Saturday, April 1, 2017

Spring Break in Kansas City

Hey gang!  I'm dropping in to share a post I recently shared on my travel blog,  Enjoy!

When ten days of spring break leaves you with only two free days, you gotta make due with what's available.  While Des Moines is an awesome place to live, work, and play, it's proximity to other midwest cities is pretty great too.  The Twin Cities are just over three and a half hours north, and Kansas City is just under three hours south, making both ideal for quick weekend getaways.  And both have IKEAs, so there's that.  

Once again, we decided to head to Kansas City for a brief getaway filled with shopping, food, and - you guess it, IKEA.  And I really mean brief; we left Thursday mid-day and came home Friday in time for our weekly bar trivia with friends. 

Our plans came together quickly too; Tuesday I booked a king suite using Hilton Honors points.  King suites are our preferred hotel type; giving the teenager a bit more privacy to stay up late or sleep in.  They usually have a fridge which makes picking up a few snacks at the grocery store cheaper than eating every meal out.  

We ate a late lunch on the road and rolled into Kansas City just before rush hour.  After a quick detour thanks to Google Maps confusion, we decided to head to IKEA before the hotel.  Part of the reason for our trip was to pick up a couple things for our home and for my friend Ashlen's new home!  We also were on a mission to scope out dresser options for my mom, resulting in two trips in two days. #nocomplaints
So we did our usual IKEA routine, and then went to our hotel in Miriam, Kansas (a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri).  After recharging for a bit - both ourselves and our phones, we decided on checking out a creole restaurant, Beignet.  Located at City Market, its a small restaurant with limited seating and amazing food.  
I had only gone to City Market on sunny Saturdays in late spring and summer, and March was a very different vibe.  City Market is also home to the Steamboat Arabia, which is a fantastic museum featuring (surprise!) a steamboat from 1856 that sank near Kansas City while loaded with something like 200 tons of cargo that was perfectly preserved until it was discovered in the 1980s.  
But back to dinner - the food was amazing!  We sat at a table outside of the restaurant in an area that would be crowded on market days.  I had shrimp and cheddar grits, James had a crawfish po'boy with a side of jambalaya, and my bonus daughter had mac & cheese with andouille sausage.  As we ordered at the counter, she pointed out a jug on the counter called 'Swamp Juice'; a homemade punch with mango, raspberry, and other juices and we both were glad we tried it!  As we devoured our savory dishes, an older couple exited and asked how we liked everything.  We sang our praises and she asked about James' jambalaya, and he ended up offering her a bite with an unused utensil as her husband shook his head in laughter.  After walking around City Market some, we stopped by a nearby Asian market and grabbed snacks.  I was super excited to find cracker nuts, a treat I loved when I lived in the Philippines.  
We crashed as soon as we were back at the hotel.  Our hotel routine works really well for the suite set up; James and I shower and get cleaned up and then wake up the kid as we go down for breakfast, giving her privacy to get herself ready and dressed for the day.  Once she joins us, then we can start our day.  This time we were a bit put off by an unaccompanied kid who touched about half of the breakfast roll selection, so we decided to wait and grab breakfast at IKEA where we needed to pick up one last thing (that turned to six last things).  And the Swedish pancakes were amazing!  Before we left, we were excited to meet up with  some friends from Des Moines who happened to be staying at our same hotel!
After IKEA, we drove out to Kansas City, Kansas to Cabela's and Legends Outlet Mall.  We've visited both before on previous trips for Spring Break and when we took the Bonus Kid and her friends to Van's Warped Tour in nearby Bonner Springs, Kansas.  At Cabela's we saw this unnecessary kit... I'd be happy to share the recipe - homemade is better!  After Cabela's we went to Legends Outlet Mall where we all found stuff to buy.  I got a new travel purse in anticipation of some upcoming travel to warmer weather, the bonus kid found all sorts of deals, and James hit the jackpot at Gap's clearance section.  The weather was perfect for walking around the outlet mall, and got me excited for the outlet mall opening soon just outside of Des Moines.  In the mean time, we've got the Tanger Outlet mall in Williamsburg, Iowa, about an hour and a half outside of Des Moines.  
After lunch at Zaxby's - a first for James and the Bonus Kid, we headed back towards Kansas City, Missouri to visit the Airline History Museum.  It was interesting and had a couple real plans to tour, but our tour guide wasn't a great storyteller which was the only downside.  The tour is about an hour and they close at 4pm, so make sure you're there by 3pm.  There is a nearby museum for TWA, hopefully we'll make time to stop there on a future visit.  
After the museum, we started the trek back home, arriving with enough time to unpack before meeting friends for dinner.  All in all, it was a great mini getaway for Spring Break!