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10 free (or cheap) things to do in Kansas City this summer

Posted at 2:14 PM, Jul 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-08 15:14:28-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — We’re entering the dog days of summer in Kansas City, and we’d be willing to wager a guess that you’re running out of things to keep the kids (or, let’s be honest, yourselves) entertained.

Before the cold moves back in, here are 10 free or cheap things to do.

1. The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

About: The Nelson-Atkins is a Kansas City icon, to say the least. The signature giant badminton birdies adorn a vast number of KC shirts, cups, coaster, prints, etc. So, why not spend a hot, humid Midwestern afternoon meandering through the cool galleries? The museum is host to a number of rotating exhibits, such as 30 Americans and the Art Course, as well as Third Thursdays and other events.

Price: Free

2. The City Market

About: Ride the (free) streetcar to Kansas City’s historic River Market district to see the region’s largest farmers market. Enjoy a wide range of vendors, restaurants and shops, and grab a bouquet of fresh flowers to remember the trip by (at least for a few days).

Price: Free

3. Union Station

About: Another Kansas City icon in its own right, Union Station was built in 1914 and became an important transportation hub in the Midwest. Shut down in the 1980s, it reopened in 1999 after a renovation to restore its majestic architectural features. Today, it’s still home to Amtrak, rotating exhibits and Science City.

Price: Free, though individual attractions may have admission fees

4. City of Fountains

About: You’d be remiss to explore the City of Fountains without devoting some time to, well, fountains! Kansas City is home to more than 200 fountains, 48 of them publicly operated. Make a day of sightseeing with the J.C. Nichols Memorial Fountain, the Firefighters Fountain and Memorial, the Crown Center Square Fountain and dozens more.

Price: Free

5. Kaleidoscope

About: Speaking of Crown Center, check out Kaleidoscope while you’re in the area. It’s a free art studio for kids. Kansas City-based Hallmark sends materials from its manufacturing process to Kaleidoscope for kids to use in the projects. Since the materials are ever-changing, so are the finished products!

Price: Free

6. The Money Museum at the Federal Reserve

About: What kid doesn’t love a shiny penny to stash away? Another good way to escape the heat, the Money Museum offers self-guided tours so you can go at your own pace. And, you get a free bag of (shredded) money! Anyone 18 and older will need a photo ID to enter.

Price: Free

7. Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead

About: Located in Overland Park, Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead is a wonderland of plants and animals scattered among turn-of-the-century buildings. Complete with Main Street, a one-room schoolhouse and an Indian encampment, there’s no shortage of activities for just $3 (free, if you go after 2 p.m.).

Price: $3 Monday-Thursday 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.; free Monday-Thursday after 2 p.m., $3 all day Friday-Sunday

8. Kansas City T-Bones

About: In Kansas City, Kansas, enjoy a night at the ballpark with a Kansas City T-Bones game. Tickets start at just $6.50, which makes for an affordable night out with the family. Click here for a full single-game price list.

Price: $6.50+

9. The Roasterie Factory Cafe

About: “Quality, freshness, education.” That’s what The Roasterie says it's all about. The Kansas City-based direct-trade coffee company offers tours of its Factory Cafe. Attendees will learn about The Roasterie’s unique air-roasting method, see a brewing demonstration and receive a sample of cold brew, nitro cold brew or iced tea. While you’re there, snap a photo of the plane on top of the building!

Price: $5, free for children 12 and under

10. Boulevard Brewing Company

About: Boulevard Brewing Company has certainly helped put Kansas City on the map as a destination. Get an up-close look at the hometown brew with a $5, 45-minute brewery tour (which concludes with samples!). Tour tickets are first-come, first-serve, so you’ll want to get there early. Boulevard doesn’t recommend the tour for children under 7.

Price: $5

If that’s not enough to keep you busy, Visit KC has this list of more than 30 free activities.