Why You Should Take a Road Trip to Kansas City from St. Louis

road trip to kansas city

One of my favorite things about living in St. Louis is how easy it is to take a road trip. We’re just 3-5 hours from lots of great cities: Chicago, Nashville, Louisville, Indianapolis, and Kansas City. A few weeks ago I got the chance to plan a little holiday girls’ trip to Kansas City with the team from Visit Overland Park. I’ve only been to Kansas City once before for a conference and I was staying downtown and was super busy, so I didn’t get to do as much as I wanted. I was so excited to go back and get to enjoy the shopping finally and lots more food!

The great part about taking a road trip is that a) it’s so much more cost effective for a group and b) it’s way less stressful of a schedule. We love to take two cars for this kind of trip so we aren’t limited to luggage and new purchases. St. Louis to Kansas City is also a super easy drive you can do in about 3 or 3 ½ hours (depending on who you ride with).

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Where We Stayed

We stayed in Overland Park which is maybe 20 minutes from downtown. I’ve heard lots of great things about Overland Park and the area from following a few of my favorite Kansas City Bloggers: Cait of Sophisticaited and Becky of Cella Jane. Cait also blogs for Town Center in Overland Park which is now one of my favorite malls ever. Umm… they have a Dean and Deluca and this NYC loving girl was very happy about that.

We stayed at the Marriott Overland Park which was in the perfect location for us. Bonus, it has a Starbucks in it so we could just run down in our pajamas for a gingerbread latte. There were also lots of kids around clearly taking advantage of the indoor pool. Keep that in mind if you’re looking for somewhere to stay with easy ways to tire out your kids. The Marriott is a great pick for a girls’ trip since we were able to get adjoining rooms and spend lots of quality time together. Now that we’re all getting older and most of the girls are married and/or have kids, we love any chance to relive college and lay around in yoga pants wearing face masks watching The Holiday.

A big travel tip of mine for road trips is to stay outside of downtown, which made the Marriott Overland Park perfect. You can usually find much better hotel rates outside of downtown and parking fees are a huge factor. You’re likely to get a lot more for your money staying in Overland Park or nearby when visiting Kansas City. And we were easily an Uber ride away from anything we wanted to do, including heading downtown.

road trip to kansas city

road trip to kansas city

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What We Ate

Room 39 | We had dinner at Room 39, a cozy little restaurant in Leawood. The atmosphere was so warm and inviting and we were definitely ready for a glass or three of red wine. Before you make any dinner decisions, definitely ask for the dessert menu first. I actually do this at every restaurant because it’s who I am. But even if you’re not a dessert person, you’re going to want dessert here. One of the seasonal desserts was French hot chocolate, which is one of my all-time favorite treats. They also do a tasting menu for $35 which was a great choice so you can try a little of everything. I think I would have eaten everything from every section on the menu here.

Louie’s Wine Dive | I’m a huge fan of Louie’s Wine Dive and live close to the one in Clayton. So I was excited there was one near our hotel for some post-dinner drinks. Louie’s has a great cocktail menu and a list on the wall of wines by the glass. I always think this is a great date night or girls’ night spot.

McLain’s Market | Possibly one of our favorite meals of the trip was breakfast at McLain’s. The CINNAMON ROLLS. You absolutely have to go here and get a cinnamon roll or chocolate croissant. I also spent a lot of time at the pastry case talking about all the pastries, because I consider myself an expert. And I got to try lots of samples and I’m not kidding when I say everything is delicious. The breakfast sandwiches were also incredibly satisfying.

Chuy’s | After TopGolf we wanted some late night queso, because why not? Chuy’s is in Country Club Plaza and I couldn’t resist. Chuy’s always makes me nostalgic for my Houston life. Two of my dearest friends in Houston and I used to go to the one near our apartments all the time and sit on the patio and drink tons of margaritas and eat queso. So when given the chance for Tex-Mex I can’t say no.

road trip to kansas city

road trip to kansas city

A few other options:

Dean & Deluca | Perfect if you want a quick lunch while shopping at Town Center.

Rye, Tavern at Mission Farms | Both were near Room 39 where we ate dinner and looked like great options for dinner or drinks.

Up-Down | Closer to downtown, it’s a fun arcade bar which is always a top choice for me.

Power & Light District | Located downtown with lots of great restaurants and bars.

Kaldi’s Coffee | Don’t worry you can still get your favorite St. Louis coffee fix in KC.

road trip to kansas city

road trip to kansas city

road trip to kansas city

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What We Did

Town Center | We spent Saturday doing some Christmas shopping and personal shopping. I’m a firm believer in one for you, one for me. I’ve seen my blogger friend Cait post about Town Center loads and knew I had to stop in. They have everything you could want like J.Crew, Madewell, Anthropologie to Crate & Barrel and Restoration Hardware. I was particularly excited to stop in at BlueMercury! If you’re not familiar, BlueMercury is a beauty retailer specializing in personalized skincare and beauty routines. I love all of the brands they carry and instead of just starting with what makeup will work with what you need, they start with the skincare. It is so worth stopping in to sample some skincare and beauty products and get lots of free advice!

TopGolf | We spent Saturday night doing a little TopGolf. Well the other girls did TopGolf, I stayed a healthy distance away from the ledge because this girl has an overwhelming fear of heights. After my panic attack subsided, we ordered some drinks which really helped the situation. That’s one of the things I love about TopGolf, even if you’re not interested in golf (or being near heights), you can still have a great time.

Shopping at Country Club Plaza | You can’t go to Kansas City and not stop at the Plaza. The holidays are also an especially fun time to be there with the lights and the Christmas music. It’s such a pretty area and the shopping is so good.

A few other options:

Sunlight Day Spa | luxury day spa perfect if your girls’ trip needs to include some R&R

Cinetopia | I love a luxury movie theater and Cinetopia in Overland Park is kind of the ultimate. Big comfy seats, dinner, and drinks. I wish we had more time to have seen a movie here!

Museum at Prairiefire | If you’re looking for arts and culture definitely check out the Museum at Prairiefire. Definitely a spot for great photo ops.

Oak Park Mall | Another great option for shopping.

Have you visited Kansas City? Live there? What are some of your favorite things to do, see, eat? Leave them in the comments below!

XO – Tracy

Thank you so much to Visit Overland Park for sponsoring this post!

Photos by Rachel McGrew

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