Thanks to its growing reputation as a Midwestern hot spot, Kansas City has become a surprising vacation destination. Once you head downtown, you can see why visitors go there to enjoy the hospitality and get away from it all. The city also lends itself well to budget travel, but it never makes you sacrifice the fun you have.
The Museums Are Free
Not all museums in Kansas City offer free admission, and the places that do aren’t necessarily free all the time. However, a bit of research reveals the bevy of educational institutions that either don’t charge a dime or simply ask for a donation. Pay attention to designated free days and times.
At the Bruce R. Watkins Cultural Heritage Center, you can learn about African-American contributions to Kansas City’s cultural development. At the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City’s Money Museum, you can learn about how the Federal Reserve affects the economy, see a vast cash vault, hold a gold bar, and view the coin collection of Harry S. Truman. When you leave, you get to take a bag full of shredded cash as a souvenir. Learn about the history and heroics of the Frontier Army at the Frontier Army Museum, which exhibits a prairie schooner dating back to 1790.
Get a Taste
Every Wednesday, the Boulevard Brewing Company offers free tours of the brewery. The tours last about 40 minutes, during which you get to learn about the history of the company, the brewing process it uses, and how it markets its beer, which is a favorite in Kansas City. At the end of the tour, you wind up in the tasting room, where you can sample various brews and figure out which you like best.
Ride Around for Free
Kansas City’s streetcars are familiar sights around the city. The KC Streetcar line is 2.2 miles long and takes passengers along the most colorful and diverse districts. There are 16 stops along the route, which encompasses the Crossroads Art District, River Market, and the Power & Light District. Best of all, you can hop on for free. Use a Kansas City neighborhood guide to plan your day based around the stops on the streetcar route. You can explore the hottest districts without paying transportation costs.
Go Window Shopping
Walk around Crown Center, explore the River Market, or head to the Crossroads for First Fridays. In each of these places, you can stroll through the shops and stalls, dreaming about the things you’d buy if you had all the money in the world. Of course, you can always pick up a little something to remember your trip, too.
Eat on the Cheap
Kansas City’s reputation as a foodie destination is on the rise. The city has a wide selection of fine dining restaurants, but there are plenty of places for cheap but delicious eats, too. Get your coffee at Messenger Coffee Co. + Ibis Bakery. Enjoy the barbecue at EJ’s Urban Eatery. Sip on cocktails at Swordfish Tom’s. Always keep an eye out for food trucks, too.
How do you stay on budget when you go on vacation? Do you pick a day to splurge?
Bethel is a believer of everything nice and sweet. She travels with the idea the world must have its sweets. All the sweets she finds are noted in her travel blog, www.travelberries.com.
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My husband was there for a work trip last year and really liked the vibe in KC. I would love to plan a little getaway there so I can check out the city, too!
Kansas City is a days drive from us and I am not sure why we have never been. Going to have to rethink and plan a trip to see all they have to offer.
This looks amazing, I have never been but want to go. I will have to budget a trip.
This looks like a really great place to visit! I have never been to Kansas before!
I’ve never been here before! We might have to make a trip. It’s not super far from us. I love free museums.
I drove through Kansas City once but that was the closets I have ever been to being there. I’ve always thought it would be a fun trip but I just have not seemed to find the time. Thanks for reminding me of a destination that would be fun and budget friendly!
I love that they have street cars! That is the trouble with a city, driving around is difficult and so expensive sometimes. I have never been here, but am always up for trying out a new city!
Sounds like a great trip! And a wonderful place to visit. Would love to check out the museums.
I’m sure in the Mid-West there are a lot of places that cater to the palate. It sounds like its a place to find a wonderful bite to eat or at least hop on a street car and see some local shops and businesses.
I would love to go one a trip right about now. That place looks beautiful.
My husband has been wanting to go to Kansas City. It sounds like there is a lot to see and do there.
I’ve never been to Kansas City but it seems like an awesome place. Maybe one day we’ll take a trip and check it out!
We love going on weekend getaways without having to spend too much. We’ll now be adding Kansas City to our list – thanks!
I’ve always wanted to visit Kansas City to try the bar-b-que sounds like there’s quite a bit else to see and to eat. Hope we get to visit there soon.
I live an hour from KC and we go there often just to have a great day! It is absolutely amazing there! KC has HUNDREDS of fountains too that are gorgeous at night!
Love that you don’t have to worry much about spending on transportation when you’re in Kansas! It’s definitely a great place if you wanna go on vacation but you’re also under a budget.
Kansas City is a really fun town to go to. They have some really great BBQ there.
I stopped in Kansas City for a day and I wish I had this guide.
I think the United States isn’t a popular destination for backpackers and budget travelers. Most people just come here for a short vacation and to visit one or two cities. But you kanas city travel review is good. I wanna to visit there at a budget. After all, it’s a large country without a real tourist infrastructure or good cross-country transportation. Hostels really aren’t big in the United States.