We asked, and downtown Kansas City residents have spoken — tell us about living downtown. The best parts, the practical things, and especially the "wish-I-had-known-that!" tips that show what living downtown is all about. Have topics or areas that you would like us to cover? Share your questions, ideas, tips or more with us on Twitter using #DTKCliving or on Facebook.
By David Johnson, Crossroads Resident
Greater downtown’s retail environment has improved dramatically since I moved to the Crossroads in 2004. We went from tumbleweeds after 5pm to a self-contained community in the space of a decade. After I decided to give up my car in 2008, I forced myself to find just about everything I could within walking distance.
Now there are even more options for everyday (and not-so-everyday) items available stepping foot in a car. Target addicts: Step away from the car keys.
Downtown finally got a semi-full-service pet store (you can’t actually buy pets) in 2014. Tail Waggin’ PetStop (1818 Wyandotte) is perched on a convenient corner in the Film Row section of the Crossroads and caters to those interested in high quality pet food and supplies. Mass market offerings are available at Cosentino’s.
Questionable prices and conditions abound, but it’s always fun to poke through the stacks of vinyl records at a few of greater downtown’s thrift stores. My favorites are the River Market Antique Mall (115 W. 5th) and The Space (1412 W. 12th). And, yes, you can walk to the West Bottoms on the 12th Street Viaduct!
Why would you need a rubber stamp in this day and age? If you decide to become a notary public you’ll need one (and the notary log book!). Justrite Rubber Stamp and Seal (1701 Locust) was unfortunately muscled out of the South Loop to make way for the Power & Light District, but their new home in the Crossroads is easy to find. For a bonus, check out the street art adorning many buildings in this part of downtown.
If you’re ever in a pinch for a random cable, charger, or tiny flat screen TV, check out the small electronics selection at CVS (911 Main). Check out their office supplies, too, while you’re there... skipping the need for suburban big boxes like Best Buy and Staples.
Downtown now boasts retail outlets for Sprint (161 E. 14th) and T-Mobile (21 E. 12th). Walk there and get a new phone, or just browse accessories. Are you on AT&T or Verizon? Well, consider switching to support downtown retail.
Netflix is great, but it’s missing a lot of options. The Central Library (14 W. 10th) is treasure trove of titles that probably aren’t streaming. Being free to borrow is a major bonus.
Hilliard Gallery (1820 McGee) is just one of several options for your First Friday art (affordably) framed without schlepping out to Hobby Lobby.
Insight Eye Care (1518 Walnut) carries a small, but well-focused selection of frames. You can also get an exam... then head next door for a glass of wine at Tannin Wine Bar.
Finally you can actually buy a Metro bus pass at the center of the system any day of the week. Cosentino’s (10 E. 13th) service counter carries them, if you’re not into buying them online (which carries a fee).
(Quality) kitchen stuff
Crown Center’s got real retail! Function Junction’s last remaining store at 2450 Grand is crammed full of gadgets and barware. Frequent sales are worth staking out, plus they also do culinary demonstrations.
Of course, spending your money in the downtown area tells retailers there’s a market here, which should lead to more retail options in the future. Get out and walk your errands!