Last Updated on May 27, 2014 by Jody Halsted
Crown Center is an all-in-one family fun zone. Truly. From shopping to dining, free entertainment indoors and out, live theater, Kaleidoscope, and the Hallmark visitor’s Center this is an attraction unto itself!
Crown Center was designed as a mixed-use development and covers 85 acres. First envisioned by the founder of Hallmark Cards and his son the Crown Center development has helped to redevelop the area. Crown Center has more than 2 million square feet of office space, 300,000 square feet of leasable space in the shopping center , a six-acre residential community and two hotels: the Westin Crown Center and the Hyatt Regency Crown Center.
Probably the greatest part of the entire area, though is Crown Center Square, home to Kansas City’s largest fountain – a very popular place to cool off in the summer – free summer movies and concerts, the Ice Terrace in the winter and great local events all year long.
Free things to do:
The Hallmark Visitors Center: With exhibits that are always changing and the chance to visit with the craftiest people at Hallmark. The tour is interactive so it’s fun for everyone. Don’t forget to download a coupon for a free gift after your tour!
Kaleidoscope: A free hands-on art experience for kids ages 5-12; sponsored by Hallmark.
Events: Check the events calendar for free events going on both in Crown Center and outside on the Square. Concerts, movies, kids activities… There is always something going on!
Dozens of shops are in Crown Center, including Hall’s (FYI: $$$). Luckily other shops are much more affordable. This interactive map gives you an idea of the diverse offerings.
We made a quick stop in Chips Chocolate Factory where handmade chocolates and imported truffles sit side by side tempting you. Of course the decision isn’t easy. Jumbo peanut butter cup? Chocolate dipped Twinkie sprinkled with M&Ms? Fresh fudge? Or maybe some choose-your-own M&Ms? I recommend the Australian Kookaburra Licorice. Mmmm…
From 4-star to fast food you’ll find all the variety you need. The interactive dining map will direct you to everything from burgers to bagels, custard to creme brulee, steaks to scallops.
For really good burgers and a server like you’ll find nowhere else check out Fritz’s Railroad Restaurant. The railroad theme is everywhere with model trains running throughout the restaurant. The menu is simple- mainly burgers- but quite good. I highly recommend the Jody Burger (and not just because it bears my name, though that is why I got it!) Orders are placed by phone. But it’s the delivery that will wow you:
For kid -and parent- friendly food the Crayola Cafe is a safe bet. The placemats double as an artist’s canvas. There are plenty of food options including salads, sandwiches and wraps, pasta and fish. I suggest splitting an entree and saving room for dessert!
Coterie: Performances for the family plus classes!
American Heartland: Live, Broadway-style productions in a relaxed and personal theatre.
Off Center Theatre: More edgy productions.