Bustling if somewhat sprawling Kansas City is one of the country's more underrated destinations on a number of fronts: culture, dining, shopping, architecture, and - unquestionably - gay travel. It's laid-back and cultivates an unassuming vibe, making it a place where locals respect and accept each other's differences. And it's where GLBT folks who've grown up in the more conservative surrounding region often gravitate.
The city's Gay Pride KC festival, produced by the Kansas City Diversity Coalition, is set this year for the weekend of June 3 through June 5, 2016.
KC Pride is a three-day festival taking place on Friday, from 6 pm until midnight (tickets cost $5 and include free entry to the popular gay bars Missie B's); Saturday, from noon until 11 pm (tickets are again $5); and Sunday, from noon until 7 pm (it's free this day). The celebration is held at Berkley Riverfront Park, on the Missouri River just a short distance north of downtown and the trendy River Market district.
A number of top DJs and musicians will be on hand - here's the latest on KC Pride entertainers, who include Cyon Flare, DJ Barry Harris, Josh Zuckerman, Material Girl, MK Nobilette, and the First Ladies of Disco. Here's a map to the festivities and a detailed schedule of KC Pride events throughout the weekend.
Where to Stay in Kansas City during Gay Pride
If you're looking for great place to stay, the Hampton Inn & Suites Kansas City-Country Club Plaza is offering a special KC Gay Pride Package that includes discounted rates and two tickets to the Pride Festival.
Here's a link to the package and reservations page. Other excellent and gay-welcoming lodging options close to the city's inviting Midtown and Westport areas include the lovely, upscale Raphael Hotel Kansas City and the posh InterContinental Hotel Kansas City, but if you're looking to be closer to the actual festival, you might consider a downtown property.
The whimsically decorated Holiday Inn Kansas City Downtown-Aladdin and the historic Hotel Phillips, a landmark since the 1930s, both fit the bill.
Kansas City Gay Resources
When Pride is going on, the city's many gay bars and other businesses offer plenty of special events and parties throughout Gay Pride. Check out the excellent local paper Camp KC, for more information; another terrific resource on the Kansas City gay scene is LIKE ME Lighthouse, the city's LGBT Community Center, which was founded in 2010 by the talented and openly lesbian country music songstress, Chely Wright. And be sure to check out the informative gay visitor site produced by the Kansas City Convention & Visitors Bureau website.