Things to do for Free in Kansas City

By | July 22, 2011

Kansas City, Missouri, is truly the Heart of America, sitting at a latitude and longitude that places it squarely in the middle of the U.S. This town of over 1 million inhabitants is deceptively plain on its exterior, but intricately developed once you get acquainted with it. It is also larger than most people think, bigger than both Atlanta and Boston, and Kansas City’s nearby suburb of Overland Park, KS, nearly doubles the population of Kansas City proper. Walt Disney and Walter Cronkite both grew up here, as did President Harry S Truman, who continued to live and work near downtown until his death.

If you have a few days to spend in Kansas City, be sure to visit the Federal Reserve Bank’s Money Museum, a fascinating look inside the government’s banking system. President Truman’s home in nearby Independence is open to the public as well, but be sure to call ahead for scheduling information. Probably the best of the free attractions is the Country Club Plaza, an open neighborhood shopping area near the city’s center. The Plaza features hundreds of shops that Museum of Contemporary Art at Kemper Galleryrange from the unique to the upscale. Try to go on a weekday because weekends can be rather crowded.

For art lovers, Kansas City is a mecca, hosting the Kemper Gallery and the world famous Nelson Atkins Museum of Art, which itself contains over 35,000 pieces. The Missouri River and its environs boast many shops and hotels, and even a few gambling casinos. Walk along the riverbanks of this mile-wide wonder, the third longest river in the world. History buffs are kept busy in Kansas City with all the civil war battle markers. The area was a hotbed of fighting during our nation’s war between the states, and Missouri was in fact on both sides, officially designated as a split state. Kansas City was on the north side of the war, but just inside the line, so battles were common in the area.

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