FREE Things to Do
Kansas City offers many free adventures. The following list provides free activities that offer something for everyone. Donations are accepted at some locations. Also, make sure to visit our main special offers page for more great savings.
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37 total results returned. Displaying page 1 of 2.
Type: Free Admission | Location: East
Jackson County's first government building, constructed with slave labor, was the only courthouse between St. Louis and the Pacific at the time the Santa Fe Trail trade began.
Two-room log structure was home to roots of Jackson County where controversial slave state, land disputes and westward expansion issues were dealt with. Once a Mormon mercantile store, this structure has a great significance to members of the LDS church. Harry Truman held court here in the 1930s....
Type: Art Associations | Location: Downtown Area
Belger Arts Center-Red Star Studios has been rated 5 out of 5 stars
Belger Arts Center hosts contemporary art exhibitions featuring the work of notables from the Belger Collection. Our annual exhibition schedule also includes rotating solo and group exhibitions of national and international artists. Through our Touring Exhibition Programs, major works of art are made available to museums, university galleries and other arts organizations for exhibition and study.
Red Star Studios features a functional and sculptural ceramics gallery, classes, workshops, and artist studios. The Gallery showcases work by emerging and established regional, national and international artists. Classes and workshops available for all skill levels. The Studio is also home to a renowned Artist-in-Residence program. Red Star Studios is located at Belger Arts Center, in the KC Crossroads Arts District, and at Belger Crane Yard Studios (2011 Tracy Ave.) near KC's 18th & Vine Jazz District.
Groups of 10 to 30 may schedule a free, docent-led tour and hands-on activity by calling 816-474-3250. Hours are 10am-5pm Wed. - Fri., 10am-4pmSat.
Type: Gardens | Location: West
Site of the June 2, 1856, battle between John Brown and the Free-State militia and Pro-Slavery militia of Henry C. Pate. First armed battle over the issue of slavery. Three miles east of Baldwin City, Kansas, 1/4 mile south of Hwy 56 on E2000 Road....
Type: Free Admission | Location: Crown Center Area
Boulevard Brewing Co. has been rated 4 out of 5 stars
Founded in 1989, Boulevard Brewing Company has grown to become the largest specialty brewer in the Midwest. Our mission is simple -- to produce fresh, flavorful beers using the finest traditional ingredients and the best of both old and new brewing techniques.
The Boulevard story begins in 1988, when founder John McDonald started construction of the brewery in a turn-of-the-century brick building on Kansas City's historic Southwest Boulevard. A vintage Bavarian brewhouse was installed, and the first batches of beer were produced in the fall of 1989. That November, the first keg of Boulevard Pale Ale was delivered -- in the back of John's pickup truck -- to a restaurant just a few blocks away.
Type: Free Admission | Location: Southeast
Bruce R. Watkins Cultural Heritage Center has been rated 5 out of 5 stars
The Center is named in honor of Bruce R. Watkins, a political and social activist. Watkins was fueled by the need to recognize and preserve the varied contributions African-Americans made to the development of Kansas City.
The facility is located on one of Kansas City's major thoroughfares. It is part of the Cultural Mall complex, which includes the Spirit of Freedom Foundation, the Satchel Paige Stadium, an amphitheater and a hillside garden, which greets visitors with thousands of multi-colored irises.
The center provides visitors with culturally rich entertainment and educational experiences in the form of exhibits and displays, films, classes and workshops, stage performances and special ceremonies.
The center is open to visitors of all ages. It includes permanent exhibit space, children's workspace, resource library, auditorium, small gallery and glassed encased exhibit area for small pieces and artifacts. Admission is free, although there may be a small fee for some events and classes.
Type: History | Location: Northwest
C.W. Parker Carousel Museum has been rated 4 out of 5 stars
Charles Wallace Parker started traveling carnivals in the midwest and was expanding rapidly. His carousels began to evolve through several style changes. He went from the track machines to the jumping carousels, from steam to electric. The carving on the horses began to get more fanciful.
The Parker "Carry-Us-Alls" (his play on words for carousel) continued to be the most important part of the amusement business. He built hundreds of small traveling carousels and also built five large extravagant "park" machines, designed to be permanently installed in large amusement parks.
About 1914, he began to introduce the new stretched leg and long bodied shape to the horses on his carousels that became his best know figures. Most carousels from then on had a horse called "Lillie Belle" on every machine produced. By 1925 he began phasing out the wooden carved horses, and began creating the aluminum cast figures.
The museum features carousel horses and parts, and three complete carousels from 1850-1950.
Type: Free Admission | Location: Downtown Area
City Hall Observation Deck has been rated 2 out of 5 stars
View the city from the 30th floor of City Hall. City Hall is the third tallest building in the city. It measures 443 feet from the sidewalk at the north door to the top of the building. Since it's on a hill, it dominates the downtown skyline. When it was first built, it was the tallest building in the state. It remains one of the tallest city halls in the country.
The building, which required 22 months to construct, is considered to have a neo-classic or beaux arts architecture, but is most notable for its art deco details and ornamentation. This is evident in a myriad of interior details, including sculpted brass elevator doors depicting the four major modes of transportation that serve Kansas City; elaborate light fixtures in the lobby and elsewhere; and even custom brass doorknob plates. Outside, at the top floor of the six-story base, windows are replaced with a frieze of relief sculptures depicting the early settlement and growth of the Kansas City area.
Type: Farmer's Market & Specialty Foods | Location: Downtown Area
City Market has been rated 5 out of 5 stars
In operation since 1857, the City Market is the largest farmers’ market in the region with an annual attendance of nearly 600,000 per year and bursting with more than 140 farmer stalls. In addition, City Market merchants offer a wide variety of fresh produce, meats, baked goods, flowers, specialty foods and other items from America, Africa, Europe, the Middle and far East.
The City Market is home to a unique collection of gift shops, authentic restaurants and the Arabia Steamboat Museum, which houses the largest collection of pre-Civil War artifacts in the world.
The City Market has an extensive event calendar from April through October including concerts, food celebrations and kids activities. Located in the heart of the historic River Market neighborhood, the City Market is open seven days a week, year round. For more information visit the City Market Web site at www.thecitymarket.org....
Type: Free Admission | Location: Country Club Plaza Area
Kansas City's history is reflected in a century of fountain development. First, fountains were established to fill the needs of people and animals and later as beautification, memorials and celebrations.
Originally established by Kansas Citians Harold and Peggy Rice in 1973, The City of Fountains Foundation, working with the Parks and Recreation Department of Kansas City, dedicated its efforts to enhancing Kansas City and its surrounding areas by encouraging the establishment of fountains and their accompanying funds.
You can visit more than 200 fountains in the Kansas City metro area. Call or go to www.kcfountains.org to download and/or request a free walking/driving brochure....
Type: Free Admission | Location: Crown Center Area
Crown Center has been rated 4 out of 5 stars
Home to the international headquarters of Hallmark Cards, Crown Center offers something for everyone. The three-level Crown Center Shops feature more than 60 shops and restaurants. Eating options range from a burger spot where meals are delivered by miniature train to the city's only Forbes Four-Star dining experience, The American Restaurant. Shopaholics are drawn to the unique specialty stores, headlined by Halls Kansas City. Theatregoers can choose from award-winning youth-oriented shows at The Coterie and innovative shows at the Off Center Theatre. The center also hosts free activities, such as children's exhibits, puppet shows and the Crayola Christmas Land. Crown Center Square, located right across from the shopping center, is the heart of the complex. It's home to events throughout the year that are great for the whole family, including ethnic festivals, an antique show, outdoor movie series and concerts. LEGOLAND Discovery Center and SEA LIFE Aquarium also reside on the square. Also at the complex are free Hallmark-sponsored activities. The Hallmark Visitors Center details the illustrious history of the world's leader in personal expression, while Kaleidoscope offers a creative art experience for children ages 5-12. Travelers can choose from two of the city's most luxurious hotels--Sheraton Kansas City at Crown Center and Westin Kansas City at Crown Center . They're connected to the shopping center by The Link, an elevated, climate-controlled pedestrian walkway. Come to our "city within a city" and find out for yourself why five million people visit Crown Center each year!...
Type: Gardens | Location: Country Club Plaza Area
Ewing and Muriel Kauffman Memorial Garden has been rated 5 out of 5 stars
Extending Ewing and Muriel Kauffman's legacy with an enduring gift for Kansas City, a beautiful garden and learning environment in the heart of the city they loved....
Type: Museums | Location: Northeast
Excelsior Springs Hall of Waters & Cultural Museum has been rated 3 out of 5 stars
Ground-breaking took place in 1936 with a ceremony and the laying of the cornerstone. This structure was partially completed in 1937, when the "Hall of Springs" (today known as the water bar) opened and the mineral waters were dispensed to visitors and health-seekers.
Besides the Hall of Springs, the first floor contained the women's bath department, a sunroom, a covered porch, a grand foyer, offices for the management of the springs and for the chamber of commerce. The swimming pool met the A.A.U. regulations for championship events and was located on a lower floor that opened to outdoor terraces. The balcony around the pool could seat 500 people. Adjoining the pool in the south wing was a special hydrotherapy department, devoted to research into the uses of the waters and treatment of chronic cases of different ailments on prescriptions of licensed physicians. The bottling department was located on the east side of the north wing. Five varieties of mineral water were bottled in the Hall of Waters Processing and Bottling Plant and shipped all over the world.
Type: Museums | Location: Northwest
Frontier Army Museum has been rated 4 out of 5 stars
Focuses on Fort Leavenworth's role in westward expansion, exhibiting one of the finest collections of horse-drawn military carriages in the nation, including a 1790 prairie schooner and a 1917 JN4D "Jenny" bi-plane. Donations accepted....
Type: History | Location: Downtown Area
Norman-Gothic downtown structure, seats 600, across from Convention Center. Reception hall seats 250 at dinner, up to 500 with theater seating. Facility available 8am-11pm, Mon.-Sat. Office open 9am-5pm Mon.-Fri....
Type: Free Admission | Location: Crown Center Area
Hallmark Visitors Center has been rated 4 out of 5 stars
See one of the world's most creative companies come to life. Located in Kansas City's Crown Center complex, the Hallmark Visitors Center celebrates the Hallmark story in a display of remarkable exhibits, from our founder's humble beginning in 1910, to the creation of one of the world's largest greeting card company. Step inside the Timeline exhibit where you'll view historical artifacts that reflect various eras and trends throughout 20th century America into the new millennium. Marvel at the J.C. Hall Christmas Trees, a collection of 17 unique and imaginative trees. Visit with some of our Hallmark craftspeople a graphic arts technician or press operator as they demonstrate hot foil stamping and die cutting, processes used in the manufacture of greeting cards. You can even press a button to create a star-shaped bow that you can take home as a souvenir. There's so much more to see at the Hallmark Visitors Center. This stop is sure to add many happy memories of your visit to Kansas City. And the best part is...it's FREE!...
Type: Free Admission | Location: Northwest
Harley-Davidson Vehicle and Powertrain Operations has been rated 4 out of 5 stars
Harley-Davidson Vehicle and Powertrain Operations in Kansas City, Mo. was built in 1998 to increase production of Harley-Davidson® motorcycles. More than 900 Kansas City employees produce the Sportster®, Dyna and VRSC families of motorcycles from fabrication and finishing through final assembly. The plant also has the unique distinction of being the only Harley-Davidson facility to produce an entire motorcycle, the groundbreaking VRSCA V-Rod®. From assembly of the liquid-cooled Revolution® powertrain and hydroformed frame to painting and final testing, people and process converge in Kansas City to transform raw materials into custom American muscle.
The tour center features a series of displays that guide you through the various manufacturing and assembly processes and illustrate the individual and collaborative skills necessary to produce each motorcycle. You'll also have the chance to sit on current production motorcycles and visit the gift shop, which features tour-related souvenirs. Your tour experience begins with an introductory film. Then it's on to the factory floor where you'll witness a wide range of operations from welding, laser-cutting and frame-bending, to polishing and wheel assembly. You'll see fenders and gas tanks being formed, newly painted frames hanging on the line, and sophisticated robotic welding technology. You'll also see the Revolution® powertrain assembled from crankcase to cylinder heads.
Must be at least 12 years old and accompanied by adult. Fully enclosed shoes required. Cameras prohibited on tours; lockers available. Souvenir merchandise for sale. Please call 877-883-1450 or visit ...
Type: History | Location: Southeast
Harry S. Truman National Historic Site - Truman Farm Home has been rated 5 out of 5 stars
The farmhouse, built in 1894 by Harry Truman's grandmother, is the centerpiece of a 11-acre remnant of the family's former 600-acre farm. Mr. Truman's home from 1906-1917 (ages 22-33) before leaving for WWI. Operated by the National Park Service. House is not open for tours. Farm grounds open all year from dawn to dusk. The Truman home in Independence is part of this national park site....
Type: Museums | Location: West
Preserves the vast history of Haskell's evolution from boarding school to university. Features exhibits from Haskell's unique archival and artifact collections including traditional art forms, contemporary work, artifacts and oral history projects. Rental space: 50 seated. Open 9:30am-5pm, Mon.-Fri. Closed weekends and holidays....
Type: Free Admission | Location: Northeast
Historic Liberty Jail features a reconstruction of the original Clay County Jail on the same site of its initial location. We offer free tours, including art, sculpture, photographs and an audio-visual presentation focusing on social and religious history of the area during the 1830s, with special attention to events associated with the Liberty Jail. The site is sponsored and operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints....
Type: Museums | Location: Southwest
Johnson County Museum of History has been rated 4 out of 5 stars
Step back in history and discover your future. See what has lured people to Johnson County for the past 175 years. Includes 14 hands-on stations, KidScape and changing exhibit gallery. Youth programs include tours, classes and interactive play.
The Johnson County Museum of History opened in 1967 in the former Greenwood School. Over the years, the museum has continued to achieve its mission of preserving and sharing the community's history through its award winning permanent and changing exhibits. The facility includes permanent and changing galleries, a research library, an education center, KidScape and a museum store....
Type: Free Admission | Location: Crown Center Area
Kaleidoscope has been rated 4 out of 5 stars
Kaleidoscope is a magical art studio where children can be creative and feel good about their own special ideas. Creating with bows, cardboard, jazzy junk, making puzzles and painting with melted crayons are just a few of the fun things to do. Independent art sessions for children ages 5-12 and family art Sessions for children of all ages! Kaleidoscope is free as a public service by Hallmark. Call for session times.
Way back in the 1960s, a bright, bright Kansas City man named Don Hall had a bright, bright idea. He got together some of the other idea makers at his company, Hallmark, and they cooked up an imagination machine, where children from all over our planet could explore, create and cook up their own bright, bright, ideas.
Millions of children across the United States have been creating ever since using melted crayons, polka dots of all sizes, zig and zags, shooting stars and lots of other jazzy junk that tickle the minds of young artists everywhere.
Kaleidoscope's imaginative worlds inspire each child's creativity. Children explore exciting environments as they discover the joy of creativity by making their own amazing art from Hallmark scrap materials.
Kaleidoscope gives children (and grown-ups, too) a unique opportunity to express themselves in a supportive, encouraging environment. At Kaleidoscope, every idea is a good idea! ...
Type: Art Museums | Location: Country Club Plaza Area
Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art has been rated 3 out of 5 stars
The sleek exterior of Kansas City’s Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, designed by Gunnar Birkerts, only hints at the activity within its walls. The open, light-filled atrium provides a striking setting for art activities in the Museum, which is accessible to all, free of charge, year-round. The permanent collection, temporary exhibitions, free public programs, special events, and the ever-popular Café Sebastienne provide endless opportunities for education and entertainment.
Since opening in 1994, the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art has become a leader among modern and contemporary art museums in America. The Museum has always had a strong commitment to its mission: to present contemporary art of the highest quality and significance through a permanent collection and a balanced exhibition program, and to stimulate dialogue, understanding, and appreciation of contemporary art through free educational public programming. With nearly a dozen special exhibitions each year featuring works by well-known, mid-career, and emerging artists, the Kemper Museum almost always offers visitors a chance to experience something new.
The heart of the Museum is its permanent collection, which has more than tripled to nearly one thousand works in just over ten years time. At the core of the permanent collection is the Bebe and Crosby Kemper Collection, a gift by the Museum’s founders R. Crosby and Bebe Kemper and the Kemper Foundations. Encompassing art created from the time of the 1913 New York Armory Show to today, the collection includes works by such renowned artists as Dale Chihuly, Petah Coyne, Morris Louis, Georgia O’Keeffe, Fairfield Porter, Jaume Plensa, Matthew Ritchie, Wayne Thiebaud, and Andy Warhol.
The Museum’s celebrated Café Sebastienne serving lunch, dinner, and brunch has won high praise, including its inclusion in Zagat Guide’s Top American Restaurants. The unique environment of the Museum along with Executive Chef Jennifer Maloney’s artful creations also make the Museum an extraordinary place for special events. The Café serves lunch 11:00 a.m.2:30 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday; dinner 5:30 9:30 pm. Friday and Saturday; and brunch 11am 2:30pm, Sunday. For reservations, call 816-561-7740.
Museum admission and parking are free. To learn more, visit www.kemperart.org or call 816-753-5784....
Type: Gardens | Location: Southeast
Wildlife education programs for all ages with live animals. Nature Center is free, has a hiking trail, picnic pavilion and native Missouri wildlife exhibit. Rental facilities in wooded area for corporate events, receptions and business retreats; capacity: 100 people....
Type: Gardens | Location: Southwest
Legler Barn Museum has been rated 4 out of 5 stars
Historic stone barn, railroad depot, caboose and more. Museum about Lenexa's colorful history. ...
Type: Free Admission | Location: Country Club Plaza Area
Loose Park has been rated 5 out of 5 stars
Beautiful urban park, near Country Club Plaza. Wading pool, Civil War markers, Laura Conyers Smith Municipal Rose Garden....