The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art 4525 Oak Street · 816-561-4000
Kansas City is crazy about parking garages. After a visit to the new one at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, we understand why. In most cities, parking garages are a necessary evil -- labyrinths of low-hanging concrete that are, at least, less ugly then endless acres of cracked asphalt parking lots. But the museum's new space isn't just bare-bones infrastructure that has to be endured; it's an actual environment. Designed by famed architect Steven Holl, the underground garage has a wavy ceiling with holes allowing natural light to seep in through a reflective pool on top; on windy days, ripples on the water cause the light to undulate across the wavy ceiling. It's so arty that museumgoers might want to pay the $3 parking fee, sit in the old Accord for a few hours and call it a day.