Kansas City, you’re on the clock.
The NFL Draft is likely the largest event KC has ever hosted according to city officials. More than 300,000 attendees are expected with a $125 million in economic impact over the course of just three days.
Kansas City is the seventh city to host the draft, Las Vegas netted 300,000+ fans last year while Nashville saw over half a million two years ago. The scale is as large as the spotlight. There are 1,300 people working the event and KC will see over 70 hours of live national media coverage.
When & Where
Union Station & Liberty Memorial
April 27 – 29
The draft selections take place at the “Draft Theater,” which is a 380-foot long, open-backed stage the NFL built directly in front of Union Station. Teams begin draft selections at 7 p.m Thursday, 6 p.m. Fri, and 11 a.m. on Saturday.
Across Pershing Street both sides of Liberty Memorial will host viewing areas and the “NFL Draft Experience” which is a large NFL themed festival. The NFL Draft Experience runs from noon to 10 p.m. on Thursday & Friday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday.
A chunk of the city will be shut down to street traffic. Broadway, Grand, 18th, and 31st streets remain fully open for those looking to avoid closures, but within that perimeter many roads are closed for the draft Apr. 26 to 29.
City officials say Google Maps and other navigation services should have live updates but here are the specific road closures:
- Main St. between 20th St. and Pershing Rd.
- Main St. between Pershing Rd. and Grand Blvd.
- Pershing Rd. between Kessler Rd. and Main St.
- Pershing Rd. between Grand Blvd. and Broadway St.
- Kessler Rd. between Pershing Rd. and Wyandotte St.
- OK St.
- Memorial Dr.
Navigation & Parking
Those looking to go to the draft should expect at least a ten minute walk from just about any parking space to the draft. The main entrance to the draft is through the south lawn of Liberty Memorial at the intersection of Wyandotte and Memorial Drive.
With the influx of visitors parking will be at a premium. Fans can park in a lot in River Market or Downtown then ride the streetcar south towards Union Station. During the draft, the Crossroads stop is as close as the streetcar will take you and from there to the main entrance is a 15-minute walk.
Alternatively fans can take the Main Max bus, which gets closer to the main entrance of the draft. The Main Max is free and runs from downtown along Penn Valley Drive. The 29th street stop puts you a five minute walk from the draft.
If you pre book, there is a park and ride shuttle from the Westbottoms garage near the Hyvee Arena. Parking is $15 with free shuttle service but you must prebook for either April 27 or 28. The park and ride shuttle will bring you within a 10-minute walk of the draft entrance. Pre Booking can be done in the NFL Draft section of VisitKC.com.
Rideshare like Uber or Lyft must drop off at E. 27th Terr, just south of Crown Center, from there it’s a 10-minute walkup. When you go to leave, rideshare pickup spots are designated at McGee near Pershing, Grand near SEA LIFE Kansas City, McGee near 27th Terr.
The closest a fan can get is Crown Center which is a five minute walk to the draft entrance but parking is set at $50 per day. Crown Center parking is available on a first come first served basis.
Security & Getting In
The entire draft site and fan fest area is bordered by fencing or concrete barriers. Fans will go through security checkpoints and metal detectors similar to an NFL game.
It’s free to go to the draft but those interested must register through the NFLOnePass app or online at NFL.com/DraftAccess to enter. The secured area can be entered and exited from three points with signage available for those walking up to the draft. Most are encouraged to enter the main entrance near the intersection of Wyandotte and Memorial Drive
No outside food or drink is allowed. Unlicensed vending and sales in or near the draft is also not allowed. A full list of prohibited items is available at VisitKC.com or the NFLOnePass app.
Those with accessibility or mobility concerns should contact the mobility hotline at 888-745-1455 or email in advance to email@example.com.
Aside from the draft itself, all three days have a concert on the main stage in front of Union Station.Throughout the Draft Experience there are concessions, bars, food vendors, autograph tents, games, and photo opportunities with Superbowl rings and the Chiefs’ three Lombardi trophies.
On Saturday there is the Smoke Show BBQ competition featuring demonstrations and showdowns of KC’s best pitmasters. The Smoke Show competition is hosted by former Chief Mitchell Schwartz and features 20 BBQ icons from around the city including teams from Gates, Arthur Bryants, Joe’s, Jack Stack, and Q39.
The National World War One Museum at Liberty Memorial will also be open Thursday noon to 7 p.m., Friday noon to 6 p.m., and Saturday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
A full list of events and attractions is available in the NFLOnePass app or VisitKC.com.