Kansas City satellite map. The larger Missouri River is zigzagging from west to east; the much smaller Kansas is approaching from the south and joins it at Kaw Point. Kansas City, Missouri, is located immediately south of their intersection; North Kansas City, Missouri, is to its northeast; and Kansas City, Kansas, is to the west.
The larger Kansas City Metropolitan Area as seen on a map can be visualized roughly as four quadrants:
Downtown almost always refers to downtown Kansas City, Missouri. Downtown is the Kansas City's historic center, located entirely within Kansas City, Missouri, and containing the city's original town site, business districts, and residential neighborhoods. Downtown is bounded by the Missouri River on the north, the Missouri-Kansas state line on the west, 31st Street on the south and the Blue River on the east. The downtown area includes the Central Business District and its buildings, which form the city's skyline. The downtown loop is formed by Interstates 670, 70 and 35. Within the downtown loop are many of the tall buildings and skyscrapers that make up the city's skyline. Also within the downtown loop are small, distinct neighborhoods such as Quality Hill, the Garment District, the Financial District, the Convention Center District, and the Power and Light District.
Midtown is entirely within Kansas City, Missouri, just south of downtown, and bounded by 31st Street on the north, the state line on the west, West Gregory Boulevard (71st Street) on the south, and Troost Avenue on the east. Midtown is the core of the metropolitan area, as it contains numerous cultural attractions, shopping and entertainment areas, large hospitals, universities, and the metro area's most densely populated neighborhoods.
In recent years, the Kansas City metropolitan area has been experiencing continued growth. Between July 2000 and July 2007, the population of the Kansas City MSA grew from 1,842,965 to an estimated 2,037,357, an increase of 10%.
The Kansas City metropolitan area has more freeway lane miles per capita than any other large metropolitan area in the United States (over 27% more than the second-place Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex), over 50% more than the average American metro area, and nearly 75% more than the large metro area with the least: Las Vegas.
U.S. Highways serving the Kansas City Metro Area include:
US 24 – Running from Independence Ave. and Winner Rd., between downtown Kansas City and Independence, Missouri, it serves as a street-level connection to Independence.
US 40 – U.S. 40 is one of six east-west U.S.-numbered routes that run (or ran) from coast to coast. It serves as a business loop and an alternate route for I-70.
US 50 – Enters the area in southern Johnson County, follows I-435 from the west to I-470, then splits off of I-470 in Lee's Summit to continue eastward to Jefferson City and St. Louis as a regular highway. Its former route through Raytown and southeast Kansas City was renumbered as Route 350. U.S. 50 is also one of the six east-west highways that run coast-to-coast through the United States.
US-56 - Enters the area concurrent with I-35 until the Shawnee Mission Parkway exit. It runs east along the Parkway into the Plaza area of Kansas City before terminating at US-71.
US 69 – Connects Excelsior Springs, Missouri, in the north and serves as a freeway in the suburbs of Johnson County.
US 71 – In the north, concurrent with I-29 to Amazonia, Missouri, and serves as a freeway (Bruce R. Watkins Drive) south from downtown, joining with I-49 at the Grandview Triangle.
Route 7 - An important state highway serving the eastern suburbs of the metro. Primarily running north and south through Jackson and Cass Counties. Connecting the following communities: Independence, Blue Springs, Lake Lotawana, Pleasant Hill and Harrisonville. It is the commercial backbone for Blue Springs, Lake Lotawana and Pleasant Hill.
Route 9 – A minor freeway northwest of North Kansas City, and serves as a commercial backbone to North Kansas City, Riverside, Platte Woods and Parkville.
Route 45 – Known as Tom Watson Parkway in the Kansas City vicinity until it intersects with I-435, it is a highway that spans 42 miles from I-29/US-71 to US-59/MO-273 in Lewis & Clark Village, Missouri (right east of the larger city of Atchison, Kansas). It is also known as NW 64th Street from NW Klamm Drive to I-29/US-71. The highway runs through the northern part of Parkville, Missouri and across Riss Lake. The National Golf Course is located off of MO-45.
Route 152 – A freeway contained entirely in Kansas City's Northland, stretching from Liberty in Clay County west until it intersects with I-435 near Parkville, Missouri.
Route 210 – A minor freeway east of North Kansas City that, as a two-lane road, stretches to Richmond, Missouri.
Route 291 – Formerly an eastern bypass route of U.S. 71, this minor freeway connects Harrisonville and Lee's Summit to Independence, Sugar Creek, Liberty and Kansas City North. The roadway is designated on road signs alongside I-470 north of Lee's Summit.
Ward Parkway – A scenic parkway in Kansas City, Missouri, near the Kansas-Missouri state line, where many large historic mansions and fountains are located.
Broadway – A street that runs from the west side of downtown Kansas City to Westport. The street has long been an entertainment center, with various bars, live jazz outlets, and restaurants located along it. It also forms the eastern border of Quality Hill, one of the oldest neighborhoods in Kansas City.
The Paseo – Part of the city's original system of parks and boulevards developed beginning in the late 1880s, it is the longest of the original boulevards, and the only one that runs the entire length of the pre-World War II city boundary, from the Missouri River bluffs in the north to 79th Street on the south.
Shawnee Mission Parkway – Former alignment of K-10 from 1929 to 1983; K-58 from 1956 to 1979; US-56 from 1957 to 1968; K-12 from 1983 to 1998. Currently serves Shawnee Mission.
Troost Avenue – A north-south thoroughfare located 11 blocks east of Main Street, named for an early Kansas City settler and dentist, Benoist Troost. The street roughly divides the city's mostly black neighborhoods to its east from its mostly white ones to its west.
Swope Parkway – Running on the south side of the Brush Creek valley eastward from The Paseo, then southward from its junction with Benton Boulevard, this street is the main route from the city's midtown to its largest city park, Swope Park.
North Oak Trafficway – A major road located in the Northland. The roadway is designated as MO-283 from MO-9 to I-29. It is a major commercial road in the Northland and serves as the main street in Gladstone, Missouri.
Barry Road – Runs along the former route of Military Road, which ran from Liberty to Fort Leavenworth. It is now a major commercial street in the Northland, although it has been paralleled by MO-152 for its entire route and effectively replaced it east of Indiana Avenue.
87th Street Parkway – A major parkway that extends from Overland Park to De Soto. Former alignment of K-10 from 1929 to 1983.
The Kansas City metropolitan area is served by several airports. It is primarily served by Kansas City International Airport, located 15 miles northwest of downtown Kansas City, Missouri, was built to serve as a world hub for the supersonic transport and Boeing 747. The airport's gates were positioned 100 feet (30 m) from the street; however, since the September 11, 2001 attacks, these have undergone expensive overhauls, retrofitting it to incorporate elements of conventional security systems.
The much smaller Charles B. Wheeler Downtown Airport, located to the immediate north of downtown near the Missouri River, was the original headquarters of Trans World Airlines (TWA) and houses the Airline History Museum. It served as the area's major airport until 1972, when Kansas City International (then known as Mid-Continent International Airport and was home to an Overhaul Base for TWA) became the primary airport for the metropolitan area after undergoing $150 million in upgrades that were approved by voters in a 1966 bond issue. Downtown Airport is still used to this day for general aviation and airshows.
There are two general aviation airports in Johnson County, Kansas. New Century AirCenter borders southwest Olathe and northeast Gardner. The primary runway at New Century AirCenter is the second longest runway in the region next to those at Kansas City International Airport. It is located 7 miles from the Logistics Park Kansas City Intermodal Facility. The other airport, Johnson County Executive Airport has one runway on 500 acres and is the fourth busiest towered airport in the state of Kansas.
Union Station serves as a hub for Amtrak, which maintains daily service by long-distance trains to and from Kansas City, Missouri.
Public transportation in the Kansas City area is only provided by city buses operated by the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA). The Metro Area Express (MAX) went online as Kansas City, Missouri's first bus rapid transit line in July 2005, and operates and is marketed akin to a rail system as opposed to a local bus line; the MAX links the River Market, Downtown, Union Station, Crown Center and the Country Club Plaza. Buses in Johnson County, Kansas, are operated by Johnson County Transit (known as "The JO").
The Kansas City Downtown Streetcar is a 2.2-mile modern streetcar line in downtown Kansas City opened to the public in May 2016, and is maintained and operated by the Kansas City Streetcar Authority, a non-profit corporation made up of private sector stakeholders and city appointees. A ballot initiative to fund construction of the $102 million line was approved by voters on December 12, 2012. The system will run between River Market and Union Station, mostly on Main Street, with extensions to the starter line planned for addition at a later date.
The Missouri side of the metropolitan area shares a grid system with Johnson County on the Kansas side. Most east-west streets are numbered and most north-south streets named. Addresses on east-west streets are numbered from Main Street in Kansas City, Missouri, and on north-south streets from St. John Avenue (or the Missouri River, in the River Market area). The direction 'South' in street and address numbers is generally implied if 'North' is not specified, except for numbered 'avenues' in North Kansas City. In the northland, east-west streets use the prefix N.E. or N.W., depending on the side of N. Main on which they lie.
Kansas Citians tend to express U.S. and Missouri highway designations with the number before the word "highway," (e.g., 40 highway, 71 highway). This colloquialism tends not to apply to interstates or Kansas route numbers (e.g., "I-70", "K-10").
69 Highway, known as "The Overland Parkway", runs southbound on I-35 from Kansas City, Missouri towards Johnson County. There are two exits marked South 69 on the roadway. The first – or northern – exit on Metcalf Ave/I-635, is a left lane exit and leads to Metcalf, an at-grade trafficway, before turning west along Shawnee Mission Parkway, to rejoin I-35. The southern US-69 exit is a two-lane right lane exit between the 75th and 87th street exits and begins a four-lane highway known as the Overland Parkway.
When traveling north on I-35 from Johnson County, the first signs that are designated as I-70 East actually guide drivers through the southern portion of I-670, which takes motorists into the southern part of the Downtown Freeway Loop, and runs underneath the Bartle Hall Convention Center and some downtown overpasses. This is sometimes referred to as "going under downtown".
The downtown freeway loop is a complex layout of freeways in downtown Kansas City, Missouri involving 23 exits, four Interstate highways, four U.S. highways and numerous city streets. Each exit in the freeway loop is numbered "2" and suffixed with every letter of the alphabet – except I, O and Z (which would resemble 1, 0 and 2 on the exit signs), although some of the exits are currently under construction/renovation and closed to traffic. The entire circumference of the loop is just over 4-mile (6.4 km).
The KCTV-Tower is a 1,042 feet (318 m) pyramid-shaped television and radio tower used primarily by local CBS affiliate KCTV (channel 5). It is located at the corner of 31st and Main Streets, next to the studio facilities of PBS member station KCPT (which formerly housed the original studios of KCTV), and is visible from many parts of the city, especially at night due to the string of lights adorning the tower.
Kansas City Community Christian Church, located at 4601 Main Street, has a group of lights that shoot a beam upwards to the sky at night. Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in the 1950s, it is located slightly south of and across the street from the American Century Investment Towers (the Nelson Atkins is located to the east, and the Kemper Museum is to the north and slightly east).
Bartle Hall has a section that somewhat resembles a north-south suspension bridge, crossing over I-670 at the southwest corner of the downtown loop. It has four towers, with metal sculptures on top of each tower.
The Veterans Affairs Medical Center, located near the intersection of I-70, Linwood Boulevard and Van Brunt Boulevard, has a large "VA" emblem.
The Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, located at 16th Street and Broadway (just south of the downtown loop), with its tiered glass and steel half-domes, has a design reminiscent of the world-famous Sydney Opera House.
The center of Kansas City is roughly contained inside the downtown loop (shaded in red).
Downtown Kansas City is a section of western Kansas City, Missouri, where a large concentration of the area's employees work, and where much of the city's entertainment facilities are located. The area has been undergoing a massive revitalization since 2000, and increased its population by over 7,000 people between 2000 and 2005. The Power and Light District and the Sprint Center are located in the downtown area.
"The Northland" refers to a section of the metropolitan area located north of the Missouri River, comprising Clay and Platte Counties in Missouri. This area includes the northern half of Kansas City, Missouri, which is referred to as "Kansas City, North" to distinguish it from the rest of the Northland and the city of North Kansas City. The area is also referred to as "North of the River" by local residents and by local television stations in news and traffic reports.
River Market is an area located north of downtown, south of the Missouri River and west of Highway 9, and is home to a large farmer's market.
"North Kansas City" (abbreviated as NKC, and also known as Northtown) is a separate city that is completely surrounded by Kansas City, Missouri.
The Country Club District is an associated group of neighborhoods built along Ward Parkway by J.C. Nichols, which is located just south of the Country Club Plaza and includes Sunset Hill, Brookside, Crestwood, and Mission Hills, Kansas.
39th Street (also referred to as the Volker neighborhood or "Restaurant Row") is a small section of West 39th Street between State Line Road and the Southwest Trafficway in Kansas City, Missouri. The area has many restaurants, bars and shops, and is located just across the state line from the University of Kansas Medical Center.
Benton Curve is a curve located at the cross-section of Interstate 70 and Benton Avenue in Kansas City, Missouri; the area has long been prone to traffic accidents.
Pendleton Heights is a historic neighborhood in the northeast side of Kansas City, Missouri, which is bordered by Cliff Drive to the north, Chestnut Trafficway to the east, Independence Avenue to the south and the Paseo Trafficway to the west. It is Kansas City's oldest surviving neighborhood, and is home to the city's largest concentration of Victorian homes.
135th Street (Overland Park, Kansas) - Shopping area featuring several indoor and outlet malls, restaurants, and two movie theaters.
Strawberry Hill is a historical area in Kansas City, Kansas that was home to many eastern European immigrants. Later, the neighborhood became home to many Latino/Chicano families. However, in recent years, Strawberry Hill has seen residents immigrating to the area from Eastern Europe.
Hospital Hill is an area near 23rd Street and Holmes Avenue in Kansas City, Missouri, and consists of two major hospitals (Truman Medical Center and the Children's Mercy Hospital) and the University of Missouri-Kansas City's School of Medicine, School of Dentistry, School of Pharmacy and School of Nursing.
Argentine is a part of Kansas City, Kansas, near 30th and Argentine Streets. It is one of the oldest Mexican/Latino neighborhoods in Kansas City, with Mexican immigration to that area dating to the 1800s.
The Crossroads Arts District is a neighborhood in the downtown area between the Central Business District and Union Station, centered around the intersection of 19th Street and Baltimore Avenue in Kansas City, Missouri. It contains dozens of art galleries, and is considered to be the center of the arts culture in the metropolitan area. Local artists sponsor exhibits in the district on the first Friday of each month.
Quality Hill is a residential and commercial neighborhood located atop of a western hill in the Central Business District of Downtown Kansas City, across the river from the Charles B. Wheeler Airport.
West Bottoms is home to many of downtown's oldest buildings and where the city's stockyards were once located. It is now known for its arts community, the American Royal, Kemper Arena, antique stores, and First Fridays events.
East Bottoms Also known as the Industrial District, it is primarily known for its industrial businesses and railroad activity. There are however burgeoning cultural attractions at the intersection of Montgall and Guinotte Avenues related to handmade goods, food, music and a distillery.
Hanover Heights is a small neighborhood in Kansas City, Kansas that was once primarily noted for the antiques shops located along 45th Street, with the neighborhood's boundaries running mainly between Rainbow Blvd. and State Line Road, running south of the KU Medical Center to the Johnson County border.
The Historic Old Northeast District (or simply Northeast) is a working-class immigrant collection of neighborhoods, located between downtown Kansas City and the smaller city of Independence.
The Kansas City Kansan serves Wyandotte County, having moved from print to an online format in 2009. Additional weekly papers in the metropolitan area include the Liberty Tribune, Sun Newspapers of Johnson County, The Examiner in Independence and eastern Jackson County, The Pitch, and the Kansas-Missouri Sentinel. The area is also served by two newspapers focused the area's faith-based population: The Metro Voice Christian Newspaper and the Jewish Chronicle. The city's Hispanic and Latino American community is served by Dos Mundos, a bilingual newspaper with articles printed in Spanish and English, and Mi Raza magazine, the area's only weekly Hispanic publication printed in Spanish. The Kansas City Call serves the African American community publishing its paper weekly.
According to Arbitron, about 1.5 million people over the age of 12 live within the Kansas City DMA, making it the 30th largest market for radio and 31st for television according to Nielsen. The Kansas City television and radio markets cover 32 counties encompassing northwestern Missouri and northeast Kansas.
The Kansas City television market is in very close proximity to two other media markets, St. Joseph and Topeka. As such, most of the television stations in the Kansas City area are receivable over-the-air in portions of both markets, including their principal cities; likewise, stations from Topeka are receivable as far east as Kansas City, Kansas and stations from St. Joseph are viewable as far south as Kansas City, Missouri's immediate northern suburbs.
Over 30 FM and 20 AM radio stations broadcast in the Kansas City area, with stations from Topeka, St. Joseph and Carrollton also reaching into the metropolitan area. The highest-rated radio stations, according to Arbitron are:
The Kansas City metropolitan area's largest private employer is Cerner Corporation. Cerner, a global healthcare IT company which is headquartered in North Kansas City, employs nearly 10,000 people in the area with a total workforce of nearly 20,000 people including global employees. In August 2014, the company announced its acquisition of competitor Siemens Healthcare, which, if approved, will further increase Cerner's total number of employees. Cerner has several campuses across the area with its World Headquarters building in North Kansas City, Innovations Campus in South Kansas City, and Continuous Campus in the Kansas City, Kansas area.
The following companies and organizations, excluding educational institutions, are among the larger ones that are currently headquartered in or have since relocated from the metropolitan area (headquarters of most companies are located in Kansas City, Missouri, unless otherwise noted):
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