We all know there’s plenty to do in Kansas City when the weather’s nice, but sometimes the winter months seem to drag on and on. There’s actually a lot more to do here in the winter than you may realize, and much of it is FREE and/or cheap. This is true for both kids and adults.
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Here’s what I’ve found so far for winter fun. Leave a comment below if you know of any you think I should add:
The Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art is always FREE. It has three locations and boasts “a rapidly growing permanent collection of modern and contemporary works of artists from around the world.” On the third Saturday of every month, the museum holds a FREE Scavenger Saturdays event for families. There’s also a Fine Art Friday Event on second Fridays, drop-in gallery tours on Saturdays, and more. See the schedule here.
Admission is always FREE to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. There may be a charge for special exhibitions. Every month, the museum holds a Third Thursday event for adults from 6 to 9 p.m. Admission is FREE. Every Thursday from 4 to 6 p.m., there’s a FREE Teen Art Collective, and every weekend, there’s FREE Weekend Fun.
The Apple store at the Country Club Plaza offers FREE hands-on workshops on a variety of Apple products.
Guitar Center offers a variety of FREE music and recording lessons throughout the year.
Pottery Barn has FREE design classes once or twice a month. Times vary by location.
In honor of Ali Kemp, a Kansas City area teen who was murdered while working at a Leawood swimming pool in 2002, the T.A.K.E. Foundation offers FREE hands-on self defense courses to women and girls of all ages.
DIY & Craft Activities
At Kaleidoscope, kids can make art with left-over materials from Hallmark’s manufacturing processes. Admission is FREE.
Lakeshore Learning has FREE craft activities for kids from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. almost every Saturday.
On the first Tuesday of every month, the LEGO store at Oak Park Mall has a FREE Mini-Model Build for kids.
Kansas City area Michaels stores offer FREE or cheap crafty classes for both kids and adults. Schedules vary by location.
Centerpoint Community Ice (Independence): Adult tickets are $7 for Independence residents; $8 for non-residents ($6/$5 for children and seniors 55+) plus $3 for skate rental.
Crown Center Ice Terrace (Kansas City): Tickets are $6 (FREE for adults over age 60 and children age 4 and under) plus $3 for skate rental. On Tuesday, get one FREE admission with one full-price paid admission after 5 p.m. (you’ll both have to pay for skate rental or bring your own).
Kansas City Ice Center (Shawnee): Tickets are $8; $4 for seniors (60+); FREE for kids 4 and under. Skate rental is $4. Kids 4 and under get FREE skate rental.
Linden Square Ice Rink (Gladstone): Tickets are $5 per person on Friday and Saturday and $3 per person on Sunday (admission includes skate rental); kids 4 and under are FREE.
Line Creek Community Center (Kansas City): Tickets are $6 plus $2 for skate rental.
There are plenty of places in Kansas City where you can listen to live jazz for FREE (you will need to buy drinks and/or food, of course).
A lot of Kansas City movie theaters offer discounts on movies and/or concessions, depending on when you go and whether or not you’re a rewards member.
Kidscape at the Johnson County Museum is a hands-on exhibit where kids learn to play as they did in the past. It has three unique communities: 1) An 1870s farmstead introduces kids to life on the farm; a 1900 City Market where they’ll sell fruits and vegetables; and 3) A 1950s suburbs community where kids can work in a hospital or at a diner or help build a house. Admission is $5 for adults; $3 for kids (1-17).
The Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum is one of fourteen Presidential libraries operated by the Federal government. It was established to preserve the papers, books, and other historical materials relating to former President Harry S. Truman. The museum has both permanent and temporary exhibits. Admission is $8 for adults; $7 for seniors (65+); $3 for kids (6-15); FREE for kids under 6.
The National WWI Museum and Memorial is America’s only museum dedicated to sharing WWI stories through the eyes of those who lived through the “Great War”. It includes interactive displays, thought-provoking films, eyewitness testimonies, and one of the largest collections of WWI artifacts in the world. Admission is $16 for adults; $14 for seniors (65+) and students (18+ with ID); $10 for kids (6-17); FREE for kids under 6. Everyone gets in for $8 on Wednesdays. Click here for additional discounts.
Science City at Union Station is a science center with interactive exhibits where kids can train for careers in science, technology, engineering, and math-related fields. They can also dig for fossils, become makers, watch science demos, and more. Tickets are $13.25 per person.
The Wonderscope Children’s Museum of Kansas City provides fun, dynamic exhibits and programs that integrate the arts, sciences, and literature for kids ages eight and under, their parents, and teachers from across the Kansas City area. Tickets are $8 for ages 2-63; $7 for ages 64+; and FREE for kids under 2.
On the first full weekend of every month, Bank of America and Merrill Lynch customers can visit more than 150 museums nationwide for FREE as part of the Museums on Us program (Bank of America and Merrill Lynch credit or debit card required). Each card admits one person (photo ID also required). Participating Kansas City museums include Science City and the WWI museum.
Many of the Kansas City area Barnes and Noble stores periodically offer FREE storytimes. Click here for upcoming events.
There are tons of great theaters in Kansas City! Here are some reasonably inexpensive options.
*Tip: You can often find big discounts for Kansas City shows on Groupon.
- Kansas City Improv: Ticket prices vary by show.
- Stanford’S Comedy House: Tickets start as low as $5.
- The Coterie: Tickets are $15-17 for adults; $11-$12 for kids under 19 and seniors (60+).
- Martin City Melodrama: Tickets are currently $13.99 for adults; $11.99 for kids (10 and under): $12.99 for seniors (65+). They may vary by show.
- Theatre for Young America: Most general admission tickets are $11, but they do have a few shows with higher price tags.
Tours (Call for days and times)
Wineries, Breweries & Distilleries: There are a number of places in and around Kansas City where you can go take a tour of a winery, brewery, or distillery. Some offer FREE tastings; others charge a small fee.
Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City: The Money Museum offers FREE walk-in self-guided tours.
Hallmark Visitors Center: Learn how a teenager from Nebraska tucked two shoeboxes of postcards under his arms and set out to create an iconic Kansas City company. Admission to the Visitors Center is FREE.
Need More Free and Cheap Things to Do in Kansas City? Try these posts:
- FREE and Cheap Kansas City Events Calendar
- FREE and Cheap Things to Do in Kansas City This Weekend
- Always FREE in Kansas City
- Best FREE or Cheap Things to Do in Kansas City
- FREE or Cheap Kids Activities in Kansas City