Top 20 Kansas City Attractions & Things To Do

Last Updated on April 06, 2024 by Nikki Jain

With its location in the Midwest, Kansas City is easy for visitors from around the area to get to. Its population of 464,310 people makes Kansas City the largest city in Missouri, with its metropolitan area spreading across the border into Kansas.

Also known as the "City of Fountains," Kansas City offers adventure and entertainment for everyone. You can listen to some smooth jazz, relax next to the beautiful fountains, or eat some delicious barbeque ribs.

No matter how long you have to spend in Kansas City, give yourself time to visit these top attractions.

Things To Do in Kansas City

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1: Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art | Dreamstime/Wirestock

Places to visit in Kansas City should include the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and its 40,000 exhibited pieces from Asian European paintings and sculptures, British pottery, American photographs, and much more. The Sculpture Garden consists of 22 acres of 36 different sculptures. Entry to the museum is free, but tickets must be ordered before the visit. Docent-led tours are available, and private customized tours can be requested for any part of the museum at a flat rate of $300.

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. It is open from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Mondays, Saturdays, and Sundays. It is open late until 9:00 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays. The Rozzelle Court Restaurant serves lunch and snacks after 5:00 p.m.

Address: 4525 Oak St, Kansas City, MO 64111

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Also Read: Best Museums in Kansas City

2: Kansas City Zoo

Kansas City Zoo
Kansas City Zoo | Dreamstime/Matthew Fowler

The Kansas City Zoo and its new aquarium are meant to delight the kids. 202 acres and 10,000 animals await exploration for some true family fun. See polar bears, penguins, tigers, and apes, and say hello to the kangaroos.

The new Sobela Ocean Aquarium brings the world’s oceans to Kansas City, with 8,000 different creatures living in 34 habitats. Over 200 species are making themselves at home in 650,000 gallons of seawater.

Tours begin with the injured sea turtle, Tortellini, moving on to jellyfish, sea horses, and tropical lagoons. The tours continue into cooler weather exhibits, to sharks, lobsters, and crabs. A joy to everyone is the fun-loving sea otters.

Entrance to the aquarium is included in the zoo visit. The zoo and aquarium are open from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on weekdays and until 5:00 p.m. on weekends. The entrance fee ranges from $19.00 to $22.00.

Address: 6800 Zoo Dr, Kansas City, MO 64132

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3: Union Station

Union Station
Union Station | Dreamstime/Lisa Mckown

The Kansas City Union Station was built in 1901 and rebuilt in 1914 when luxurious cross-country travel was at its height for East Coast people wanting to move to the Midwest or the magic that was California. Union Station was serviced by 12 separate railroads.

It was deliberately designed to shine and impress, with 3,500-pound chandeliers and a grand marble clock. Nine hundred rooms, including restaurants, offices, and barbershops, were distributed among three levels. There was even a jail for traveling miscreants! One million passengers came through here, and not everyone behaved.

Then, air travel became more popular due to its speed, and rail travel declined – as did the grandeur of the Kansas City Union Station. By 1985, the building stood vacant. It was renovated in 1997, and fortunately, the three stunning chandeliers survived. Visitors can enjoy visiting the Arvin Gottlieb Planetarium and the model train exhibit.

Address: 30 W Pershing Rd, Kansas City, MO 64108

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4: Country Club Plaza

Country Club Plaza
Country Club Plaza | Dreamstime/Bdingman

This Kansas City attraction is more than just an outdoor shopping mall. Country Club Plaza features all of your favorite stores, including upscale options as well as dozens of restaurants, with choices for brunch and happy hour. The reason this plaza is truly one of the top attractions in the city, however, is its ability to provide shopping and dining as well as special events. No matter what day you check the schedule, you will see at least a handful of exciting events or activities. Highlights include the Annual Plaza Art Fair in September, Plaza Bunnies and Wonderland Animals during Easter, and Plaza Live! Courtyard Concerts.

Address: 4750 Broadway St, Kansas City, MO 64112

5: National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial

National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial
National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial | Dreamstime/Alex Grichenko

This museum is truly unique as it holds one of the world's largest WWI artifact collections. There are eyewitness testimonies, films, and interactive displays to transport you back in time and truly understand the war. The museum began when Kansas City leaders and citizens founded the Liberty Memorial Association after WWI, although only the memorial existed until 1998 when they began planning the museum as well. You will find a permanent exhibit with recreated trenches, interactive tables, videos, and documents, as well as a range of temporary exhibits.

Entrance is $18.00 for adults, $10.00 for children under 15, and $14 for veterans. The memorial is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Address: 100 W 26th St, Kansas City, MO 64108

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6: 18th and Vine - Downtown East

18th and Vine - Downtown East
18th and Vine - Downtown East | Dreamstime/Bdingman

In Kansas City, the area around 18th and Vine is sometimes known as Downtown East. This area of the city is recognized worldwide for its role in early jazz music as musicians formed a new style of this growing genre. While in the area, you should stop by Kansas City Blues & Jazz Juke House to listen to some live music or visit the American Jazz Museum, where there are live jazz nights in addition to permanent exhibits and a changing gallery.

Address: Kansas City, MO

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Also Read: Top 20 Best Downtowns in the USA

7: Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts
Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts | Dreamstime/R. Gino Santa Maria / Shutterfree, Llc

At the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, you will find performances by major groups in the area, including the Lyric Opera, Kansas City Ballet, and Kansas City Symphony. The two shell-like structures consist of two separate centers, the Muriel Kauffman Theater and Helzberg Hall. The Kauffman Theater plays host to performers from the world of country music, Broadway productions, and comedic shows.

The 1,800-seat Helzberg Hall is built in a European semicircular style to create greater intimacy between performers and the audience. Even the most remote seat is a mere 100 feet from the stage. The ticket Office is open Monday through Thursday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. on Friday. It is closed on weekends.

Address: 1601 Broadway Blvd, Kansas City, MO 64108

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8: The LEGOland Discovery Center

The LEGOland Discovery Center
The LEGOland Discovery Center | Dreamstime/Calvin L. Leake

Exploring the Legoland Discovery Center (“LDC”) is one of the fun things to do in Kansas City for both adults and children. The LDC has interactive games, birthday party rooms, and classes led by a Lego Master Model Builder. There is also a Lego mini version of well-known buildings in the city.

The Kingdom Quest is a dark ride set within a medieval Legoland. The goal is to save the princess trapped in the castle. During the month of October, children can enjoy a Monster Halloween Party.

The store sells all manner of Lego products and toys. But the center is not just for children. Adult Night is a child-free evening held several times a year during which adults must solve a broken Lego mystery. A free drink may help them with the challenge. Admission to the Discovery Center is between $25.99 and $19.99 per person. It is open from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on weekdays and until 5:00 p.m. on weekends.

Address: 2475 Grand Blvd, Kansas City, MO 64108

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9: Steamboat Arabia Museum

Steamboat Arabia Museum
Steamboat Arabia Museum | Dreamstime/Redwood8

Who expects a treasure hunt to be one of the best attractions? It all goes back to 1856, when the steamboat Arabia went down on the Missouri River close to Kansas City. The remains of this boat were lost until 1988 when they were discovered. Their discovery revealed incomparable treasures. One of the interesting finds was clothes, which provides a clue as to the designs and fashions of the days before the invention of the zipper.

The treasures from the wreck are now on display at the Steamboat Arabia Museum. From clothes, toys, fine china, and the oldest pickles in existence, the collection is captivating and a miniature time capsule of the 19th century. It is the largest pre-Civil War collection to be found anywhere.

The museum is open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and opens at noon on Sunday. The admission fee for adults is $16.50 and $6.50 for children under the age of 14.

Address: 400 Grand Blvd, Kansas City, MO 64106

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10: Worlds of Fun

Worlds of Fun
Worlds of Fun

Worlds of Fun is the largest amusement park in the Midwest. The park is divided into Scandinavian, Oriental, European, African, and American sections. Tiny ones have their Planet Snoopy and waterpark, which includes slides and a lazy river. There is also a special adults-only pool with a swim-up bar or cabanas.

There are seven roller coasters for ultimate thrill rides, with the Mamba coaster being the fastest in existence. The SteelHawk circles 301 feet in the air for a magnificent view of Kansas City.

Planet Snoopy has 21 rides specifically designed for children, and the waterpark offers 40 waterslides for everyone’s enjoyment. The park is open from May through October and closes in September. Visitors have a choice of 40 different eateries, from concession stands to eat-in restaurants. The World of Fun has varied entry fees.

Address: 4545 Worlds of Fun Ave, Kansas City, MO 64161

11: Science City

Science City
Science City

At Science City, small children learn to love science as well as how to use big words like paleontology! The museum has 13,000 square feet of hands-on exhibits. Kids are encouraged to use their imagination, and their curiosity is given free rein, from infants up to six-year-olds. Children may not always like school, but they are starving for knowledge. This is where to feed them.

Science City has consistently won “Favorite Family-Friendly Attraction.” Parents from all over the state bring their children here. Admission to Science City is $13.25 for everyone three years old or older. It is open Tuesday to Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and opens at noon on Sunday.

Address: Union Station, 30 W Pershing Rd., Kansas City

12: National Museum of Toys and Miniatures

National Museum of Toys and Miniatures
National Museum of Toys and Miniatures

One of the most fascinating places in Kansas City is the National Museum of Toys and Miniatures. This 33,000-foot exhibit is not exactly a toy collection. It is a fantasy journey in miniature, with reproductions from various cultures on a 1:12 ratio – or tinier. This includes buildings, parts of rooms, clothes, and 94,000 objects all on a Lilliput scale. Remember that in Gulliver’s original Lilliput story, people were 6 inches high. Imagine the size of their furniture.

The museum has the largest miniature collection in the world, most of it consisting of precious antiques. The oldest doll was created in 1750 England, is 26 inches tall, and has real human hair.

It is open Wednesday through Monday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and closed on Tuesday. The admission fee is $10.00 for adults and $8.00 for kids 17 years old or younger.

Address: 5235 Oak Street, Kansas City

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13: Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art

Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art
Dreamstime/Ganeshkumar Durai

Art is as old as the drawings on the walls of our cavemen ancestors. By the Middle Ages, the majority of art were portraitures of people or still lives - a basic copy of the real thing. More and more, however, art took on the form of social commentary. Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art is where art speaks for culture and challenges basic assumptions of our time.

The museum has 1,500 modern artworks in its permanent collection that are inspired by today’s issues. The Atrium Project & Collection is specifically geared toward emerging Hispanic artists seeking greater recognition. Pieces in this temporary collection frequently become permanent.

Admission is always free. It is open Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. It remains open until 9:00 p.m. on Thursday and is closed Monday and Tuesday.

Address: 4420 Warwick Blvd, Kansas City

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14: American Jazz Museum

American Jazz Museum

As has been pointed out, Jazz is a huge part of the 18the & Vine district. The American Jazz Museum is the first museum to solely honor jazz. The museum’s Blue Room has free jam sessions on Mondays, Fridays, and Saturdays, and at noon the first and second Thursday of the month. The only charge is jamming on Saturday evenings.

An important part of the American Jazz Museum is the 500-seat Gem Theater, which regularly hosts music sessions and community events. The museum showcases unique, rarely-seen photographs of jazz legends such as Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, Louis Armstrong, and Ella Fitzgerald. While it is a museum during the day, it lights up into a jazz club in the evening. Visitors are welcome to take part and show some rhythm.

Admission to the museum is $10.00 for adults and $6.00 for children under the age of 18.

Address: 1616 E 18th St, Kansas City

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15: Sea Life Kansas City

Sea Life Kansas City
Sea Life Kansas City

One of the best ways to enjoy underwater creatures is Sea Life Kansas City. This aquarium allows visitors to enjoy close-up meetings with 5,000 marine creatures such as sharks, octopuses, seahorses, and a sea turtle named Gertrude.

At the Rockpool, kids can touch sea stars, crabs, and sea urchins with the guidance of one of the workers. The Weedy Sea Dragons are fantastic dancers and will provide plenty of entertainment. Why not join them in a twirl or two?

The aquarium is open every day from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Visitors can take the interactive feeding tour which allows them to feed some of the creatures. This is the ocean right here in the middle of Kansas City. Admission fee for both Sea Life and Legoland is between $39.99 and $29.99. Admission to Sea Life alone is between $24.99 and $19.99 per person.

Address: 2475 Grand Blvd, Kansas City

16: Kansas City Public Library

Kansas City Public Library
Dreamstime/Matthew Fowler

The Kansas City Public Library consists of a main library with nine separate branches. It has a range of rooms and study pods where students can study quietly without the distraction of television or music. Special study pods are only available at the Waldo and Plaza branches.

The library will remain open beyond normal hours for special events and will even arrange for catering. The downtown branch on 10the Street is a popular site for receptions, long meetings, and even weddings.

One of the don’t miss aspects of the library is not the library itself. It is a row of books, 25 feet high and 9 feet wide, next to the main library. This wall of 43 books, representing Dickens, Tolkien, Harper Lee, and others, is actually the façade of the incredible garage next door. See how many books you can identify.

Click here for the various branch hours and let your friends know how well-read you are.

Address: 14 West 10th St., Kansas City

17: Boulevard Brewing Company

Boulevard Brewing Company
Boulevard Brewing Company

Boulevard Brewing Company is a great stop for brewers and beer lovers. The first floor of the brewery has a shop selling its beers. Visitors can then move up to the second-floor Beer Hall, which has 24 beers on tap, food, and a deck with a view.

The Smokestack tour consists of a walk through the brewery, during which you will learn more about the history of beer and finish off with snacks and a beer pairing. The Public Brewery Tour is another walking tour through the brewery and the tasting rooms with four samples.

The Holladay Distillery Tour provides an experience in beer aging. Guests will leave Boulevard and take a bus tour to its brewing facility in Weston, MO. Here, they will learn about the life cycle of barrel aging. A bourbon tasting (yes, bourbon) is a part of this tour.

Address: 2534 Madison Ave, Kansas City

18: Harry S. Truman Home

Harry S. Truman Home
Dreamstime/James Kirkikis

For President Harry Truman, the White House was simply a quick leave from his lifelong home on 219 Delaware Street in Independence, where he lived from 1919 to 1972. It is now a memorial to his presidency and his life.

The original home was much smaller, and the architect enlarged the original to create an 8,000-square-foot, 14-room mansion that became one of the largest homes in Independence. Truman’s wedding to Bess was held on the grounds, and the couple made it their marital home, the same house he would live in as judge, senator, and vice-president.

Tickets to half-hour tours of the Truman Home can be obtained at the visitor’s center. The tours are free and held between 9:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. The home is closed Monday and Tuesday and open from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. for the remainder of the week.

Address: 223 N Main St, Independence

19: Money Museum

Money Museum

Do you like money? One of the top things to do in Kansas City is to visit the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City’s Money Museum. This local branch is only one of a dozen Federal Reserve Bank branches in the entire US.

While visiting, hold a $400,000 gold bar in your hand (you can dream, can’t you?) and check out the 450-piece minted coins, much of it from the Harry Truman collection. Visitors can see how the bank handles millions in currency every day. There are few times in life when we are surrounded by this type of wealth. Sorry, no free samples, although guests will receive a free bag of shredded US currency.

Address: 1 Memorial Dr, Kansas City

20: Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead

Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead
Dreamstime/Calvin L. Leake

Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead is an amazing farm with 250 animals that have much to teach children. Take them back to the frontier days with an Indian encampment, where vegetables, flowers, and fruit were home-grown and where food was raised, not bought in packages and cans at the market.

Children can feed goats and admire the resident birds of prey, such as a bald eagle who was brought here to be healed. If desired, children can milk a cow. This will clarify that milk does not come in a carton. They can also try their hand at fishing and walk through the chicken coop to see them lay their eggs. The farm also has larger animals, such as horses, cattle, and bison.

Of course, there is much more to learn, such as visiting an old-fashioned bank with typewriters or strolling through a one-room schoolhouse. In addition, there is a playground and much more to explore.

Admission to the farm is $5.00 for anyone over the age of 3. There may be an additional charge for certain activities, such as feeding the goats. The farm is free Monday through Thursday after 2:00 p.m. It is open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily.

Address: 13800 Switzer Rd, Overland Park


1. What is Kansas City famous for?

Kansas City barbeque may feed the hungry, but it is jazz that feeds the city’s soul, with more than 40 venues devoted to the genre. It began on 18th Street by the African-American community and soon became its identity. Kansas City is jazz.

2. What is the best time to visit Kansas City?

Late spring through August, which includes May through the summer, offers excellent weather for strolling through the city. September turns Kansas City into a colorful fall foliage.

3. What is the number one attraction in Kansas City?

The renowned Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art is a stunning example of neoclassical architecture. Its galleries, which hold artwork from Asia, Europe, and the US, are considered a breathtaking collection of artistic beauty.

4. What is the most unique thing to do in Kansas City?

Built in 1923, Country Club Plaza is one of the first regional shopping plazas. It was built in anticipation that this new invention, the automobile, would change the way people shopped. And the prediction proved correct. Today, Country Club Plaza has everything for everyone.

Wrapping Up

Kansas City offers a number of attractions and activities that cater to a wide range of interests. Whether you're a history buff looking to visit museums or an outdoor enthusiast seeking adventure in the great outdoors, Kansas City has it all. With its lively atmosphere and friendly locals, visiting this Midwest gem will surely be an unforgettable experience. So pack your bags and start planning your next adventure in Kansas City today!

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