Expert Tips


Best Shopping Malls and Centers in Kansas City

Kansas City Malls and Retail Neighborhoods Are Full of Great Shopping Opportunities

Convenience, accessibility, and selection are the hallmarks of shopping throughout Kansas City, whether you hit a suburban mall or stroll through a cozy, long-established retail neighborhood. Park your car and head inside or exercise your legs across multiple urban blocks. You'll find the latest fashions from nationally known name brands, to funky style at one-of-a-kind boutiques. Shopping with the kids? They'll love choosing new art supplies or helping you create a handcrafted Teddy bear. You can buy natural cosmetics or a wide variety of accessories to top-of-the-line athletic wear and the latest in tech equipment. Then grab a snack at a food court or a locally owned restaurant. Enjoy old-school ambiance in the Brookside Shopping District, a weekend festival atmosphere amid City Market vendor booths and shops, and recently renovated surroundings inside Oak Park Mall or Independence Center. And there's no better place to shop 'til you drop, while catching a beautiful glimpse of Kansas City history, than at the Country Club Plaza.  


Conveniently located near I-70 and Highway 291, this three-story, climate-controlled shopping mall features 117 retail shops. Purchase current fashions at PINK Victoria Secret or American Eagle Outfitters, and accessories from Claire's or Jared, The Galleria of Jewelry. Buy candles or international gifts, craft a custom stuffed bear, and sample sweets during your visit as well. Supplements and shoes, great games and officially licensed headwear representing dozens of sports teams are here too. In addition, shops like Abercrombie & Fitch, Macy's and Dillard's appeal to the entire family. When the kids grow restless check out the children's play area, which features a double decker carousel. There's no need to shop hungry either, when you can snack on hot pretzels, fresh cookies and premium coffee, and sit down to Asian noodles or classic bistro fare. On Kansas City's outskirts, this recently renovated mall still draws great crowds.

Recommended for Shopping Malls and Centers because: Independence Center provides relaxed indoor suburban shopping east of the urban core, amid dozens of name brands.

Lisa's expert tip: You can learn about the best deals throughout Independence Center on the mall web site, from free mall gift cards based on individual store purchases or holiday- and season-related discounts. Find direct online links to your favorite brands, too.

Read more about Independence Center →

Legends Outlets Kansas City
Photo courtesy of Legends Outlets Kansas City

Shop dozens of name-brand stores and local favorites, at discounted prices, when you visit the Kansas City area's only designer outlet center. Current fashions abound from Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5th, to J. Crew | Crewcuts, or F21 Red (Forever 21). Ready to up your athletic game? You'll find the right gear at the Nike Factory Store or Adidas Outlet. Refresh your inventory of culinary tools inside Kitchen Collection, find the perfect accessory at Claire's, or purchase bargain books, cards and gifts at BAM Books-A-Million. One of the center's newest offerings, Made in Kansas City represents the creative work of more than 100 local artists, 'makers' and designers. Easily accessible to the NASCAR Kansas Speedway and other popular entertainment venues, Legends Outlets is also home to national restaurants plus local favorites such as Arthur Bryant's legendary barbecue, or unusual 'pies' at Chiusano's Brick Oven Pizzeria. Enjoy every minute.

Recommended for Shopping Malls and Centers because: Purchase top quality clothing, home goods and more, without breaking the bank. Find loads of in-store sales and promotions on the web site too.

Lisa's expert tip: Wonder how this shopping center got its name? From alto jazz saxophonist jazz, Charles "Yardbird" Parker, to golf pro, Tom Watson, and renowned aviatrix, Amelia Earhart, sculpted figures throughout the 'campus' depict more than 80 Kansas residents and provide information about their historical significance.

Read more about Legends Outlets Kansas City →

If you love one-of-a-kind, creative design, then the fun and funky Crossroads Arts District is a must-do shopping destination. Creative people have filled neighborhood galleries and studios with handcrafted ceramics to enormous oil paintings, and meticulously crafted jewelry. Purchase delicious and gorgeous handcrafted confections at Christopher Elbow Artisanal Chocolates or paper goods made with an old-fashioned press, from Hammerpress. There's unusual specialty lingerie and swimsuits, at Birdie's, and humorous Kansas City-centric clothing and gifts crowd RAYGUN, LLC. You'll also find high-end furnishings in several places, 'green' interior design materials, and a massive array of shoes at the decades-old Bob Jones Shoes. Even skateboard enthusiasts and map lovers will find shops dedicated to their favorites. Mexican, Thai, Germanic, and Italian fare, steaks and burgers provide tasty, locally-owned dining options and there are premium spirits available at Tom's Town Distilling Co. too.

Recommended for Shopping Malls and Centers because: Creativity abounds in this well-worn, yet newly vibrant, neighborhood which showcases some of the urban core's most unique designs and flavors.

Lisa's expert tip: Kansas City's monthly First Fridays street parties, in the Crossroads Arts District, have become legendary – locally and beyond. A year-round event that draws thousands of fans, the evening festivities include street performers and musicians, plus an enormous array of food trucks, during warm weather.

Read more about Crossroads Arts District →

Photo courtesy of Southtown, Waldo, Brookside

Planned and built in the 1920s, Brookside remains one of Kansas City's favorite suburban shopping areas. Full of leafy trees, broad sidewalks and independently owned businesses, this neighborhood feels a bit like you're stepping back in time. Whether you're buying dog treats from Brookside Barkery and Bath or eclectic fashions and jewelry at Shopgirls, Brookside features a quaint and cozy vibe. Purchase old-school toys such as the Slinky, inside The New Dime Store, or home décor and gifts from other cultures, at the World's Window. Kids of all ages love Brookside Toy & Science, which carries science kits, microscopes and much more, while hand-poured and highly fragranced candles abound at 5B&Co. Candlemakers. In addition, browse several galleries or grab a bite in multiple restaurants. When hunger strikes, Foo's Fabulous Frozen Custard serves ridiculously decadent treats and Blue Grotto is known for handcrafted pizza.

Recommended for Shopping Malls and Centers because: Still going strong more than 100 years after it began, the Brookside shopping district combines antique charm with modern inventories.

Lisa's expert tip: On late spring to early fall Saturdays, the Brookside Farmers' Market offers local, organic, non-GMO produce, eggs and more. But Brookside is also known for two big events, the Brookside Art Annual, held each May; and a family-friendly, decades-old St. Patrick's Day parade. Check the web site for more information.

Read more about Brookside →

North Kansas City
Zona Rosa
Photo courtesy of Zona Rosa

Visitors and locals are equally drawn to this Northland shopping area located near Kansas City International Airport, also home to offices and residences. Full of wide sidewalks and grassy areas, this highly walk-able neighborhood offers plenty of free parking, while patio umbrellas and park benches enhance the ambiance, reminiscent of old-fashioned downtown areas. Zona Rosa hosts national brands, including American Eagle, Ann Taylor LOFT or Sephora and local shops offering home furnishings to unusual gift items and premium popcorn. Enjoy cuisines by national and local brands from Bravo! Cucina Italiana to homegrown favorite Swagat Fine Indian Cuisine. Order a treat from Cold Stone Creamery or spicy Mexican dishes at Abuelo's Mexican Food Restaurant, too. Ready for shopping break? Funny local and high-profile national performers inspire belly laughs, at The Kansas City Improv Comedy Club and Dinner Theatre. Zona Rosa is laid-back, yet packed with possibilities.

Recommended for Shopping Malls and Centers because: Zona Rosa offers a pleasant mix of old-fashioned charm with modern shopping, dining and entertainment options.

Lisa's expert tip: Online gift cards, with values from $20 to $500, make treating loved ones a snap; or purchase cards in $5 increments when Zona Rosa Guest Services is open, during shopping center hours.

Read more about Zona Rosa →

Town Center Plaza & Town Center Crossing
Photo courtesy of GLIMCHER

Two open-air shopping areas with a common name are great places to browse the latest fashions at White House | Black Market, purchase upscale home essentials at Restoration Hardware or find premium athletic-wear at Lululemon Athletica. One shop caters to gamers, another sells Apple computers, and a third stocks locally designed, nationally renowned denim clothing. Only minutes from Interstate 435, this Kansas retail destination provides plenty of free parking too. When hunger beckons, savor delicious Italian food or stellar steaks and seafood. You'll also find luscious ice cream and gelato as well as premium, locally roasted coffee. Movie lovers will appreciate the 20-screen AMC movie theater, which offers IMAX and Dolby viewing experiences too. Even when shoppers pack Town Center Plaza and Town Center Crossing, there's still plenty of breathing room.

Recommended for Shopping Malls and Centers because: Fresh air and wide open spaces create two delightful, neighboring destinations, where you can shop, dine and entertain yourself.

Lisa's expert tip: If you love special events and deals, Town Center Plaza & Town Center Crossing won't disappoint. Whether you attend a sports-focused block party or catch some live music with your meal, the web site provides all the latest options.

Read more about Town Center Plaza & Town Center Crossing →

Overland Park
Oak Park Mall
Photo courtesy of CBL & Associates Properties, Inc.

Kansas' largest shopping mall is also the Kansas City area's largest indoor shopping mall, encompassing more than 1.5 million square feet. With a modern, streamlined appearance, Oak Park Mall includes four department store anchors - J.C. Penney, Nordstrom, Macy's and Dillard's. Remaining retail space includes dozens of smaller stores, as well as a food court featuring nearly a dozen offerings, all spread across two sprawling levels. Youngsters love the exclusive American Girl store, the Disney Store and a LEGO Store. Find current fashions, at Abercrombie & Fitch or EXPRESS, and apparel or running shoes, at Finish Line Computer geeks will enjoy shopping in the Microsoft Store too – only the 20th opened in the world. From fashion and jewelry to books and natural cosmetics, Oak Park Mall offers enormous shopping variety amid indoor comfort.

Recommended for Shopping Malls and Centers because: Plenty of parking, dozens of familiar brands, and an expansive food court have made Oak Park Mall one of this area's most successful shopping destinations.

Lisa's expert tip: Visiting the Oak Park Mall web site is a must before your shopping trip to this wildly popular retail destination. In March 2017, the site listed more than 60 sales and special deals.

Read more about Oak Park Mall →

City Market
Photo courtesy of City Market

Kansas City, Missouri's historic River Market area has been an active commercial hub since 1857. Today it is home to the region's largest farmer's market and beloved weekend destination, the City Market. Sure, you can purchase fresh produce and herbs, meat, dairy and other foods here, but why stop there? This is also a great place to buy additional culinary items and vintage gifts for a loved one or yourself. Long-standing individual shops circling the vendor booths sell a wealth of Italian food staples, ingredients for Brazilian or Middle Eastern cuisine and much more. Browse interesting house wares and kitchenware too, as well as Mexican silver, or African art and jewelry. Complete your City Market experience with a tour through the fascinating Steamboat Arabia Museum. A true melting pot of cultures and ages, the City Market's atmosphere becomes downright festive during the peak season.

Recommended for Shopping Malls and Centers because: Although the City Market draws its biggest crowds on Saturdays and Sundays it's open daily, year-round, and the Farmer's Market operates every weekend. Enough said.

Lisa's expert tip: The City Market hosts numerous concerts, food-centered events and other activities for all ages throughout the year, from 'eco-tainment' to Mother's Day Kids Crafts or a book sale. Learn more on the web site.

Read more about City Market →


Operating for more than 40 years, the bright and modern Crown Center features dozens of unique shops and restaurants that spread outwards from a light-filled three-story atrium. Purchase brightly colored art supplies from Crayola ® Kansas City or find the latest kitchen gadgets inside home-grown Function Junction, at this shopping center associated with Hallmark Cards. Purchase premium pens and leather goods too, as well as home décor and gifts for various holidays. When the kids get hungry, check out Fritz's Railroad Restaurant, home of train-delivered burgers and fries, or New York-style pizza at d'Bronx. There's entertainment on hand too, including a movie theater on the third floor, and a nationally known 'children's theater.' During wintertime, skate amid holiday lights, at the Ice Terrace. Enjoy hours of shopping, dining and entertainment near the edge of Kansas City's urban core.

Recommended for Shopping Malls and Centers because: Crown Center combines the excitement of a bustling urban neighborhood with the comfort and convenience of a sprawling suburban shopping mall.

Lisa's expert tip: Crown Center Customer Service's many perks include an ATM machine, stroller or wheelchair rentals, as well as custom gift wrapping. Buy a gift certificate a bus pass or stamps too.

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Country Club Plaza
Photo courtesy of Highwoods Properties

No trip to Kansas City is complete without a visit to the breathtakingly beautiful Country Club Plaza, a legendary 15-block neighborhood full of Spanish architecture, red tile roofs, and hand-painted tiles. One of the nation's earliest outdoor shopping districts, this 1-million-square-foot area is also known for multiple sculptures and fountains, including the beloved and recently renovated J.C. Nichols Memorial Fountain. Today more than 150 restaurants and shops occupy 'the Plaza,' where national brands such as Bath & Body Works and Gap mingle with local favorites that include Three Dog Bakery, Zoom Toy Store and Byron on the Plaza (a menswear store). Hungry? Grab a snack, a brew or a meal at dozens of eateries, serving steaks and seafood, as well as Irish, Chinese or Italian dishes, and much more. Memorable won't begin to describe your visit, amid this one-of-a-kind shopping district.

Recommended for Shopping Malls and Centers because: It doesn't get much better than premium shopping and stellar dining set amid a gorgeous Spanish village, without the cost of plane fare.

Lisa's expert tip: There are always special events in the Country Club Plaza, from restaurant-specific deals to complimentary wine offerings throughout the neighborhood and annual festivals that draw thousands of people – including the Plaza Art Fair or life-sized Plaza Bunnies installed to honor Easter. Visit the web site for the latest.

Read more about Country Club Plaza →


Meet Lisa Waterman Gray

Lisa Waterman Gray moved to the Kansas City area 35 years ago and has written professionally for 20+ years. A member of the Midwest Travel Writers Association, she's excited about the...  More About Lisa