There is some great shopping in KC. Make sure to explore:
The Country Club Plaza: This was the first shopping center built by J.C. Nichols in the 1920’s in a Moorish style similar to the buildings you might see in Seville Spain. It is not enclosed but is a 15 square block area filled with fountains, restaurants, cafes and great shopping. Many of the local stores have been replaced by national specialty stores. If you can see it at Christmas, the Plaza is at its best with colored lights outlining every building and covering every tree. It is a magical place to visit at this time of year with one of the most festive holiday traditions in the country.
Westport: Kansas City was started in this area in 1833 as Westport. Today it is a small area of bars, movie theaters, restaurants and shops. I like Tea Drops, at 4111 Pennsylvania, for its selection of teas. Prydes of Old Westport, just east of Westport at 115 Westport Rd., is a gourmet housewares and kitchen and home accessories store. The Upper Crust, on the second floor, is a small family-owned bakery specializing in made-from-scratch pies, cookies and quiche.
Crown Center: This is the area surrounding Hallmark’s headquarters between the Plaza and downtown Kansas City. It has a newly refurbished Hall’s store along with others that appeal mainly to children.
Crestwood Shops: I always enjoy the Crestwood Shops, just south of the Plaza at 55th St. between Brookside Blvd. and Oak St. I like Aixois, French restaurant and coffee bar, and George, a lifestyle store, for antiques, textiles, ceramics, table top, apparel, accessories and jewelry. The Tea Market is also a good store to explore.
Other great choices include:
Asiatica: Make sure you have time to visit Asiatica. They make wonderful women’s clothing from vintage Japanese kimonos. They also carry antiques, ceramics and women’s jewelry and accessories. They are west of the Plaza at 4824 Rainbow Boulevard, Westwood, Kansas.
Nell Hills: The flagship store is no longer in Atchison, KS but located in North Kansas City, this is a wonderful home accessories and furnishings store with somewhat of a traditional focus. Mary Carol Garrett has written a number of books on entertaining. I have collected a number of her pieces over the years from Christmas ornaments to accessories.
Prospero’s, at 1800 W. 39th, is known for having a huge selection of used books.
Oracle Fine Curiosities: Shells, bones, taxidermy and pelts, framed insects, taxidermy and butterflies, crystals and stones. It reminded me of the treasures in the castle in Prague. 130 W. 18th. Next door is Fraction Print Studio next door for its gallery and classes.
Westside Storey: A fun store featuring local KC merchandise and gift items. 1701 Summit.
A great new find at 2616 Guinotte Ave., next to the Local Pig in the East Bottoms neighborhood, is Urban Provisions General Store. They bill themselves as a general store for the modern taste-maker and feature many local products. Here you can find items from art, soaps and candles to gift items, cocktail mixes and specialty sauces.