The Scenic Route: Kansas City to Chicago


The Vibrant Journey from Kansas City to Chicago

Kansas City serves as the perfect starting point for an exciting journey to Chicago. This vibrant city offers a plethora of cultural delights and culinary gems that will leave you craving more.

Overview of Kansas City

kansas city to chicago
Kansas city to Chicago

Kansas City, located on the western edge of Missouri, is known for its rich history and vibrant arts scene. With its iconic fountains and jazz heritage, this city offers a unique blend of Midwestern charm and urban sophistication.

Cultural Delights in Kansas City

Immerse yourself in the cultural wonders of Kansas City by visiting two prominent attractions:

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

Indulge in the world of art at The Nelson-Atkins Museum. This renowned museum showcases a vast collection of masterpieces from various periods and cultures, including works by Monet, Van Gogh, and Warhol.

The National World War I Museum and Memorial

Pay tribute to the heroes of World War I at this remarkable museum and memorial. Gain insights into the war’s history through interactive exhibits and explore the beautiful grounds that overlook downtown Kansas City.

Culinary Gems in Kansas City

Kansas City is famous for its mouthwatering BBQ and vibrant dining scene. Don’t miss these culinary gems:

Kansas City BBQ

Indulge in the smoky flavors of Kansas City BBQ, renowned for its slow-cooked meats and tangy sauces. From ribs to burnt ends, the city’s BBQ joints offer a finger-licking experience that will satisfy any meat lover.

The Country Club Plaza

Stroll through the charming Spanish-inspired architecture of The Country Club Plaza, a premier shopping and dining district. Enjoy a variety of cuisines, from upscale restaurants to cozy cafes, while immersing yourself in the vibrant atmosphere.

Exploring the Scenic Beauty of Missouri

As you leave Kansas City, you’ll embark on a scenic journey through the beautiful countryside of Missouri. Prepare to be captivated by the natural wonders and historic charm along the way.

Journeying through the Missouri Countryside

As you venture through Missouri, take time to appreciate the following scenic attractions:

The Katy Trail State Park

Experience the beauty of Missouri’s countryside on the Katy Trail, a 240-mile-long trail that follows the path of an old railroad. Whether you choose to hike or bike, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views of rolling hills, lush forests, and charming small towns.

Historic Hermann Wine Country

Discover the award-winning wineries of Hermann, a historic town nestled along the Missouri River. Take a tour, savor local wines, and soak in the picturesque vineyards that make this region a hidden gem for wine enthusiasts.

Discovering the Charm of Jefferson City

As you continue eastward, make a stop in Jefferson City, the capital of Missouri. This charming city offers cultural and historical attractions worth exploring:

The Missouri State Capitol

Admire the grandeur of the Missouri State Capitol, a beautiful building with a dome that stands taller than the United States Capitol. Take a guided tour to learn about the state’s history and government while marveling at the stunning architecture.

Exploring the Katy Bridge

Walk or bike across the Katy Bridge, a historic railroad bridge converted into a pedestrian bridge. Enjoy panoramic views of the Missouri River and the surrounding landscape, making this a perfect spot for capturing memorable photos.

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Crossing the Mississippi River into Illinois

As you cross the Mississippi River, you’ll enter the state of Illinois, where historic towns and significant landmarks await your exploration

Quincy: A Historic Stopover

Make a stop in Quincy, a historic city in Illinois, and discover its unique attractions:

The Villa Kathrine

Visit the Villa Kathrine, a Moroccan-style mansion overlooking the Mississippi River. Explore the stunning architecture, and lush gardens, and enjoy panoramic views of the river. Don’t miss the opportunity to learn about the fascinating history of this unique landmark.

Quincy Art Center

Immerse yourself in the vibrant arts scene of Quincy at the Quincy Art Center. Admire the diverse collection of contemporary and traditional artworks, attend engaging exhibitions, and participate in art classes and workshops.

Nauvoo: A Journey into Mormon History

Continue your journey to Nauvoo, a town steeped in Mormon history and heritage:

Historic Nauvoo Visitor Center

Explore the Historic Nauvoo Visitor Center to learn about the early days of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Discover the stories of the pioneers, visit reconstructed historic buildings, and gain insights into the Mormon settlement in Nauvoo.

Nauvoo State Park

Experience the natural beauty of Nauvoo at the Nauvoo State Park. Enjoy hiking trails, picnic areas, and fishing spots along the Mississippi River. Take in the serene surroundings and learn about the area’s ecological significance.

Embracing the Vibrancy of Chicago

As you reach the final destination of your journey, prepare to immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of Chicago. This bustling metropolis offers a plethora of cultural marvels and culinary adventures.

Arrival in the Windy City

Upon arriving in Chicago, you’ll be greeted by the iconic skyline and the energy of the city. Get ready to embark on unforgettable experiences.

Cultural Marvels of Chicago

Chicago is renowned for its cultural institutions. Don’t miss these must-visit attractions:

The Art Institute of Chicago

Step into the world of art at The Art Institute of Chicago, one of the oldest and largest art museums in the United States. Marvel at the extensive collection, including works by renowned artists such as Monet, Picasso, and Grant Wood’s iconic “American Gothic.”

Millennium Park and Cloud Gate

Visit Millennium Park, a vibrant public space that houses the famous Cloud Gate sculpture, also known as “The Bean.” Take a selfie with the reflective sculpture, enjoy live performances at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, and explore the beautiful gardens and art installations.

Chicago Architecture River Cruise

Embark on an architectural adventure by taking a river cruise along the Chicago River. Admire the stunning skyline and learn about the city’s iconic buildings, including the Willis Tower, the Tribune Tower, and the Wrigley Building.

Culinary Adventures in Chicago

Chicago is a food lover’s paradise. Indulge in these culinary delights:

Deep-Dish Pizza: A Chicago Staple

No visit to Chicago is complete without trying the city’s famous deep-dish pizza. Sink your teeth into a slice of cheesy, saucy goodness at renowned pizzerias like Lou Malnati’s, Giordano’s, or Gino’s East.

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Exploring Chicago’s Food Scene

Venture beyond pizza and explore Chicago’s diverse food scene. From gourmet hot dogs at Portillo’s to ethnic cuisines in neighborhoods like Chinatown and Little Italy, the city offers a wide range of culinary experiences to satisfy every palate.


What are the best times to embark on this journey?

The best times to embark on this journey are during the spring and fall seasons when the weather is pleasant, and the scenic beauty of the countryside is at its peak.

How long does it take to drive from Kansas City to Chicago?

The approximate driving time from Kansas City to Chicago is around 8-9 hours, depending on traffic and the route taken.

Are there any unique festivals or events along the route?

Yes, some several unique festivals and events take place along the route throughout the year. Some notable ones include the Kansas City BBQ Festival, the Hermann Oktoberfest, and the Chicago Jazz Festival.</

What are some recommended accommodations in Kansas City and Chicago?

In Kansas City, some recommended accommodations include The Fontaine, a luxury hotel located near the Country Club Plaza, and The Westin Kansas City at Crown Center, offering stunning views of the city skyline. In Chicago, options like The Langham Chicago, The Peninsula Chicago, and The Palmer House Hilton provide luxurious stays in the heart of the city.

Are there any scenic detours worth exploring?

A scenic detour worth exploring is the Great River Road, which follows the Mississippi River from Illinois to Louisiana. Along this route, you’ll encounter picturesque river towns, stunning bluffs, and opportunities for outdoor activities and wildlife spotting.

What are some family-friendly attractions along the way?

Some family-friendly attractions along the way include the Kansas City Zoo, where kids can encounter a variety of animals, and the Science City at Union Station, offering interactive exhibits and educational experiences. In Chicago, families can enjoy the Shedd Aquarium, the Field Museum, and Navy Pier, which offers rides, games, and entertainment.

Can I travel from Kansas City to Chicago by train?

Yes, you can travel from Kansas City to Chicago by train. Amtrak operates the Southwest Chief route, which connects the two cities. This scenic journey allows you to sit back, relax, and enjoy the beautiful landscapes along the way.


The journey from Kansas City to Chicago is a vibrant and diverse adventure, offering a blend of cultural delights, scenic beauty, and culinary experiences. From exploring the cultural institutions of Kansas City to immersing yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of Chicago, this journey promises unforgettable memories. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, an art lover, a foodie, or a nature lover, this route has something to offer everyone. Embark on this journey and discover the vibrant charm that awaits you along the way.