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33 for Free

For travelers on a shoestring budget, Kansas City offers many free adventures. The following list provides 33 free activities that offer something for everyone. Donations are accepted at some locations.

  1. 1827 Log Courthouse. Once the only courthouse west of St. Charles, Mo., it later served as a mercantile operation, home and gathering place for the early Mormon settlers.
  2. Board of Trade Visitors Gallery. Observe the fast-paced world of trading.
  3. Boulevard Brewing Company. Tour the largest specialty brewer in the Midwest. Check out the current tour schedule.
  4. Bruce R. Watkins Cultural Heritage Center. A tribute to the city's early African-American pioneers.
  5. Children's Peace Pavilion. Hands-on museum focusing on world peace.
  6. The City Market. Saturday and Sunday mornings bring one of the largest farmers markets in the Midwest.
  7. Crown Center. There's always something going on at this entertainment center. Check out the free outdoor movies and concerts during the summer months.
  8. Deanna Rose Children's Farmstead. A great place to see and feed an array of barnyard friends and other animals native to the area. (Free Mon.-Thu.; $2 on weekends)
  9. Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City's Money Museum. Learn about the nation’s financial system through interactive exhibits.
  10. First Fridays. This 40-gallery art crawl in the Crossroads Arts District has quickly become a local and regional favorite, drawing thousands the First Friday of every month.
  11. Frontier Army Museum. Focuses on Fort Leavenworth's role in westward expansion.
  12. Hallmark Visitors Center. Catch a behind-the-scenes peek at one of the world's largest greeting card companies.
  13. Harley-Davidson Vehicle and Powertrain Operations. Tour the facility to see how hogs are made.
  14. Haskell Indian Nations University Cultural Center & Museum. Preserves the vast history of Haskell's evolution from boarding school to university.
  15. Johnson County Museum of History. See what has lured people to the suburbs for the past 175 years.
  16. Kaleidoscope. From the minds behind Hallmark, a free creative workshop for kids aged 5 to 12.
  17. Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. This new $413 million architectural marvel offers free self-guided, hour-long tours several times each month. Sign up online.
  18. Kauffman Memorial Garden. Showcases sculptures, fountains and colorful beds of exotic plants.
  19. Kansas City Zoo. Free admission for KCMO residents in October and November with proof of residency.
  20. Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art. With the famous contemporary pieces it houses, this museum is a city gem.
  21. Lakeside Nature Center. Learn about the natural world around us through live native-animal exhibits and workshops.
  22. Lanesfield School Historic Site. Practice your penmanship or cipher math problems on a slate with a costumed schoolteacher in a school built in 1869.
  23. Legends Outlets. Take a self-guided audio tour of the entertainment district’s tribute to more than 80 legendary Kansans.
  24. Legler Barn Museum. Built in 1864, this museum stands as one of the few remaining limestone barns.
  25. Liberty Jail. Historic site for both Clay County and the LDS Church due to the five months Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon church, spent here.
  26. Martha Lafite Thompson Nature Sanctuary. Experience nature preservation through trails and the Nature Center.
  27. Mormon Visitors Center. Learn about the key role the Mormons played in the early and tempestuous history of Independence, Mo.
  28. National Archives at Kansas City. Research family trees, browse special exhibits, replicate famous signatures or view rare documents from around the region.
  29. The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. Enjoy of the finest general art museums in the country.
  30. Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art. Featuring major exhibitions of renowned artists, the Nerman is the only contemporary art museum in Kansas.
  31. Penguin Park. This fun and playful park has everything from a 26-foot kangaroo slide to a 23-foot penguin to play inside.
  32. The Roasterie. Tour the Roasterie and find out about their cupping, roasting and blending processes that create the KC-based air-roasted coffee.
  33. Shoal Creek Living History Museum. A village of more than 20 authentic 19th-century buildings dating from 1807 to 1885.
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