  Des Moines is nice in that way, that there is a real focus on small business owners.  The most amazing shop, Eden, is located on 6th street and is a very carefully curated perfumery and cosmetic shop.  They have products by Tokyo Milk, Malin+Goetz, Voltivo.  There’s Diptyque and Tocca candles and pretty things and it’s adorable, perfect for gifting.  There’s a vespa in the showroom, it’s like a store version of Zooey Deschanel.

Next door is a Gong Fu Tea, which is a nice space to sit and contemplate the intricacies of life.  Another place to do that is down the road at the Pappajohn Sculpture Park.  This is probably one of the best sculpture parks around and it’s located smack dab in the middle of Des Moines.  It’s stuck with me for all these years, and for good reason.  It features works from heavy hitters such as Louise Bourgeois (whose Spiders also sit in front of the Kemper Art museum in Kansas City),

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Keith Haring’s Untitled and my personal favorite sculptor, Jaume Plensa’s Nomade.

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Here you can see Juno by Deborah Butterfield (driftwood horses), and Thinker on a Rock by Barry Flanagan.

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As an adult, I still don’t quite understand what venture capitalism is, but it seems that Mr. Pappajohn was very, very good at it, to be able to donate all these works to the Des Moines Art Center.

For an artsy, or at least eclectic choice for lunch, go straight to Zombie Burger where they serve artfully crafted burgers with a horror show theme.  I had a Raygun, which was a medium patty piled high with bacon, guac, fried jalapenos, monterey jack, and caramelized onions.  They have burgers with gouda, proscuitto, peanut butter, mac & cheese, croquettes, fried pickles, you name it.  If that won’t kill you, the scary decor will.  They also have neon-hued milkshakes with cereal, twinkies, cake mix, the works.

On your way out of town, you should be a total weirdo like me and seek out a covered Bridge in Madison County, as made famous by the book and movie.  The movie with Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep was filmed on location in this area.  They are not the easiest to get to, off the beaten track, but the one closest to my route was the Cedar covered bridge, and it was an adorable landmark to cap off a quick road trip.

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Happy weekending!

24 hours in Minneapolis

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In honor of the Minnesota State Fair, here’s a quick guide for the 1/2 of the Twin Cities. Recently on my way back from the east coast, I decided to take an extended layover to visit one of my friends in Minneapolis.  I’d never seen this city in the summer, only when the snow drifts were higher than my head, and I’d always heard about how beautiful the city of a thousand lakes was when the weather was more amenable.

After landing at MSP, I could see why people might say that.  The skies are terrifically blue with lush greenery everywhere and the people are all outside on their bikes, running in the streets.  Minneapolis is known as a cultural blender of a city, and it’s great to see city dwellers of all types enjoying their city.  Love is all around, no need to waste it…

you’re gonna make it after all…

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3 Days in Kansas City

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Kansas City is underrated.  You will hear me say this over and over again, but it’s true.  There is literally something there for everyone, for all budgets and tastes.  It has Midwestern values combined with a sophisticated art and dining scene comparable to any of its urban counterparts, but psst…it’s more affordable.  I used to tell people back in California that KC is a sleeper city (I’ve heard the term flyover country more times than I care for), but the secret’s out.  KC is having a real moment right now.  After the MLB All Star game in 2012 and the Royals winning the World Series in 2015, people have started to take notice of this city as a travel destination.

I lived in the heart of America for eleven years, so when I visit, I try to hit all of my favorite spots in 2-3 days.  This is a tall order because there’s so much to eat do! Of course, this itinerary assumes that you’re not coming for a specific concert or sporting event.  I could write a thousand posts about that (and maybe I will), but for now here’s my way to spend 3 days in Kansas City, MO (with a cameo from Kansas City, KS, too).

Click those red heels like Dorothy, because there’s no place like home…

Continue reading