Gay Kansas City
Emergency measures in the wake of Covid-19:
There are restrictions on the entry of some travelers into the United States in an effort to help slow the spread of COVID-19. See the CDC website for details and updates.
For local Covid-19 updates see the websites of the City of Kansas City, Missouri, Missouri DHSS, and Kansas DHE.
In the early 19th century, the Westport community of Kansas City was the trailhead for legendary destinations that included Santa Fe, California, and the Oregon Trail. Today, this historical district is now the center of the Kansas City gay community.
There are real cowboys here — lots of queer folks from the Ozarks and the Texas Panhandle. Their stories can be vivid and heartbreaking a very different spin on gay life outside the usual urban metropolis. A great place to catch up with these cowpokes is at the Wyandotte County Fairgrounds, especially during the Missouri Gay Rodeo Association’s Show-Me State Rodeo over the Labor Day Weekend.
Cowboys aside, Kansas City also presents a surprisingly robust theater and cabaret scene, complementing a fine array of dance halls, saloons, and edgy drag shows. The folks here have fun, and so will you.
Other dates on the LGBT calendar include: the Kansas City G&L Film & Video Festival screening throughout the year; Gay Pride KC festival beside the Missouri River in early June; and the Bear Crossing weekend in August. The Kansas City FilmFest takes place in April.
Kansas City International Airport is about 8 miles northwest of downtown. There are shuttle buses to get to your hotel and the KCRT operates buses to and from KCI every day of the week. Pay $1.50 (exact change only) for a regular one-way fare to or from the airport. A taxi will set you back around $60 for a trip downtown or to The Plaza.
Kansas City spreads out in every direction, in two states, so most people prefer a car to get around. If you want to hop the bus check out the RideKC website for maps, schedules and fares. In local abbreviations KCMO is east of the state line, and KCKS to the west. Their 3-Day Pass for $8, provides unlimited rides three consecutive days on regular RideKC local and MAX servic.
Media & Resources
Camp is the print and online voice for the gay communities of Kansas City and surrounding areas in Missouri and Kansas. Pitch is the alternative weekly paper, gay-friendly, with arts, restaurant reviews, and events listings.
The LGCC-KC Community Center and Gay Pride Kansas City have combined to become the Kansas City Diversity Coalition, with events including Pride in June.
The University of Missouri Kansas City LGBTQIA program features conferences and film screenings, plus various activities during their April Pride Month.
The KC Bear Mafia has events for bears, cubs and friends throughout the year, including their Bear Crossing weekend in late July.
For general tourist information see Visit KC, and Visit Kansas City Kansas.
For map locations and website links to the businesses below, and more, see our gay Kansas City listings pages.
Nightclubs, bars, and restaurants
Bistro 303 (303 Westport), gay-friendly, French-bistro-inspired daytime lunch and weekend brunch, evening martinis, appetizers, entrees and sandwiches, courtyard patio.
Cafe Trio & Starlet Lounge (4558 Main), modern American cuisine restaurant, martini/cocktail lounge, jazz entertainment, regional artists work on display, deck overlooking Plaza and Nichols Fountain.
Hamburger Mary's (3700 Broadway Blvd), gay exuberance, burger/sandwich/entree restaurant, nightly Glam Bar, trivia & bingo games, DJs, Sunday brunch.
Missie B's (805 W. 39th), nightly entertainment, six nights of DJ dancing, "always good times with good friends." Drag shows five nights, karaoke, Flo and Dirty Dorothy shows, Sunday T-Dance and beer bust, weekend leather shop.
Sidekicks Saloon (3707 Main St), saloon, mixed dance hall, mostly men, cowboys, leathermen, bears. Weekend country-music dancing, nightly games, darts, and pool games. Contests for cash prizes, drag shows, beer busts.
Sidestreet (413 E 33rd), a long-time neighborhood bar and grill, outdoor patio, mainly guys, leather store.
Woody's Classic Sports Pub (3740 Broadway Blvd), sports-pub sliders, sandwiches, burgers/dogs, nachos, wings, salads and big breakfasts.
CLOSED: Buddies (3715 Main St), neighborhood bar, loyal customers, pool table, games, TV sports; Industry Video Bar (3700 Broadway Blvd), videos, games; Social (1118 McGee) restaurant, bar/lounge & dance club; Uptown Arts Bar (3611 Broadway Blvd), gay-friedly comedy, burlesque, open-mic, poetry and music venue; also KCKS neighborhood bars The View and The Fox.
For restaurants/cafes and more bar locations, see our Kansas City gay map & listings tab.
816 Hotel (801 Westport Rd, Westport; 816-931-1000), hip new gay-friendly hotel with KC history on their walls, guestroom work-out machines; at the center of district full of shops, restaurants and bars, full breakfast included, free evening cocktail, high-speed WiFi.
See our lodgings listings for more area accommodations with web links.
Shopping and restaurants
The Westport Road area has shopping, dining, and entertainment, just off Main Street. Another cluster of restaurants on 39th Street at the Missouri-Kansas state line includes a variety of ethnic cuisines.
The Country Club Plaza is a 15 block high-end retail and restaurant district with a year-round calendar of music and special events, a little south of Westport, down Main Street.
The Kansas City Power & Light District is a downtown cluster of stores, restaurants, and entertainment venues along Main and Walnut Streets, between 12th and North Truman.
The Crown Center on Grand Blvd in KCMO, has three levels of shops and restaurants, plus the Coteriea Theatre, a Screenland cinema, LegoLand, the Sea Life Aquarium and the Westin Crown Center Hotel.
Many bars serve food, and most restaurants serve drinks. Besides these below see under "bars" above - plus others on our full list on the map & listings/restaurant tab, with locations and web links for all.
Broadway Cafe & Roastery has two nearby outlets (301 Westport and 4106 Broadway). They roast and serve their own artisan-crafted brews here, but alas, no wi-fi connections.
Prospero's Books & Media (1800 W 39th St, Westport), high quality gently used books, CDs and and viny, DVDs and VHS movies, organic coffee, plus live music, readings, poetry, and film screenings.
The Westport Coffeehouse (4010 Pennsylvania, Westport), pleasant hangout with panini, coffees, rich deserts, and internet access - on your laptop or one of their computers. Also with evening live music and other shows.
CLOSED: Chubby's (3756 Broadway), the all-day diner for over 20 years, closed in late 2018.
Cinema & Theater
The Tivoli Films at The Nelson-Atkins Museum (4525 Oak St) screens arthouse foreign, classic and cult films throughout the year, including those of gay interest. Formerly the cinema on Pennsylvania Avenue in Westport, until late 2019.
The Kansas City LGBT Film Festival, formerly at The Tivoli, now screens films at Unity Temple on the Plaza, in late June, with 50 films in five days this past year.
The Kansas City Repertory Theatre (4949 Cherry St) has interesting productions, and the Unicorn Theatre (3828 Main St) has fare that's always compelling, and frequently gay-tinged.
Other entertainment options include: the Folly Theatre (300 W 12th St) former vaudeville hall, now a Downtown performing arts venue; and the Uptown Theater (3700 Broadway Blvd), a classic 1920s-era theater with film, music, and performing-arts events in Westport.
Prohibition Hall (1118 McGee St), in the old Social location, offers a wide range of live music performances on stage, a good sound system, and two bars.