We rounded out our Epic Summer of Travel with a road trip to Kansas City, and I’ve got to say that Kansas City knocked it out of the park. Not only was it clean and pretty, but it also had a super friendly and creative vibe that I just loved. AND! There were lots of free, family-friendly activities…I’m going to share our favorite free things to do in Kansas City with kids, and I’d love for you to chime in if you have some other recommendations, too!
5 Free Things to do in Kansas City with Kids
First off, here’s a Kansas City fact that I didn’t realize until we visited. Kansas City spans both Kansas and Missouri (that part I knew!), but the downtown area is in Missouri. So while we stayed at the Great Wolf Lodge in Kansas City, KS, most of the activities here (maybe all of them, actually) were located in Missouri. We were there for two full days, and we packed a lot into those days. I would have loved to spend more time at some of these places, and I’ll be sure to notate that below so you can plan accordingly!
The Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art was very impressive, with a lot of contemporary art to look at. It also has a nice little hands-on area for kids (we had to drag Claire out of there!). There are sculptures all around the outside of the museum, so be sure to take a walk and see those, too! Check the hours before you go.
The Kemper Museum is right next to the Toy & Miniature Museum, which isn’t free but was something else the kids enjoyed!
I knew we had to stop into Union Station because it just looked awesome. The inside was even more incredible! We grabbed lunch, walked around, and enjoyed the air conditioning (KC in August is hot). We just wanted to see the inside and get something to eat, but if you want to stay longer they have a science museum inside and all kinds of cool events (the science museum isn’t free though).
OK, this item is not free – it’s five bucks. And I can’t recommend it if you’re afraid of heights or claustrophobic, as it gets pretty tight and crowded up there. But if you want some really pretty views of the city, you can take an elevator to the top of the Memorial Tower for five dollars and spend as much time as you want at the top (there’s a not a lot of room to walk around though, and we had to pick my daughter up to see over the top…still, I’m glad we did it).
The museum, which is right next to the Memorial Tower and where you’ll buy your tickets, is not free, but is amazing. We spent a couple of hours here and both of my kids enjoyed it.
Ummmm….this library! This was on my list of things I absolutely, positively had to do. I’m going to let the pictures speak for itself, but if you’re a booklover and you’re in the area, check out their schedule for art exhibits and speakers that you won’t want to miss. Also, it’s just really nice to hang out here.
The children’s area was also a lot of fun!
I think I saved the best for last. I still can’t believe this place was free! We were here for about three hours but could have spent the entire day here. Honestly, I was bummed we had to leave…but with a short trip we had a lot to fit in!
You’ll see Monet, Van Gogh, Renoir, Gauguin. You’ll see a mummy and ancient Egyptian art. You’ll see sculptures that are thousands of years old, contemporary art, a prized collection of Chinese art, and art stolen by the Nazis! The outdoor area is beautiful, too, and perfect for a picnic or restless kids to run around.
Plan on spending hours here!
I’d love to hear your favorite free things to do in Kansas City! Or even your favorite not-free things to do. I just loved this city and hope to someday go back!