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Each week, KCUR's Creative Adventure newsletter brings you a new way to explore the Kansas City region.

Want to explore North Kansas City? Start with this beginner's guide to the city

North Kansas City
City of North Kansas City
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There's plenty of adventure to be found in North Kansas City, Missouri.

Whether you're searching for a creative date night idea or looking for your next neighborhood to learn about, there's plenty of adventure to be found in North Kansas City.

North Kansas City has grown into a colorful community of businesses and attractions.

Several vibrant public murals add panache to the area, such as Andrei Krautsou’s “Power of the Titans” and Alex Eickhoff’s “The Wave.” The murals serve as a visual cue that there’s far more to North Kansas City than meets the eye, if you know where to look.

Whether you're searching for a creative date night idea or looking for your next neighborhood to explore, there's plenty of adventure to be found in North Kansas City.

Fun and games

ReRoll Tavern
Pete Dulin
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ReRoll Tavern in North Kansas City is a paradise for anyone who loves to play games.

ReRoll Tavern is a paradise for those who like to play games. The tavern contains a voluminous gaming library with classic board games, roleplaying games and so much more. Visitors can opt for a pay-to-play option or pay for a membership. The menu features pizza, hot dogs, cocktails and beer to savor while embarking on an intrepid adventure.

North Kansas City is also home to the original Chicken N Pickle, bringing pickleball, yard games, a fast-casual restaurant and bar all under one roof. This indoor/outdoor entertainment concept has expanded to five other U.S. locations, including Overland Park, Kansas. Novice and experienced pickleball players have access to lessons, open play and leagues.

In the neon-lit basement of Screenland Armour you'll find Rewind Video, a 1990s-inspired analog video shop meets dive bar. You can rent DVDs and VHS movies (a throwback to Blockbuster) or play video games on old gaming systems. Themed cocktails such as Adult Capri Sun add to the vintage experience. The bartender is rumored to spin vintage vinyl and play cassette tapes at their discretion.

Fitness and fitting in

Songbird Yoga Studio
Ben McBee
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Songbird Studios Yoga
Songbird Studios Yoga on Swift Street is located in the heart of Downtown North Kansas City.

Feel the need for fitness and a change of pace? Head to RoKC, an inclusive climbing gym designed for people of all ages and backgrounds. Equipment is available for rent and a day pass (or membership) includes unlimited climbing, access to the fitness facility and one yoga class.

Speaking of yoga, founder Annie Walsh opened Songbird Studios Yoga on Swift Street in the heart of Downtown North Kansas City. Walsh is the only area instructor trained to offer YogaHour, an alignment-based style that originated in Tuscon, Arizona.

Held on the first Saturday each month, GLOW Yoga is a donation-based, family-friendly option for gentle yoga. Proceeds are donated to locally-based Girls Leading Our World or a featured nonprofit.

The city is also home to a YMCA featuring a range of programs, including adaptive/challenger sports, where kids of all abilities are able to play. Challenger Flag Football (held Tuesdays from 6-7 p.m., Aug. 30-Sept. 20) enables athletes with special needs to participate.

In addition to an indoor pool, indoor basketball courts and Kids Zone, the YMCA’s community-based facility is home to the New Americans Welcome Center, a community food pantry, North Kansas City Hospital Wellness Corner and the Best Buy Teen Tech Center.

Arts, crafts and entertainment

Driftwood Ceramics
Robert Hoops
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Every Friday and Saturday evening, you can head to Driftwood Ceramics for a date night Pints and Pots session.

Getting crafty and creative with your leisure time is easy in North Kansas City. Driftwood Ceramics offers an assortment of classes from beginner to intermediate level. It offers two classes for kids — ages 4-9 and 10-15 — or you can leave the kids at home for a date night Pints and Pots session, held every Friday and Saturday evening.

Check out Expressive Studio, a visual and performing arts studio, for Mosaic Mondays, art classes for kids and adults and music classes, too. You can also book the studio for art-themed birthday parties at all age ranges.

If live entertainment and films are more your speed, Screenland Armour Theatre evokes that cozy, old-school movie theater experience. Nearby, The Rino’s calendar packs in live music, Song Lab open mic and Laugh Lab comedy open mic.

And don’t overlook North Kansas City's events calendar for Friday in the Park lunchtime music performances and other park events.

Eat, drink, be merry

Wolcano Teppanyaki 2 credit Ben McBee.jpg
Ben McBee
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Wolcano Teppanyaki in North Kansas City features a teppanyaki hibachi grill, sushi, sashimi and Chinese food.

Locally-owned restaurants, breweries, bars and other businesses with a focus on food and drink have been a driving force behind North Kansas City’s renaissance.

Wolcano Teppanyaki features a teppanyaki hibachi grill, sushi, sashimi and Chinese food, a welcome expansion to the local food offerings. You can opt for buffet style or a la carte dining.

Iron District abounds with options to quench your thirst and fill your belly. The outdoor dining hall is home to Vegan Crave, a vegan burger stand, Thaiger’s Far East comfort food and Taco Tank.

Tiki Huna awaits to serve imaginative cocktails from its tiki hideaway-themed bar replete with a palm-thatched roof. Keep an eye out for monthly Retro Cocktail Hour meetups, where local tiki historians discuss historic cocktails.

Based out of aforementioned RINO, pop punk/emo music-themed Sweet EMOtion serves vegan oat milk ice cream, shakes and other sweet treats.

Scimeca’s operates an Italian gourmet market and deli. Drop in for the famed sausages, sandwiches, signature cheese lasagna, eggplant Parmesan, and other gastronomic delights.

Established in 1948, Paul and Jack’s Tavern is truly an old-school treasure decked out in NKC high school memorabilia, hosting live music and serving a variety of pub fare.

Keep your eyes peeled for Snow & Roast, a blue-colored mobile coffee and shaved ice café. It serves up a rotating menu of adventurous and tempting shaved ice flavors, including horchata, mangonada, wedding cake and Arctic tiger’s blood. Locals of North Kansas City call Snow & Roast "a fixture at walk-to-school days, Little League baseball, community outreach events and the town-wide Halloween block party."

Follow your own path

Cinder Block Brewery
Cinder Block Brewery
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Experience North Kansas City at the 7th annual Pint Path on Saturday, Sept. 24. The pub crawl features more than 20 participating businesses, including Cinder Block Brewery.

Another experiential way to discover North Kansas City's treasures is the 7th annual fall Pint Path, a pub crawl with more than 20 participating businesses, on Saturday, Sept. 24. The event showcases the walkability and bikeability of the downtown district.

These highlights skim the surface of what North Kansas City has to offer. RiverNorth District also lists events and a directory of dozens of locally-owned businesses, where visitors can eat, drink, shop and play throughout Downtown North Kansas City.

Want more adventures like this? Sign up for KCUR's Creative Adventure Email.

Pete Dulin is a Kansas City-based writer and author of four books, including Expedition of Thirst and Kansas City Beer: A History of Brewing in the Heartland.
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