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Kansas CityThe Paris of the Plains

Flights to Kansas City with a touch of Iceland

Let’s sort out the geography first: Kansas City straddles the border of the Midwest states of Kansas and Missouri, and the airport is in Missouri. Now we know where we are, let’s focus on what’s in store: treats like saucy barbecue, swinging jazz clubs, pretty parklands, and fab fountains.

Icelandair offers regular flights to Kansas City from Europe and the UK as a gateway to exploring America’s heartland. Before you set your sights on the fountains and tasty meats of KC, how about admiring the wild waterfalls and super-fresh seafood of Iceland?

When you book flights to Kansas City with Icelandair, you’re welcome to add a stopover in Iceland for up to seven nights at no additional airfare.

Icelandair's inaugural flight takes place on 25 May 2018.

Kansas City

Population: 481,400 (2016)Area: 826 km²Transportation: The public bus system covers the major metropolitan area, and the free KC Downtown Streetcar runs for 2 miles from River Market to Union Station, with stops mostly along Main St. There’s also a public bike share service called BCycle.Currency: US dollarTrendy Neighborhoods: Crossroads – River Market – Country Club Plaza – West 39th Street – 18th and Vine District – Westport

KC cultural appreciation

Taking its cue from Rome, Kansas City is home to more than 200 fountains - large and small cascades vie for attention and Instagram snaps. Favourites include the spouts outside Union Station and the whimsical Children’s Fountain. The JC Nichols Memorial Fountain is the best-known – it’s at the Country Club Plaza, a classy shopping district built in the 1920s. Visit the 14-block Plaza neighbourhood for cool Spanish-influenced architecture, as well as for high-end retail therapy and dining.

KC’s first-rate museums cover eclectic topics, ranging from World War I to baseball by way of pioneering life and jazz origins. The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art (free to enter) overflows with treasures; if art’s your thing, Crossroads Art District is a burgeoning quarter of hipster-approved galleries and bars.

A barbecue bonanza

Get the conversation started by asking a local for tips on the best place to eat barbecue. KC-style barbecue is a meat fiesta, slow-smoked with a thick, sweet sauce concocted of molasses and tomato. There are more than 100 barbecue joints in town, and old-timers like Arthur Bryant’s and Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que get the locals excited. Join them in asking for ‘burnt ends', the city’s trademark dish of crispy ends of beef brisket.

After something greener? The City Market makes a farm-to-table approach easy, especially at the big weekend farmers market. There’s a bumper crop of cafes and on-trend restaurants all over town, with stellar flavour-filled options at the Country Club Plaza, Crossroads, and West 39th Street. Barbecue (and jazz) is best in the historic jazz district, around 18th and Vine.

Get out of town

It’s road-tripping heaven in the rolling hills and grasslands of the Great Plains, and both Missouri and Kansas open up a wealth of destinations from KC. In fact, you don’t have to leave the city limits for a taste of the great outdoors: Swope Park is one of the largest urban parks in the USA, overflowing with green-tinged trails and activities.

Charming small-town Weston is a popular day-trip option, full of great eats and historic treats – it’s around 40 minutes northwest of KC. Meanwhile Kansas beckons across the border: the college town of Lawrence is a crowd favourite, for its sporting passions and its quirky downtown thoroughfare (Mass Street), a five-block-long street scene that melds 1856 facades with modern-day delights like boutiques, brewpubs, cool cafes and live music.