BY Loann Halden
October 01 2009 2:55 PM ET
What are the must-dos for K.C. if you have gay friends in town?
If you're in town on a First Friday, I am so proud of our Crossroads District. It started out as this collection of artists who started art galleries and bookstores and clothing shops. It's between Crown Center and downtown. That's fabulous anytime, but it's really great on First Friday because all of the art galleries and stores open up their doors and there are thousands of people in the streets.
1924 Main is a fantastic restaurant. For years it was the Dixie Belle; it used to be this dark, seedy at times gay bar, and now it's an upscale restaurant with a fabulous wine selection! If you're at the Plaza shopping or going to museums in the area, you definitely need to go to Café Trio. It's on Main Street overlooking Mill Creek Park, which has the big J.C. Nichols fountain. They've got an enormous back deck and patio, the food is fantastic, and it's gay-owned and -operated.
One of our great local gay bars is actually doing a brunch now: Bistro 303 in Westport. It's definitely a hot spot after 9 or 10 p.m. for very attractive gay men, and it gets really crowded in there. I prefer when it's a little slower, around happy hour. The lesbian scene is kind of a tough one, but the nice thing is there are some groups that have come together that have created parties for women, like Girl 2 Girl, which is one Friday a month.
What would you tell gay travelers about visiting Missouri?
It's not on the radar as a gay destination, but I think they will be very surprised. You forget how nice Midwesterners are. I've never had a situation where I felt uncomfortable being an openly gay couple in Missouri. At the same time, this is not Provincetown. But if you do a little research in advance, you can find some really great off-the-beaten-trail places that are really worth your while. Kansas City doesn't seem like a place that would have a lot of bed-and-breakfasts, but there's one great one called the Southmoreland, right off the Plaza. It's openly marketing to LGBT couples.
What's your secret Missouri getaway?
I bought a house north of Jefferson City just off of the Katy Trail, which is part of the Rails-to-Trails program, where they take old railroad tracks and turn them into biking and hiking trails. You can ride across almost the entire state of Missouri on your bicycle. There are some amazing places along the trail, like the School House Bed + Breakfast in Rocheport, and Hermann, with great wineries and all the different festivals they have. I know a lot of LGBT couples that do getaways to [those towns].