A favorite event in Kansas City is First Fridays, sponsored by the many galleries and businesses in the district. Each first Friday of the month, the galleries, restaurants, shops, lofts and artist studios open for artist "open houses" from 6pm until 9pm. Hundreds of people walk the streets, enjoying the summer weather and artwork from some of the finest artists in the United States.
The Crossroads Art District is located a little north of Crown Center in the downtown area, beginning at 19th and Baltimore. The district spreads out over several blocks, about a full square mile. The area is easy to walk, and free parking is available. Plenty of restaurants are in the area, so a meal is easy to find. For those who find art intimidating, you will find the district to be casual, with much of the artwork being quite affordable.
After browsing the galleries, stop for something to eat. The Crossroads is home to Lydia's Italy, a premier Italian restaurant in the Midwest. Located at 101 W. 22nd St., her name is recognizable to many because they have seen her television show on PBS. Here, customers are treated like royalty. Lydia's specialty is the Trio Pasta, where your choice of three pastas is refilled as much as you like by waiters who bring the pasta bowls to the table and serve you family style. Get here early as they fill up fast, especially on the weekends!
This haven of art and artists is a wonderful bit of sophistication in this Midwest city. The artists are warm and friendly, making any visitor feels at home in their respective galleries, and the shops and restaurants can't be beat. When visiting Kansas City, put the Crossroads Art District on your must see list!