Next Story in this issue
News & Notices
News From:
Conference & Stage Expo
For the Record

Most visitors to the 2010 Annual Conference & Stage Expo will probably arrive through the traveler-friendly Kansas City International Airport, but Union Station is still serving those who prefer to travel by rail.

Photo/Courtesy KCCVA

Travel is Easy, Hotels are Close For USITT in Kansas City 2010

Tom Mardikes
2010 Local Promotions Coordinator

1972 must have been an amazing year for KC architectural firm Kivett and Myers: they opened two astonishing public projects in Kansas City, Missouri. The Harry S. Truman Sports Complex east of downtown, included Arrowhead Stadium, home to the Kansas City Chiefs, and Royals Stadium (now Kauffman Stadium) home to the Kansas City Royals.

This sports complex became the model for the future in American professional sport, and the team of architects who designed this innovative project went on to turn Kansas City into the architectural sports design leader for the world. Two big sports architecture firms in KC today are Populous (formerly HOK) and Ellerbe Beckett.

And Kivett and Myers also opened the Kansas City International Airport. Most of those arriving by air for the USITT Annual Conference & Stage Expo in March 2010 will arrive through KCI’s gates. Everyone should know that by flying into KCI, they will be flying into the best airport in the world for the traveler!

Visitors get off a plane and are curbside within 100 feet. Baggage claim is probably less than 100 feet away. And when guests leave Kansas City, they go through a security checkpoint that doesn’t serve 200 gates, but only about five at the most. It’s great for people, and the airlines hate it. Kansas City has never been successfully used as a hub, so about every flight in or out of the airport has KC as a destination.

There are actually three "C"-shaped terminals at KCI. The busiest carrier is Southwest Airlines. The second largest is the new Republic/Frontier/Midwest wing formation. All other major carriers have a presence: Continental, Delta, United, American, USAir, etc. Being in the middle of the country makes it easy to be able to find a direct flight from most cities.

A couple of weird things:

  • when booking, the airport code isn’t KCI, but for longstanding reasons it is MCI (Mid-Continent International),
  • when people arrive, there isn’t a cab stand at the curb. Travelers should find a cab phone in the terminal and order one from the cab stand (it’s quick), and
  • when heading home at the end of a visit, make going through security the last thing you do. Most restrooms, shopping and food services are in the public terminal sections, not post-security. KCI Airport offers free Wi-Fi service.


  • Cabs to downtown hotels are $50+ (use terminal phone). This is about a 20 mile ride down Interstate 29 to downtown Kansas City, Missouri.
  • Supershuttle to downtown is about $19, less for round trip, and can be booked here. There may be a USITT discount, but that’s not guaranteed.
  • Bus transportation can be tricky. Visitors have to get to Terminal C, and catch the KC Area Transportation Authority Bus #129/ I-29 from there. Click here for maps and schedules. The bus could be a good deal. Consider buying a Visitors Pass in advance (they mail it to you) for $10. It’s good for 3 days. Travelers can also buy a Day Pass when boarding the bus. Tell the driver before depositing the $3 fare that you want a Day Pass.


There are four great hotels, all just steps from the Kansas City Convention & Entertainment Facilities, which are offering discounts to USITT members and guests, and it is easy to book them online via or directly by clicking here.

The Marriott Kansas City Downtown is USITT’s headquarters hotel, and will be the site for the Fifty and Nifty party on Wednesday, March 31 and the Anniversary Party on Saturday night, April 3.

The Marriott, which includes two towers connected by a second-level walkway from the main hotel, has registration desks and bars in both towers for easy access. The function space in the historic Muehlebach Hotel, incorporated into Muehlebach Tower, has been restored to its early 20th century elegance.

Current plans are to utilize the Marriott for the USITT Conference Employment Service, Tech Olympics, Portfolio Reviews, and several USITT and ESTA business meetings.

Just a few steps away is the Aladdin Hotel, a Holiday Inn property. This landmark hotel re-opened in May 2007 after extensive historic restoration. It features a mezzanine martini bar and the Zebra Room Restaurant. The hotel notes the changes are "bringing back the original art deco ambiance with a vintage hip approach for a fresh look at yesterday."

Also nearby is the Crowne Plaza, which is offering both regular rooms and suites to USITT guests. Of special interest at the Crowne Plaza may be the free wi-fi service throughout the hotel along with fitness room and business center.

Just a block further from the Convention Center is the Hilton President Hotel, noted for its Drum Room, has recently been renovated with rooms which provide the convenience of 2010 with the ambiance of the 1940s when President Harry Truman was a noted guest. The Hilton is the USITT hotel closest to the Power & Light District which features numerous dining and entertainment possibilities.

Kansas City offers a great airport to arrive by, and great places to stay during USITT’s upcoming 50th Annual Conference & Stage Expo, so plan now to be part of the excitement.


To Top