#42 – West Bottoms Warehouse Weekends
West Bottoms, Kansas City
Cost: Free – $$$
Good for: Joanna Gaines wannabes, finding hidden treasures.
Tip: Research a few shops before you go – the number of shops and floors (and floors) of antiques can get overwhelming fast.
The first weekend of each month, old warehouses in the Kansas City West Bottoms District open their doors, attracting antique collectors and thrift shoppers from all over the city and surrounding areas.
The History of the West Bottoms
At the conjunction of the Kansas and Missouri Rivers, the West Bottoms was originally a trade point between French trappers and Kansas Indians. As railroads expanded, the West Bottoms became a premium spot for stockyards. The whole city grew around the stockyards, and at the peak, only the Chicago Stockyards were bigger.
A devastating flood in 1951 sent packing companies and supportive industries out of the area –many closing their doors forever. The economic downsizing caused the area to collapse, and it remained mostly vacant until 1974, when Kansas City and the American Royal built Kemper Arena.
Kemper Arena did its job to revamp the area, as many upscale and artistic tenants have begun to redevelop buildings and reestablish the area.
Where to Shop on West Bottoms Warehouse Weekends
West Bottoms Warehouse Weekends are the first weekend of the month, coinciding with the Crossroads’ First Fridays Celebration. Friday, Saturday and Sunday you can look through the old industrial warehouses that have been filled with antiques, reclaimed furniture and junk.
I’ve found that there are typically two types of antique stores in the West Bottoms: curated shops with expensive, refinished pieces or never-ending rooms filled with junk and hidden gems. Personally, I like doing some digging to find random, affordable pieces, but everyone has different taste and they’re all fun to explore. Each shop has different hours, and some are even open on additional weekends throughout the month, so check their sites.
There are also a few shops outside of the West Bottoms that follow the West Bottoms Warehouse Weekends schedule:
Make the Most of West Bottoms Warehouse Weekends
- Dress Smart – Wear layers and comfy. A lot of the warehouses don’t have AC or the best heating. In the summer you will be hot, in the winter you’ll be cold. There’s also a lot of walking and stair climbing involved so stick to sneakers.
- Eat Before You Come – If you can get hangry like me, do everyone a favor and eat before you start shopping. It’s easy to get lost perusing the warehouse for extended periods of time, and before you know it, you’re starving, irritable and fighting someone for an old basket.
- Make a Plan – There are so many shops and almost all the shops have three or more floors. If you’re with a group, pick a few stores to go to, and determine how much time you’ll spend at each one. Everyone feels free to split up, and it makes the experience more enjoyable for all.
- Take a Breather – After a warehouse or two, grab a snack and a drink from the food trucks or Blip Coffee to restore your energy.
You don’t have to be into antiques or junking to enjoy the West Bottoms Warehouse Weekends. Some shops offer new decorations and Kansas City apparel, and some shops have weird, random stuff that will entertain anyone. I’ve even seen a taxidermied giraffe! xx, Libbie.