Up You Go

You know what’s great about working where I do? You can go up to the roof and look out– in any direction– and all around you are unique, thriving neighborhoods. Power and Light, The Crossroads, the River Market – all of these places hum with their own excited energy. But amidst the activity lies one area that may often get overlooked because it’s located just on the outskirts: North KC.

North Kansas City, in my opinion, is one of the most under-appreciated districts downtown. Just a short drive over the river, it’s home to history, culture, and community unlike what you get anywhere else. Here are three North KC spots that caught my attention:

Screenland Armour

Talk about character! This theater first opened in 1928 as a silent film theater and has stayed essentially the same except for a recent small expansion. The exterior is dripping in old-world cinematic charm, and the menu? Fancy grilled cheeses. All food and beverages can be brought into the theaters. The theaters are small – I sat near the back and accidentally blocked the projector when I stood up mid-movie. But that makes for a really cozy setting, like you’re watching a movie at a friend’s house. The selections range from current movies to special showings of classics to thematic seasons (October is horror month!). On top of that, tickets are way cheaper than what mainstream theaters charge. Seriously, if you’re looking for a relaxed yet unique movie experience, this place does not disappoint.

Colony KC and The Rino

Colony is a small batch brewery that has put out a new beer every week since it opened in 2016. (Right?!?) But its storefront space hosts so much more than that: It’s also a coffee shop, serving local roasts, a bar with its own creative cocktails, and it’s connected to a combo workspace / comedy club / concert venue called The Rino. Yeah.

When you walk into Colony, it feels like you’ve landed in a waiting room of some sort; there are couches and board games up front, and the coffee and bar counter are hidden way at the back. But don’t let that weird you out; The super-chill atmosphere during the day is refreshing.

The Rino (short for “River North”) was started as a small concert venue but quickly became popular amongst the comedy community. It hosts an open mic night for both music and comedy each week. It’s an intimate space with an assortment of tables and chairs that could easily have come out of my dad’s garage. And, during the day, it’s open for people like me to sneak away from work and… ahem… get some work done.

Chicken N’ Pickle

The question I hear most about this place is “What the heck is it? Do you eat chickens and pickles?” Har har. In fact, you do eat chicken (or could choose from a number of other items), but you can also play pickle ball. This establishment became wildly popular in a short amount of time as pickle ball grew in popularity across the United States. It has 8 courts total, indoor and outdoor. If you’re not into physical activity, there’s a full bar, yard games, and plenty of seating to watch your friends get their paddle on. Hollis + Miller hosted its Fall Family Event here, and it was a slam dunk… er… smash serve.

North KC has so. much. to offer and since I’m close to my word count limit, I’ll just name a few other places with links to their website. Up you go! Go on up to North KC and explore!

Tay’s Burger Shack

Cinderblock Brewery

Restless Spirits Distilling Company 

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