Kansas City Missouri Visit
Kansas City

Are you looking to get the best experience out of your trip to Kansas City?

There’s no shortage of memorable experiences here in the heartland – from our booming craft brewery scene, storied historic landmarks, vibrant arts neighborhood, and award-winning cuisine, all paired with our signature midwest hospitality, it can be overwhelming to figure out how to spend a visit in Kansas City.

Let us locals help you out!

Now that you’ve decided that Kansas City is a place worth visiting, you need to plan your ideal visit! While there’s plenty to do on your own, sometimes it’s nice to spend part of your visit on a guided tour or activity where you can let the experts take over.

Below are the best guided tours and activities in Kansas City – all with great reviews and ones we personally recommend to our out-of-town visitors when they make their way to our hometown.

Kansas City Craft Beverage Tours

Kansas City is one of the fastest growing craft beer destinations in the country.

In fact, there’s a neighborhood downtown, Crossroads Arts District, that is know for it’s “Brewer’s Alley,” where there is a concentration of local breweries all within walking distance of one another.

On the spirits side, Kansas City’s distilleries are making a name for themselves with their artisanal approaches.

These distilleries, several of which are housed in beautifully restored historic buildings, offer a glimpse into the meticulous art of distilling. From smooth bourbons to crisp gins, and even some unique creations like jalapeño-flavored vodka and absinthe, these distilleries are all about innovation and quality.

Interested in learning more? The below tours are our top recommendations for anyone looking to explore Kansas City’s craft beverage scene.

kansas city historic distilery
Historic J. Rieger Distillery

1. Tom’s Town Distillery Tour

The Tom’s Town distillery tour is our top choice for when we have visitors in town. The 1-hour tour combines both an education on the distilling process and a historical overview of how spirits played a role in Kansas City’s politics, particularly during prohibition. It’s a really interesting look into the legacy of “Boss” Tom Pendergast.

Tom’s Town is located in a beautiful, historic building, so the tour is not only interesting, it’s also aesthetically pleasing.

At the end of the tour, you can sample from their award-winning selection of gin, bourbon, whiskey, and vodka.

Another benefit to Tom’s Town is that it is located in downtown’s vibrant Crossroads Arts District, meaning it is close to numerous excellent dining choices, as well as Brewer’s Alley.

This is truly a great tour – and you don’t have to take our word for it. Just browse through their hundreds of five star reviews.

2. J. Rieger & Co. Distillery

Located in the historic East Bottoms, J. Rieger is beloved by locals. In addition to creating great spirits, the historic warehouse building that the distillery resides in is stunning. It also features a stainless steel slide from the second to the first floor for those who are staircase averse.

During the J. Rieger tour, you’ll learn about the history of the distillery, which was established in 1887, flourished during the city’s “the wettest block in the world” years, and then saw it’s demise during Prohibition before being resurrected in 2014.

historical exhibit with suede couches at j rieger
J. Rieger

The tour includes historic mementos of the original distillery as well as an education on their distillation process from grain to bottle. The tour will conclude with a tasting of their four core products led by one of their knowledgeable guides

There isn’t too much else to see in the East Bottoms, but you can spend several hours at Rieger’s Monogram Lounge cocktail bar, Electric Park beer garden, or Hey! Hey! Club dining experience.

Note that closed toe shoes are required for the tour.

old fashioned on a wooden table at rieger distillery
J. Rieger

3. Kansas City Brewery and Distillery Tour

Can’t decide between craft breweries or craft distilleries? You can tour them both!

In this 4-hour tour, you’ll visit two breweries and one distillery. At each stop, you will have the chance to do a tasting of three of their products.

During the tours, you’ll learn about the processes and techniques used to create these locally made drinks, gaining a deeper appreciation for the skill and dedication behind each sip.

The tour includes travel by minibus, ensuring a comfortable journey through the city. This tour is operated by locally owned Barley Bus – they are a reputable business and have over 1,000 five star reviews.

kansas city microbrewery

4. Kansas City Craft Beer Tour

Like we mentioned, Kansas City has over 30 craft breweries in and around the city. That’s way too many for one visit, so instead of trying to figure out which ones are the best to visit, let the locals show you the way!

This four-hour guided tour offers a behind-the-scenes look at some of our best local craft breweries – plus tastings!

With this tour, you won’t have to worry about driving yourself around town. The expert local guide will do that for you as well as answer all your questions.

5. Boulevard Brewery Tour

Although it is no longer a small local brewery, Boulevard Brewing Company is locally adored as Kansas City’s hometown brewery. Founded in 1989, the brewery began in a classic brick building on Southwest Boulevard. From its humble beginnings, Boulevard has grown into one of the largest specialty brewers in the Midwest. Their unfiltered wheat beer, an early standout, set the stage for a diverse and award-winning range of brews.

We’ll leave it there – you can learn all about it on one of their brewery tours:

  • Smokestack Tour: Offered Monday through Thursday, this 1-hour walking tour takes you through the brewery’s history and brewhouses. The tour culminates in a beer tasting paired with small plates. This tour is $40 plus taxes and fees.
  • Unfiltered Tour: This 2-hour tour takes place in Fridays and Sundays. It’s a production tour where you’ll sample tasters and fill pours along the way in between peering into barrels to learn the science of making their award-winning brews. This tour is $40 plus taxes and fees.
  • Public Brewery Tours: Their most frequently offered option, this 1-hour walking tour of the brewery culminates with samples in the Tasting Room. This tour is $10 on weekdays and $15 on weekends.

Kansas City Food Tours

6. Kansas City Barbecue Tour

It’s an abomination to visit Kansas City and not experience the KC barbecue culture. You could spend hours researching the wide range of options, or you can let the local experts show you around.

This 3-stop tour takes you to the local secret BBQ joints off the beaten path. You’ll get to taste delicious smoked meats, savory sauces, and delectable sides – all while learning about the history and culture of Kansas City BBQ from expert guides. 

Included in the price is a variety of cuts of meat throughout the stops and a minimum of one side at each stop.

The tour includes travel by minibus, ensuring a comfortable journey through the city. This tour is operated by locally owned Barley Bus – they are a reputable business and have over 1,000 five star reviews.

Kansas City History and Culture Tours

7. Kauffman Stadium Walking Behind-the-Scenes Tour

If you’re a baseball fan, this 90-minute walking tour of the Royals’ Kauffman Stadium is for you!

During the tour, a knowledgeable guide will take you through the history of the Royals and the stadium while stopping in areas of the facility that are not typically open to the public, like the Dugout, Interview Room, Diamond Club, Outfield Plaza, Press Box, Royals Hall of Fame, and a Triple Crown Suite.

8. Kansas City Downtown Walking Tour

This is THE BEST Kansas City walking tour, especially for those interested in history and local culture. This tour takes you through the vibrant Crossroads Art District and the neighboring eclectic Westside. The 5-mile early morning hike will be a great start to your day.

Pro tip: the starting point is the WWI Liberty Memorial – swing by locally loved Filling Station or Cafe Corazon for your morning coffee beforehand.

This walking tour offers a blend of history, art, and culture. After meeting at the downtown panorama viewpoint of the Liberty Memorial, you’ll walk by historic Union Station, diving into the area’s history and stories. Your path winds through the vibrant Crossroads Arts District, brimming with striking murals and cultural landmarks, showcasing Kansas City’s artistic heart.

kansas city crossroads murals
Crossroads Kansas City

The hike then transitions into the Westside neighborhood, a melting pot of architecture and culture, reflecting the true essence of Kansas City. Along the way, enjoy a refreshing fruit juice from a local Mexican shop.

This intimate tour, capped at 10 people, promises a personal experience with your knowledgeable Urban Hikes guide, making for a memorable exploration of the city’s rich tapestry.

9. Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

You won’t be disappointed by a tour of the internationally-acclaimed Nelson-Atkins. The historic building is filled with several collections, spanning 5,000 years of artistic history.

egyptian exhibit at the nelson-atkins museum of art
Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

The museum offers docent-led interactive tours, which are 75-minute experiences facilitated by skilled docents. By engaging in inquiry and exploration, participants of the tour are encouraged to contribute their distinctive perspectives and observations while examining artworks from various collections throughout the museum.

exhibit at nelson atkins museum of art
Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

Tours must be scheduled at least three weeks in advance and can include tours individual collections – this option is $100 per group, up to 12 participants.

Another option is to request a custom tour – this option is $300 per group, up to 12 participants.

The Nelson-Atkins Museum guided tours offer a comprehensive and engaging way to explore art from various periods and styles, making it a valuable experience for art enthusiasts and casual visitors alike.

10. Kansas City Public Library – Central Branch

The Kansas City Public Library’s downtown location is much more than bookshelves. The library is located in the repurposed 1906 First National Bank – and it has the original basement vaults to prove it. This tour combines banking history, architectural design, and Kansas City history.

entrance of the kansas city public library central branch with green carpet and accents and gold and marble
Kansas City Central Library

You’ll want to wear comfortable shoes for this 1-hour tour that covers all six floors of the library. It typically occurs first and third Saturdays of the month at 11:00am, but it’s best to check with the library to confirm.

In addition to this no-cost tour, there are several small exhibits throughout the library, including Nearest by Air to Everywhere: A Tour of Kansas City’s Aviation History.

kansas city public library central branch
Kansas City Public Library

Don’t miss the Rooftop Terrace, which provides visitors with a captivating self-guided tour of the cityscape to the west, east, and south of the Central Library. Through six informative panels, you can delve into the rich history and vibrant present of the immediate surroundings.

sign showing the city scape history at the kansas city central library rooftop terrace
Rooftop Terrace Central Library

Discover how early city planners skillfully carved this urban landscape from towering 80-foot bluffs, and learn about the elegant architectural details that adorn the neighboring buildings, such as the modillion, festoon, and flora.

Our downtown library is an incredible wealth of Kansas City history – it’s worth a visit!

Thanks For Visiting!

What you need to know is that no matter where your interests lie, Kansas City offers a captivating experience for all. Thank you for visiting The City of Fountains!

Do you need more trip planning inspo? What about our list of the best things to do in Kansas City for adults?

We have an entire page dedicated to our Kansas City Visitor Guides – it’ll help you with your trip planning!