Kansas City Budget Trip

There are a few cities in the central Midwest region that draw national attention, and one of them is certainly Kansas City. Known for BBQ, football, and the enchanting city design (did you know it's the City of Fountains?), KC has a lot to offer a student group trip, on a graduation celebration or hitting the town for some serious out-of-school learning experiences. But how to do it on a budget? Let's take a look...


While you might be tempted to snag a hotel downtown near all the action, know that it comes with a hefty price tag. This is even more true for hotels near the Plaza where you'll get the added scenery and proximity to shopping centers. However, if you're wanting to save money at all costs and don't care that you'll have to travel, go a little further outside the city for a cheaper hotel. You can grab one in Independence or Overland Park for a cheaper price, less than $100. There are a few cheaper hotels sprinkled throughout the city center but beware of quality before you book.


KC is a driving heavy city, unlike the more walkable places. However, the KC Transit system runs through all of the major regions making it easy to hop on

and off. Plus, once you make it to the Plaza or downtown KC, you can walk through all of the major shopping areas and many of the most popular attractions. A day pass through the KC Transit system will pay for itself in three uses, making it much more affordable than car parking and car rental fees.



Lucky for you, on a student's budget, KC has a multitude of cheap delicious eats, many of them BBQ { Joe's KC BBQ is to die for}. For breakfast, try Eggtc. for, of course, eggs as well as savory and sweet crepes, potato hash, and plenty of pancakes, or head to Kate's Kitchen for a nice diner feel with yummy comfort food. Lunch and dinner get you more options, with everything from Italian to Middle Eastern, Mexican, and more. Bella Napoli is a fantastic indoor-outdoor authentic Italian restaurant while Vietnam Cafe in the River Market district offers Asian flair, and Zaina downtown grants a delicious look into Greek and Mediterranean flavors. Finally to the BBQ. You'll most likely be able to walk down the street and pick a fantastic BBQ joint at random and it'll be incredible but if you want some guidance, try Big T's, Arthur Bryants, or Pigwich. Joe's KC BBQ is a must-try, and Back Rack BBQ's food truck and catering is an amazing option as well with on-the-go treats.

Attractions (free and $)

There are plenty of attractions in KC, many of which are free of charge! The following attractions are given a $-$$$ based on the price of admission from cheap to expensive.

  • Country Club Plaza (free) - Beautifully designed to resemble Mediterranean style, this outdoor shopping center is both high end and exciting. It's also free to tour and window shop.
  • Liberty Memorial ($-$$) - A wonderful memorial for the fallen of WWI, tours are given on a first-come, first-serve basis in the tower. The museum exhibits which make up the most comprehensive WWI collection are available for an added price.
  • Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art (free) - An incredible art museum showcasing art from prehistory to modern times.
  • Worlds of Fun ($$$) - One of the most exciting and incredible amusement parks in the Midwest, Worlds of Fun may be expensive but it's amazingly fun.
  • Negro Leagues Baseball Museum ($) - Incredibly informative, this museum focuses on the history of African Americans in America's favorite pastime sport.
  • Union Station (free-$$$) - Depending on where you go and what you decide to do, Union Station can get pricey but there are loads to choose from. Inside a beautiful defunct train station, here you can find a number of exhibitions, Science City, a model railroad experience, and plenty of shops and cafes.
  • Kansas City Zoo ($$) - A beautiful zoo with incredible animal exhibits.
  • Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art (free) - If you didn't get enough contemporary art at Nelson-Atkins, head over to Kemper.
  • Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum ($) - Focused on the legacy and policies of President Truman, a native of Missouri, his self-named Library and Museum offer educational exhibits on the man and his time in office.

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