Kansas City’s a great place to visit in the summer. And for visitors on a budget, the best part is that a trip doesn’t need to break the bank, because there are so many free or inexpensive things to do. Here are some favorites.
Commute by streetcar
Travel along the 2.2-mile KC Streetcar line and experience some of KC’s most vibrant neighborhoods. The route includes 16 stops throughout the Crossroads Arts District, Power & Light District and River Market. Best of all, it’s totally free.
The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art is a world-renowned museum and is home to nearly 35,000 pieces of art, including the famous shuttlecocks on the south and north lawns. Admission is free, as is street parking. Parking in the garage will run you $8.
Take a brew tour
Boulevard Brewing Co. has grown from a neighborhood favorite to one of the largest craft brewers in the nation. Take a free 60-minute tour that explores their unique history, brewing process and business approach, and ends in the tasting room where visitors can sample a select variety of Boulevard brews.
Pick up your own bag of money
The Money Museum is part of Kansas City’s Federal Reserve Bank. During free self-guided tours, you can design your own currency, pick up a 27-pound gold bar and see the region’s largest cash vault. Plus, you’ll really love what the museum gives out as a souvenir: a bag of shredded money.
The streets of the Crossroads Arts District swarm with thousands of visitors on the first Friday of each month. They gather for a 40-gallery art crawl with an eclectic variety of sidewalk vendors, live entertainment and food trucks, creating a vibrant street festival vibe. It’s free to the public and food trucks provide cheap options for al fresco dinners.
Get your caffeine on
Coffee lovers, this one’s for you. The Roasterie offers free behind-the-scenes tours where you’ll learn all about their cupping, roasting and blending process. Reservations are encouraged.
For the family:
Kaleidoscope at Crown Center is a free creative workshop geared toward kids 12 and younger. The art studio allows kids to express themselves with leftover materials from Hallmark’s manufacturing process – bows, cardboard, melted crayons and more.
It’s free to explore Union Station, a 100-year old art deco treasure. Be warned that some of its attractions cost. One of the most popular is Science City, a science center with loads of interactive learning exhibits. Kids can dig for fossils, ride a bicycle 30 feet off the ground and find their way out of Maze Park. Tickets are $13.25. Costs for other rotating exhibits at Union Station vary.
Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead is designed to depict a traditional turn-of-the-century Kansas family farm. Kids will find tons of animals, a mining camp, a dairy barn, a fishing pond, play areas, pony rides and more. Admission is $2 and free after 2 p.m. on weekdays.
There are plenty of other free and reasonable options, so check out Visit KC’s site for more ideas and useful information. No matter where you end up, a great time in KC doesn’t have to break the bank.