Where to stay in Kansas City for first time: Safe areas

Finding where to stay in Kansas City as a first-timer can be a headache. That’s why, in today’s article, I will help you to find safe places to stay in Kansas City for first-time visitors.

I will share with you what I believe are the best and safest areas to stay in Kansas City for first-timers and tourists, along with a helpful map and areas to avoid. I’ll also share where I stayed in Kansas City and recommend some of the best hotels for various budgets.

Before getting into the main topic, let’s look at some highlights about Kansas City:

Kansas City, Missouri (often abbreviated as KC) is a major city located in the Midwestern United States. It is situated at the junction of the Missouri and Kansas rivers, straddling the state line between Missouri and Kansas.

The city has a vibrant cultural scene with numerous museums, galleries, and performing arts venues. Notable attractions include the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, the National World War I Museum and Memorial, and the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.

Kansas City has a rich jazz heritage, and it was a significant center for jazz during the early to mid-20th century. The 18th and Vine District is known for its historical connection to jazz and blues music.

The city is renowned for its barbecue (BBQ) cuisine, and it often tops lists of the best BBQ cities in the United States. There are numerous BBQ joints throughout the city, each with its unique style.

The city is well-connected with several highways and has an international airport, Kansas City International Airport (MCI).

Is Kansas City safe to visit?

Kansas City in general is pretty safe. As in any major city, it is essential to use common sense, stay in well-traveled areas, be aware of your surroundings, and avoid going out alone at night. Also remember to lock your car doors and keep valuables out of sight to prevent break-ins.

Kansas City can experience severe weather, including tornadoes. Stay informed about weather conditions and have a plan in place for severe weather events.

Where to stay in Kansas City for the first time?

The best and safe areas to stay in Kansas City for first-timers and tourists are Downtown Kansas City and Country Club Plaza Area. These neighborhoods offer a range of good quality accommodations for you to stay and explore the city.

Downtown Kansas City is the most popular base for first-time visitors and those who want to be in the heart of the city. This area is home to many attractions, including the Power & Light District, the Sprint Center, Crown Center, River Market, and the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. 

The Country Club Plaza area is a great place for those who enjoy upscale shopping, fine dining, and a vibrant atmosphere. It is a premier shopping and dining district, known for its Spanish-inspired architecture.

Both Downtown and the Plaza area offer easy access to Westport, which is a historic district known for its nightlife, with numerous bars, restaurants, and live music venues. 

Tourist spots such as The Plaza, Westport, Kansas City Power & Light District, Rivermarket are generally safe to visit. It is recommended to avoid Swope Park, Troost Avenue and east of Troost after dark. 

During my trip to Kansas City, I stayed at the 4-star Loews Kansas City. It was a great value for money hotel in a prime location on Wyandotte Street. Easy access to the Power District and other points of interest such as Crossroads and Crown Center. My room was clean and had a great view of the city.

Below is a map of the popular areas in Kansas City for first-time travelers. You can scroll down to view the live map.

Map of the safe areas to stay in Kansas City first time
Map of the safe areas to stay in Kansas City first time

Let’s get into the details of the recommended areas to stay in Kansas City, especially for first-time visitors. I’ll provide you with some suggestions for the best places to stay in each area, catering to every budget. 

All hotels in Kansas City have been carefully selected by me from well-known and secure booking sites such as booking.com, with guest review scores of at least 8.0 or higher at the time I chose them. 

If you don’t like my suggestions (perhaps they don’t suit your budget or preferences), you can click the “MORE HOTEL DEALS” button where you can choose your own hotel.

2 Safe areas to stay in Kansas City for first-timers and tourists:

1. Downtown Kansas City

Downtown Kansas City, without a doubt, is one of the best areas to stay in Kansas City. It is a vibrant and dynamic area that offers a mix of entertainment, cultural attractions, dining, and nightlife. 

Popular points of interest in Downtown include Kansas City Convention Center, Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, Union Station, Kansas City Power and Light Building, and Sprint Center (now T-Mobile Center).

Downtown is home to Power & Light District, a popular entertainment district, featuring bars, restaurants, and live music venues. It’s a lively area, especially during weekends and events.

Adjacent to downtown, the Crossroads Arts District is known for its art galleries, studios, and a vibrant arts community. First Fridays are particularly popular when galleries open their doors to the public.

The River Market area, just north of downtown, hosts the City Market—a bustling farmers’ market with a variety of fresh produce, local goods and food. It’s a great place to experience local flavors.

You are traveling with children, you can take them to the family-friendly Crown Center where you can find many shopping, dining, and entertainment options. It is also home to Union Station and Hallmark Visitors Center.

Best places to stay in Downtown Kansas City for first-timers:

Mid-range ($$): Loews Kansas City, popular 4-star good value for money hotel in central downtown Kansas City, near Power and Light District, close to everything. Easy access to The Kauffman Center, Union Station, and Crown Center. The upper floor rooms have beautiful views. It features an indoor pool, a fitness center, parking, and a 24-hour front desk.

Mid-range ($$): 21c Museum Hotel Kansas City, great 4-star hotel located in the Library District in the heart of Kansas city, close to the Missouri River, and Kansas City Convention Center. Close to many bus and rail lines. You can use a free bus ride to get around instead of using Uber or Lyft.

Mid-range ($$): Crossroads Hotel, 4-star hotel located on Central Street, in Downtown Kansas City, close to the Science City, National WWI Museum and Memorial, Union Station, and Crown Center shopping and entertainment district. 

Budget ($): Hotel Indigo – Kansas City Downtown, an IHG Hotel, 3-star hotel in a great location in central Kansas City in the power and light district, within walking distance of many restaurants and shops. Easy walk to the free light rail.

Budget ($): Holiday Inn Express – Kansas City Downtown, an IHG Hotel, 2-star hotel centrally located in the city center, close to the Sprint Center, Convention Center, and The City Hall. It has a free buffet breakfast, fitness facilities, and a business center.


2. Country Club Plaza Area

The Country Club Plaza area is a great base in Kansas City, especially  if you’re looking for a unique, upscale shopping and dining experience with a more relaxed atmosphere.

The Plaza is known for its unique Spanish-inspired architecture, including beautiful fountains, courtyards, and tiled designs. It’s a picturesque area with a distinct and charming atmosphere.

You’ll find a mix of high-end retailers, boutiques, and specialty shops. There’s a wide range of dining options, from fine dining restaurants to trendy cafes and bistros.

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art is located near the Plaza and is home to an impressive collection of art, including works from various cultures and time periods. The museum itself is an architectural gem.

Nearby parks, such as Loose Park, provide a peaceful escape. Loose Park is known for its rose garden and expansive green spaces, offering a lovely place for a leisurely stroll or a picnic.

Best places to stay in Country Club Plaza Area:

Mid-range ($$): The Fontaine, 4-star gorgeous hotel in a wonderful location, in the center of the Country Club Plaza Shopping District. The hotel has free shuttle service, parking, a rooftop swimming pool, and 2 restaurants. The rooms are soundproof and spacious.

Mid-range ($$): The Raphael Hotel, Autograph Collection, 4-star good value for money accommodation in a great location, a few mins walk from the Country Club Plaza, which offers many shopping opportunities.

Mid-range ($$): The Truitt, 4-star good value for money hotel, located within walking distance to the Nelson-Atkins Museum and many restaurants. It has family rooms and free parking, which is great for those who have a car.

Budget ($): Hampton Inn & Suites Country Club Plaza, 3-star hotel near the historic Country Club Plaza where you can find lots of shops and restaurants. It has an indoor pool and a very good hot buffet breakfast according to guest reviews.


In conclusion, Downtown Kansas City and Country Club Plaza are the best places to stay in in Kansas City for first-timers and tourists. You can find some good quality accommodations in these areas.

You can continue reading about other cities in Missouri in these articles:

There you have it, my recommendations for the most popular and safest neighborhoods that you can stay during your first trip to Kansas City. I hope you enjoyed my article and find it both informative and helpful.

If you have any questions or would like to share your thoughts, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. Your feedback is invaluable and helps me continue to create more quality content.

About Author: Ocean Cameron

I'm Ocean, founder and main editor of travelhotelexpert.com. I’m a passionate traveler who specializes in uncovering the best hotels and locations in every city, especially for first-timers, all without the need for a car.

Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links. This means that, at absolutely no additional cost to you, I'll earn a small commission if you click through and purchase something I've recommended. I only recommend products that I use myself or firmly believe in. Thank you!

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