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Kansas City, MO (Population: 444,956)

Kansas City, with a population of 444,956 (2005), is nicknamed "The City of Fountains" for its 200-plus fountains, which is more than in any other city in the world except Rome. Kansas City is commonly referred to as the "Heart of America," as well as more informal nicknames such as "cowtown" and "BBQ Capital of the World." Settled where the Kansas and Missouri Rivers meet, Kansas City played an important role in American westward expansion and the Civil War, after which the city's population grew immensely. Since WWII, Kansas City has experienced a great deal of sprawl with more and more people moving to the suburbs outside of the city proper.

The city is home to four Fortune 500 companies and five Fortune 1000 companies. Agriculture is also an important part of the economy, especially winter wheat. Known for their steaks and barbecue above all, Kansas City is home to a large variety of restaraunts. "Restaurant Row," known officially as the 39th Street District, houses many of the area's restaurants and independently owned stores. It is also considered the center for bohemian culture in the city, as well as literary and visual arts.

Kansas City is known for its scenic parkways that wind among the city's many parks. Of environmental importance is the strong urban forestry program in the city. Swope Park consists of a large 1,763 acres. With a lake, picnic grounds, two golf courses and a zoo, this park is representative of the city's many parks and public features. Kansas city is home to classical music from sources such as the Kansas City Symphony, as well as a historically significant Jazz scene. Local events include a Chocolate Festival, an Irish Fest, a Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, a Cinco de Mayo festival and more.