Nicknames for Kansas City include the City of Fountains, Heart of America, BBQ Capital of the World, and the Cradle of Jazz.
Being more than just witty or humorous labels, nicknames can offer a glimpse of any city’s history, culture, landmarks, and products and services that it’s known for. Sometimes, nicknames can even describe a city’s identity better than its own official name.
Take a glance at this list of Kansas City nicknames (and why it has those nicknames!).
List of Kansas City Nicknames
1. City of Fountains
With over 200 fountains listed under its name, it’s no surprise that Kansas City is officially nicknamed the “City of Fountains”. The city’s growing collection of fountains rivals the city of Rome in number and adds greatly to the visual appeal of the city.
Kansas City formerly used a heart-shaped fountain as an official logo to represent the city.
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2. Heart of America
Kansas City declared “Heart of America” as its official slogan in 1915. The nickname comes from the city’s location near the geographic center of the United States. It quickly became one of the most widespread nicknames of the city.
Many citizens admired the name because it suggested a patriotic vibe and a warm nature. The Chamber of Commerce, formerly known as “The Commercial Club”, also used the nickname in one of its tourism campaigns and named Kansas City “the very heart of America”.
For more than two decades, this nickname represented the city’s official identity. At present, “Heart of America” is still widely used by businesses, conventions, organizations, sports teams, and local citizens to promote the city and attract tourists.
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3. BBQ Capital of the World
The popular and well-loved Kansas City-style barbecue is the reason behind this reputable nickname. A trip around the city will reveal numerous barbecue restaurants scattered all over Kansas City.
These restaurants invite tourists to try the mouth-watering specialty that the city is proud of. Aside from barbeque, the city is also known for its equally flavorful strip steaks.
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4. Gateway to the Southwest
Kansas City is also known for being the “Gateway to the Southwest”. In the past, the city was a key area of connection and facilitated transport to neighboring towns and cities. This is mostly due to the city’s significant rail connections and well-established transportation system.
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5. Cradle of Jazz
Kansas City is known for giving birth to a unique era of jazz, hence the nickname. Historically, jazz clubs in the city were allowed to stay open all night. This encouraged the rise of jazz performers and jazz competitions throughout the city.
Aside from jazz, the city is also known for its rock and blues music scene.
6. Jazz Capital of the World
Due to its major contributions to the world of jazz, Kansas City earned another music-related nickname as the “Jazz Capital of the World”. Charlie Parker was one of the most influential musicians from Kansas City.
He is credited for the development of a specific form of jazz called “bebop”. His musical pieces have formed part of jazz history and inspired generations of jazz musicians.
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7. KCMO and KC
“KCMO” and “KC” are shortcuts frequently used to refer to Kansas City, Missouri. Both of these abbreviations pertain to the entirety of Kansas City’s metropolitan area.
The city’s nickname, “KC”, inspired the nickname of the famous professional baseball player and manager Charles Dillon “Casey” Stengel who was born in Kansas City.
The city of Kansas has a cowtown past. The city’s history, specifically the 1870s, reveals that Kansas City once had one of the largest stockyard complexes in America. The cattle industry significantly fueled the city’s growth and development.
9. Paris of the Plains
When it comes to the number of boulevards, Kansas City rivals Paris. The city’s booming nightlife and vibrant culture are also similar to that of Paris.
The abundance of entertainment in the city attracted many early socialites and party-goers. Those are some of the main reasons why the city is called “Paris of the Plains”.
10. The City on the Kaw
“The City on the Kaw” is one of Kansas City’s oldest nicknames. Dating back to the early 1920s, this nickname stems from the city’s location near the Kansas River, which is known as “The Kaw”.
Aside from Kansas City, the Kansas River also flows by Edwardsville, Bonner Springs, St. George, and other neighboring cities. The river flows eastward and eventually joins the Missouri River at a place called “Kaw Point”.
Kansas City Slogans
In addition to nicknames, multiple slogans have been created throughout the years to encourage publicity and boost tourism for Kansas City. Some of the most recent ones are as follows:
- Kansas City: New Discoveries Daily
- No Mountain. No Beach. No Problem.
- A Flavor All Its Own
So, there you have it — the ultimate list of Kansas City nicknames (and why it has those nicknames!). Learning a city’s nicknames usually takes a lot of deep digging and research. But with this article, you’ve been able to discover them all in a matter of minutes. How cool is that?
Surely, you won’t regret the extra effort you’ve exerted in reading up on Kansas City’s memorable nicknames. The hints they offer can give you a whole new perspective of the city’s unique past, progressive present, and promising future.
Now you have an appreciation for the city’s cultural appeal in the earlier days, as revealed by the name “Paris of the Plains”. Now you understand the rich musical history behind it being called “Cradle of Jazz” and “Jazz Capital of the World”.
You might’ve been shocked to learn that Kansas City was once known as a “Cowtown”. Lastly, did you know that the residents of this city are called “Kansas Citians”? Well, now you can go find one and impress them with your knowledge of their city’s beloved nicknames. Give yourself a pat on the back, because you are now an unofficial Kansas City nickname expert!
Jason Dempsey is the CEO and Co-Founder of Home City Living. After abandoning the corporate world in order to indulge his wanderlust, Jason founded Home City Living with his partner Rose to create the premier source of travel information and inside local knowledge on the web to help other would-be global explorers and seekers learn to spread their wings and fly.