Welcome to Kansas City, where fun and excitement don’t come with a price tag. In this article, we have compiled a fantastic list of “30 Free Things to Do in Kansas City” that won’t cost you a dime. Whether you’re a resident looking for budget-friendly activities or a traveler exploring the city on a shoestring, we’ve got you covered.
From exploring captivating museums and enjoying breathtaking parks to attending free concerts and savoring local flavors, there’s something for everyone to enjoy without breaking the bank. Get ready to embark on a budget-friendly adventure and discover the City of Fountains without spending a cent!
The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art is a true gem in the city, welcomes the public from Tuesday to Sunday, offering free admission. This institution houses an extensive collection of more than 35,000 artworks spanning over 5,000 years of history. From ancient artifacts to contemporary masterpieces, the museum’s exhibits showcase diverse cultures and artistic expressions. The museum’s iconic outdoor sculpture park, featuring grand installations, is equally impressive and inviting.
The Country Club Plaza is an outdoor shopping district that features stunning Spanish-style architecture, fountains, and picturesque courtyards. Take a leisurely stroll along its charming streets, and window-shop at the designer boutiques, and admire the beautiful sculptures scattered throughout the area.
Kansas City’s Loose Park is a delightful free destination with lush landscapes and a serene atmosphere. Spanning 75 acres, the park offers picturesque walking trails, a tranquil lake, and beautiful rose gardens. Visitors can enjoy picnics, and recreational activities, and even visit the Laura Conyers Smith Municipal Rose Garden, featuring over 3,000 rose bushes of different varieties in the 1.5-acre garden.
The Kansas City Public Library is a must-visit destination for locals and tourists alike, offering a wealth of knowledge and cultural experiences at no cost. It is not only a place to borrow books but also an architectural marvel. The library’s “Community Bookshelf,” an exterior wall showcasing 22 giant book spines, makes it a popular Instagram spot.
The library system includes over 10 branches spread throughout the city, offering a vast collection of more than 2 million items, such as books, digital media, and special collections. It provides valuable services to the community, such as computer access, Wi-Fi, educational workshops, and various events catering to people of all ages. As a significant resource for knowledge and community engagement, the Kansas City Public Library plays a crucial role in promoting literacy and education in the area.
Discover the charm of Kansas City at First Weekends in the West Bottoms, a popular free event. The West Bottoms is a historic district with a unique blend of industrial charm and artistic flair. On the first Friday of each month, the West Bottoms district comes alive with arts, culture, and entertainment.
Explore its vintage stores, antique shops, and art galleries, or simply savor the atmosphere of this revitalized neighborhood. Enjoy live music, food trucks, and local artisans, making it a perfect weekend getaway for those seeking creativity and fun.
The Crossroads Arts District comes alive on the first Friday with creativity and culture. On the first Friday of each month, the Crossroads Arts District transforms into a lively hub with open galleries, local artists showcasing their work, live music performances, and an array of food trucks.
This free and vibrant experience celebrates Kansas City’s creative community and offers a delightful night out for visitors and locals alike. Join the First Fridays Art Walk to explore art galleries, studios, and street performances, all while enjoying a lively and artistic atmosphere.
The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City’s Money Museum is a captivating free destination in KC, showcasing the history of money and the role of the Federal Reserve. Established in 1907, the museum features interactive exhibits where you can explore the history of money, see rare coins, and even hold a genuine gold bar. With a chance to view millions of dollars in cash, it offers an educational and engaging experience for visitors.
At the Money Museum, engaging displays educate guests on the Federal Reserve’s economic significance. Observe the area’s grand cash vault, lift a hefty 27-pound gold bar, and admire President Harry S. Truman’s impressive coin assortment. As a delightful extra, all visitors receive a bag of shredded currency as a souvenir. Enjoy free self-guided tours from Monday to Friday.
Penguin Park in Kansas City is a delightful free destination for families. The park’s iconic 25-foot-tall fiberglass penguin sculptures captivate visitors, providing a perfect backdrop for children’s play. Alongside this majestic penguin, you’ll find a delightful assortment of whimsical animal statues and playground equipment, featuring a playful kangaroo, an elephant, and a majestic elephant.
The park offers a plethora of merry-go-rounds, swings, and a mix of modern and classic play equipment. Restrooms and water fountains are conveniently available on-site.
With picnic tables, trash receptacles, ornamental fencing, LED lighting, and drinking fountains, it’s an ideal spot for outdoor fun and picnics.
Situated in Swope Park, the Lakeside Nature Center allows visitors to experience native wildlife up close, featuring fascinating birds of prey, snakes, and turtles. Experience the beauty of nature through diverse wildlife exhibits and educational programs, promoting wildlife conservation and environmental awareness.
Take a leisurely stroll along scenic trails and encounter native animal species. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast or seeking a peaceful escape, Lakeside Nature Center offers a delightful and informative outing.
10. Discover the Ewing and Muriel Kauffman Memorial Garden
The Ewing and Muriel Kauffman Memorial Garden is a serene botanical garden spanning 2 acres within Kauffman Legacy Park. It offers a peaceful escape from the city’s hustle and bustle. Adorned with whimsical fountains, vibrant flowers, stone walls, and elegant bronze sculptures, it’s an ideal spot for a tranquil picnic.
The garden’s pruned foliage and artfully arranged flower plantings create a beautiful ambiance, honoring the Kauffman legacy. The garden is free to enter and offers complimentary parking. Open daily, it is a welcoming destination for everyone to enjoy.
Kansas City, also known as the “City of Fountains,” offers a plethora of free fountains to visit and enjoy. With over 200 fountains scattered throughout the city, it boasts the second-highest number of fountains in the world, just behind Rome. These charming fountains hold great cultural significance, serving as landmarks, peaceful spots, and nostalgic links to the city’s past.
Experience the captivating allure of Kansas City’s fountains. From iconic landmarks like Mill Creek Park, Firefighters Fountain and Memorial, and Crown Center Square Fountain, to smaller charming fountains scattered throughout neighborhoods, visitors can immerse themselves in the city’s rich fountain culture and admire its diverse and captivating designs.
12. Visit the Kaleidoscope
Kaleidoscope e, a Hallmark-owned free art center, is a delightful free destination for children and families. This interactive art center encourages creativity and self-expression by providing kids with a wide range of materials, including Hallmark leftovers, to craft their unique masterpieces. Independent art sessions allow kids to explore various materials like bows, cardboard, and melted crayons.
Located in Crown Center, this gift from Hallmark encourages families to nurture their creative spirit, making every child’s special ideas come to life. With its focus on fostering imagination, Kaleidoscope offers an inspiring and enjoyable experience for young artists in Kansas City.
The Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City, Missouri, is a free and inclusive space that exhibits and collects modern art. Established in 1994, it showcases a growing permanent collection and hosts several special exhibitions each year. The museum offers free public programs, installations, lectures, concerts, and workshops for children, promoting creativity and inspiration.
Café Sebastienne serves innovative cuisine amidst artistic surroundings, and the Museum Shop offers unique artworks for sale. With its light-filled atrium, the Kemper Museum provides year-round, accessible art activities for all to enjoy.
Situated in Crown Center Complex, the Hallmark Visitors Center pays tribute to the renowned greeting card companies and Kansas City’s cherished business. This unique center showcases Hallmark’s remarkable history, featuring exhibits on iconic TV commercials and demonstrations of the card-making process.
Admission is free, allowing visitors to explore 14 interactive exhibits that tell the story of Hallmark’s 100-year journey and the evolution of greeting card trends. Visitors can even craft a star-shaped bow keepsake and delve into Hallmark’s diverse portfolio of businesses.
This center celebrates Hallmark’s billion-dollar success with intriguing displays, a theater, and a J.C Hall Christmas Tree Collection. Reservations are required for this enriching experience. With its engaging displays and authentic insights, the Hallmark Visitors Center is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in the art of storytelling and creativity.
The KC Streetcar, initiated in 2016, offers a cost-free travel experience for exploring the lively district of downtown Kansas City. This modern streetcar system covers a 2.2-mile route that encompasses 16 stops, passing through popular destinations like the River Market, Power & Light District, and Union Station serves as your personal tour guide. Operating seven days a week, it offers a convenient and eco-friendly way to discover the city’s vibrant culture, shopping, dining, and entertainment options.
With this streetcar, you can enjoy a quick tour without having to spend a dime or even walk a step. It’s a perfect option for those who want to experience the city’s charm effortlessly and within their budget. The KC Streetcar is a must-ride experience for both tourists and locals alike.
Kansas City offers a myriad of free experiences that allow visitors to delve into its history, culture, and natural beauty. From world-class museums and art spaces to serene parks and beautiful gardens, this vibrant city invites you to explore its diverse offerings without straining your wallet. Whether you’re a local looking for new adventures or a visitor seeking budget-friendly options, make the most of these 15 free things to do in Kansas City for an enriching and memorable experience and cherished memories.