Free Things To Do In Kansas City – The Complete Guide

Kansas City is a vibrant and exciting city that offers a range of activities for tourists and locals alike. While some of the city’s best-known attractions require a fee, there are plenty of free things to do in Kansas City that are just as enjoyable.

In this complete guide, we will explore the best free activities, including museums, parks, landmarks, and festivals. We will also provide tips on how to save money on food, drinks, and accommodation, making it easy to experience Kansas City without breaking the bank.

Knowing about free things to do in Kansas City is important because it allows you to experience the city without worrying about the cost. You can spend your time exploring the city, trying new foods, and attending events without worrying about your budget.

Kansas City has a rich history and a unique culture, and by taking advantage of free activities, you can learn more about the city’s past and present without spending a dime.

Kansas City has a fascinating history, starting as a trading post for Native Americans and fur trappers. The city grew rapidly in the 19th century, becoming a hub for agriculture, transportation, and industry. Today, Kansas City is known for its jazz music, barbecue, and sports teams, among other things.

By exploring the city’s free attractions, you can discover the culture, history, and personality that make Kansas City a special place to visit.

Enjoy Free Museums and Art Galleries in Kansas City

Kansas City is a treasure trove of rich history, vibrant culture, and stunning art. Even better, you can delve into this wealth without spending a dime. Here are the top museums and art galleries that offer free admission.

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

Free Things To Do In Kansas City - The Complete Guide

This museum is known for its encyclopedic collection of more than 35,000 works of art from various cultures and time periods. Highlights include Asian art, European and American paintings, and a comprehensive collection of photography.

The museum’s exterior also boasts the iconic “Shuttlecocks” sculpture installation. For a memorable visit, plan ahead to join one of the free guided tours, and don’t forget to take a leisurely stroll through the beautiful Sculpture Park.

Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art

Offering a dynamic roster of exhibitions and installations, the Kemper Museum hosts works from modern masters and rising stars. Besides its fantastic indoor collection, the museum’s grounds also feature several eye-catching outdoor sculptures. Make the most of your visit by participating in a free docent-led tour offered on Saturdays at 1 PM.

Kansas City Museum

Housed in a former mansion, this museum focuses on local history and heritage. The museum showcases a variety of exhibits ranging from the prehistoric era to the present day. The best way to explore this museum is to take part in one of their free guided tours, which need to be scheduled in advance.

The Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art

Located on the campus of Johnson County Community College, the Nerman Museum houses one of the top internationally acclaimed collections of emerging and established artists. While you’re there, don’t miss the museum’s outdoor sculpture collection. For a more immersive experience, avail yourself of the free audio guide service.

Money Museum at Federal Reserve Bank

This unique museum offers a fascinating look at the nation’s financial system. Highlights include a 27-pound gold bar and the opportunity to watch millions of dollars being counted, sorted, and distributed. To maximize your visit, try to join one of their free guided tours offered on weekdays.

Remember, while these museums and galleries offer free admission, some special exhibitions may require a fee. It’s always best to check the museum’s website before your visit to stay updated with their hours, exhibitions, and any potential changes in their admission policy.

Take Advantage of Parks and Outdoor Spaces in Kansas City

Free Things To Do In Kansas City - The Complete Guide

Kansas City’s expansive parks and outdoor spaces offer a breath of fresh air for those eager to explore the great outdoors. From serene hiking trails to picturesque picnic spots, here’s how you can take advantage of these spaces.

Swope Park

As one of the largest city parks in the U.S., Swope Park provides a plethora of outdoor activities. Hiking enthusiasts will enjoy the Limestone Glade Trail, a 1.4-mile loop that offers scenic views and wildlife sightings. There’s also a disc golf course, a soccer field, and a beautiful picnic area. The park is located at Meyer Boulevard and Swope Parkway.

Loose Park

Known for its beautiful Rose Garden, Loose Park is a favourite among locals. The park features a serene lake, picnic areas, and a 1.3-mile loop that’s perfect for a leisurely walk or a bike ride. You can find Loose Park at 51st Street and Wornall Road.

Riverfront Park

Situated along the Missouri River, this park offers stunning views and a 15-mile riverfront trail, ideal for biking or jogging. You can also enjoy fishing and picnicking here. The park is accessible via the Grand Boulevard.

Cliff Drive State Scenic Byway

Nestled in George E. Kessler Park, this 4-mile scenic byway is a haven for nature lovers. The route is closed to motorized traffic on weekends, making it perfect for a peaceful hike or bike ride. The byway is located in the Historic Northeast neighbourhood of Kansas City.

Shawnee Mission Park

A short drive from downtown Kansas City, this park boasts over 1,600 acres of outdoor fun. With several well-marked trails, a 120-acre lake for fishing, and multiple picnic spots, it’s worth the trip. The park’s address is 7900 Renner Road, Shawnee, KS.

Before heading out, remember to check the weather forecast and dress appropriately. Also, some parks may have seasonal hours or events, so it’s always a good idea to check their official websites for the most accurate information. Kansas City’s parks and outdoor spaces are an open invitation to explore and enjoy nature’s bounty.

Discover Historical Sites and Landmarks in Kansas City

Free Things To Do In Kansas City - The Complete Guide

Steeped in rich history, Kansas City is home to a wealth of historical sites and landmarks. From its iconic fountains to the jazz-drenched streets, these sites tell the story of a city with a past as vibrant as its present. Here’s where you can step back in time:

Union Station

This grand old railway station opened in 1914, once catered to hundreds of trains daily. Today, it serves as a bustling cultural hub with restaurants, theatres, and exhibits.

Don’t miss the grandeur of the Grand Hall, with its 95-foot ceiling and three 3,500-pound chandeliers. Union Station is a working Amtrak station, so you might even catch a train departing or arriving during your visit.

Liberty Memorial and National WWI Museum

Recognized as one of the world’s most comprehensive World War I museums, this site offers a deep dive into the Great War. Climb the Liberty Memorial Tower for panoramic views of the city. Admission to the museum is ticketed, but the memorial grounds are free and provide an excellent setting for reflection.

18th & Vine Historic District

Known as the cradle of Kansas City Jazz, this district has a rich African American heritage. While the museums in the area require admission, strolling around this historic district and soaking in its unique atmosphere is absolutely free.

Country Club Plaza

This Spanish-inspired shopping district was the country’s first suburban shopping district designed to accommodate shoppers arriving by automobile. Admire the architecture, fountains, and statues throughout the Plaza that make it a unique landmark.

Kansas City’s Fountains

Known as the ‘City of Fountains,’ Kansas City has more fountains than any city in the world, except Rome. From the grand J.C. Nichols Memorial Fountain on the Plaza to the playful Children’s Fountain in North Kansas City, these landmarks are must-see attractions.

Before heading out to explore, take a moment to learn about the sites online or through travel books. This will enrich your understanding of what you’re seeing and make your visit more rewarding. And don’t forget your camera – these sites offer some fantastic photo opportunities.

Explore Free Attractions for Kids in Kansas City

Free Things To Do In Kansas City - The Complete Guide

Kansas City is a kid-friendly playground filled with exciting free attractions that can keep children of all ages entertained. From outdoor adventures to educational exhibits, here are some of the best places to explore:

Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead

This outdoor agricultural museum in Overland Park offers children a chance to experience farm life. Kids can pet animals, learn about growing plants, and even pan for “gold”. While admission is free during the weekdays, there’s a nominal fee on weekends and holidays.

Crown Center Shops

This shopping centre has more than just stores; it also features a free interactive exhibit for kids that changes annually. During the winter, the Crown Center Square transforms into a free outdoor skating rink.

Kansas City Public Libraries

The libraries in Kansas City offer a plethora of free activities for kids, including storytimes, craft activities, and special events. The Central Library’s ‘Children’s Library’ section is a must-visit with its extensive collection and kid-friendly environment.

Kaleidoscope

This creative workshop, sponsored by Hallmark Cards, invites children to use leftover materials from the card-making process to create their own works of art. Sessions are free, but reservations are highly recommended as space is limited.

Sprint Family Fun Days

Held on the second Saturday of each month from May through October, these events feature activities like bounce houses, face painting, and interactive arts and crafts.

For parents and families, remember to check the specific hours and availability of these attractions beforehand, as some may vary by season or have special events. Always have a backup plan in case of unexpected closures.

Pack essentials like water, snacks, sunscreen, and hats, especially for outdoor activities. Most importantly, enjoy the priceless moments of fun and learning with your children as you explore the kid-friendly side of Kansas City!

Discover Free Tours and Guided Walks in Kansas City

Kansas City is a place best explored on foot. Free tours and guided walks provide an enriching way to learn about the city’s history, architecture, and culture. Here are a few that offer unique glimpses into the heart of Kansas City:

Kansas City Walking Tours

These self-guided walking tours cover different areas of the city, each with its own unique charm and history. Pick up a free brochure at the Kansas City Visitors Center and explore at your own pace.

City Hall Observation Deck

For a bird’s eye view of Kansas City, take the free observation deck tour at City Hall. The 30th-floor deck offers panoramic views of downtown and beyond. Tours are available on weekdays during business hours.

Kansas City Public Library

Not just a place for books, the library offers guided tours highlighting the architecture and history of its historic building. Call ahead to schedule a free tour.

Boulevard Brewing Company

Get a behind-the-scenes look at Kansas City’s largest craft brewery. Free tours are offered daily, including a walk-through of the brewing process and a peek into the cellars. Make sure to book your spot in advance as these tours fill up quickly.

Money Museum

This tour not only educates visitors on the nation’s financial system but also allows a unique view of cash processing and vault storage. Free walk-in tours are available, and each visitor even gets a bag of shredded money as a souvenir!

When planning to join a guided tour or walk, it’s advisable to book in advance if possible, as some tours have limited spots. Wear comfortable walking shoes and weather-appropriate clothing. Be respectful of your guide and other participants, and don’t hesitate to ask questions—your guides are local experts and love sharing their knowledge!

Exploring Kansas City on foot is a fantastic way to immerse yourself in the city’s atmosphere and really get to know its character.

Get Free Admission to Attractions with KC Library Pass

Free Things To Do In Kansas City - The Complete Guide

The Kansas City Public Library offers an incredible benefit to library cardholders: the opportunity to explore some of the city’s most beloved attractions for free through the KC Library Pass Program. This program is a collaboration between the library and local attractions to encourage education and engagement within the community.

The KC Library Pass program provides free admission to a variety of Kansas City attractions, including the Kansas City Zoo, Union Station’s Science City, the National WWI Museum and Memorial, and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art’s premium exhibitions. The pass covers admission for two adults and two children, providing significant savings for families.

Getting your KC Library Pass is straightforward. If you’re a resident of Kansas City, Missouri, you simply need to sign up for a library card if you don’t already have one. Then, go to the KC Library Pass page on the library’s website and follow the steps to reserve a pass for the attraction of your choice. You can then print the pass or show it on your smartphone at the venue.

Here are a few tips to make the most out of the KC Library Pass:

  • Plan Ahead: Passes are limited, so it’s a good idea to book your pass well in advance, especially during holidays and weekends when demand is high.
  • Check Pass Details: Each pass has specific details about what it covers. Be sure to read the fine print so you know what to expect.
  • Check Operating Hours: Always check the operating hours and days of the venue you plan to visit, as these can change seasonally or due to special events.
  • Explore More: Use the savings from the pass to explore more of what each venue has to offer, like special exhibits or guided tours.

The KC Library Pass Program is an excellent resource for residents and visitors, making education and entertainment accessible to everyone. It’s a passport to some of Kansas City’s best attractions, so don’t miss out!

Volunteer for Free in Kansas City

Volunteering is a rewarding way to engage with the Kansas City community. It allows you to lend a helping hand, learn new skills, and make a difference. There are numerous causes and organizations that would welcome your time and talent.

Harvesters – The Community Food Network

This organization aims to feed hungry people today and work to end hunger tomorrow. Volunteers can help sort and pack food, assist with community outreach, or even host a food drive.

Kansas City Pet Project

Animal lovers can contribute their time to this non-profit animal shelter. Volunteers help with tasks like animal care, adoption support, and fundraising events.

Kansas City Community Gardens

This organization helps people grow their own food. Volunteers can help in the garden, assist with educational programs, or support the office staff.

Habitat for Humanity Kansas City

Volunteers can help build and repair homes for those in need. No construction experience is necessary as you’ll be guided by experienced team leaders.

Literacy KC

If you have a passion for literacy, you can volunteer as a tutor to help adults improve their reading and writing skills.

Here are some tips for finding and joining volunteer projects:

  • Identify Your Interests: Find causes that you’re passionate about. It’s more fulfilling to volunteer for a cause that resonates with you.
  • Check Requirements: Some organizations may require volunteers to be of a certain age, undergo a background check, or commit to a specific number of hours.
  • Start Small: If you’re new to volunteering, start with a one-time event before committing to a long-term project. This can help you understand what kind of work you enjoy most.
  • Reach Out: Contact the organization to express your interest in volunteering. They can provide you with information on how to get involved.

Remember, volunteering is not just about what you can give—it’s also about what you can learn and experience. So, explore the opportunities, connect with the community, and make a difference in Kansas City!

Conclusion

Kansas City, with its rich history, vibrant arts scene, and welcoming community, truly has something for everyone. From free museums, parks, and historical landmarks to kid-friendly attractions and dynamic entertainment, this city is brimming with opportunities to explore, learn, and have fun without spending a dime.

The numerous free offerings allow visitors and residents alike to delve into the city’s unique culture, whether it’s through a leisurely stroll in the Crossroads Arts District, a self-guided tour of the city’s architectural marvels, or an engaging volunteer project with a local organization. For families, the plethora of children’s activities and the KC Library Pass program offer invaluable opportunities for entertaining and educational experiences.

So, whether you’re a lifelong resident or a first-time visitor, we encourage you to take full advantage of these free activities and attractions. You’ll not only save money but also gain a deeper appreciation for what makes Kansas City such a special place. After all, some of the best things in life – and in Kansas City – truly are free!

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