101 Things to Do in KC! The Ultimate Guide to Summer Fun in the City

As summer approaches, the days (and nights) are longer and the possibilities of festive things to do in KC seem endless. Here are multiple excuses — 101, to be exact — to savor this magical season when the skies are halcyon blue and the city is in full swing. From festivals to blockbuster concerts, and epic parties to outdoor plays under the stars, we’ve got a little something for everyone. Get ready to soak up three months of fun in the sun!



SUMMER BASHES & FESTS

 

PARTIES AND OUTDOOR FESTIVALS

Big_Slick_Kansas_City

eric stonestreet, paul rudd, john hamm, jason sudeikis and rob riggle at big slick

photo courtesy of big slick

 

KC’s favorite boys, Paul Rudd, Jason Sudeikis and Rob Riggle and friends, are back in town for Big Slick on June 19 and 20, and they’re rolling out a star-studded weekend of fun including bowling at Pinstripes, a celebrity party and live auction at the Midland Theatre June 20, the return of the Big Slick Celebrity Classic softball games and more. Big Slick benefits Children’s Mercy of Kansas City. $50 to $1,250. bigslickkc.org

Bonus: Cheer on our hometown favorite with Marvel Comics’ summer blockbuster, Ant-Man, coming to theaters July 17. The movie shines the spotlight — more like the magnifying glass — on Kansas City golden boy Paul Rudd, who plays petty thief-turned-suit-wearing-superhero Scott Lang. marvel.com

 

Welcome the coming of summer by jamming until you drop at the Parkville Jazz, Blues and Fine Arts River Jam on June 19 and 20 at English Landing Park. Enjoy food, fun, an art fair and rocking performances from nine acts including the James Ward Band and the Danielle Nicole Band.  It’s summer done right. Free. parkvilleriverjam.com

 

Boulevardia

photo courtesy of boulevardia

 

Boulevardia

Boulevardia, Boulevard Brewing Company’s summer street party, is just the cure for what “ales” you this Father’s Day weekend (June 19—21). A gathering like no other, enjoy a bevy of local tastes, beers from around the world, live music provided by the likes of Kansas City natives The Republic Tigers, a family-friendly carnival and more. No passport needed. boulevardia.com

 

Kansas City Parrot Fest

Take a trip to the tropical islands with the return of Kansas City Power & Light District’s all-day party on June 6. This laid-back, all-ages beach celebration with music, fun, games and contests will convince you that you’re on summer vacation — and on a different latitude. Free. powerandlightditrict.com

 

Buzz_Beach_Ball

TAKING BACK SUNDAY AT BUZZ BEACH BALL

PHOTO BY MATT CHRISTINE PHOTOGRAPHY

 

Buzz Beach Ball

Sure, indoor concerts are great, but why not get some sun while having a ball at 96.5’s summer bash. Taking over Sporting Park once again on July 25, catch waves with a two-stage, all-day music lineup including Alt-J, Awolnation, Taking Back Sunday, Milky Chance, The Ting Tings and more. $21 to $146. beachballkc.com

 

ETHNIC FESTIVALS

Celebrate Chinese heritage with dragon boat races, puppet shows, Chinese chess tournament and more at the International Dragon Boat Festival  hosted at Brush Creek on June 21. Or go Latina and enjoy delicious food, ice-cold beverages, and performances by Grupo Palomo, Rogelio Martinez, El Dasa and more at Fiesta Kansas City, now in its 15th year, at Crown Center Square on June 20—22. Excelsior Springs celebrates its mineral water heritage with Waterfest, a three-day event held June 26—28 at the Excelsior Springs Memorial Airport, that features water games; a classic car show; a parade; fireworks and much more. Then feel the world beat in the heart of America at Swope Park for the Ethnic Enrichment Festival on Aug. 21—23, celebrating Kansas City’s diversity through art, cuisine, dance and music from more than 60 different cultures. 

International_Dragon_Boat_Festival

international dragon boat festival

photo courtesy of kansas city parks

 

Johnson County Fair

Located just a stone’s throw away in Gardner, the Johnson County Fair on July 27—Aug. 1 rustles up a variety of old-fashioned fun, including food stands; animal shows; rodeos; a carnival; live music by KC Dixieland, State Line Drive, Six Appeal and more; plus a host of events to go along with this year’s theme: favorite “fair e tales.” jocokansasfair.com

 

LIVE MUSIC & BIG-TICKET CONCERTS

The coming of summer not only brings blockbuster action films, but also a wave of chart-busting concerts. Here are our top picks:

 

THE ROLLING STONES ROCK ARROWHEAD!

“You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” but this summer luck is on Kansas City’s side June 27. Coinciding with the rerelease of their 1971 album Sticky Fingers, The Rolling Stones take the Arrowhead Stadium stage for the first time in 26 years, performing classic cuts and bringing a high-octane experience that’ll bring you satisfaction. $65 to $346. goarrowhead.com

Rolling_Stones

the rolling stones

photo by glaude gaussian

 

SUMMER ROCK

Parrotheads, rejoice: the “Margaritaville” and “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” rocker Jimmy Buffett returns to KC for his first appearance since 2012 at the Sprint Center on June 6. On July 14 the Dave Matthews Band plays at Cricket Wireless Amphitheater. Despite the loss of bandmate Zayn Malik (we were on compassionate leave, too), the remaining members of One Direction continue their British invasion at Arrowhead Stadium on July 28. The “Best of You” Seattle rockers Foo Fighters wrap up the summer concert series at the Sprint Center with a tour supporting their 2014 release, “Sonic Highways,” on Aug. 21. sprintcenter.com, cricketwirelessamp.com, goarrowhead.com

 

COUNTRY ACTS

Hotter days mean hotter nights, so it’s only appropriate to beat the summer blues with Hot Country Nights, Power & Light’s free summer concert series June 4-Aug. 27. Local and big country names like Travis Marvin, Dan+Shay, and Jerrod Niemann will take the outdoor KC Live! stage every Thursday night. Free. powerandlightdistrict.com

Hot_Country_Nights_Kansas_City

HOT COUNTRY NIGHTS AT kcp&l

PHOTO COURTESY OF KANSAS CITY POWER & LIGHT DISTRICT

 

Kicking off their country mega-ticket series, Cricket Wireless gets the party started with Country Music Award-winning crooner Luke Bryan on June 19. For the first time in more than 11 years, the queen of country pop, Shania Twain, takes the Sprint Center stage on Aug. 7 to perform her extensive catalogue of iconic hits. Lady Antebellum rounds out the country music programming at Cricket Wireless on Aug. 21.

 

PRE-FOURTH-OF-JULY BASH

Mix 93.3’s annual Red, White & Boom Pop Music Festival, held June 27 at Cricket Wireless Amphitheater, brings the noise and the fun with top pop names and a fireworks finale that’ll have you ready for the Fourth of July. Check out “Right Round” rapper Flo Rida, Cody Simpson, Tori Kelly and more, but don’t skip the new Energy EDM Village, featuring DJ Ashton Martin and other surprise guests. $19.33 to $125. cricketwirelessamp.com

 

JAZZ IN THE CITY

Green_Lady_Lounge_Kansas_City

green lady lounge

 

The Crossroads District’s Green Lady Lounge seduces the summer with live music almost every night. Grab a plush booth and soak up the sounds of Todd Strait and the Quartet Midwest, Ken Lovern’s Organ Jazz Trio, Tim Whitmer and the Plaza Players, and more. 1809 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, Mo., greenladylounge.com

 

If the night’s still young, slide your way over to The Blue Room in the historic 18th and Vine District and soothe your soul with live jazz. Jamming into the night four times a week, this jazz joint hosts names such as Joe Locke, Eddie Moore and The Outer Circle, and the Louis Neal Big Band. americanjazzmuseum.org

 

Come early, but stay late and take in the local tastes and sounds of The Phoenix Jazz Club. Though small, the speakeasy-style jazz joint packs houses nightly with performances from the local likes of Lonnie McFadden, Don Bliss and Rod Fleeman, and the Brody Buster Band. thephoenixkc.com

 

EPICUREAN EVENTS

 

FOOD FESTIVALS AND FÊTES

Chefs Classic: Treat your taste buds and join host Michael Corvino of The American Restaurant on June 28 for a dining experience featuring the culinary talents of three local chefs, John Brogan (Rye); Josh Eans (Happy Gillis Café & Hangout), and Howard Hanna (The Rieger Hotel Grill & Exchange); and three national chefs, Nicolas Blouin (Dallas); Nicholas Elmi (Philadelphia); and Benjamin Sukle (Providence, R.I.), as they prepare a wonderful pairing of gourmet meals and premier wines to benefit Harvesters. harvesters.org

 

Chipotle_Cultivate_Festival

chipotle's cultivate festival

 

Explore the relationship between food and music at Chipotle’s inaugural Cultivate Festival on July 18 at Penn Valley Park. A one-day only experience, see cooking demos with top Texas barbecue chef Tim Love and other local and national chef talents, sip craft brews and groove to local and national bands, including Portugal The Man. Free. chipotlecultivate.com

 

Heart of America Hot Dog Festival

The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum pays tribute to America’s favorite pairing, hot dogs and baseball, on Aug. 1. Taste signature dogs from MLB stadiums across the nation, including the museum’s signature dog, The Monarch; jam to live performances, meet hometown mascots and more. $5 to $15. hoahotdogfestival.com

 

Bacon-Fest

Bacon lovers will be in hog heaven at this fest dedicated to this sizzling and satisfying side of cured meat. Get your fill of music, beer and bacon-inspired creations, and even take home a few commemorative souvenirs at Ameristar Hotel & Casino on Aug. 22. $40 to $100. baconfestkc.com

 

FOOD TRUCKS CONVERGENCE!

Food trucks are far from what they used to be. Now an ever-growing trend in KC, they’re stealing the hearts of foodies everywhere, but their crave-worthy creations are often hard to find. This summer let them to come to you at The Truck Stop in the Crossroads. Held every first Friday of the month in coordination with the Crossroads’ First Friday gallery crawl, this roundup hosts a one-stop collection of KC’s finest food trucks including Jerusalem Café, Taco Republic, and Beauty of the Bistro. West 21st Street at Wyandotte Street, Kansas City, Mo.  

 

FOODIE TOURS

Get the ultimate taste of KC with KC Barbecue Tours’ selection of barbecue adventures, offered Thursday through Saturday all year long. Sample smoked meats and side dishes from Arthur Bryant’s, BB’s Lawnside BBQ and more; travel to historic neighborhoods; and get a behind-the-scenes look at how our beloved ‘cue is prepared, smoked and served. $40 to $65. kcbarbecuetours.com

 

Cool off with a crafty cocktail, and delve into KC’s infamous history that earned it the name “Paris of the Plains” with Taste of Kansas City’s under-the-radar Craft Cocktail and Jazz Tour. Offered all summer long, this tour ventures to Crossroads destinations such as Snow & Co, home of the cocktail snow cone. $77. tasteofkansascityfoodtours.com

 

FARM TRIPS

Shatto_Milk_Company

shatto milk company

photo by anna petrow

 

Shatto Milk Company

Shatto Milk Company, Kansas City’s favorite dairy farm, offers by-appointment tours of its land, where kids and adults alike can see (and possibly feed) baby calves, milk a cow, learn the milk process from udder to table, and even sample many of the company’s tasty products from refreshing milk in flavors like chocolate, banana and apple pie, to their flavorful cheese curds. shattomilk.com

 

Tour days at Green Dirt Farm are definitely a thing to look forward to in summer. Learn about the sheep’s milk-cheese community, take a tour of the grounds, and then sample and buy some of the farm’s cheese and yogurts. Be sure to stop in for the farm’s Cheese Appreciation Events where they pair with local KC artisans like Christopher Elbow for Cheese and Chocolate tasting or Ça Va for Cheese and Champagne tastings. They also host summer-long Farm Table Dinners with noted KC chefs like Matt Arnold of Webster House and Ted Habiger of Room 39. greendirtfarm.com

 

BARBECUE FESTS

The Around the World in 80 Days-themed park takes a local approach with its newest addition, the Barbecue & Brew Festival on June 13—14 and June 20—21. Featuring a host of craft beers from KC and other breweries plus ‘cue from its executive chef, this inaugural event will be a summertime must-go. $25. worldsoffun.com

 

Follow the mouthwatering smells of barbecue to Sar-Ko-Par Trails Park on June 26 and 27 for Lenexa’s annual Great Lenexa BBQ Battle, which features 185 teams duking it out in seven categories, plus children’s activities and live music to boot. lenexa.com

 

The lines might be long, but it’s well worth the wait at Kansas City Kosher BBQ Competition and Festival. The first kosher festival to be sanctioned by the KC Barbeque Society, this fourth annual shindig held Aug. 16 at the Ritz-Charles Plaza has cooking demos, live music, hot dog and pickle eating contests and more. kckosherbbq.com 

 

WINE TRAILS

Winding its way from Kansas City to Waverly, Mo., the Kansas City Wine Trail is made up of nine award-winning wineries uncorking varietals from the bone-dry Missouri state grape, norton, to the fruity, sweet dessert wines. kcwineries.com

 

What’s summer without an escape from the city for a day or two? Start at Holy-Field Vineyard and Winery (near the Kansas Speedway) and then follow the Kaw Valley Wine Trail through Eudora, Kan., Edgerton, and Olathe and taste some of Kansas’ best native wines along the way. kansasfarmwineries.com

 

COOKING SCHOOLS

Cook up some summer fun with the Kansas City Culinary Institute and its more than 600 cooking classes aimed at demystifying the art of cooking. Ranging from sushi to a Spanish dinner party, and li’l kids to pro, you’re bound to find something that’ll get you in the kitchen. kcculinary.com

 

PASTORAL PURSUITS

Ewing_and_Muriel_Kauffman_Memorial_Garden

ewing and muriel kauffman memorial garden

photo courtesy of powell gardens

 

Ewing and Muriel Kauffman Memorial Garden

Inspired by the Kauffmans’ world travels, the Ewing and Muriel Kauffman Memorial Garden is a tranquil oasis. Located in Kauffman Legacy Park, the garden is home to a Parterre “Canal” Garden, a lush orangery where one can take shelter and enjoy a fragrant breeze, and a secret garden. powellgardens.org

 

GARDEN PARTIES

Under a Blue Moon Garden Party: Enjoy a summer night filled with cocktails and live and silent auctions featuring newly released and hard-to-find plants and other treasures at Powell Gardens on June 7. $175. powellgardens.org

 

Stems_A_Garden_Soiree

stems: a garden soirÉe

​photo courtesy of the arts & recreation foundation of overland park

 

Stems: A Garden Soirée

Sip wine from a hand-painted glass and stroll through the marvel that is the Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens on June 27. Treat your taste buds to bites from 24 top restaurants, view plein air art, hear live music and enjoy a fireworks display. $95 to $250. stemssoiree.org

 

Summer White Party

Get out your best summer linens for the Young Friends of Art’s white-hot bash, held on the front lawn of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, July 10. Sip cocktails, savor small bites and mingle with more than 300 other young professionals. nelson-atkins.org

 

SECRET GARDENS, GARDEN TOURS AND GARDEN EXHIBITS

Union Hill Garden Tour

Take a self-guided tour of dozens of the most charming and vibrantly colored gardens nestled in the historic Victorian neighborhood of Union Hill during the annual tour on June 14. Enjoy live entertainment, and get tips from homeowners and expert gardeners on how to make your garden grow. unionhill.com

 

Festival_of_Butterflies_Powell_Gardens

festival of butterflies at powell gardens

photo by greg boege

 

Festival of Butterflies

Find beauty in the colorful wings of hundreds of free-flying butterflies at Powell Gardens’ signature event. Spread over two weekends (July 31—Aug. 2 and Aug. 7—9), there will be children’s activities, storytelling, a costume parade, tasty treats, cooking demonstrations and much more fluttering family fun! $5 to $12. powellgardens.org

 

FARMERS' MARKETS

Get to know your neighbors and support local growers at your neighborhood farmer’s markets, on Saturdays through October. Not limited to just produce, pick up farm-fresh herbs and handmade products at the Brookside Farmers’ Market; find wine, garden décor objects and live music on offer at the Overland Park Farmers’ Market; and pick up local art, meats, cut flowers and baked goods at the City Market Farmers’ Market. brooksidefarmersmarket.com, opkansas.org, thecitymarket.org

 

AL FRESCO: CONCERTS, MOVIES & THEATERS

CLASSICAL CONCERTS

Symphony_in_the_Flint_Hills

the kansas city symphony in the flint hills

 

The Flint Hills are alive with the sound of the Kansas City Symphony on June 13 accompanied by four-time Grammy Award-winning artist Lyle Lovett. The theme of the evening is “Grasslands of the World,” celebrating grasslands in the most endangered ecosystems on the planet, such as the Maasais in Kenya and the Mongolians on the Eastern Steppe, and the songs, poems and paintings they’ve inspired. $50 to $90 but sold-out at presstime. symphonyintheflinthills.org

 

Fresh from her Frozen success, the “Let It Go” Broadway veteran and actress, Idina Menzel, evokes chills August 12 with her signature “full-volume soprano” on display at the Starlight Theatre. $25 to $125. kcstarlight.com

 

THEATER IN THE PARK

Heart_of_America_Shakespeare_Festival

HEART OF AMERICA SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL

PERFORMANCE OF SHAKESPEARE'S MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING

 

This year the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival from June 16—July 5 presents drama under the stars, Shakespeare’s King Lear, the tragic tale of a king who descends into madness after dividing his estate between two of his three daughters. Southmoreland Park, Emanuel Cleaver II Boulevard and Oak Street, Kansas City, Mo. Free. kcshakes.org

 

As one of two remaining self-producing outdoor theatres in the U.S., the Starlight Theatre is not just a landmark in KC; it’s a must-see for summer. Catch Tony Award-winning Broadway classics such as Annie, Pippin, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella, and Mary Poppins on hot summer nights, and sing along to your heart’s delight. $51 to $401. kcstarlight.com

 

This year’s lineup at Theater in the Park has family-friendly entertainment for all. Journey into a magic garden in the enchanting Secret Garden; catch up with the world’s favorite orphan, Annie, in the sequel, Annie Warbucks; and visit the swamp for a stage adaptation of Shrek, plus more performances during this year’s season at Shawnee Mission Park. $6 to $8. theatreinthepark.org

 

MUSIC IN THE PARK

Jazz_in_the_Woods_Corporate_Woods

jazz in the woods

 

Enjoy the natural beauty of Corporate Woods, various food truck faves and the grooves of Julian Vaughn, Samantha Fish, and more at one of KC’s largest free music fests, Jazz in the Woods, June 19 and 20. Free. jazzinthewoods.com

 

Music in the Park

If hearing some soothing sounds before beginning your work week is what you’re after, then pack a picnic, leave your wallet at home, and head to Santa Fe Commons Park. This free Sunday music series (June 7-Aug. 9) highlights local talent such as the Overland Park Civic Band, 51% Blues Band and more. Free. opkansas.org

 

Make Thursdays in June magical with the return of Town Center Plaza’s Sunset Music Fest, a five-date concert series. Rock out to performances by Kansas City American Idol winner David Cook; ‘90s jangle rock band Gin Blossoms; ‘70s glam rockers Sweet; and “My Own Worst Enemy” alt-rockers Lit. Free. towncenterplaza.com

 

AL FRESCO FILMS

Mix the fun of film and the beauty of an outdoor breeze with some of the city’s al fresco movie experiences:

Crown_Center_WeekEnder

crown center's weekender

 

Cap off your workweek with a free movie, local music and your favorite food trucks at Crown Center’s WeekEnder series, which kicks off July 10 with The Goonies through Aug. 7. Every Saturday night from June to August, Briarcliff Village’s Mulberry Lake presents recent classics such as Jurassic Park and blockbuster films like The Hunger Games. Bring your blanket and grab a spot early for Independence Riverview Park’s River’s Edge Summer Series. Beginning in July, the park shows blockbuster movies every Thursday and offers concessions and lawn seating. In addition to Theatre in the Park, Shawnee Mission Park features rated G- and PG-rated films for Movies in the Park. The movie season begins June 9 with Frozen: Sing-A-Long, back by popular demand. crowncenter.com, briarclifftrails.com, independenceamphitheater.com, theatreinthepark.org

 

SPORTS & OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES

A GUIDE TO ROYALS WATCHING

After last season’s epic chase for the crown, we’re all more than a little excited to pack into the K and cheer on the boys in blue. Enhance your Royals watching experience this season with a few changes and new additions to the stadium:

Kauffman_Stadium_Kansas_City

kauffman stadium

photo courtesy of kansas city royals

 

All Access Wi-Fi at the K

Gone are the days of not being able to share that perfect play because the stadium is abuzz with too many crossing signals. Now the K offers free and fail-proof Wi-Fi throughout the stadium via Cisco.

 

Craft & Draft

The left field corner is now home to the Craft & Draft experience. Replacing the .390 Club, the new space by Clockwork Architecture + Design features more than 75 different craft beers including Boulevard favorites and other premium craft brews such as Founders, Mother’s Brewing Company and Lagunitas. Pair your beer with gastropub eats such as quick-fire pizza, Kobe beef burgers and pork belly steamed buns.

 

Friday Night Fireworks Just Got Better

Every Friday home game is not only Fireworks Friday, but also Buck Night at the K. Get $1 hot dogs and peanuts and enjoy a royal display of fireworks after the game. Dates: June 5 (vs. Texas); June 19 (vs. Boston); July 3 (vs. Minnesota); July 10 (vs. Toronto); July 24 (vs. Houston); Aug. 7 (vs. Chicago) and Aug. 14 (vs. Los Angeles Angels)

 

GordoNation Thursdays

After winning a Gold Glove for his performance last season, Thursdays are now (Alex) GordoNation days with special ticket prices and commemorative T-shirts for those who sit in the special section, right next to Gordo himself, in left field. Dates: June 4 (vs. Cleveland); June 18 (vs. Milwaukee); July 2 (vs. Minnesota); July 9 (vs. Tampa Bay); Aug. 13 (vs. Los Angeles) and Aug. 27 (vs. Baltimore)

 

SUMMER FOOTBALL FEVER

Get up close and personal with the game of football at Gridiron Glory: The Best of Pro Football Hall of Fame at Union Station, May 23 to Sept. 6. At the 10,000-square-foot exhibit, one can see rare documents; NFL Films video footage; a specially designed “Hometown Heroes” exhibit featuring footage of the Chiefs; and hundreds of artifacts from the Football Hall of Fame’s collection, some of which are on display for the first time. $9.95 to $14.95. unionstation.org

 

HIT THE GREEN!

Trent_Green_Golf_Classic

trent green golf classic

 

Take a swing for a good cause at the Trent Green Golf Classic on June 1 at Shoal Creek Golf Course. Benefiting the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Kansas City, one can tee up with former Kansas City Chief Trent Green, shop in the Titleist Golf store and more in an all-day networking event. $500 to $20,000. rmhckc.org

 

Formerly known as the Midwest Classic, the Digital Ally Open gives up-and-coming PGA stars the chance to learn the tricks of the golfing trade. Three days of practice rounds start the event off (Aug. 3-6), followed by four rounds of the tournament (Aug. 6-9) at Nicklaus Golf Club at Lionsgate. $10 to $500. midwestclassic.com

 

SKYFALL

Adults can leap into a heart-racing adventure with Skydive Kansas City, home of the proclaimed highest jumps in the Midwest. Think you can handle a tandem skydive — with instructor — from 10,000 to 14,000 feet in the sky?  skydivekc.com

 

BEAUTIFUL BIKE TOUR

Check out the scenic “Ride the Fountains Bicycle Tour,” set for June 14. The family-friendly annual tour, offering 10-, 24- or 46-mile courses, starts at Liberty Memorial and travels to many of the city’s historic fountains and other landmarks, such as the Kansas City Museum, the Plaza, Liberty Memorial and scenic Cliff Drive. It benefits the City of Fountains Foundation. $7 to $40. kcmbc.org.

 

SOCCER: AMERICA'S NEW FAVORITE SPORT

Sporting_KC

sporting kansas city

photo courtesy of sporting kansas city

 

Sure, it’s root, root, root for the Royals, and we’re the home of the CHIEFS! But what about giving a little love to our MLS Cup-winning talents of Sporting Kansas City?  Soak up the electrifying energy at Sporting Park while catching one of SKC’s home games. $32 to $75. sportingkc.com

 

KC'S HIDDEN PARK

Try the park less traveled with this hidden Lenexa treasure. Home to the 160-acre Black Hoof Park and Lake Lenexa, there’s plenty to do and see, like fish; have a picnic; find an adventure on the hiking, biking, and walking trails; and watch the boat launch for small non-motorized boats. lenexa.com

 

DOGGIE DAY OUT

Your pooch deserves to get in on the summer fun, too, so why not treat them to a day at Shawnee Mission Park’s Dog Off-Leash Area? Dogs get a lake of their own where they can practice their paddle, as well as a natural wood-chip surface where they can let loose with fellow canine playmates. jcprd.com

 

ARTS, CULTURE & EDUCATIONAL ACTIVITIES

DANCE

MOVE_Live_on_Tour

move! live on tour

 

Don’t just sit there; get up, get out and get ready to move with triple-threat superstar siblings Julianne and Derek Hough in MOVE! Live on Tour July 27. Burning up the stage, their high-octane party mixes dancing, singing, audience interaction and, of course, that sibling rivalry we love so much on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars. $43 to $77.50. kcconvention.com

 

In its annual Spring Festival of Dance (June 12 and 13), Gladstone dance company Ballet North presents a program of four pieces: Peter Pan; Raymonda Variations; Cakewalk; and their signature ballet, Watermark, which is inspired by environmental awareness. balletnorth.com

 

Experience the sensory bliss of the Owen/Cox Dance Group’s newest work, Ludus Tonalis, on June 7 at White Recital Hall. Choreographed to the contrapuntal masterpiece by Paul Hindemith, this contemporary dance with live music by Kairy Koshoeva can be compared to a summer’s day: bright, beautiful and playful. $12 to $23. owencoxdancegroup.org

 

ART

But of course! Did you really think we’d leave out the popular, monthly galleries’ “open house” in the Crossroads district? Highlighting all things artsy and awesome in Kansas City, First Fridays are a staple event whether you’re a newbie or a native. kccrossroads.org

 

Third_Thursdays_Nelson_Atkins_Museum

not a planet performing at third thursdays

 

And if your Thursdays are a bit dull, have a not-so-quiet night at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art’s Third Thursdays. Newly launched, these free, themed affairs held every third Thursday of the month offer live music and other entertainments, art activities, drinks and small bites. nelson-atkins.org

 

Get your creative juices flowing at Hammerspace, the letterpress and design studio in the Crossroads. Try your hand at summer classes in woodworking, art, metalworking, electronics, crafts and more. Creators of all ages welcome. $50 to $1,000. hammerspacehobby.com

 

EDUCATION

Feed your mind with the TEDxKC summer conference Aug. 29 at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. Showcasing ideas that can spark discussion and connection, the series of talks converges around this year’s theme: “imagine.” tedxkc.org

 

They say you can’t know where you’re going until you know where you’ve been, so why not do a little digging at the National Archives? Search consensus, military, immigration and naturalization records, get research tips and more, and if you’re not sure where to start, there’s a class for that. Three Kansas City area locations. archives.gov/Kansas-city

 

Wild_Horses_of_Sable_Island_Museum_at_Prairiefire

wild horses of sable island at prairiefire

 

Marvel at the Wild Horses of Sable Island via the exhibition on display at the Museum of Prairiefire through June 21. Captured in all of their feral majesty, photographer Roberto Dutesco takes viewers to the windswept island at the center of the “Graveyard of the Atlantic,” where the more than 400 wild horses reside, free from man. $8 to $14. museumatpf.org

 

Take a trolley ride: Have you seen those red-and-green trolley cars roaming the streets of downtown KC and neighboring areas and wondered what they were all about? They’re operated by Kansas City Fun Tours and offer fully-narrated, 75-minute tours that highlight areas of town you thought you knew everything about. Play tourist for a day and learn interesting details about Union Station, the Power & Light District, the Country Club Plaza, historic Westport and many other spots in-between. Tours operate every day except Monday. $10 to $20; private tours available. kcfuntours.com.

 

COOL OFF!

WATER PARKS

Slide_The_City

slide the city

photo courtesy of slide the city

 

See the city in a whole new way when Slide the City inflates the fun in KC Aug. 8 and 9 for a temporary water park in a location to be determined. Featuring a 1,000-foot vinyl slip-and-slide (that’s more than three football fields), live music, food, drinks and of course gallons of water, you can beat the summer heat in an extreme way. $20 to $60. slidethecity.com

 

Schlitterbahn’s motto is “go big or go home,” so why not take on their “insane” 17-story behemoth known as Verrückt, now certified as the world’s tallest waterslide? If you’re no adrenaline junkie, get your float on with the park’s other attractions including King Kaw, the Black Knight Tube Slide, and Boogie Bahn. schlitterbahn.com

 

Make summer memorable with one of Kansas City’s well-known themed parks, Oceans of Fun. Now featuring a 4,200-square-foot interactive water attraction called Splash Island, this tropical-themed park is on everyone’s list for summer. Double your fun by combining your visit with Worlds of Fun in a slide n’ ride package. Prices vary. worldsoffun.com

 

This summer, catch a wave or two at KC Watersports’ facility. Whether you’re a beginner or an expert, you’ll find high-energy fun while wakeboarding, stand-up paddle boarding and attempting tricks on Cable Lake, a 7.5-acre lake with an overhead cable system strong enough to pull six riders at the same time — no boat needed. $15 to $49. kcwatersports.com

 

SEA THIS

Channel your inner marine biologist and explore the underwater world and all of its mysteries at Crown Center’s Sea Life Aquarium. Hold a crab or touch a graceful stingray, learn about more than 5,000 sea creatures and more in this world-within-a-world. $15 to $19. sealifeus.com

 

KIDS STUFF

NICE ICE!

Disney_on_Ice_Frozen

disney on ice: frozen

photo courtesy of feld entertainment

 

Although it’s summer, Kansas City freezes over on Aug. 26—31. Hosted by Mickey, Minnie and your Disney character faves, Disney on Ice: Frozen journeys to Arendelle, joining royal sisters Elsa and Anna as they bring to life the beloved tale. If your kids loved the movie, you won’t be able to let this go! $27 to $127. sprintcenter.com 

 

MINI MUSEUM

Welcome the reopening of the National Museum of Toys and Miniatures on Aug. 1 with a visit to this beloved KC institution. The newly renovated museum includes three new exhibits and various interactive experiences. It also houses the world’s largest collection of fine-scale miniatures and boasts one of the nation’s largest collections of antique toys. $25 to $120. toyandminiaturemuseum.org

 

CHILD'S PLAY

From the pages of the children’s book to the Coterie Theatre stage comes the charming musical, A Year with Frog and Toad, about two friends — the cheerful frog and the grumpy toad — and their enduring friendship through all four fun-filled seasons (June 16—Aug. 2). Theatre for Young America reimagines Hans Christian Anderson’s classic fairytale of a restless princess, The Princess and the Pea, into a giggle-fest-of-a-musical that’s sure to please your little prince or princess (June 9—26). thecoterie.org, tya.org

 

ANIMAL ADVENTURES

Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead: At the June Bug Ball (June 2), learn about the interesting world of insects while making arts and crafts; June 13 find out why milk does the body good at Dairy Day; and June 27, count how many fish you can catch at the Farmstead Fishing Tournament. opkansas.org

 

Swing by the Kansas City Zoo and welcome the orangutans in their new Orangutan Canopy habitat. Their new home allows the apes to climb high in the trees and visitors to enjoy open-air viewing. The indoor viewing area has been converted into an educational “Orangutan University.” $10.50 to $13.50. kansascityzoo.org

 

FAMILY FUN

Kick off summer with family-sized fun at Sprint Family Fun Days at KC Power & Light. Held every second Saturday of the month from May to October, these themed, free and fun-filled days are sure to delight kids of all ages. May’s theme was a summer safari. powerandlightdistrict.com

 

Keep your eyes on the skies Aug. 22-23 for the Kansas City Expo and Air Show at Wheeler Downtown Airport. Live out your dream as a pilot, enjoy a kids zone, see static displays of C-130 and A-10 fighter jets, and marvel at performances by the U.S. Navy Blue Angels, Fat Albert, the U.S. Army Golden Knights and more. kcairshow.com

 

Welcome the late June opening of Scheels All Sports in Corbin Park with a family visit. Described as the "Disneyland of sporting goods." The entertainment section features an aquarium, a wildlife mountain, a shooting gallery, a fudge shop and tons more. The piéce de résistance is the store's indoor ferris wheel — sure to spawn many selfies. scheels.com

 

OFF THE BEATEN PATH

Foam_Glow_5K

foam glow 5k

 

Start as a fresh canvas and finish as a glowing, tie-dye masterpiece at Foam Glow 5K on August 15 at Cricket Wireless Amphitheater. Collect all the colors of the rainbow from more than 1.2 million cubic feet of colored foam, while running the 3.1-mile course. Celebrate your victory with an after party, music and of course more foam! $45. foamglow.com

 

LARGE CATS SAFARI

Everybody knows Louisburg is home to the famous cider mill and those delectable apple cider donuts, but did you know it’s also home to the Cedar Cove Feline Conservatory and Education Center. Dedicated to the care and preservation of endangered large cats, this volunteer-run conservatory features cougars, bobcats, tigers, lions, leopards, caracals and more. $5 to $7. saveoursiberians.org

 

GAMING

The nation’s newest gaming trend, real-life escape rooms, has made its way to KC. Based on the popular online games, book your breakout with Breakout KC and choose from one of four themed escape rooms — The Truman Room, Room 13, Szechuan Secret and River Quay Casino — and use clues, codes, ciphers, puzzles, riddles and even your gut to get out in 60 minutes or less. $28. breakoutkc.com

 

Go retro and relive your childhood on more than 40 arcade games from the ‘80s and ‘90s, pinball machines, three skee-ball alleys and more at Kansas City’s newest arcade bar with local graffiti art, Up-Down Kansas City. An adults-only arcade, pick your poison from an extensive list of craft brews or sip inspired cocktails, and be prepared to spend your week’s allowance at this nostalgia-inducing destination. updownkc.com

 

For a mere five bucks you can play the rotating roster of arcade games ranging from Ms. Pac-Man to The Simpsons at Tapcade, the new game arcade sharing space with Screenland Crossroads. Take a break from the joystick and enjoy a movie, or refuel with their roster of appetizers, burritos (we like the KC burrito) and beers. Kids welcome with parents. Screenland.com/tapcade-at-crossroads

 

BUBBLE SOCCER

This summer laugh your way to a good time with BubSoc (short for Bubble Soccer), the hilarious take on European soccer but with each player performing in a large inflatable bubble. The objective? Score a goal. But be warned: it’s harder than you think. Try to make your way down field as you ricochet, roll and bounce with your opponents in the name of fun. Pick-up games are held every Saturday at Theis Park. $18. bubsoc.com

 

MOVEABLE COCKTAILS AND ICE CREAM

Pedal_Hopper

pedal hopper

 

Spice up your party with Pedal Hopper, the moveable bicycle cart equipped with a bartender and a well-stocked but non-alcohol bar. This ridiculously fun (and safe) alternate mode of transportation is powered by you, up to 15 friends and laughter. A party you pedal, set you sights on two or three pub locations in the Waldo/Brookside neighborhood, and experience a new spin on bar hopping. $160 to $180/hr. pedalhopper.com

 

No bee-utiful summer day would be complete without a scoop of ice cream from Bee Sweet Ice Cream, a new company serving up a collection of flavors sweetened by local honey and delivered via an ice cream bicycle (the bikescream). Flavors like jasmine honey, beet ginger cinnamon, and blueberry buttermilk pancake are a refreshing scoop of summer. beesweeticecream.com

 

SECRET DRIVE

Explore by foot and bicycle the four-mile winding path In Northeast’s Kessler Park that is Cliff Drive. Closed to motorized vehicles on the weekends, the scenic pathway overlooks these flood plains of the Missouri River and is flanked by flora, fountains, limestone bluffs and a waterfall, making it a hidden gem in KC. cliffdrivekc.org

 

ALTERNATIVE FESTS AND FAIRS

Maker_Faire

maker faire

 

Be inspired and celebrate creativity at Kansas City’s family-friendly annual showcase of invention, innovation and resourcefulness, Maker Faire, which features rockets, robots, DIY science and technology, electronics, urban farming, live music, fire arts and more June 27—28 at Union Station. makerfairekc.com

 

Live life on the fringe at our city’s arts festival with a twist, KC Fringe Festival. Showcasing a bevy of all things artsy including theater, burlesque, visual arts and fashion, spread out over 11 days (July 16—26) at various venues, it’s sure to be a wild ride. kcfringe.org

 

Start as a fresh canvas and finish as a glowing, tie-dye masterpiece at Foam Glow 5K on August 15 at Cricket Wireless Amphitheater. Collect all the colors of the rainbow from more than 1.2 million cubic feet of colored foam, while running the 3.1-mile course. Celebrate your victory with an after party, music and of course more foam! $45. foamglow.com

 

Get swept up in the mayhem and eclectic roster of music, and rock out until you pass out at the Vans Warped Tour on July 30 at Cricket Wireless Amphitheater. Billed as the longest running touring music fest in the U.S., this year’s concert features Never Shout Never and August Burns Red, as well as KC’s own Beautiful Bodies and 90 others in this calling card of summer (parents get in free). cricketwirelessamp.com