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Old 02-20-2018, 06:47 PM
 
Location: Kansas City, MISSOURI
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I go to both a lot, but when I do, I always seem to find the Crown Center/Union Station area more interesting than The Plaza. Not that The Plaza is boring, or anything, but Crown Center and Union Station seem to have more interesting stuff - including the stores. The Plaza is nice but is basically an upscale shopping mall, while Crown Center has some things you can't find anywhere else.
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Old 02-20-2018, 07:37 PM
sub
 
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I agree.
The Plaza is neat from a historical perspective, and very nice architecture, but Crown Center is where we gravitate to when in town. Of course, Union Station can't be missed. Now, we also hop on the streetcar for the fun of it and go visit the city market.
The only things I ever did at the Plaza was the art fair and occasionally get lost in Barnes and Noble. We'd also eat at a few places down there every once in a while.

Last edited by sub; 02-20-2018 at 07:47 PM..
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Old 02-20-2018, 07:42 PM
 
Location: Middle America
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I love Union Station and spend a lot of time there. Crown Center, eh.

In terms of time spent outdoors, I'm more likely to choose the Plaza (or City Market, accessed via Union Station). Indoors, like on a garbage day like today, weatherwise, I'm more apt to choose Union Station. It's also more interesting to me from a historical perspective than the Plaza is.

The retail at both the Plaza and Crown Center is largely of no interest to me, however. But, retail isn't a big draw for me, overall, anywhere.

I do like the Plaza. I lived at various times in two different apartment buildings on it, and enjoyed that. Living in the Crossroads never interested me that much.
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Old 02-21-2018, 12:50 PM
 
Location: CasaMo
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I like how Crown Center/Union Station/Sheraton/etc. are all connected via the glass link walkways. Neat place to take a walk. Miss the Hyatt. Sheraton was a step back
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Old 02-21-2018, 02:59 PM
 
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Crown Center doesn't interest me at all.


The Plaza is nice for walking around on a nice day or evening, especially if there are musicians playing outside. I don't shop there, though. We used to go there for dinner once in a while but our favorite restaurant is gone so we don't do that anymore.


I like Union Station for the building itself and the history behind it, not for any attractions or exhibits inside it. I loved when the Lobster Pot was in Union Station in the 70s.
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Old 02-22-2018, 09:50 PM
 
Location: First Hill, Seattle
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James Bond 007 View Post
I go to both a lot, but when I do, I always seem to find the Crown Center/Union Station area more interesting than The Plaza. Not that The Plaza is boring, or anything, but Crown Center and Union Station seem to have more interesting stuff - including the stores. The Plaza is nice but is basically an upscale shopping mall, while Crown Center has some things you can't find anywhere else.
I have to disagree. I did really enjoy visiting Crown Center and Union Station and loved taking the Pedway, but Crown Center is overall pretty bland. I do like Halls, just because it's quite literally the only department store of its kind in the world, and it carries some really nice merchandise, but the Plaza has more of an organic feel to me. When I lived in Kansas City, I could go to a mindfulness meditation session at the Unity Temple and then maybe do some shopping and then see a movie. Or, I could just stroll around and admire the stunning architecture and grab dinner and drinks at an authentic Kansas City restaurant like Eden Alley or Zocalo. While I do like both areas, I think the Plaza is more singularly appealing to me. It's just a better ambience, more romantic, more aesthetic. Plus they have North Face and Moosejaw for my outdoor oriented spirit - which is totally subjective and why I put it at the end.
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Old 02-22-2018, 09:54 PM
 
Location: Middle America
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Crown Center is really, really not all that.

My two-year old likes the trains at Fritz's. My husband likes the tea at Shang Tea Co. Otherwise, no real reason to go.
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Old 02-23-2018, 04:59 AM
 
Location: Washington, DC area
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I like them both and love how much they contrast to each other. I worked at an office building at Crown Center for over ten years and also worked at an office building on the plaza for several years.

I don't think most people realize how nice of an area Crown Center really is, especially as a place to work. It's one of the only true mixed use places in KC with tons of office space, major hotels, residential, lots of dining options and entertainment. And Union Station is a short walk away.

Transit access was about as good as it gets in KC, the skywalks are great (there is also a system of underground tunnels), there are always festivals, concerts etc happening in the area, there is plenty of parking and it's all hidden away, seeing the ice terrace and christmas tree from office windows was always really cool.

No matter what time of year or the weather, it was easy and quick to run over to the mall area for a quick break from work for last minute gifts, greeting cards or just something to snack on.

We would walk to places to east in Crown Center itself or Union Station or the Crossroads. The city views from the complex were always awesome to me.

Honestly, I would much rather work at Crown Center than the Plaza if I had the choice. It really is neat area despite it being somewhat stuck in the 70's architecturally. I have never understood why Crown Center doesn't get a lot more love than it does. I think most people are just not all that familiar with it other than running down there once every few years for some reason or another. If you work there, you really get a better idea of just how much goes on there and what the area offers. Personally, I think it offers a lot more than the Plaza as far as day to day stuff.

But the Plaza is awesome too. Especially in the summer time since it's more outdoor oriented than Crown Center.

Crown Center is pretty self sustaining. I guess the plaza is probably more interesting to visit, but Crown Center is a better place to actually work and be every day. People don't realize how busy Crown Center stays. The hotels, conventions, tourists, residents, and thousands of employees keep that place humming. It really doesn't need or depend on a lot of local tourists which only really see the area on weekends when most of the complex is pretty dead.
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Old 02-23-2018, 04:39 PM
 
Location: Florida and New England
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I grew up as a Plaza kid, and I remember fondly the grand opening of Crown Center.

The Plaza is of course wonderful, and it is certainly a product of its generation, the 1920s. It was designed to serve as the commercial center for the large, new J.C. Nichols Country Club development (extending south and west to Brookside and Mission Hills). It has since morphed into a second downtown for Kansas City, and if managed well, it will always keep the Westport-Midtown side of the city vibrant. It's a special place, and its charms are smaller scale -- the scale of the shop, the cafe, or the hotel boite, as designed for its intended audience.

Crown Center is something else entirely, also wonderful, and also a product of its generation, the 1970s. Edward Larrabee Barnes, the American champion of late modernism, in all of his Yankee Episcopalian glory, hit it out of the park with Crown Center. Go to one of the upper floors of the San Francisco Tower and note the way the concrete is planked like Vermont beams with recessed "hardware" details. The lobby of the main Crown Center hotel (fka the Westin) incorporating the limestone hill -- amazing. And there is much more: The American Restaurant, Halls, Union Station, the streetcar, the freight house district.

They are both great jewels, and Kansas City should thank its lucky stars for these assets.
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Old 02-24-2018, 06:38 AM
 
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I remember hearing about some of the original criticism of Crown Center, that it was built so "far" from the Central Business District. The rebuttal was that it would cause the neighborhood in between (from I-670 to Pershing) to flourish, essentially doubling the size of downtown.

Although this didn't happen in the timing or fashion it was anticipated (I think they imagined more skyscrapers) we can see now how the Crossroads district has boomed. Who knows exactly what role Crown Center played in that, but, when paired with Union Station and Liberty Memorial, it serves as a wonderful southern anchor point for "greater downtown KC".
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