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30 Totally Free Things to Do in Kansas City

Kansas Kansas City Insider Guides Budget Travel
by Lola Méndez May 17, 2017

Tour the Boulevard Brewing Company to taste locally made beers.

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The Boulevard Brewing Company is open 10 AM to 4 PM daily. Guests will learn about the brewing process and sample some of the 24 beers on tap. The tour is available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Play with friendly farm animals at Deanna Rose.

The farmstead is home to 200 barnyard and local animal species. Guests can feed pygmy goats, go fishing and enjoy pony rides. The park is free to visit from 2 PM to 5 PM from Monday through Thursday from April 1st to October 31st.

Take in the view of the downtown skyline from the City Hall Observation Deck on the 30th floor.

The neo-classic City Hall building is the third tallest in KC at a height of 443 feet. The Observation Deck is open to visitors for free from 9 AM to 3 PM from Monday through Friday.

Uncover the local indie art scene at the Crossroads Art District First Friday events.

Local cafes and over thirty galleries open their doors to the public on First Fridays for extended hours and special events. Buskers perform in the street — anything from the Kansas City Blues to top 40 covers. Sidewalk vendors sell local produce, treats, and crafts.

Pay respect at the nation’s only World War I memorial in KC.

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The tower rises 217 feet and was built in Egyptian Revival architectural style. The National Historic Landmark’s Flame of Inspiration glows from the top at night.

Visit the Be Free Family Farm for a complimentary tour.

The Be Free Family Farm has colonies of honey bees and encourages visitors to enquire about the honey-making process. An evening visit concludes with a massive community bonfire.

Take time to stop and smell the roses at Loose Park.

During the blooming season, there are over 55 varieties with over 4,000 roses in bloom. The 1.5-acre garden is only a small part of the 75-acre park.

Discover Andalusian architecture at the Country Club Plaza.

The shopping district was modeled after Kansas City’s sister city of Seville, Spain, including a replica of Seville’s stunning Giralda tower. During the holiday season beginning on Thanksgiving evening, they are strung with lights.

Stroll through the historic Union Station.

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Union Station has been a major transportation hub in the Midwest for over a century. Marvel at the Grand Hall’s 95-foot ceiling with three 3,500-pound chandeliers and a six-foot wide clock.

Practice yoga for free with Pop-Up donation-based classes.

Check the schedule to find out if a class is happening during your visit to KC.

Enjoy a free theater show at Johnson Community College.

Each season the Theater Department puts on a variety of entertainment including musicals and plays, free to the public on a first-come, first-seated basis at the Bodker Black Box Theater.

Browse modern art at the Kemper Museum.

There are over 1,000 works at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, including pieces by Georgia O’Keeffe and Andy Warhol. The museum is always free and offers many free educational programs including musical performances, workshops, lectures and film screenings.

Spend a Tuesday afternoon for free at the Overland Park Arboretum.

The 300-acre park is open year-round for visitors to discover the changing seasons in Kansas City. There are 13 gardens with an abundance of local flora and fauna — and trails available for hikers from prairie paths to rocky hills.

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art is a free local treasure.

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The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art holds 34,500 pieces of work from around the globe. The galleries of Egyptian and central Asian art are fantastic. The Bloch Building holds the permanent modern art exhibitions. Adults can attend the Not So Quiet Night at the Museum for free with live music, various programs, and activities. There is also free yoga in the park weather permitting every Sunday at 2 PM.

Educate yourself about KC’s African-American culture at the Bruce R. Watkins Cultural Heritage Center.

The Bruce R. Watkins Cultural Heritage Center‘s mission is to “commemorate and interpret the African-American diaspora” particularly in and around Kansas City. Check the website for special exhibits and events.

Visit the Louisburg Cider Mill on the outskirts of the greater Kansas City area.

Pay a visit to Louisburg Cider Mill‘s red farmhouse to discover the apple cider making process and taste delicious apple cider donuts fresh from the oven. In the fall there are corn mazes, wagon rides, and a pumpkin patch for guests to enjoy for a fee.

Enjoy free shows at The Blue Room at the American Jazz Museum a few times a week.

Check the American Jazz Museum‘s schedule to see which events are free of charge. Kansas City was a major incubator for the jazz movement and many artists play homage to this today through their moving musical performances.

Learn why KC is the City of Fountains.

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Kansas City is nicknamed the City of Fountains and rightfully so as over 200 waterworks can be found throughout the city. The first fountain in Kansas City was actually built in 1904 by the Humane Society which worked towards preventing cruelty towards women, children, and animals. Go on a self-guided tour to discover some of the most beautiful fountains. Don’t miss the J.C. Nichols Memorial Fountain in the Country Club Plaza.

Sample local concoctions during the weekend farmers’ market at the open-air Kansas City River Market.

With 140 vendors, it is one of the largest markets in the Midwest. There are often live musical performances. Open year-round on Saturday and Sunday from 8 AM to 3 PM.

Learn about local wildlife conservation and rehabilitation projects at the Lakeside Nature Center inside Swope Park.

At times the center offers guided hikes and other educational programs free of charge.

Take a spin on the KC Streetcar.

The 2.2-mile line crosses through Downtown Kansas City and makes 16 stops at major points including Union Station, River Market, Crossroads Arts District and Power & Light (which can all be visited for free.

Admission to the exhibits in the Great Hall of the Museum of PrairieFire is always complimentary.

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At the Museum of PrairieFire you can gawk at a full-scale cast of a Tyrannosaurus Rex which was discovered by Kansan Barnum Brown. The Great Hall also contains the Paleontology gallery; the ALIVE augmented reality experience with prehistoric creatures; Spring Gallery and other exhibits.

Discover the air-roasting and blending process at The Roasterie.

This complimentary tour and tasting at The Roasterie shows guests the unique process that makes their coffee renowned.

Take a jaunt on the wild side at the free tour of the Harley-Davidson factory.

The Harley-Davidson factory’s guided experience shows guests the manufacturing and assembly processes of the portster®, Dyna® and StreetTM families of motorcycles.

Take in a spectacular Kansas sunset.

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Drive out south into the plains until you are no longer surrounded by buildings, but wide open spaces of corn fields, haystacks, and wildflowers. Bring a picnic, a blanket and lie back for the free show.

It doesn’t cost a thing to visit the Money Museum.

Explore interactive exhibits at the Money Museum while learning about the Federal Reserve — tour a big cash vault, have the chance to hold a 27-pound gold bar, and see President Harry S. Truman’s coin collection. Guests even get a free bag of shredded currency.

The Powell Pumpkin Patch is a wonderful place to visit in the fall.

Admission to the Powell Pumpkin Patch is free and guests are only required to pay for the pumpkins they purchase, as well as optional fees for hayrides and a corn maze.

Discover natural caves by going for a walk on the Cave Spring Trails.

There are three available dirt hiking loops that vary in length from .25 to 3 miles.

A visit to the Grinter’s Sunflower Farm in nearby Lawrence is free.

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Pay a dollar if you pick a sunflower bloom. This is the closest sunflower field to Kansas City and is taking pics gold if you visit during the peak bloom — usually in late August or early September.

Spend the afternoon at Manna Meadows alpaca ranch.

Alpacas are in the camelid camel family. During your free visit, you may see newborn alpacas, witness alpaca shearing, or just enjoy watching these peaceful animals play. But be aware, they sometimes spit.

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