The Heart of America is now the Heart of the NFL.
Kansas City is on football fire, as it hosts the 2023 NFL Draft just months after its hometown Chiefs won another Super Bowl. It was the third title for the Chiefs, but it’s the first time the city has hosted an NFL draft.
So, if you’re planning on attending this yearly ritual on the south side of the National World War I Museum and Memorial in K.C., we’ve got you covered.
Previewing each day of the 2023 NFL Draft
If you’re planning on placing a bet or two on the draft, however, you’ll need to find your way to Kansas. Missouri sports betting remains in flux at the Missouri Capitol, as amendments and a filibuster could doom its fate once again this year.
The 2023 NFL Draft will span three days, from Thursday, April 27, through Saturday, April 29. During the three days, there will be seven rounds of teams drafting future NFL players.
Unlike most events where drama steadily builds into a climax on the last day, the NFL draft’s big day is Day 1. It’s the first round, when the top players in college football are drafted. Each team gets 10 minutes to select a player, so the action moves slow but the excitement bubbles over.
The second and third rounds of drafting take place on Day 2. There is still quite a bit of talent available to teams, so while Day 2 lacks some of the thrill of Day 1, the action moves much faster. Teams get 7 minutes to draft in Round 2 and just 5 minutes to choose players in Round 3. The extra selections make Day 2 the most action-packed day of the draft.
The last day of the draft features the final four rounds. Selections come fast and furious, and most players drafted are little-known outside their colleges and conferences. Day 3, however, is the most accessible day to attend the draft for those looking to hang out with other NFL die-hards.
NFL Draft tickets are free and give access to other exciting events
You might expect tickets to the 2023 NFL Draft to be expensive. You would be wrong.
Fans simply have to register for a free NFL OnePass at NFL.com to enter the draft area. It also allows access to the many games, events, attractions and other experiences the NFL will be bringing to Kansas City during draft weekend.
Fans can take part in some events featured at the NFL Combine. The competition features a 40-yard dash competition, vertical jump, field goal kick and a Hail Mary contest.
Kids can compete in the NFL Play 60 Zone. Along with a field goal challenge and a chance to put on NFL equipment, there are several clinics and demonstrations open to kids ages 6-14. The clinics are first come, first served, and take place each day of the draft.
- Thursday: Noon to 9 p.m.
- Friday: Noon to 9 p.m.
- Saturday: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Other attractions include the Panini Prizm Autograph Stage, the Bud Light Bar for those old enough to drink alcohol, Tailgate Concessions where food can be bought from vendors, and a replica NFL draft stage and locker room to explore.
Are you flying into K.C. for the draft?
Most fans will fly into Kansas City International Airport. Not only is it just under half of an hour from Liberty Memorial Mall where the 2023 NFL Draft is taking place, the airport also just got a massive facelift.
According to the Visit Kansas City website, the airport sports “a modern environment with dedicated arrival and departure levels, covered parking in an adjacent garage, moving walkways and consolidated security checkpoints, all designed for easy navigation.”
After arriving, the next bit of business is finding a suitable hotel. Many of the hotel rooms around the World War 1 Museum and Memorial area are either sold out or will be sold out soon.
The closest hotel to the area is Hotel Indigo Kansas City. Rooms at the 3.5-star hotel are around $500 a night. Another good hotel option for those looking to save a little bit of money would be the Fairfield Inn Kansas City Downtown. It is also known as Union Hill by Marriot. The rates for the 2.5-star hotel are currently around $400 a night.
These are the closest hotels to the event, but Kansas City has hundreds of options for fans coming to town for the 2023 NFL Draft.
Best ways to get around Kansas City
Kansas City boasts quite a few methods of travel that do not require a car.
A great option is to use a rideshare app like Uber or Lyft. That would be the simplest way to get around the city, especially if you’re in a small group.
One of the most popular methods of transportation is hopping on board the Kansas City Street Car. Not only does it have a plethora of stops all over the city, it also stops at the Crossroads at 19th and Main, which is close to where the draft will be. The street car is extending its hours during the draft, and the cherry on top is that it’s free to ride.
Another option would be to use the RideKC Bus. The bus runs through the downtown part of Kansas City. Make sure to get off at the 29th Street stop, which is just a 5-minute walk to the draft.
Parking could be tough to find near the NFL Draft area
For those who prefer to drive their own cars to the 2023 NFL Draft, finding parking near the event could be difficult.
There are some parking lots available, but park and ride might be the best option. Fans can park at West Bottoms Garage outside the city and take a shuttle to a spot about a 10-minute walk from the draft.