Kansas City, MO
Best time to visit: First week of October for the American Royal World Series of Barbecue
Must-hit bar: Boulevard Brewing, which not only offers free tours but has 16 beers on tap in its tasting room
Sure, you might have heard there were some crazy little women there, but there’s a lot more to partying in KC than what Fats Domino told you. The Power & Light District is the city’s new(ish) nightlife hub, where the two-block stretch of bars and restaurants surrounds a central live-music venue and draws young professionals from as far away as Overland Park and Tulsa. Or, for a more upscale experience, Westport is your move -- full of patio bars, it's a prime spot for outdoor drinking in the summer. KC is also as "sports nuts" as its reputation suggests, and the entire city pretty much turns into a giant tailgate during Chiefs games and Royals playoff runs.
And, of course, there’s the barbecue with national institutions like Gates and Joe’s, plus the aforementioned American Royal World Series, Missouri’s best annual event.