Kansas City was one of the wettest cities in America even during the Prohibition era. Taste of Kansas City Food Tours takes you back to the era of illicit alcohol with the help of four stops where guests are served either a Prohibition-style cocktail or the stop’s signature drink, plus a little pizza at the end to soak it all up. The tour includes a deep history of how Boss Tom Pendergast’s mafia operation maintained its power. “It’s an experience as opposed to the transportation of being bused from a distillery or brewery from place to place,” tour guide Rebekah Bloom says. $96, 3.5 hours. Saturdays 4:30–8 pm. tasteofkansascityfoodtours.com.
This tour includes five to six stops for local food staples like barbecue and tacos. The rotation of restaurants changes but tends to be meat-centric. “It’s definitely a carnivore tour,” Bloom says. “If you’re a vegetarian, this is probably not the tour for you.” $82, 3 hours. Thursdays–Saturdays 1–4 pm. tasteofkansascityfoodtours.com.
This tour offers drink recommendations and a designated driver all in one. Guests can pick up to three locations from a list and spend about an hour at each one. It’s mainly focused on microbreweries, but you can request wineries and distilleries. Guests are on their own once they are at the location (and drinks at each location are not included in the tour price). The driver will come to hang out, take pictures and answer any kind of questions that the group might have about the area. “What’s attractive about our tours is that the groups enjoy hanging out with themselves and having a good time,” says owner Matt McKinnie. “Instead of having someone talking to them the entire time, they’re able to enjoy the group that they’re with.” $300 for 10 or fewer people, 4 hours. Saturdays 1–9:30 pm. kcbeertour.com.
Graffiti & Mural Tour
Here’s a tour in Kansas City that has a personal touch. Laura Miller, a local tour guide, has walking tours throughout Kansas City, one of which is the Walking Mural and Graffiti Tour. The tour, which takes place in the west and east Crossroads, is about a three-mile walk that is not only mobility-accessible but family-friendly. Miller can customize the tour to her guests if need be.
“The content is constantly changing,” Miller says. “There are always new murals that are popping up. It’s thought-provoking, and there’s a lot of conversations, like ‘What do you think the artist was thinking about? How does this mural speak to you?’” $50, 2 hours. By appointment. Contact Laura Miller through toursbylocals.com.
J. Rieger’s Distillery Tour takes guests behind the scenes of their distillery—with an included tasting, of course. Dating back to 1887 with a resurrection in 2014, J. Rieger marked eight years of Kansas City whiskey in October. The tour begins with a ten-minute film about the company’s and Kansas City’s history. Tour guides will take the guests onto the production floor with four operating stills so they can get up close and personal with whiskey, gin and vodka production. Then they head off to see the barrel-aging process of over three thousand whiskey barrels. The tour concludes with a tasting of Rieger & Co.’s four core spirits. You can discover three more bars outside the tasting room and a forty-foot slide, too. “In a world right now where the craft spirits market is so vast, being able to find this genuine story about a family and how we resurrected it I think is my favorite part of who we are,” says staffer Andi Ryan. $20, 1 hour. Times vary daily. jriegerco.com/tourjriegerco.
This tour is narrated by a costumed gangster on board the tour bus. The tour starts at Union Station with the Kansas City massacre and makes its way through Kansas City’s gangster past. The gangster tour guides are well-versed, far beyond the script, with ten to twenty years of experience. “A local who might know a lot of the story learns a lot more by seeing it all together in one,” says Terry O’Toole, the company’s GM. “A gangster historian telling you a true-life story that comes across like a novel makes it unique in so many ways.” $29, 1.5 hours. Saturdays 10 am–2 pm. kansascitytransportationgroup.com.
Staying awake during a tour couldn’t be easier with The Roasterie tour. It delves into the company’s thirty years of history and the origin of coffee and coffee roasting. A coffee sampling is included in the tour. “There’s no wrong way to drink coffee,” says staffer Suzanne Gunning. “Watching people’s reactions and what they like and gravitate towards is always always fun.” $5, free for children under 10. 1 hour. Mondays–Fridays 10 am-noon, Saturdays 8 am–noon. theroasterie.com.