Kansas City, known as the "City of Fountains", lies on the border of Kansas and Missouri at a tributary bend where the Kansas River feeds into the Missouri river.
Kansas City has always been in a state of identity crisis; its citizens identify both with Kansas, which is almost entirely rural, and Missouri, which already has one other metropolis, St. Louis, Missouri.
Politically speaking, the border location of the city has been disasterous. The mostly farm-oriented population of Kansas doesn't feel its state taxes should pay for Kansas City, KS's needs, and because the city's voters are divided by state lines, St. Louis has massively more votes in state elections, even though there's arguably more people living in KC.
As far as the city itself is concerned, Greater Kansas City lies on the Missouri side. This is a loop of I-70 and I-35 that wraps around the skyscrapers of what is known as Downtown or "The Loop". The surrounding areas, the West "Bottoms" (named for the fact that much of the area used to be underwater or docklands before the Missouri River was diverted by the Army Corps of Engineers in the 1950's, the name itself is short for "river bottoms"), the City Market to the north and further north, North Kansas City, to the south, midtown, Westport and The Plaza, and to the east, Independence.
On the Kansas side, just over the river of the "bottoms" lies Kansas City, KS. This is a smaller version of a downtown area. There are some skyscrapers, but it essentially is more of a continuation of the Missouri side.
To the southwest of this is Overland Park: Kansas City's shining corporate jewel. This area is where most of the high-tech and financial businesses are relocating, and it shows. Many wealthy people have flocked to this area in the past 15 years.
Directly south of Downtown is Midtown, which harbors much of the hispanic community and also is being revitalized with loft apartments in old warehouse buildings. This area is in a state of flux at the moment, and may soon house a massive performing arts center.
Further south is Westport, which depending on whether or not you live there, is either a fetid blight full of adult entertainment, bars, tatoo parlors and dance clubs; or the heart of local music and liberal culture of the city. Either way, it's the place to go if you feel like getting trashed on a friday night.
South of Westport is the Plaza, easily the most beautiful part of the city. The Plaza (if you live there you pronounce it snobbily "the plah-zah") contains the best restauraunts and the most expensive stores in town, including a branch of Saks Fifth Avenue. The buildings in this area were originally one of the first shopping centers in existence, designed by the J. C. Nichols corporation in the 1930's. The archetecture borrows style seen in Seville, Spain, which is the sister city of Kansas City. I mentioned earlier that Kansas City is known as the "City of Fountains." Take a stroll on the Plaza there's hardly a spot where you are not within thirty feet of a beautiful fountain. Kansas City is only outclassed by Rome in the number of sculptured fountains in the city.
To the east is the suburbian sprawl of Raytown, Lee's Summit, Independence and Blue Springs. Little is worth mentioning about these areas save that Harry S. Truman was born in Independence, Missouri and in the same city, the Community of Christ (formerly the RLDS) has their world headquarters there.
Some notable landmarks:
The National World War I Memorial This is a massive sculpted pillar with an eternally burning gas flame at its apex, built after the War to End All Wars to commemorate those who fought and died in battle. At one time, this memorial was as significant as the Vietnam Memorial is today, but the generation that finds it most relavent is aging.
The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art A very nice art gallery with numerous collections from many different eras. Walt Disney went to art school a few blocks away from this building.
The 18th St. and Vine District This area is considered extremely important to the history of jazz music. It's been recently revitalized by the city and has a series of jazz clubs and restaurants. In addition, it is the home of the Negro Leagues Baseball Hall of Fame.
Bartle Hall If you're in Kansas City for a large convention or trade show, more than likely you will be in this massive complex in west downtown. Its four giant pillars are tipped with pieces of modern art that look a bit like cold-war-era satellites. Ask any local and they'll have a different story about what these scuptures mean. It's a big mystery.
Barbecue This is by far what Kansas City is most famous for, that and Kansas City Strip Steak. Images should come to mind of juicy, sizzling beef morsels barely hanging on the bone. No trip to Kansas City is complete without a pilgrimage to Gates & Sons, Arthur Bryant's, and Smokestack BBQ. People come from all over the world to try these wonderful restaurants.
The Scout "The Scout" is a statue of a Native American on horseback looking out over the city. The best thing about this besides the statue itself is the wonderful view of downtown from where the statue sits.
Please help me write a better node! Send fallacies, mistakes, and omissions to me and I'll include them.
By the way, since Kansas City is both in Kansas and Missouri and doesn't have any geographic or spatial boundaries between KC, Missouri and KC, Kansas, there's really no need to make two seperate nodes, even if it doesn't fit the naming conventions.