Things to love about where we live

Kansas: the bread basket of America,

…but Kansas has so much more to love than it’s wheat, especially the area we live in.

-Everyone in the area (including myself) has become a barbecue critic whether they’ve noticed or not. Going out to BBQ restaurants when on vacation, it’s just not the same. Places like Kansas City Joe’s (previously Oklahoma Joe’s)and Zarda Barbecue attract many residents and visitors. Us locals have discovered more hole-in-the-wall places like Smokin’ Joe’s which is almost better than bigger, more well known of restaurants. Forget bread basket, Kansas City is the barbecue capital of the midwest.

Plaza lights

– When it’s below freezing temperature outside it’s kind of hard to be thankful for the seasons. However, we have something that our sister time zones do not. States like Florida and California get to live comfortably all year round with temperatures barely dipping into what we consider winter. Here we get to experience hot and cold extremes (which sometimes aren’t fun) but we do have very distinct seasons to enjoy throughout the year.

-The Country Club Plaza is about a 30 minute drive out of Olathe to over 100 stores and over 40 restaurants. The Plaza is an upscale district that makes Kansas feel not so Kansas-y. KC is nicknamed the City of Fountains for a reason, with around 200 registered in the metro area, with many on display at the plaza. The Plaza during Christmas time is a whole reason to go in itself, with the Plaza lights which light up on Thanksgiving.

Crown Center Ice Terrace  is perfect during the holidays as well. There’s several indoor rinks around the area, but Crown Center just adds a cheerier vibe to your ice promenade.

Top Hat Mercantile
Top Hat Mercantile in the west bottoms

-Downtown KCMO is THE place to be during the first weekend of every month. First Fridays includes the antiques the west bottoms along with the art and night life the Crossroads has to offer. The west bottoms gives off a more old school feel while the crossroads brings in an urban atmosphere.

The Kauffman Center of Performing Arts is a stunning architectural feature perfectly complementing the beautiful arts performed in the two halls within the center. Since 2011 the center has held countless presentations of the Kansas City Symphony, Ballet, plays and other arts.

-Our sports teams haven’t always been the best, but over the past several years, they have grown into something to be proud about. Everyone, sports fans or not, paid close attention to the Royals during their World Series run. After crowning themselves as the ALCS champions and making it so so SO far in the World Series, the Royals put the spotlight on KC. The Chiefs have been on and off this season, like most, but the city never does resist to show their pride. Sporting Kansas City has been a huge attraction since the Sporting Park was built in 2011. After winning the MLS championship title in 2013 soccer fans in the area have grown exponentially.

-Kansas City is actually a popular place for artists to come on tour. Artists like Ed Sheeran, Miley Cyrus,  The Black Keys, Justin Bieber, Childish Gambino, have came to venues like the Sprint Center and The Midland Theatre. We live in a great area to go to popular concerts as well as smaller less known groups. The Granada in Lawrence has shows supporting more off the wall bands and artists, usually at a much cheaper price than big concerts at Sprint Center.

-Kansas City Missouri at Liberty Memorial houses a special museum dedicated specifically to World War One. For around $15 one can learn all about the war and see artifacts donated to the memorial. It’s a great piece of history to our area unlike many others around the country.

Nelson Atkins - Shuttlecocks
Nelson Atkins – Shuttlecocks

-Another museum we are lucky to have in the area is the Nelson Atkins. Just adjacent to the Plaza, the gallery offers free admission and includes many features from different eras of art.

– Olathe isn’t very far from several great universities. Regardless of if you’re decked out in crimson and blue, purple, or gold, KU, K-State and Mizzou have so much to offer. They’re all within three hours driving time of Olathe Northwest and continue to gain more and more ravens every year after they leave ONW. Of course there are many exceptional colleges around the nation, but these offer very affordable tuition and are close to home.

Our area isn’t so boring as most people would expect Kansas to be. Although we aren’t not an easy drive to a beach, we can experience many things other parts of the U.S. cannot. Times have changed since Dorothy and Toto, but hey they liked it even back then didn’t they? There really is no place like home.