January 8, 2016

A Family Guide To Crown Center

Kansas City’s Crown Center attracts visitors for a number of reasons: FREE activities, kid-friendly attractions, shops and restaurants. We’ve visited Crown Center several times and still have yet to see all there is – it’s really Crown Center District with a ton to do. 

Crown Center at Christmas time.

Crown Center at Christmas time.

My family’s most recent visit was during the holidays. The visit was hosted by Visit KC.

 

Attractions

My kids don't know that they haven't been to Legoland yet. When they were little, these Lego sculptures near the food court in Crown Center sufficed.

My kids don’t know that they haven’t been to Legoland yet. When they were little, these Lego sculptures near the food court in Crown Center sufficed.

These are the biggies:

–  SEA LIFE Kansas City Aquarium

LEGOLAND® Discovery Center

– The FREE Hallmark Visitors Center and Kaleidoscope, where children and their families create amazing art.

Coterie Theatre presents children’s theater

Musical Theater Heritage is a professional theater company staging American musicals.

– Fountains. The kids loved all of the fountains at Crown Center, especially the ones you can play in when the weather’s warm enough (which, of course, I didn’t get a picture of).

Checking out one of the fountains at Crown Center.

Checking out one of the fountains at Crown Center.

 

Restaurants

There are more than 15 places to dine at Crown Center Shops. We’ve dined in the area on a couple visits.

Winning for most unique concept is Fritz’s Railroad Restaurant – a model train delivers the meal to your table. It was a big hit with the kids. The menu includes hamburgers, sandwiches and fries.

Farley pondering the situation at Fritz's while he wears his free conductor's hat.

Farley ponders a fry at Fritz’s Railroad Restaurant while he wears his free conductor’s hat.

We’ve also dined at Crayola Cafe and SPIN! Neapolitan Pizza.

I’m still searching for one that pleases both the grownups and the kids, honestly. You kinda feel like you have to go to Fritz’s because of the novelty, but the other two would not be ones I’d send you guys to dine.

Here are other places to buys grub at Crown Center: The American Restaurant (upscale), Chip’s Candy Factory (fudge), d’Bronx (deli & pizza), Einstein Bros. Bagels, Greek Food, Ltd., Juice Stop, K.C. Bar B.Q., Milano Italian Dining (casual Italian), Pak Ling Express (Chinese), Potatoes and More, Shang Tea Co., Sheridan’s Lattés & Frozen Custard, Smallcakes Cupcakery and Creamery, SPIN! Neapolitan Pizza, A Streetcar Named Desire (full service restaurant, has the streetcar), Taste of Philly, and Three Little Pigs BBQ.

 

My Family’s Favorite Crown Center Moment

Christmas at Crown Center – In 2015, the shopping center used #ShineBrightKC on its social media channels – for good reason. This place sparkles! Hello, photo opps.

One of the many nutcrackers at Crown Center in downtown Kansas City, Missouri.

One of the many nutcrackers at Crown Center in downtown Kansas City, Missouri.

Inside the shopping center, we stumbled upon carolers. We missed out on the “Charlie Brown Christmas play at The Corterie (sold out!), as well as the gingerbread houses. 

The kids loved climbing on the over-sized wooden sculptures surrounding the mayor’s large Christmas tree. Due to unseasonably warm weather, we missed out on enjoying outdoor ice skating rink. I’ve had to promise them we’ll return someday to skate there.

Play time at the base of the Mayor's Tree at Crown Center in Kansas City.

Play time at the base of the Mayor’s Tree at Crown Center in Kansas City.

If you’re visiting Kansas City during the holidays, you should stop even if it’s just to take some pictures of the scene.

 

Where to stay

There are two hotels in the area, both connected to Crown Center by the Link, a covered walkway system over the streets: Sheraton and The Westin.

Our hosted visit was at the Sheraton. What a perfect place to stay with a family in Kansas City!

Sheraton Crown Center is an easy walk from Crown Center attractions thanks to the Link system over the streets.

Sheraton Crown Center is an easy walk from Crown Center attractions thanks to the Link system over the streets.

First off, any place with a rooftop pool heated year-round is a hit with my kids. My daughter still talks about it.

The rooms are comfy and spacious, there are dining options inside the hotel and best of all, the Link system is darn handy in the winter.

Take the Link from Kansas City attractions like Union Station and Crown Center.

The Link with the shopping mall at Crown Center in the background.

The Westin is even closer to the Crown Center action. You pass through the Westin if you’re using the Link system to get to Union Station.

 

Exploring Crown Center District

Beyond the shopping center area, you can find museums and attractions, including one of our new favorites, Union Station (take the kids to Science City!). Other things to see include, the National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial – which has been highly recommended by several friends so it’s on my list to visit – and The Money Federal Reserve Museum (you receive a complimentary bag of shredded currency there as a souvenir – worth $165).

 

Crown Center Special Events

Kansas City Irish Fest – Three days of all things Celtic – music, dancing and exhibits.

WeekEnder – Friday nights in July and August, enjoy live music, outdoor movies, food trucks, artisans and more at Crown Center Square.

Other events – Antique Festival, Fiesta Kansas City and Hallmarket… and let’s not forget our favorite, Christmas at Crown Center with the Mayor’s Christmas Tree, Crayola Christmas Land and the Ice Terrace.

 

Want to read more stories about Kansas City with a family-friendly focus? Check these out:

15+ Fun Things To Do During A KC Christmas Getaway

Magic At DreamWorks Ultimate Santa Adventure (Oak Park Mall in Overland Park, Kan.)

Exploring the Museum at Prairiefire (Overland Park, Kan.)

Lego Store in Overland Park (Oak Park Mall in Overland Park, Kan.)

Family Fun At Science City (Kansas City, Mo.)

Best Winter Getaway KC With Kids

DoubleTree Hotel (Overland Park, Kan.)

Sheraton Hotel (at Crown Center, Kansas City, Mo.) – Jan. 18

 

Disclaimer: Our visit was hosted by Visit KC. All opinions expressed are my own.

 

** This post is part of the #wkendtravelinspiration link-up at FamiliesGo!

Comments

  1. I agree. Go for the pool…rooftop is a bonus!!! I have to tell you, now I want to eat at Crayola Cafe. It’s on my list. What a great idea! Thanks for linking up with us on Weekend Travel Inspiration!

  2. You took some nice photos. I love the Nutcracker! It sounds like you had a good time at Crown Center.

  3. I would totally get away with the free Lego statues for as long as I could. I agree it’s often hard to find a restaurant casual enough for kids with quality for grown-ups. When I find one i recommend it to everyone i know! Thanks for linking up with #wkendtravelinspiration

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