For the longest time, #nootherhome than Kansas City was something Becca might say. She was born and raised here. But for me, it always seemed like I was dreaming of some other place to put down roots.
When I attended the University of Kansas twenty-plus years ago, I dreamt of doing nothing more than getting out of the Kansas City area. Take me to Chicago. Denver. Anywhere but the “flyover” city.
Recently, I’ve had the pleasure of helping Andrews McMeel Universal with Sporting Kansas City Matt Besler’s book, No Other Home. The book is an unconventional biography in that’s not told chronologically but centered around certain inspirational and thoughtful themes — from his days “competing” with his brothers growing up to the birth of his child.
One of the major themes he tackles is a choice he made in 2014 about remaining in his hometown and continuing to play for Sporting KC instead of pursuing an international career and a bigger payday.
Inspired by the book, a KC friend of mine decided to share some of her reasons why there is #nootherhome for her than Kansas City.
And though I was once a naysayer, here are the reasons I’ve become a convert:
The Kansas City #NoOtherHome Vibe
After years of sleeping at the wheel, the KC metro is hustling. Big bets in Kansas City, Kan., on the Kansas Speedway and Sporting Park and in Kansas City, Mo., on the Sprint Center arena and Power & Light District paved the way for additional downtown development, including the street car, and a future single terminal airport.
The city is also seeing some other key cultural and business imports, such as the Folk Alliance and tech firms from both coasts.
We could stand to have another big business anchor tenant or two, as Sprint is constantly flirting with a merger that could move the headquarters, and a few other prominent brands struggle to remain relevant. Upstarts Cerner and Garmin show promise as flagships of the future, but having another sure thing would certainly help economic development.
Regardless, there’s a lot to like about KC’s economic future. What’s interesting — to me at least — is the correlation with the investment in the arts. (KC’s per capita investment). Not a surprise, as the KC has long supported the arts (it regularly finishes in the Top 5 for grants and giving per Capita. You can certainly see the commitment to the arts in KC when you visit ArtsKC and Kansas City Young Audiences.
If you want a better sense of KC — I’ll share four podcasts who all tap into a different sensibility of the city:
The Burgeoning Beverage Scene
Whenever I make plans with a friends or a soon-to-be friend, I generally say “let’s meet over a beverage of your choice ….”
I really do it because my palate doesn’t discriminate … but KC is truly becoming a master in all manner of beverage creation and distribution.
- Beer … In 2015, Travel and Leisure Magazine named Kansas City the second best beer city in the United States. And since, it’s only gotten better. If you don’t believe me, check out my post on the Kansas City Tap Tour (Round 2 is going on now)!
- Coffee … Unique Kansas City coffee used to be exclusively the domain of The Roasterie. But within the last several years a number or prominent cafes have popped up across the city. This hasn’t gone unrecognized. Expedia noticed and called KC one of America’s “hottest up-and-coming coffee cultures.”
- As for Spirits … Manifesto has been the place to sniff out for an amazing cocktail. I don’t mind being DD, when I can make love to an ounce or two of Thomas Handy Rye while the rest of the group enjoys multiple premium-crafted cocktails. Tom’s Town followed in 2015. And other joints I’ve enjoyed recently include Lifted Spirits and P.S. Speakeasy in Hotel Phillips.
So, Kansas City IS or is becoming a hot bed beer, coffee and spirits. There are some great wine choices, too. The inspiration for Amigoni was once little vine garden in Leawood, Kan. The now turned six-acre Missouri vineyard — with a beautiful cellar and tasting room in the historic Daily Drover Telegram Newspaper building — has become a KC icon. I’ll toast the fine people at Amigoni in the Stockyards as KC’s crown jewel.
Kansas City #NoOtherHome Fandom
Chiefs, Royals, and how I could not mention Sporting KC! Prior to 2000, we hadn’t been known for championships, but the past two decades have been pretty good to us. (Come on, Chiefs! In my lifetime please …). But even without a winner, the fans of KC know how to get LOUD!
KC fans show their #NoOtherHome pride by holding the Guinness Book of World Record for “Loudest Crowd Roar” at Kansas City Chiefs’ Arrowhead Stadium at 142.2 Decibels. We were there!
Though Lawrence, Kan., technically is not in the KC metro area … much of the University of Kansas fan base is. #LFK and adopted home of #BIFM (look ‘em up) brings that KC fandom to Allen Fieldhouse every night.
(Is it any coincidence that Allen Fieldhouse holds the Guinness Book Record for crowd roar, as well?)
It’s not all jazz, but Kansas City is known for that heritage. And Becca and I are partial to good jazz troupe during a night out. In college, I used to promote concerts, so I’m a big fan of live music. I’m particularly a fan of dingy clubs or outdoor concert venues.
- Jazz (18th & Vine) — particularly The Blue Room
- The Green Lady Lounge (a favorite place for me to end the evening downtown)
- Crossroads at Grinders (I’ve seen some my favorite shows there)
Kansas City People
I’ve worked high society (oh boy, what a jacket can do for a man). And I’ve bellied up to the bar (where are my nasty Chuck Taylors). The people in Kansas City are simply this: Approachable. Those who read The Independent frequently mingle and enjoy the company of those who read The Pitch — and vice versa.
Tell Us Why You Love KC … or Your Hometown
In the comments (and via social media), tell us why their is #NoOtherHome than Kansas City. Becca and I love to travel to so we’ll entertain arguments of other great places to live and visit.
And be sure to order No Other Home by Matt Besler on Amazon. It truly is a testament to the power of hard work, determination, integrity, and community support.
You can catch Matt out and about promoting the book:
- Wednesday, Dec. 6, at No Other Pub in the Power & Light District — Matt will be signing from 6-7:30 p.m.
- Sunday, Dec. 17, at Barnes & Noble on the Plaza — Matt will be signing starting at 1 p.m.