33 for Free

For sightseers 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

Ride the KC Streetcar

Travel along the totally free 2.2-mile KC Streetcar line to discover some of Downtown KC's most vibrant districts. The route includes 16 stops throughout the Crossroads Arts District, Power & Light District and River Market, each as interesting and diverse as the last. 

2

Boulevard Brewing Company

This 40-minute tour explores the unique history, brewing process and business approach to Kansas City’s favorite beer. The tour ends in the brewery’s tasting room where visitors can sample a select variety of Boulevard brews.

3

Bruce R. Watkins Cultural Heritage Center

Named in honor of local political and social activist Bruce R. Watkins, the center recognizes the vast contributions African-Americans made to the cultural development of Kansas City. Exhibits, displays, classes and stage performances provide an entertaining and educational experience for visitors.

4

Children's Peace Pavilion

Located in Independence, MO., this hands-on museum is an interactive way to teach children the concepts of peace. More than 25 child-centered learning activities encourage children to implement conflict resolution, communication and stewardship skills into their everyday lives.

5

The City Market

Located in Kansas City’s historic River Market, this farmers’ market is the largest in the region with an annual attendance of nearly 600,000 people.The River Market also boasts a wide variety of unique gift shops and restaurants.

6

Crown Center

A Midtown favorite, this entertainment district offers something for everyone.  Experience great dining, restaurants and attractions, or simply relax outside while watching the beautiful fountains. For a budget-friendly option, check out the free outdoor movies and live music during the summer or the Mayor’s Christmas Tree in December.

7

Deanna Rose Children's Farmstead

This family-friendly attraction is a great place to see and feed an array of barnyard and local animals. The farmstead, designed to model a traditional Kansas family farm, features nearly 200 animals, a fishing pond and pony rides. Note: admission free 2 p.m. - close Mon. to Thurs. only.

8

Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City's Money Museum

The Money Museum’s interactive exhibits teach visitors about the Federal Reserve’s role within the economy. Visitors can also see the region’s largest cash vault, lift a 27-pound gold bar and view President Harry S. Truman’s extensive coin collection. Bonus: all visitors leave with a bag of shredded currency.

9

First Fridays

The Crossroads Art District comes alive the first Friday of each month as thousands gather for the 40-gallery art crawl that has quickly become a local and regional favorite. Live entertainment and a wide variety of sidewalk vendors and food trucks make First Fridays a vibrant display of Kansas City culture.

10

Fountains

Kansas City takes pride in the nickname “the City of Fountains” and for good reason. More than 200 majestic fountains adorn the city, from quaint neighborhoods to major town landmarks. Be sure the visit the newly renovated J.C. Nichols Memorial Fountain located at the Country Club Plaza for a look at one of the most popular fountains in the area.

11

Frontier Army Museum

This collection of historical artifacts pays tribute to the Frontier Army’s role in the exploration and expansion of the nation from 1804 to 1916. The museum also celebrates Fort Leavenworth’s history from 1827 to the present. The collection includes unique artifacts such as a 1790 prairie schooner and a JN4D aircraft, the type used by General Pershing in a 1917 conflict.

12

Hallmark Visitors Center

Located in Crown Center, the Hallmark Visitors Center honors the story of one of the world’s largest greeting card companies and one of Kansas City’s most celebrated businesses. The interactive exhibit allows visitors to follow Hallmark’s 100 year journey as well as observe different greeting card trends throughout the years. Visitors can even create their own star-shaped bow as a keepsake.

13

Haskell Indian Nations University Cultural Center & Museum

This museum champions the achievements of Haskell Indian Nations University, which first opened in 1884 as a boarding school in Lawrence, KS. The collection not only celebrates the history of Native education but the vast tribal history of the land as well.

14

Ernie Miller Nature Center

Bring your hiking gear or biking equipment out to Olathe for outdoor adventures at Ernie Miller Park and Nature Center, the perfect way to spend a day in Kansas City's beautiful, natural environment. Explore educational exhibits, bird-watch with friends, trailblaze through the enivornment and so much more. 

15

Kaleidoscope

This free art studio combines the creative genius of Hallmark with the magic of imagination to create a space for kids to express themselves. Independent art sessions allow children ages 5-12 to create with bows, cardboard, melted crayons and more. At Kaleidoscope, children can discover the joy of creating.

16

Kauffman Memorial Garden

A two-acre garden in the heart of the Kansas City, this garden is a part of the Kauffman Legacy Park. The garden boasts more than 7,000 plants and several beautiful water features. Be sure to check out the secluded Secret Garden behind the conservatory.

 

17

Kansas City Public Library

The historic Central Library branch is a beloved treasure in Kansas City. Visitors can enjoy movies in the old bank’s vault, see a variety of exhibits, attend special events or simply settle in with a good read in the city’s largest collection of books. Be sure to snap a picture at the famous Community Bookshelf feature that runs along the south wall of the parking garage.

18

Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art

A leader among modern art museums in the nation, the Kemper Museum has grown to nearly 1,000 works of art since its opening in 1994. The museum offers a growing permanent collection, temporary exhibitions, as well as free public programs. For a contemporary take on dining, be sure to check out Café Sabastienne.

19

Lakeside Nature Center

Lakeside Nature Center, located in Swope Park, allows visitors to explore local wildlife and contribute to community conservation projects. The Nature Center is also one of Missouri’s largest wildlife rehabilitation facilities. Special events include nature story time, guided hikes and educational programs.

20

Lanesfield School Historic Site

A site on the National Register of Historic Places, visitors to the Lanesfield School can travel back to 1904 to explore the day in a life of a rural one-room schoolhouse student. The school, built in 1869, is the only remaining building of the once town of Lanesfield, KS. The Visitor’s Center also features an exhibit on the rural educational system of the settlers of Kansas.

21

Legends Outlets

Take a break from shopping and discover where this popular entertainment district received its name. Visitors can take a self-guided audio tour of the tribute to more than 80 legendary Kansans from athletes such as Maurice Green and Tom Watson to pioneers such as Amelia Earhart and Russell Stover.

22

Harley-Davidson Vehicle and Powertrain Operations

The tour takes visitors through the manufacturing and assembly processes of the Sportster®, Dyna and VRSC families of Harley-Davidson motorcycles. Visitors can watch as raw materials turn into custom made American motorcycles all here in Kansas City. Note: children must be at least 12 years and accompanied by adult.

23

Legler Barn Museum

Originally built in 1864 along the Santa Fe Trail at the corner of 95th and Quivira in Lenexa, this stone barn now resides in Sar-Ko-Par Trail Park as a testament to Lenexa’s history. The exhibit features many artifacts from the early prairie days to the expansion of Lenexa in the 20th century.

24

Liberty Jail

Sponsored by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the jail is a reconstruction of the original Clay County Jail on the same site of its initial location. The exhibit focuses on the LDS Church’s role in the social and religious history of the area.

25

Martha Lafite Thompson Nature Sanctuary

Located in Liberty, this nature center includes educational programs, live animal exhibits as well as multiple hiking trails. Try geocaching for an adventurous game during the hike.

26

Mormon Visitors Center

This educational center depicts the experiences of early Mormon pioneers in Independence, MO. The tour also presents the basic beliefs of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints through paintings and A/V presentations.

27

National Archives at Kansas City

Visitors to the National Archives can explore exhibit galleries with records from nearly 90 Federal agencies from around the region. Among the records displayed is the file of the 1951 landmark case, Brown v. Board of Education. Step back in time to research family trees or replicate famous signatures or view the short film, Democracy Starts Here.

28

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

Home to more than 34,500 pieces of art, from ancient Chinese ceramics to modern art in the Bloch Building, The Nelson-Atkins museum is a world-class treasure located right in the heart of Kansas City. The ever-expanding collection makes The Nelson unique each time visitors explore. Be sure to enjoy the shuttlecocks at the Sculpture Park on the south lawn.

29

Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art

A beautiful addition to the Johnson County Community College campus, the Nerman museum is the largest contemporary art museum in the four-state region. The Nerman collection includes a combination of international, national and regional artwork.

30

Penguin Park

This Northland favorite is the perfect place to let children explore their wild side. The park features both a 26-foot kangaroo slide and 23-foot playable penguin that are perfect for an afternoon adventure in the park.

31

The Roasterie

Tour Kansas City’s famous coffee-roasting company and learn all about the unique cupping, roasting and blending process that make The Roasterie KC’s best coffee. After the tour, enjoy a fresh brew in the Factory Café.

32

Shoal Creek Living History Museum

Nestled in Hodge Park, this 80-acre museum reflects life in a typical 19th century village. The village includes 17 authentic log cabins and homes. Be sure to visit during special events, as the village comes to life with re-enactors.

33

Sprint Family Fun Days

Families can enjoy the Kansas City Power & Light District in a whole new way at this event, held on the second Saturday of each month from May to October. Each Fun Day has a theme that is sure to delight children both young and old.

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