Kansas City, KS
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The Ultimate College Reunion

Friends reunite in Kansas City, KS, to discover fun in the city

By Lori Barnes

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I was going to show her that Kansas City, KS was the most amazing place to live.

“You got the job?! Maddie, you’d better not be kidding me,” I squealed into the phone at one of my two best friends from college.

Maddie, Jamie and I met our freshman year, when we were randomly assigned to the same dorm, and we had been friends ever since. Now a few years after graduation, Jamie and I both lived in Kansas City, KS, and Maddie had recently interviewed at a large company. She had just gotten the call that she had landed the job at its new campus in town.

“No, I’m totally serious!” she said with excitement, but I could sense some hesitation in her voice. I had heard that tone before; I could tell she was nervous about moving to a new city. It was the exact tone she had used during our first week on campus when she was a bit homesick.

This time, things would be different. I was going to show her that Kansas City, KS was the most amazing place to live.

“Jamie and I will start planning your ‘official welcome tour’ ASAP,” I promised as we ended the call. I couldn’t wait to show Maddie around. Having both my best friends in the same town again was going to be the absolute best.

New arrival

“SURPRISE!” Jamie and I shouted as Maddie opened the front door to her new apartment the next month, right after her big move.

“I’m so glad to see you guys!” Maddie exclaimed as we made ourselves at home, amid several partially unpacked boxes. “What do you think of KC so far?” Jamie asked. “Well, I’ve been trying to get this place unpacked. I haven’t seen much yet,” Maddie said with a sigh, as she twirled her long blonde hair around her index finger. “Oh, that sounds exciting,” Jamie fired back, teasingly. “Sounds like you could use a few laughs. Go get ready to hit the town!” Jamie shooed Maddie into the bedroom. A few minutes later, Maddie emerged from her bedroom looking stunning, as usual. We were ready to go.

Let the games begin

We danced the night away, just as we had done so many times in college.

We hopped in the car and made our way toward The Legends Outlets Kansas City in Village West.

“Wow, this place has everything,” Maddie said from the backseat with eyes wide open. It was minutes from her apartment and had everything from shopping to restaurants—and even a casino. Jamie and I had a whole evening of fun planned and we decided to start at Dave & Buster’s for some games, dinner and drinks.

“I am in desperate need of a cocktail,” Maddie said as she perused the impressive drink menu. We were mesmerized by the Loco Ritas and decided to each try a different flavor. I ordered the Island Coconut Coronarita, a pretty blue-and-white frozen concoction with Malibu Rum, tequila and blue curacao. It was almost too pretty to drink—but not quite. Maddie tried the Black Raspberry Proseccorita and Jamie, the Watermelon Coronarita.

We wanted to keep the evening going, so we took a quick cab ride to nearby Hollywood Casino at Kansas Speedway. The upscale Turn 2 Sports Bar & Restaurant inside has the right mix of yummy food and a lively atmosphere—just what we were looking for. With other fun-and-sports-loving patrons around us, the bar’s energy was infectious. We ordered a round of perfectly crunchy flash fried pickles to start, then traded bites of pizza, grilled salmon and firecracker shrimp as we talked nonstop. Three chocolate chip cookie sundaes, served with rich chocolate sauce, were a scrumptious grace note at the end of our delicious meal.

“Guys, there’s live music tonight,” I mentioned as we finished the last bites of melting ice cream.

“Ooh, I’m in!” Maddie exclaimed. Friday and Saturday nights bring live shows to center stage at Hollywood Casino, and I was thrilled that we had timed our visit so well. We danced the night away, just as we had done so many times in college. Laughing with Jamie and Maddie as the music coursed through the speakers, I was so excited that our group was back together. I couldn’t wait to make this is a regular occurrence again.

Good sports

With every goal, there were high-fives and fans jumping for joy, and hugging everyone around them.

The following morning, I poured Maddie and Jamie their mugs of coffee. “What’s on the agenda today, fearless leader?” Jamie inquired.

“Men,” I said with a grin. “OK, you have my attention,” Jamie said. “Where are we going?” “We’re headed to Children’s Mercy Park for a Sporting KC soccer match!” I said, throwing both arms in the air. Both girls looked at me with questioning faces, but I knew once we entered The Cauldron, they would be whistling a different tune.

The Cauldron is the most raucous, passionate seating section of Children’s Mercy Park. It houses Sporting KC’s entire supporters club. They make banners, chant throughout the game, and most importantly; never sit down during the match. I knew my friends would love sitting here, with all the high-energy fans. Just like our old college game days.

We quickly found our section under the canopy roof. Snacks in hand, we were ready to cheer. I felt the exhilarating energy of the crowd with each exciting play. The match was everything I had hoped it would be: action-packed, screaming fans, chants, and the best part—a win. With every goal, there were high-fives and fans jumping for joy, and hugging everyone around them—even strangers! The energy and comradery of the game was unlike anything we had ever experienced.

“Well, that was amazing. I should have never doubted you,” Jamie said after the game as we walked into Danny’s Bar & Grill down the street. Switching from soccer goals to food goals, we grabbed steak burgers and beer from the massive beer list.

We ended the night on Maddie’s balcony, reminiscing about the weekend’s events. We all agreed that it would need to be a frequent occurrence, now that we were back in the same city again.

“I have to admit, I was nervous to move to a new city,” Maddie said. “I wasn’t sure it would have everything I wanted, but from what I’ve seen, it has more. I think I’m going to love it here.”

I couldn’t agree more.

Have some fun with even more entertainment in Kansas City, KS.

Have some fun with even more entertainment in Kansas City, KS.