Commencement is the culminating event of achieving your dream, your goal of finally earning your degree. If you are among the students walking across the stage in August, ready to graduate and be recognized for your hard work and achievements at Grantham University, we say congratulations!

You can expect a very active Commencement Weekend, centered around the Meet and Greet on Aug. 4 at Union Station, and the Commencement Ceremony at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts on Aug. 5. But whether you have traveled 1,000 miles or 10 miles to join us, or this is your first or 50th time visiting Kansas City, there are many activities beyond graduation to enjoy while you’re here:

1. Union Station/National World War I Museum and Memorial

The Meet and Greet takes place at Union Station – one of Kansas City’s most prized destinations. While you’re there, grab a fresh-brewed coffee at Parisi, and enjoy Union Station’s classic Kansas City charm. You can take a historical tour, or experience the traveling national exhibit. When you exit the main doors, look across the street to the Liberty Memorial and head for the state-of-the-art National World War I Museum and Memorial to cross the next activity off your to-do list. Then hop aboard the new KC Streetcar to visit your next destination …

2. City Market

If you’re a fan of open-air markets, City Market is the perfect place to spend part of your weekend visiting KC. This market has been a Kansas City tradition for 150 years, and will give you an authentic experience while you’re here. Treat yourself to an assortment of delicious foods inspired by countries all over the world, and spend a moment taking in a view of the city before returning home.

3. Country Club Plaza

Country Club PlazaIf you find yourself questioning why Kansas City is named the “City of Fountains,” a quick trip to the Plaza is the only explanation you need. After hours of sitting during Commencement, stretch your legs with a stroll through the Plaza and see just how many fountains you can count! Enjoy the iconic Spanish architecture, and with plenty of restaurants, the Plaza is the perfect place for some post-graduation fuel.

4. The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

The Plaza is not only shops and restaurants, though, so don’t miss out on the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. With free admission you can discover anything from ancient pots to contemporary sculptures. Kansas City has a vibrant arts culture, making the Nelson a popular spot for locals and out-of-town visitors alike. Even if you just want a moment to relax with those who came to support you at Commencement, the Nelson Lawn is the perfect spot to enjoy some peace and quiet within the city.

5. The Kansas City Royals

Kauffman Stadium You’re visiting KC, so you can’t pass up a game at Kauffman Stadium to watch the 2015 World Series Champion Kansas City Royals! After working hard for your personal academic win, enjoy some time at “The K” with your friends and family while cheering on the Royals as they fight for their own win against the Seattle Mariners! Enjoy Friday Night Fireworks after the graduate Meet and Greet on Friday, Aug. 4, take in a night game after Commencement on Saturday, Aug. 5, or enjoy some afternoon baseball on Sunday, Aug. 6. Tickets available at Royals.com.

6. Other Sports related activities

If you’re not able to catch the Royals, but other sporting events interest you, you’re in luck. You’re in the heart of college basketball country, and a short trip downtown will take you to the College Basketball Experience located at Sprint Center in the Power and Light District. The CBE is not just a college basketball museum, it’s a highly interactive experience where fans can immerse themselves in the sport. If basketball isn’t your game, maybe futbol (i.e. soccer) is. The 2014 U.S. Open Cup Champion Sporting Kansas City Football Club takes on the Atlanta United FC Aug. 6 at Children’s Mercy Park, located in Village West. Tickets available at SportingKC.com.

7. Historic 18th & Vine District

Did you know that legendary African-American baseball player Jackie Robinson was recruited into the major leagues from the Kansas City Monarchs? If you are a fan of baseball or jazz, then 18th & Vine is worth exploring while you’re in town. The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and American Jazz Museum in the Historic 18th & Vine Jazz District are the perfect places to visit to learn about Kansas City’s unique history.

8. First Fridays at the Crossroads Arts District

Not far from Union Station, where the graduate Meet and Greet will be held, is the Crossroads Arts District. The first Friday of the month from 5-9 p.m., visitors from all over descend on the Crossroads to enjoy First Friday – one of the most popular recurring events in town. Artists, galleries, studios and various other local businesses feature artistic creations of all shapes and sizes. It’s the place to be in Kansas City on a Friday night. You can even jump aboard the new KC Streetcar right outside Union Station, which will take you straight to the Crossroads district.

9. Other popular attractions-

- Kansas City Zoo
- Sprint Center
- Worlds of Fun / Oceans of Fun
- Science City (Union Station)
- Harry S. Truman Presidential Library
- Arthur Bryant’s, Gates, Joe’s KC, Jack Stack, Q39 (options to enjoy some classic Kansas City barbecue)

Commencement is your reason to come to Kansas City, and now you’ve got plenty of other reasons to stay. If you are fond of traveling, visiting KC is a must for your travel to-do list! And even if traveling isn’t your thing, staying a couple of extra days in the city while you’re here is the perfect opportunity to get out of your comfort zone and explore somewhere new. Congratulations on graduating, and enjoy your Kansas City getaway!

** All mentions, suggestions, or references to businesses, activities, and establishments are for the sole purpose of providing an entertainment or community service for the students and guests of Grantham University. No official endorsement is implied.

Brandon Swenson

About Brandon Swenson

Brandon Swenson, Senior Communications Specialist, is on Grantham's editorial board. He understands the benefits of educationally-oriented programs such as the Post 9/11 GI Bill having earned his Bachelor's degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City toward the end of his nearly two decades of service in the United States Marine Corp.  

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