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The Group Travel Leader Going on Faith Select Traveler

The Other Kansas City

There are two sides to Kansas City.

This Midwestern destination sits on the state line that divides Kansas and Missouri. And although most of the metropolitan area is on the Missouri side, Kansas City, Kansas, has a lot to offer meeting planners, including affordable rates, abundant activities and easy access to the bigger city’s transportation infrastructure. This “city within a city” is close to Kansas City International Airport, which will be completing a new single-terminal airport in 2021. It’s a three-hour flight from each coast.

“We’re a very easy drive from Kansas City International Airport,” said Kansas City, Kansas, Convention and Visitors Bureau executive director Bridgette Jobe. “In fact, it’s easier to drive to Kansas City, Kansas, from the airport than it is to get to downtown.”

In Kansas City, Kansas, Village West is one of the hottest entertainment and lifestyle developments in the entire Metro area. Village West encompasses destination shopping at Legends Outlets KC, lodging options, and Major League Soccer and minor league baseball action. More than 10 million visitors flock to this area annually to enjoy family vacations, national conferences and meetings of all sizes.

“Although Kansas City, Kansas, is part of the metro Kansas City area, we’re a unique community with a hometown feel,” said Jobe. “We offer out-of-the-box convention and meeting facilities, and we’re most known for the Kansas Speedway and the Legends area.”

Wyandotte County is the second-most-diverse community in the nation. One of its decidedly unique spots is Strawberry Hill Museum and Cultural Center, which celebrates the many nationalities of Kansas City residents. Built in 1887, the Victorian Queen Anne building was originally a private home. Another one-off spot, Original Juan Specialty Foods on historic Southwest Boulevard, creates specialty sauces, salsas, snacks and dips for wholesale, retail and private label. Customers can step up to the tasting table and try one of the company’s 150 products manufactured under 13 different brands and can purchase “seconds” that can’t be sold at retail at bargain prices.

“Our diversity makes us unique because our ethnic majorities are primarily split between black, Hispanic and Caucasian, and we really celebrate each one,” said Jobe. “We’re looking for that group that wants something a bit different than the normal convention site.”

Rest Easy

More than half of the city’s 2,000 hotel rooms are in the Village West area, and more hotel development will be completed in 2019. Two of the city’s top properties are in Village West, where attendees can shop at the Legends Outlets Kansas City, Cabela’s and the Nebraska Furniture Mart and dine at numerous restaurants.

“The Kansas University Medical Center area also offers two new properties for those that are conducting business there,” said Jobe. “This location lies on the border of Kansas City, Missouri, with numerous restaurants and the Country Club Plaza nearby.”

At Village West, the Northwoods-style Great Wolf Lodge is the city’s largest hotel, with 281 suites and 3,800 square feet of flexible meeting space coupled with numerous dining options. Meeting space can accommodate any type of multimedia presentation, and on-site technical support is available upon request. Banquet menus feature an array of options, from a simple continental breakfast to a formal, plated dinner. Year-round, the indoor water park resort features abundant waterslides, pools and two large whirlpools, a favorite family attraction.

The Best Western Premiere KC Speedway Inn and Suites lies at the entrance to the Kansas Speedway just across from Children’s Mercy Park soccer stadium. Each of the 82 rooms offers the Guest Link system, which allows guests to plug their laptop, iPhone or iPod directly into the TV system. Suites and balcony rooms offer views of Kansas Speedway or Children’s Mercy Park soccer stadium. A complimentary full breakfast is served each morning.

Conveniently located in Kansas City’s business and government district, the Hilton Garden Inn Kansas City/Kansas is attached to the 20,000-square-foot Reardon Convention Center. It’s also near the Dole Federal Courthouse and corporations such as General Motors, Colgate Palmolive and Keebler Associated Wholesale Grocers. Only minutes from the American Royal and Bartle Convention Center, this 147-room hotel offers more than 1,375 square feet of flexible meeting and banquet space for events.

Off-Site Spaces

Near Village West, the National Agricultural Center and Hall of Fame sits on 172 acres and accommodates groups of 20 to 5,000. On-site, the historic Farm Town offers parklike grounds along with the modern Smith Event Barn, which accommodates 200 inside and 600 people in the outdoor pavilion. The Rural Electric Theater seats 200 for business meetings and seminars.

Memorial Hall, a veterans memorial and historic entertainment and event venue in downtown Kansas City, Kansas, can host various indoor events in its 3,000-seat arena. A large meeting room can accommodate more than 350 attendees. The gorgeous third-floor ballroom, with stained-glass windows, has been reopened for meetings and can accommodate up to 250 people seated in rounds.

The Pinnacle National Training Development Center opened in January and sits adjacent to Village West. It serves as the state-of-the-art training facility of the Sporting Kansas City soccer team. The 80,000-square-foot facility can accommodate 550 people in the Grand Hall and 200 in the Grand Classroom. It has six additional conference rooms.

Meeting or reception rooms are available at the Hollywood Casino at Kansas Speedway. Your group can try their luck at one of the 52 tables or 2,000 slot machines. Attendees can enjoy a drink overlooking turn No. 2 on the Kansas Speedway or dine at one of the casino’s five restaurants.

Great for team building, Zip KC soars high above the bluffs of the Kansas River on nine zip lines that stretch over 5,800 feet and reach speeds of up to 50 miles per hour. Options include a guided hike through the KC Timber Challenge Obstacle Course. The Night Flight tour begins after sundown for a zip under the stars with glow sticks, lasers and headlamps.