Citing its urban revival and Midwestern charm, National Geographic Traveler named Kansas City as one of the best trips to take in 2019.
“We love a city that loves itself and can figure out ways to represent stakeholders in the city in the best way possible and invite and welcome outsiders,” said George Stone, editor in chief of National Geographic Travel. “And then show off what the city has to offer.”
Stone told Steve Kraske on KCUR's Up To Date that the magazine takes recommendations from writers, photographers, and readers for about six to nine months before sending correspondents to vet all the destinations.
Stone said he personally visited Kansas City, adding that the city made the list, in part, because the National Geographic team thought 2019 would be a great year for Kansas City.
Stone said he loved getting drinks at Boulevard Brewing Company and Rieger, as well as hanging out at the Green Lady Lounge. He said Kansas City has a welcoming spirit and abundant energy.
"It is that old stuff — it is jazz, though it's very alive today," Stone said. "And it is barbecue. But really, more than anything, it's this positive vibe in a city that seems to be investing culturally and locally and where people know it and because of that — because they're happy — it becomes a happy place for visitors."
The magazine highlighted popular Kansas City landmarks like The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, the National World War I Museum, the 18th and Vine District and the West Bottoms as notable places to visit.
“Kansas City is a warm, wonderful place,” he said. “And we don't want to overlook these gems.”
The annual list is split into four different categories: cities, nature, culture, and adventure.
Only three other U.S. destinations made the list — South Walton County in Florida, Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness in New Mexico and Oakland, California. Most of the destination's on National Geographic Traveler's list were international, including places such as Oman, Greenland, and French Polynesia.
George Stone spoke with KCUR's Up To Date. Listen to the full conversation here.
Celisa Calacal is an intern at KCUR 89.3. You can reach her at @celisa_mia.