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

What can adults do for fun around Kansas City? Here are some of our favorite activities

Interior view of an arcade with people seated at pinball games below a neon sign that reads "Don't grow up it's a trap."
Tyler Callahan
Around Kansas City, find plenty of options for adults to have fun.

Kids shouldn't have all the fun. Kansas City offers a number of places where adults can let loose with a little friendly competition, revisit out some old-school games like pinball and mini golf, or try out newer activities like pickleball and virtual reality.

This story was first published in KCUR's Adventure newsletter. You can sign up to receive stories like this in your inbox every Tuesday.

When was the last time you “played?”

No, I don’t mean when you babysat your nephew and had to pretend you were a Pokémon. I’m asking when was the last time you went somewhere to play a game, blow off some steam, and just enjoy yourself.

If your answer is “a long time ago,” you’re in luck. Kansas City offers a number of places where adults can let loose with a little friendly competition. You can take part in some old-school fun like pinball and mini golf, or try out newer activities like pickleball or virtual reality.

Here are some of the best places where adults can “play” around Kansas City.


Interior view of SERV pickleball courts.
Pickleball is a popular sport and places like SERV include dining options to enhance the experience.

Pickleball is all the rage right now. If you want to practice for Kansas City’s August 2024 PickleCon, many area parks now have pickleball courts.

But if you want a full pickleball experience, head to SERV in Overland Park. They have five food concepts, including a grab-and-go food station, Power Plants vegan restaurant, and the cutely-named taco shop Tacodile. They are open for pickleball from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m., and there’s a coffee shop for those early morning games and cocktails for late ones.

Chicken n Pickle has become a Kansas City mainstay. Both local locations in North Kansas City and Overland Park take their pickleball very seriously. You can reserve an indoor or outdoor court for open play, or you can take private lessons, group lessons, or a “pro play” lesson where you play against a more experienced player to get feedback.

As the name suggests, their menu features a lot of chicken, but plenty of other stuff, too. If pickleball is not your thing, they also have yard games like pickleball, cornhole, and life-size Jenga.

Char Bar’s new Parkville location also has outdoor and indoor pickleball courts that you can reserve for open play. Like the Westport location, they also serve barbecue and have an extensive cocktail and mocktail menu. While there is no pickleball at Westport’s, both locations also have large patios with yard games and space to spread out.

Miniature golf

Outdoor wide-angle photo shows a four people walking away from the camera on a miniature golf course. In the foreground is a blue, crown-shaped putting area that resembles the Kansas City Royals logo. The course has conventional holes and one Chiefs-themed hole and one Royals-themed hole.
Carlos Moreno
KCUR 89.3
Miniature golf, like the new course at KC Wheel, are fun with or without kids.

While you might have memories of playing miniature golf as a kid, the game is getting a new life at places like Craft Putt in Overland Park. They have a 10-hole course that is first-come first-serve and accommodates up to five players per group.

If you have to wait for your turn, Craft Putt offers cocktails, a large beer menu, and traditional bar-and-grill fare like sliders, wraps, and tacos. For something more original, you can try their “KC Poutine,” which has brisket and bourbon barbecue gravy.

If you dream of playing miniature golf in a modern art museum, Puttery on the Plaza has an art-themed course featuring a Jackson Pollock-inspired mural and Campbell’s soup can decorations. The massive space has three nine-hole courses set amongst eclectic indoor backgrounds. Puttery has lounges, bars, and a large varied food menu with appetizers, pizzas, and entrees that range from Ahi Poke Bowl to Meatball sub.

Sinkers Lounge is another miniature golf and bar concept in Power and Light. They have two nine-hole mini golf courses, but you can also play tabletop golf, which they describe as a “mashup of mini golf and shuffleboard.” Sinkers serves drinks, and their food menu features appetizers like hatch chili cheese dip, mini hot dogs, and cake donut holes.

Spring is here, and if you want to enjoy the outdoors, Art Course is a scenic mini golf course designed by artists on the lawn of the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art. They have a small bar where you can purchase a local beer or nonalcoholic drink to enjoy while you play.

You can also play an outdoor round of miniature golf at Pennway Putt, a 16-hole mini golf course below the newly opened KC Wheel.

While those are more hip mini golf concepts, you can also play the game in a classic environment at the iconic Cool Crest in Independence on Highway 40. Originally opened in 1950, they have four 18-hole miniature golf courses. This family-friendly spot also has batting cages, go-karts, and an arcade.

You can also skip mini golf and practice your swing at a driving range. There’s TopGolf in Overland Park and T-Shotz in the Northland. If you want to make a full night of it, T-Shotz also has pickleball, shuffleboard, and arcade games.

Pinball and arcades

A woman, left, and a young boy hold grasp the sides of two different pinball machines they are playing side by side. She is playing a game called "Paragon." His is playing "Star Wars Episode I."
Carlos Moreno
KCUR 89.3
Pinball is a favorite activity at area arcades, like this selection at Solid State Pinball Supply.

If you weren’t already aware, Kansas City has a very active pinball scene, and you can play at spaces dedicated to pinball like the 403 Club in Kansas City, Kansas, and Solid State Pinball Supply in Midtown.

You can also play pinball and other class arcade games like skee ball, Tetris, and NBA Jam at DraftCade in Zona Rosa. They have a large bar menu with burgers and entrees that include a sriracha quesadilla and pulled pork platter. They also serve cocktails, nonalcoholic drinks, and 60 beers on tap. Kids under 16 are welcome with an adult, and for $7 you can get an all-you-can-play game band.

Other arcade bars with a nostalgic feel are Arcade Alley in downtown Lee’s Summit and Up-Down in the Crossroads. While Up-Down is restricted to ages 21 and over, Arcade Alley allows kids to play too until 7 pm.

The chain Dave and Buster’s, with two area locations in the Legends and Overland Park, offers vintage arcade games but also flashy newer games like a large Halo shooting game or a high-tech fishing game called Wicked Tuna. Dave and Buster’s bills itself as a sports bar, so you can also head there to watch a game and eat a burger, chicken parm pasta, or what they call Big Daddy Chocolate Cake.

While Dave and Buster’s is full of loud noises and flashing lights Ludo’s Shuffleboard Bar in Midtown’s Martini Corner has a quaint retro vibe. Its main selling point is three shuffleboard tables, but they also have pinball machines and board games. Ludo’s only sells drinks, including “Cool Your Tang,” which, you guessed it, is made with Tang. You can bring in outside food, and despite its dive bar aesthetic, kids are welcome.

Virtual reality and video games

Two people dressed in black wear virtual reality headsets, backpacks, and VR shooters.
Maxime Dore
Kansas City has a variety of VR experiences, including esports, free-roam, arcade, and escape rooms.

Old-school arcades will never go out of style, but FlipSwitch VR in the Crossroads brings a cutting-edge virtual reality spin on the genre. It’s a free-roam space, which means you can pop on a headset and play a VR simulation anywhere inside. These experiences range from the frightening, like “House of Blood”—a horror escape room game—to the cartoonish, like “Smash Point” where you run around and bash other characters with weapons. They don’t serve food and drinks, but you can bring your own drinks if you rent the space for a private party.

Disciples of Gaming is another virtual reality arcade in North Kansas City. Unlike the free-roam experience, you can book a VR station for one, two, or four people. Like FlipSwitch, Disciples offers VR escape rooms like “Chernobyl” or “Save Notre Dame On Fire,” where you can change the course of history. And of course, they have VR classics like the rhythm game “Beat Saber.” No food and drinks here either.

DoubleTap KC in the River Market is a traditional arcade that also has a VR arcade and VR escape rooms. With over 50 titles, they claim to have the largest VR game collection in the city. Their collection includes “Job Simulator: The 2050 Archives” and “Shooty Fruity.” Unlike some of the other VR spots, DoubleTap has an extensive bar food menu with burgers and other handhelds, a large beer and cocktail menu, and a daily happy hour special. On Wednesdays, you get $2 off appetizers and $15 surprise beer buckets.

LEVELUP Arena takes its gaming and esports very seriously, but don’t let that scare you. LEVELUP welcomes people from all skill levels to play video games on their state-of-the-art gaming computers. Located in Hyvee Arena in the West Bottoms, LEVELUP offers memberships for $50 that allow unlimited gameplay. As a massive arena, they are also able to host large esports tournaments, like Midwest Fest.

Before esports existed, there was no better experience than old-school video game consoles like the Sega Genesis, Super Nintendo, Nintendo 64, and PlayStation 1. You can play your favorite old-school games at Rewind Video and Dive behind the Screenland Armour movie theater in North Kansas City. Decorated like a 1990s basement, you can relive your childhood while playing “Super Mario Kart,” watching “Clueless” on VHS, and drinking a cocktail made with a Squeeze-It.

Escape rooms

Interior view of a room with brick wall, pool table, and purple couches.
Full Moon Escape
Escape rooms offer a range of experiences to challenges your problem solving skills.

VR arcades offer virtual escape rooms, but if you have a group and want to make an evening of it, Kansas City also has a lot of physical escape rooms in the area. These rooms typically allow anywhere between two and 10 guests, and the larger your group is, the lower the rate will be. Ticket prices generally range between $30 to $64 per person.

For a frightening experience, head to Full Moon Escape in the West Bottoms. Located inside of the historic The Beast haunted house, Full Moon has four escape rooms that range in difficulty from “The Ghost of Merlin” to the “extra hard” challenges like “Dr. Boyle’s Terrifyingly Twisted Dentistry.” And while The Beast may be closed outside of the Halloween season, Full Moon Escape provides scares year-round.

Another option for horror enthusiasts The Basement, downtown at 16th and Grand. Billed as a “live escape room experience,” they currently have one experience called “The Basement Unhinged.” Here, you try to complete the challenge alongside a live performer, who is playing a “cannibalistic serial killer.” On Monday–Thursday you can play with only two players at $36 per person. On Friday and Saturday, you need at least four guests to play, and tickets are $42 per person.

For something a bit less ominous, Tick Tock Escape Room in Overland Park offers four puzzle rooms focused on problem-solving, including “Central Intelligence,” where you assist the CIA with solving a mystery. There is also the “Space Force” room, where you assist a spaceship called the USS Artemis that comes under attack.

Escape Room KC in Union Station offers a nice hybrid between the puzzling and the thrilling with their “221B Baker Street” escape room, in which you assist “a famous detective” to solve a murder before the killer strikes again. Escape Room KC also has a dream-themed room, where you rush to solve a puzzle before the alarm clock rings.

Kansas City pretty much has escape rooms in nearly every part of the city, so you can head to whichever one is closest to you. Escape This Place is in Raytown, The Exit Room is in Lee’s Summit, The Escape Game Kansas City is on the Plaza, and Breakout KC has locations in Park Place in Leawood and River Market.

Hannah Bailey is a cultural studies scholar and a freelance writer for KCUR. You can email her at hannah@coneflower.org.
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