7 Great Guided Tours in Kansas City

Prohibition tour

Kansas City was one of the wettest cities in America even during the Prohibition era. Taste of Kansas City Food Tours take you back to the era of illegal alcohol with four stops where guests are served either a Prohibition-style cocktail or the stop’s signature drink, plus a small pizza to soak it all up. The tour covers the deep history of how boss Tom Pendergast’s mob operation has maintained its power. “It’s an experience unlike being transported from place to place by bus from a distillery or brewery,” says guide Rebekah Bloom. $96, 3.5 hours. Saturday 16:30-20:00. tasteofkansascityfoodtours.com.

Foodie Tour

This tour includes five to six stops for local foods like barbecue and tacos. The rotation of restaurants varies, but tends to focus on meat. “It’s definitely a carnivorous tour,” says Bloom. “If you’re a vegetarian, this probably isn’t the tour for you.” $82, 3 hours. Thursday–Saturday 1–4 p.m. tasteofkansascityfoodtours.com.

Beer tour

This tour offers drinking advice and a designated driver all in one. Guests can choose up to three locations from the list and spend about an hour at each. It focuses primarily on microbreweries, but you can apply for wineries and distilleries. Guests are on their own (and drinks at each location are not included in the tour price). The driver will come to hang out, take pictures and answer any questions the group might have about the area. “The attractive thing about our tours is that groups enjoy spending time with themselves and having a good time,” says owner Matt McKinnie. “Instead of someone talking to them all the time, they can enjoy the group they’re with.” $300 for 10 people or less, 4 hours. Saturday 1:30-9:30 p.m. kcbeertour.com.

Tour of graffiti and murals

Here’s a Kansas City tour that has a personal touch. Laura Miller, a local guide, has walking tours all over Kansas City, one of which is the Walking Mural and Graffiti Tour. The tour, which takes place at the west and east intersection, is about a three-mile walk that is not only mobility accessible, but also family friendly. Miller can customize a tour for his guests if needed.

“The content is constantly changing,” says Miller. “There are always new murals. It’s thought-provoking and there’s a lot of conversation, like “What do you think the artist was thinking? How does this mural speak to you?'” $50, 2 hours. By appointment. Contact Laura Miller via toursbylocals.com.

Distillery tour

The J. Riegra Distillery Tour takes guests behind the scenes of their distillery – with a tasting, of course. Dating back to 1887 with a resurrection in 2014, J. Rieger celebrated eight years of Kansas City whiskey in October. The tour begins with a ten-minute film about the history of the company and Kansas City. Guides take guests to the production floor with four working stills to get up close and personal with whiskey, gin and vodka production. They then head out to see the aging process of over three thousand whiskey barrels. The tour ends with a tasting of Rieger & Co.’s four core distillates. Outside the tasting room, you can discover three more bars and also a forty-meter slide. “In today’s world where the craft spirits market is so huge, I think being able to find this true story of a family and how we resurrected it is my favorite part of who we are,” says employee Andi Ryan. $20, 1 hour. Times change every day. jriegerco.com/tourjriegerco.

Gangster Tour

Photo by Katie Brewer

This tour is narrated by a costumed gangster on board the bus. The tour begins at Union Station with the Kansas City Massacre and travels through Kansas City’s gangster past. Gangster guides are skilled, well beyond the script, with ten to twenty years of experience. “Locals who may know a lot of the story will learn a lot more when they see it all together,” says Terry O’Toole, the company’s CEO. “A gangster historian who tells you a true story that appears as a novel is unique in many ways.” $29, 1.5 hours. Saturdays 10am-2pm. kansascitytransportationgroup.com.

Coffee Tour

Photo courtesy of The Roasterie.

Staying awake while on tour couldn’t be easier with The Roasterie Tour. It will delve into the thirty-year history of the company and the origins of coffee and coffee roasting. The tour includes a coffee tasting. “There’s no wrong way to drink coffee,” says employee Suzanne Gunning. “Watching people’s reactions and what they like and gravitate towards is always fun.” $5, free for children 10 and under. 1 hour. Monday-Friday 10 a.m.-10 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m.-12 p.m. theroasterie.com.

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