Free Things to Do in Kansas City

February 28, 2023

free things to do in kansas city

Whether you’re traveling with kids or on a budget, there are plenty of free things to do in Kansas City. From streetcar tours to outdoor hiking trails, there’s something for everyone.

Take a free, 2.2-mile streetcar tour to explore Downtown KC’s most popular neighborhoods, like the Crossroads Arts District and River Market. The free audio guides will help you discover the city’s history and culture.

1. Take a Streetcar Tour

Whether you’re a Kansas City native or a visitor, the streetcar tour is an easy way to get around the city. It’s free to ride and you can stop at all of the major downtown attractions along the route.

Start your journey in the River Market and explore the backstories of some of KC’s landmark sites including Petticoat Lane, one of downtown’s historic theaters and two fountains. Plus, enjoy a glimpse inside Union Station!

2. Visit the Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop

In the 1860s, stagecoach travel across Kansas was an exciting and popular way to see the country. Draft horses pulled the heavy coaches, stopping at a stagecoach stop to drink water, eat, and rest.

At Mahaffie, a historic stagecoach stop in Olathe, you can experience what life was like on the Kansas frontier. Visit the 1860s living history museum to see stagecoaches operate, cookstove and blacksmith demonstrations, period-appropriate livestock, exhibits and more!

3. Visit the Money Museum

Located in midtown, the Money Museum is a great way to learn about the Federal Reserve’s role within the economy. You can see a real gold bar, currency from around the world and special coin collections like Harry Truman’s.

It’s free to visit and a quick 30-minute or so walk. It has a lot of infographs and interactive displays.

4. Visit Ernie Miller Park and Nature Center

The 116-acre Ernie Miller Park and Nature Center is a great place to take the kids for a day of exploration. It offers a wide variety of trails that go through prairie grass, woods, and streams.

It also features an education center with animals local to Kansas and other programs. There are also lots of exhibits to explore and a gift shop with nature supplies.

5. Visit Kaleidoscope

Kaleidoscope is a fun and free art studio at Crown Center that lets kids create until their heart’s content. It’s a great way to spend a day with your kids and make some awesome memories.

Invented by Sir David Brewster in 1816, the kaleidoscope works on the principle of ’The Law of Multiple Reflections’ where light travels straight and when it hits something shiny it changes direction.

6. Visit the Kansas City Zoo

Located in Swope Park, the Kansas City Zoo is a family-friendly attraction that offers plenty of things to see and do. With 202 acres, the zoo houses over 1,300 animals in various habitats.

There are many activities to do throughout your visit including zookeeper talks, animal performances and stingray feedings. Some are free or have a small fee, so be sure to check out the schedule to plan your day.

7. Visit Kemper Museum

Kemper Museum is a great option for Kansas City art lovers who want to see a large collection of works. It has rotating exhibits that showcase local and international artists.

Kemper is free to enter, and there’s a nice cafe inside with an eclectic menu and great gift shop. It’s a fun place to spend an afternoon.

8. Visit YaYa’s Alpca Farm

If you’re an animal lover, you can’t miss YaYa’s Alpca Farm. They have an educational farm tour that’s 90 minutes long and costs just $8 per person.

Alpacas aren’t just the most impressive oversized stuffed animals, they’re also quite good-natured and highly responsive to being petted and fed. And their fleece is a thing of beauty to boot!

9. Visit the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

If you love art, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art is a must visit. It features a world-class collection of art that spans ancient to contemporary periods.

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art was founded on the shared vision of William Rockhill Nelson and Mary McAfee Atkins, who left bequests to build a public art museum in Kansas City. They were convinced that art and culture would make the city a truer and more civilized place.

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