Kansas City is a unique city, in more than one ways than one.
The barbeque is fabulous, the museums are awesome, and there’s a lot of history for your inner nerd. Oh, and there’s the KC Royals, and the Chiefs (can’t forget those!).
Another Kansas City distinction is that it’s a city spanning two states – Kansas and Missouri.
Although I’m a Kansas resident, I haven’t spent much time on the Kansas side of Kansas City. The majority of the metro’s population, along with a lot of historical development, is on the Missouri side. So, as a KC local, most of my day to day happenings end up being hosted across the state line, on the Show Me State’s side.
Like many residents, I’d heard a lot about must-see attractions in Kansas City, Missouri; however, I was pretty oblivious to the unique art and culture offered over in Kansas City, Kansas (KCKS). Thus, I was just tickled pink when Kansas Tourism announced the June #NoPlaceLikeKS Instameet hosted in Kansas City, Kansas (KCKS), as I was finally going to get to explore the often underrated KC gems of the Sunflower State!
Rosedale Memorial Arch
On July 22, 2017, the #NoPlaceLikeKansas Instameet involved a wonderful day of networking, touring, and collaborating with Midwestern photographers and bloggers, and it was all FREE.
The Instameet activities kicked off at Memorial Hall, a historic community building that was constructed in honor of the brave men and women that served our country. Interesting side note: Memorial Hall was the last place Patsy Cline performed before her catastrophic plane crash in 1963.
Attendees boarded tour buses and drove to various KCKS destination on the carefully planned itinerary. My bus made its first stop at the Rosedale Memorial Arch, a community memorial built to commemorate World War II, Korean, and Vietnam veterans.
Kaw Point Riverfront Park
Next stop was the Kaw Point Riverfront Park – an interesting site where the Lewis and Clark expedition party camped on their way from St. Louis to the Pacific Ocean in 1804. Fun fact: Clark noted the frequent sighting of Carolina Parakeets (now extinct) at this site in his journal. This historic KCKS site is situated at the convergence of the Kansas and Missouri Rivers and played a large role in Kansas City’s early settlement.
Kansas City Art Scene
Last stop before lunch, we Instagrammers ventured onto KCKS proper and embarked on a downtown mural tour.
The four local works of art we visited included:
- Facing the Past, Looking to the Future: A Kansas Hmong Storycloth located at 751 Minnesota Ave.
- Kansan Painter located at 901 N. Eight St.
- Winkler’s Clock located at the intersection of N. Seventh St. and Minnesota Ave
- Wyandot Echoes located at 636 Minnesota Ave.
Like many communities across our nation, the KCKS art reflects aspects of the community’s unique history. While we only had time for three noteworthy pieces of KCKS art, there’s a more extensive collection available for viewing – click here for the complete listing.
Social Media Panel
During the lunch hour, Instameet attendees returned to Memorial Hall for the Instagram Panel – an event I had the opportunity to participate in as a Social Media Influencer. I love, love, love panels, as it’s a great way to collect a variety of experiences from a variety of experts.
This year’s Instagram panel hosted an awesome roundup: Andrea Etzel (@adastraexplorer) of KANSAS! Magazine, Carolyn Anderson (@hellocarolynj) from VisitKC, and Linda & Jim Trudell (@thewalkingtourists) of The Walking Tourists blog (which is seriously one of the BEST Midwest travel blogs out there – you should definitely check it out). We discussed social media strategy, photography tips, and blogger collaboration, followed by an audience Q&A.
Special thanks to KC photographer Duane Hallock for the photo.
Why I love Instameets
This was my second Kansas Tourism Instameet, and it was certainly an event for the books. The event team really rolled out the red carpet and literally thinks of everything – from coolers of ice water at each photo site to memorable sunflower seeds and tons and tons of other swag for each attendee. Instameet’s are a great way to connect with others who are active in similar digital space, collaborate on future projects, and put faces to IG handles that you follow.
It’s hard to believe that I regarded Kansas as just another Midwestern flyover state until just a few years ago. Thanks to the Sunflower State’s vibrant culture and engaging communities, I can’t imagine calling anywhere else “home”. There truly is #NoPlaceLikeKS .