Kansas City, Missouri

Photo: Aparium Hotel Group

Kansas City has become your dirty little secret. You don’t really want other people to know how much you enjoy your time in one of the Midwest’s largest cities. It’s a pretty city with boulevards that rival those in Paris and almost as many fountains as Rome. It’s a foodie city with its own style of barbecue and a proliferation of craft breweries. Plus it’s an artsy city overflowing with galleries, museums, and jazz.

Your favorite time to visit is the beginning of the month. Every First Friday, the Crossroads Arts District throws open its doors, stays open late, and turns Downtown Kansas City into a big street party. The free KC Streetcar keeps the area free of cars. Food trucks are parked in just the right spots. While the gallery crawl has even earned Kansas City a new nickname: the SoHo of the Midwest.

The Crossroads Arts District has revitalized the inner city. Thirty years ago, the former industrial neighborhood was full of empty and decaying warehouses. Then historic buildings and cheap rent attracted artists. Restaurants, bars, and shops eventually followed. So did hipsters. Last fall, a hotel finally opened, as well. You can now spend the whole weekend in your favorite neighborhood.

Photo: Aparium Hotel Group

The Crossroads Hotel is another great restoration project. It combined two red-brick buildings that went up in the early 20th century. One is a former Pabst Brewing Company facility. The center of the boutique hotel is a four-story atrium. This is where the light-filled lobby and the casual XR Cafe are located. Public galleries, studio spaces, and an elegant Italian steakhouse—helmed by a chef who competed on Chopped on the Food Network—are here, too.

The rooms are equally impressive. Each one features original brick walls and reclaimed wood floors. Local companies created everything from the wallpaper and the handcrafted furniture to the artwork and the bed throws. Kansas City goodies fill the minibars. Cans of PBR are included, of course. You feel right at home.

The hotel’s true oasis is the rooftop bar, though. Percheron Rooftop Bar has picnic tables and bocce courts. Small plates, craft beer, and frozen cocktails (Kentucky mules and strawberry daiquiris) are served. While the sweeping views of the city can’t be beaten at night. It’s the perfect spot to end the evening after enjoying all of the First Friday festivities. Best of all: no one will ever know you’re there.

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