While it may surprise first-time visitors, Kansas City has emerged as an American crossroads for arts and culture. Take, for starters, Kansas City’s trio of acclaimed art museums, which continue to gather praise from the likes of Time, New York Post and Vanity Fair. Or the fact that the Kansas City region is home to more than 375 arts organizations, presenting diverse offerings acrtoss several mediums. And let’s not forget that KC boasts the Crossroads Arts District, one of America’s most densely concentrated arts neighborhoods.

But that’s just the start. Beneath the surface, the arts are integral to the very fabric of Kansas City, influencing almost every aspect of life here. From the founding of Hallmark Cards and a large concentration of sports architectural firms, to the city’s affinity for public art and its supportive business community, arts are on the rise everywhere you look. 

And people are definitely taking note. At last count, the local arts scene attracted more than 4.4 million patrons each year—that’s twice the size of the metro’s population.

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts – This $413 million downtown addition has changed the Kansas City skyline. The privately-funded Kauffman Center was designed by renowned architect Moshe Safdie and now serves as the new home to KC’s acclaimed ballet, opera and symphony companies. The facility’s soaring dual arches contain two spacious performance halls: a 1,800-seat performance theatre and a 1,600-seat concert hall.

Todd bolender Center for dance and Creativity – This community jewel has earned the respect of the national dance community as well as the city and region. The 25-member Kansas City Ballet has a new headquarters near Union Station, just minutes from downtown. The building is named in honor of Todd Bolender, who served as artistic director from 1981 to 1995.

Kansas City isn’t a newcomer to the arts scene – In fact its legacy of more than 125 years of artistic and entrepreneurial creativity built the city. Here are three more reasons to visit this fall:

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art – Housing a collection of more than 33,500 works of art, from antiquity to present day. The Nelson’s Bloch Building was named as one of the “World’s Most Beautiful Buildings” by Travel + Leisure in 2011.

Contemporary Art – In 2008, Kansas City joined the short list of American cities its size to offer two contemporary art museums when the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art opened in Overland Park, Kan. It joined the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, which houses a virtual who’s who among contemporary artists, such as Georgia O’Keeffe, Jasper Johns and Robert Mapplethorpe.

Kansas City Repertory Theatre – Now in its 45th season, The Rep, under the direction of artistic director Eric Rosen, is receiving accolades for recent productions from The Wall Street Journal and Time magazine.

To plan your visit or for more information about Kansas City, go to VisitKC.com or call 800-767-7700.