Kansas City ‘Embraces Trying Out Big Ideas’, Expert Says

Matt StaubLast year Matt Staub was brave enough to race an $80,000 Jaguar against our Southwest Chief. It was the ultimate face-off with Matt enjoying the race from the luxury of one of our comfy long-distance roomettes. To say he keeps Kansas City “Team Train” (he even had the support of elected officials!) would be an understatement.

So we caught up with Matt to find out what people can really expect from his hometown when you visit Kansas City. As a partner at Graphicmachine and the co-founder of grassroots transit organization Streetcar Neighbors he stands at the intersection of tech and transportation. He also loves to share travel tips and engage in friendly banter on Twitter at @staubio.

Our trains go to Kansas City, so we understand how awesome it is. What about the city might surprise some people?
While Kansas City is on a lot of people’s radar, now more than ever, I think many people are still surprised by just how cosmopolitan and lively it is. We have amazing restaurants and bars. Our visual and performance art scene is top notch. Our neighborhoods and districts are distinct and charming. There is a ton to discover here, and anyone who digs in will be very pleased with what they find.

There seems to be a growing tech scene in Kansas City. Why is that?
Entrepreneurship is in Kansas City’s DNA, bolstered by the Kauffman Foundation and the unique entrepreneurship programs at the University of Missouri – Kansas City. The city’s friendly vibe means there is a support structure and a true desire to see our friends and neighbors succeed. Add in the amazing pool of talented, creative people sharing ideas, and you’ve got a great environment for innovation.

What types of companies are flocking to Kansas City? What’s attracting them?
With a collaborative culture that embraces trying out big ideas, Kansas City is becoming a magnet for creative and tech companies. Kansas City can deliver all of the amenities of a big coastal city with the affordability and connection to the community that is hard to find elsewhere. In fact, the creative agency I work for, Graphicmachine, moved from New York City three years ago to grow with KC.

For readers interested in visiting Kansas City for National Train Day, what’s the one thing they can’t miss?
The first thing you’ll see when you get off the train: the Grand Hall of Union Station. This was the front doorstep of Kansas City for decades worth of travelers coming by the trainload to a bustling city, and it is a pedestrian bridge crossing away from the Crossroads Arts District. From there, you’re on your way to fully exploring the city’s revitalized and ever-evolving downtown.

Kansas City is served  daily by the Missouri River Runner and Southwest Chief