There are so many fun things to do in Kansas City, Missouri! Read on to see which top Kansas City tourist attractions were our favorites!
We were slowly road tripping our way from Mississippi to Colorado. We had already stopped in Memphis, and Kansas City was to be our next stop. We had researched ahead of time some of the things that we wanted to see in the city, and were very happy to find that many of the attractions were free.
So we were excited for our visit, but it wasn’t until we arrived in the city that we really could appreciate it for all that it truly is: A big city, with a small town feel. There were skyscrapers, but also plenty of green spaces. Lots of places to visit, but hardly any traffic. And the people were super friendly and helpful!
We quickly fell in love and realized that a weekend in Kansas City just wasn’t enough. We had so much fun exploring this city and can’t wait to go back. Below are some of the fun places we visited during our trip. We hope they inspire you to plan a trip as well.
This was one of the highlights of our trip! That might sound like an exaggeration, but hear us out. First of all, who doesn’t like tiny things? Nobody. The miniatures section had us oohing and aahing and squealing, “Oh my God, it’s so cute!” There were even miniatures of miniatures. And if that doesn’t get you excited, I don’t think we can be friends.
And then the toys. We felt like we’d gone back in time when we saw some of the toys we had played with as kids. Barbies, Ninja Turtles, Polly Pockets. There were antique toys, model cars, gaming consoles. The museum has over 51,000 toys in their collection! And yes, kids might appreciate this, but we think it’s one of the most fun things to do in Kansas City for adults. Because who doesn’t like feeling like a kid again?
We’ve been to a lot of museums and memorials, but we had never stopped to think that none of them were dedicated solely to the Great War. That’s because the official World War I Museum for the US is located in Kansas City. It is dedicated to remembering, interpreting, and understanding a war that dramatically changed the global community.
The Liberty Memorial Tower is an impressive sight. On it, there is an inscription that reads “In honor of those who served in the World War in defense of liberty and our country.” It is over 200 feet tall and built in an Egyptian style. On the south entrance there are also two Assyrian Sphinxes, both covering their faces with their wings. “Memory” faces east toward the battlefields of France, shielding its eyes from the horrors of war while “Future” faces west, shielding its eyes from an unknown future.
Inside the museum, visitors will find an impressive collection with over 75,000 items. There are also rotating exhibits and events that take place at the museum. It’s a fascinating place, and if you can visit on a Thursday at 2:30pm, they offer complimentary guided tours with paid admission.
Another really cool thing about this museum and memorial is the view you get of Kansas City. Union Station especially looks pretty grand. And if you can, definitely go back at night to get some great photos of the Kansas City skyline.
This was another highlight of our trip and one of the top Kansas City tourist attractions! Not only is Union Station gorgeous on the inside, it also holds within its walls a ton of fun attractions as well. There’s a science center, planetarium, extreme screen theater, and traveling exhibits.
While we were there, the exhibit was “The Art of the Brick” which was full of incredible Lego art by Nathan Sawaya. We saw some really cool pieces, like recreations of famous art and even a working water fountain! To see what exhibit is currently going on at Union Station, we recommend visiting their website.
If you’re on a budget and looking for free things to do in Kansas City, we suggest visiting the Money Museum. Visitors can examine a collection of over 500 historic coins, try to lift a gold bar (it’s heavy!), and lay their eyes on $40,000,000. Kids (and adults) will also enjoy creating their own dollar bills with crayons and stencils and taking photos with their face in the center of a giant dollar bill.
Make sure you have your ID with you as it is inside a federal building. US residents must have a State issued ID or passport and International visitors must have a valid passport. Also, photos are allowed in most areas except for the back where money operations are taking place.
Another free Kansas City attraction, the Hallmark Visitor Center offers guests a glimpse into the history of this iconic company. I actually worked at a Hallmark store years ago, and have personally always loved giving and receiving cards so I was pretty excited to visit. Did you know Joyce C. Hall started the company in 1910 when he was only 18 years old and with a shoe box full of postcards?
Visitors can read all about the history of the company, and also see some of the most popular Hallmark Keepsake Ornaments, the famous J.C. Hall Christmas Trees, and if you time your visit right, even meet a Hallmark creator. On most weekdays from 1pm-2pm a writer, illustrator, designer, photographer, or sculptor is available to talk to visitors.
Traveling to Kansas City with kids? The Kansas City Zoo has won multiple awards for its exhibits and has been ranked one of the top zoos in the US. At over 200 acres, the zoo has hundreds of animals and visitors can learn about them during daily shows and Zookeeper Chats. One of our favorite things about the park was the African Sky Safari, a cable car that visitors can take that goes over the African Plains exhibit.
One of the other free things to do in Kansas City is visit this spectacular art museum. With how huge it is and the caliber of art it has, we would have never thought it’d be free but the museum wanted everyone to have a chance to enjoy the artwork it has, both inside and on its grounds.
There are many pieces outside that you can wander by, including giant shuttlecocks. Inside, visitors will find modern art, photography, sculptures, and objects from Asia, Africa, and the Americas.
This library is now in a building that was once a bank! It’s marble columns, bronze doors, and ornate moldings are beautiful. You could visit for the architecture alone, but there are also exhibits, a vault that has been turned into a movie theater, and a chess board on the roof. The parking garage also has a mural of giants books. It’s the coolest and most beautiful library we’ve been to!
This year round market has been around since 1857 and is one of the largest and most well known markets in the region. Open daily, there are over 40 full-time tenants that include shops, restaurants, and attractions. Saturdays and Sundays there is also a farmer’s market, which we made sure to stop into during our visit. They had everything from tomatoes to cookies!
If you’ve been following our blog for awhile, you’ll know that we love street art. From Miami to Iceland, we’ve taken photos of street art all over the world. We found some great murals in Kansas City, but one in particular stood out to us since it covered three walls and was so colorful.
We already mentioned one area for great skyline photos of Kansas City, but during our trip we went exploring for more than one place to get that great shot. We found an area near the intersection of West 16th Street and Jefferson Street. We loved the colors and how the lights changed on some of the buildings.
If you’re looking for fun things to do in Kansas City at night, we recommend heading over to Country Club Plaza. All of the shops and restaurants are lit up brightly and there are ornate fountains and sculptures. It’s definitely a fun place to hang out.
It’s also right next to the river, where there are walking paths and bridges to go back and forth. And if you’re with your honey, walking along the river is one of the most romantic things to do in Kansas City. 😉
We ate great when we were in Kansas City! We didn’t realize it was such a foodie city and that they have so much more than just BBQ (although their BBQ is delicious as well!). We certainly had a little bit of everything while we were there! You can learn more about what we ate and our favorite Kansas City restaurants here.
We really loved Kansas City! There are so many fun things to do and we feel like we only scratched the surface! Hopefully we’re able to go back soon and explore more of this awesome city.
Have you been to Kansas City? We’d love to read your comments below! 🙂
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**A big thank you to Visit KC. Although they provided us with complimentary admission into some attractions, as always, all opinions are our own.**