Hidden Historic Gems: City Hall Observation Deck
Writer and bonafide KC explorer Libbie Bond is back with another historic hidden gem of Kansas City.
As the fourth-tallest city hall in the world, Kansas City’s City Hall Observation Deck offers some pretty amazing views of the metro (even in gloomy weather!). It’s a free attraction most Kansas Citians don’t even know exists, so odds are, you might even have the view to yourself.
At 414 E 12th St., The City Hall Observation Deck is open to visitors Monday through Friday, 9am to 3pm. Always call before you visit because day-to-day operations and weather can cause closures.
While there are a few obstacles to admission, the view is worth any hassle you encounter.
Parking near City Hall isn’t great, so be prepared to pay for a parking garage or walk a bit. Enter City Hall through the E 12th Street entrance (the one with the Abraham Lincoln sculpture and the Sea Horse Fountains).
You’ll go through two rounds of security as well, as City Hall is very much in operation.
When you get through the entrance metal detectors, ask the guards to see the Observation Deck. They will take you to the lower level and get your ID copied. Security will then take you up to the 28th floor. Walk up two flights of stairs to reach the amazing 360º view.
After getting your fill of the view, take some time to admire the building’s flamboyant Beaux-Arts and 1920’s Art Deco architecture on your way out.
City Hall was one of many government buildings built to counter the effects of the Great Depression, and as a result, mirrors many buildings in downtown Kansas City.
The buildings were constructed under the influence of Tom Pendergast, the early-1900s political boss of Kansas City. (He was the inspiration for distillery and bar, Tom’s Town).
Pendergast owned the concrete company that constructed the buildings, and odds are he made a lot of money from the deal. The City Hall construction alone required 20,000 cubic feet of concrete, 7,800 tons of stone and 6,800 tons of steel.
Looking for other great views of the city? Try the Liberty Memorial or The Scout in Penn Valley Park.