Kansas City Workhouse
#The Lowdown

Quirky Places in Kansas City

By Travel Savvy

With a very famous barbeque style and an annual Jazz and Heritage Festival, Kansas City doesn't even need to try very hard to impress. However, this city in America's Heartland is filled with much more than just smoked ribs and excellent music halls. Locals tell us to "expect the unexpected" if you're planning on a trip to Kansas City. Read on for our selections of the Best Unique Things To Do in Kansas City.

Kansas City Workhouse 1

Photo Credit: Photo Credit: Eric Bowers

Kansas City Workhouse

2001 Vine Street

Medieval on the outside; modern on the inside. The Kansas City Workhouse was originally built as a jail in 1897 when Romanesque architecture was enjoying a brief revival. After a few decades in operation with several different owners, it eventually shuttered in 1972. Graffiti artists soon flocked to the abandoned castle and began filling the walls with color. While the walls of the castle are not recognized as a traditional art gallery, the unique graffiti exhibit and venue draw many visitors to the destination.

Steamboat 2

Photo Credit: Photo Credit: The Steamboat Arabia Museum

The Steamboat Arabia Museum

400 Grand Blvd.


Open Monday through Saturday 10:00AM - 5:00PM; Sunday 12:00PM - 5:00PM

Today, guests are invited to view the treasures of the Arabia at The Arabia Steamboat Museum. Built in 1853, the steamboat Arabia only lived a short life on the western-river system. Three years after its inception, the mighty steamboat ran into a submerged walnut tree in the Missouri River, sinking the ship and its 200-ton mystery cargo that was aboard the vessel. Remarkably, the ship was rediscovered in 1987 with its cargo in primitive condition. The treasures on display make up the largest single collection of pre-Civil War artifacts that give insight into the lives of American pioneers, making this museum truly one-of-a-kind.

National Museum of Toys and Miniatures 3

Photo Credit: Photo Credit: The National Museum of Toys and Miniatures

The National Museum of Toys and Miniatures

5235 Oak Street


Open Sunday through Saturday 10:00AM - 4:00PM; Closed on Tuesdays

Originally opened in 1982 as The Toy and Miniature Museum of Kansas City, the establishment continued to expand in square feet, collection size and popularity until it relaunched in 2015 with the world's largest fine-scale collection of miniatures, one of the nation's largest collections of antique toys, and a new name - The National Museum of Toys and Miniatures. You don't have to be a fan of doll-sized furnishing or tiny knick knacks to enjoy a visit here; the museum offers an expertly curated look through the history and culture of play, and how objects have changed to suit the times. To check out their list of current events and exhibits click here.

Community Bookshelf 4

Photo Credit: Photo Credit: Flickr user David Lee King

Community Bookshelf

14 W 10th Street


Bookworms, rejoice! Giant book spines make up the south wall of the Central Library's parking garage on 10th Street. The Community Bookshelf features 22 different spines, reflecting the different reading interests of Kansas City. Members of the community suggested books to put on display and the The Kansas City Public Library Board of Trustees ultimately chose which ones would be showcased. Completed in 2004, the bookshelf beautifies the parking garage and adds charm to the city's landscape.


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