Know Before You Go: The NFL Draft in Kansas City at Union Station
If you're a big NFL fan there's a very good chance you'll be heading into Kansas City for the NFL Draft taking place Thursday, April 27, 2023 - Saturday, April 29, 2023. Here's what you should know before you go.
The NFL Draft Experience
First, there's information on two websites, one put together by Kansas City, and a more comprehensive event site put together by the NFL. You definitely want to check out the NFL's event site because there are a lot of different experiences for people of all ages.
Speaking of events and activities, there's something for everyone. From the hardcore NFL Football fan to the casual Chiefs fan. There are concerts, photo opportunities, football-related games, The NFL Play 60 Zone for kids, replicas of the draft stage and an NFL locker room, a Hall of Fame exhibit, and The Chiefs Kingdom Experience. There's more too, even BBQ showdowns, competitions, and demonstrations.
To get into everything you do need to register here, or on The NFL's One Pass App. Registration is free and isn't very hard to do. Mostly registration seems like a way for the NFL to keep in contact with you and send stuff to your email and find out what teams you like. Registration gives you access to a QR code, which I'd guess will be scanned when you participate in an activity or want to experience an event.
The NFL Draft Experience will be open from Noon through the conclusion of the nightly concerts on Thursday and Friday, and 9:00 AM CDT through the conclusion of the concert on Saturday. The NFL is saying concerts will wrap up around 10:00 PM CDT Thursday and Friday, and 6:00 PM CDT Saturday.
Speaking of concerts, Fall Out Boy is Thursday night's show. Motley Crue is Friday night's show. And Thundercat is Saturday's show. The NFL Draft Red Carpet happens at Noon CDT on Thursday in the Memorial Courtyard at the National WW1 Museum.
BTW, the WW1 Memorial will be open during the draft. General Admission tickets will cost $20.00 and will grant you come-and-go access to the museum for the whole day. The Museum will be closing at 7:00 PM CDT on Thursday and 6:00 PM on Friday and Saturday.
Driving, Parking, Public Transportation, and Amtrak at Union Station
This is a major event in downtown Kansas City, so of course there will be road closures around Union Station. As for parking, there are numerous parking lots along the KC Streetcar and Ride KC Max routes. Additionally, there will be some Ride KC Max Park N Ride options as well. The Kansas City Streetcar stop at Union Station, however, will be closed.
Amtrak passengers will be shuttled to and from Union Station to a pick-up and drop-off point on West 25th Street between Jefferson and West Penway Streets. Amtrak's details on the service mention walking from the platforms to the pick-up/drop-off site and it's unclear if you're using Amtrak to go to the Draft Experience if it makes more sense to walk.
Complete parking, public transportation, road closure, and transportation information can be found here.
The Draft Theater
The actual NFL Draft, as well as the concerts, will be happening in The Draft Theater. Your Draft Experience registration is no good here, more or less. You need to be an invited ticket holder to get into The Draft Theater. That said, the NFL says, fans will have an opportunity to be selected for standing-room access, backfill fan seating, and other seating opportunities as they occur. So you can get lucky.
As for the concerts, they are also being held in The Draft Theater. If you want a line-of-sight and screen experience for the concerts, The North Lawn of the World War I Museum and Memorial is where you can watch it. There will also be screens on the South side of the Museum and Memorial to watch the shows.
Clear Bag Policy and Prohibited Items / Fan Conduct
The NFL's clear bag policy is in effect for this event, and there is a list of prohibited items. Expect to be screened like you're attending an event at Arrowhead Stadium. Allowable items include medically necessary items, small cameras, small binoculars, and empty reusable water bottles. You can fill them up at the event.
One interesting note, for Kansas City Chiefs superfans, has to do with the league's policy of inclusiveness and banning obscene or offensive clothing, banners, and signs. Aside from the usual prohibitions their language includes, "Headdresses and face paint styled in a way that references or appropriates American Indian cultures and traditions" are also prohibited.
This is really a general overview of the event and things to know before you go. If your question isn't answered here, or you're looking for more specific information, click any of the links I've included in this article. Or go to the NFL's Draft Event page, it really is a comprehensive outline of everything you might need to know to have fun at the draft in Kansas City.