On the fancy-ish side:
- The Farmhouse: This restaurant prides itself on serving “farm to table, tip to tail” food. While sourcing locally and wasting nearly nothing, you can enjoy a meal that will comfort you all around — from your heart (for all the ethical reasons) and to your belly (for all the scrumptious reasons).
- Anton’s Taproom: Part restaurant/part butcherie/part taproom/part fish farmer (seriously, though, there’s an aquaponics system in the basement that allows them to raise their own tilapia) — there really isn’t much Anton’s doesn’t touch on.
- The Rieger: Everything about The Rieger feels artisan — from the artwork on the walls, to the hand-crafted cocktails and elegant menu items. Enjoy a meal fit for a tuxedo, but in your favorite pair of jeans instead.
On the more casual side:
- Il Lazzarone: There’s pizza and then there’s Il Lazzarone Neapolitan Pizza. Full of flavor and with a never-ending list of options and combinations, Il Lazzarone brings fresh flavor to a traditional style of pizza that’s hundreds of years in the making.
- Q39: Although relatively new to the local BBQ scene, Q39 holds its own. They strive for perfection not only with flavor but also with their competition-grade presentation.They manage to barbecue classy and beautiful.
- The Westside Local: From small plates to creative entrees, The Westside Local strives to support local growers and business as much as possible. Bonus: Most menu items provide a suggested beer pairing.
- Ça Va: This intimate champagne bar is a slice of heaven. Sip on a glass of bubbly while sharing a charcuterie board and mussels. At least once a month, they feature entertainment from a local musicians.
- Julep: These elegant cocktails will put hair on your chest. A drink at Julep gets you a pass to the cool kids table.
- Manifesto: Escape to this underground “speakeasy,” where the lights are dim, the drinks are unique, and cell phone usage is strongly discouraged.
- Doughnut Lounge: Has there ever been a better marriage of words than “doughnut” and “lounge”? A carbivore’s paradise, there’s a treat for every taste bud: from donuts to nonuts, to coffee and cocktails.
- Betty Rae’s Ice Cream: Whether you’re craving a “boozey” adult milkshake or a matcha green tea cookie with strawberry ice cream, Betty Rae’s has 24 house-made ice cream flavors to choose from.
- Aixois: For the more sophisticated palate, this French bistro features fine wines and even finer desserts. Sip on cognac, while you crack into your crème brûlée
- Unicorn Theatre: Enjoy an evening of live entertainment at a community theatre known for bringing bold, provocative plays to the stage. These aren’t your grandmother’s musicals — these productions are smart, edgy and thought-provoking.
- Tivoli Cinema: Sick of all the mainstream movies? Head to the Tivoli for an artsy flick. A vast majority of their movies are exceptional and are more engaging on an intellectual level than the latest Marvel blockbuster
- Green Lady Lounge: Slow down your pace and catch some live jazz from local musicians at Green Lady Lounge. They’ve created an atmosphere that highlights KC’s jazz tradition, allowing you to have an evening free of everyday distractions like blaring televisions or cell phones.
- Up-Down: Kansas City Arcade Bar: Experience a blast from your past with more than 50 arcade games from the ‘80s and ‘90s, pinball machines, skeeball, Nintendo and more. Games are just a quarter to play, the music is bumping and the craft beer selection is impressive.
- BreakOut KC: You and your date (and up to six other friends) will be locked in a room for 60 minutes and must follow a series of clues and puzzles to break out in time.
- Chicken N Pickle: Want to burn a few calories during your night out? Pickleball, a distant cousin to wiffle ball and paddle pall, is a fast-growing trend across the nation. After a few matches on the court, make your way outside to their open bar and restaurant, which also includes lawn games, fire pits and large TVs.
- Cupini’s Italian Deli: Learn to make a four-course Italian meal at Cupini’s. They serve wine throughout the class, so whether you’re stuffing tortellini or rolling cannolis, you’ll have a good time.
- The Local Pig: Try your hand at meat butchering (and go home with up to 10 lbs of meaty loot!). And nothing says romance like an “Introduction to Sausage Making” class.
- The Culinary Center of Kansas City: If meat butchering isn’t your thing, consider checking out a class at the Culinary Center. With classes on everything from wine pairing to pastry making, you’re sure to learn something and go home with a full belly.
Honorable mentions: Tours at the Boulevard Brewing Company or Roasterie Coffee; Char Bar (food and yard games galore); Tapcade (movies, food and arcade games), and Standees Theatres (dinner and a movie).