WHERE TO STAY: There's no shortage of hotels in the Kansas City metro area, some in Kansas, some in Missouri. Two worth considering in Missouri, both convenient to notable barbecue establishments, are the InterContinental Kansas City at the Plaza (401 Ward Pkwy., 866-856-9717, http://www.kansascityic.com), which offers picturesque views of the adjacent Country Club Plaza district and rooms starting at about $148 a night. The Hyatt Regency Crown Center (2345 McGee St., 888-591-1234, http://www.hyatt.com) has more than 700 rooms and a location not far from both Crown Center and the Power & Light District. Rooms, according to published rates, start at $119, although I paid $54 a night in May by bidding on Priceline.
WHERE TO EAT: Oklahoma Joe's Barbecue has one location in Kansas City, Kan. (3002 W. 47th Ave., 913-722-3366, http://www.oklahomajoesbbq.com) and another in nearby Olathe, Kan. The legendary Z-Man sandwiches are $5.99 and a full slab of terrific ribs goes for $18.59. There are three other Kansas City area locations of Fiorella's Jack Stack Barbecue besides the one I visited (101 W. 22nd St., 816-472-7427, http://www.jackstackbbq.com). A plate of three large beef short ribs goes for $27.95. Gates Bar-B-Q, another Kansas City institution (I visited the one at 3205 Main St., 816-753-0828, http://www.gatesbbq.com), has terrific mutton barbecue ($8.75), heavenly fries ($3.45) and appropriately sinful Yummy Yammer pie ($2.95). The original Arthur Bryant's Barbecue is in the 18th and Vine district (1727 Brooklyn Ave., 816-231-1123, http://www.arthurbryantsbbq.com), but there are two other locations as well. Don't miss the beef brisket sandwiches on Wonder bread ($8.35).
WHAT TO DO: What, barbecue's not enough for you? Not to worry, there's fun aplenty at the city's several downtown entertainment districts, including the new Power & Light District (http://www.powerandlightdistrict.com), Crown Center (http://www.crowncenter.com), Country Club Plaza (http://www.countryclubplaza.com) and the 18th and Vine district (http://www.18thandvinedistrict.org). The last is home to the American Jazz Museum (1616 E. 18th St., 816-474-8463, http://www.americanjazzmuseum.com), the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum (same address, 816-221-1920, http://www.nlbm.com) and the Mutual Musicians Foundation (1823 Highland Ave., 816-471-5212, http://www.thefoundationjamson.org), where tickets to after-hours jam sessions (as in 1:30 to 5:30 a.m.) are just $8.
BARBECUE STAYCATIONS: If your schedule doesn't permit a quick trip to K.C., by all means don't miss the National Capital Barbecue Battle (June 27-28). The annual competition, now in its 17th year, is on Pennsylvania Avenue between Ninth and 14th streets NW and attracts world-class barbecue teams from across the country, not to mention thousands of barbecue-mad onlookers. (Tickets are required.) For more information, visit http://www.bbqdc.com or call 202-828-3099.
Also, June 14 from noon to 5 p.m. at Upper Marlboro's Show Place Arena, you can witness the Beltway BBQ Showdown, in which more than 40 teams will compete. For more information, visit http://www.pgparksandrec.comor call 301-627-2828.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: Kansas City Convention & Visitors Association, http://www.visitkc.com. The Kansas City Barbecue Society, http://www.kcbs.us.