If you have been considering a trip to the Kansas state capital, you’re in luck! Visiting the city is actually a fairly budget-friendly vacation. Below are some seriously cheap and free things to do in Topeka, Kansas.
Free Things To Do in Topeka
When you begin planning a vacation or trip of any sort, it is a good idea to have an itinerary in mind. To save money, add some of these free things to do in Topeka to your plans.
Lake Shawnee is often cited as one of the top tourist destinations in the state of Kansas. Each year, more than 1 million people visit the park for festivals, camping, and other activities. There are a number of trails to hike and gardens to visit as well. Admission to the park is free, however, campsites and other attractions will come at a cost.
Gage Park is another outdoor attraction you can visit while you are in Topeka. It is a 160-acre park filled with walking paths. There is also a dog park here if you are traveling with your furry friend. Gage Park is also conveniently located near many other attractions, including the Topeka Zoo, the Children’s Discovery Center, and more.
Ward-Meade Park is a popular place for many people to stay when they visit Topeka. The park is close to a lot of hotels and other accommodations. Additionally, you can tour botanical gardens, visit the Ward-Meade mansion, and see an 1800s village replica.
Brown vs. Board of Education Historic Site
Currently, due to COVID-19, there are no visitors allowed to the Brown vs. Board of Education Historic Site. However, you can take a virtual tour on the government website. When the historic site opens back up though, admission is free. It is recommended that you call ahead and make a reservation if you have a group of 10 or more.
Mulvane Art Museum
Art lovers should add the Mulvane Art Museum to the list of things to do in Topeka. It is a free art gallery (though donations are recommended) and you can get a look at some of the unique pieces of artwork that have come from the Topeka area. Right now, there are only self-guided tours being allowed.
Ted Ensley Gardens
Ted Ensley Gardens are another beautiful one of the free things to do in Topeka. While donations are accepted, it doesn’t cost a dime to tour the gardens to see roses, perennials, water and rock gardens, and so much more.
Museum of the Kansas National Guard
You can also visit the Museum of the Kansas National Guard in Topeka free-of-charge. There are a number of exhibits displaying historical information about the state airmen and soldiers. The museum was completely constructed and is kept going with volunteer hours and donations.
Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library
As always, I like to add the local public library to the list of free things to do any time you visit a new place. Oftentimes, the library will have local authors and artists on display. At the very least, you’ll get to poke around the local library.
Cheap Things To Do (Under $25)
Of course, not everything on your trip to Topeka can be free. That doesn’t mean you have to spend a ton of money either though. Here are a few more budget-friendly activities you may consider.
The Great Overland Station
This railroad station is a historic landmark and has been home to a number of weddings over the years. You can take a look around the station, and if you want to take a seat, you’ll see more than 100 freight trains pass through over the span of a day. There are some hands-on exhibits there as well, including a virtual exhibit that allows you to “drive” the train. Admission is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors and military, and $2 for children.
Kansas Children’s Discovery Center
Families traveling with kids may want to add the Discovery Center to their itinerary. Admission for kids and adults is $9 and seniors get $1 off. However, the center is filled with activities that you could easily spend the better part of the day exploring, so you definitely get your money’s worth!
Kansas Museum of History
If you want to learn more about the state’s history while you’re there, consider adding the Kansas Museum of History to your plans as well. Admission is only $9 for a self-guided tour ($12 for guided tours). Children are admitted to the museum for just $3 ($6 for guided tours).
Combat Air Museum
The Topeka Combat Air Museum is a wonderful thing to visit while you are in the state capital. There are guided tours available upon request, but you will need to call ahead of time. Admission for children is $5 and adults are $7. Active duty military members can receive a discounted $5 admission as well.
Evil Knievil Museum
Next up on the list is the Evil Knievil Museum. If you are a fan of the daredevil or his stunts, it is a must-see! General admission prices start at $15. Depending on what you want to include in your visit, ticket prices can be more expensive. However, it is a great stop if you’re traveling to Topeka.
Topeka Zoological Park
Topeka Zoo is actually home to the first indoor rainforest in the United States. It houses more than 250 animals and a number of interactive exhibits as well. Admission is fairly priced too with children two and under free, adults $7.75, seniors $6.75, and children (ages 3 to 12) $6.25.
Norseman Brewing Company
If you’re into scoping out the local brews, consider visiting Norseman Brewing Company. They have a number of brews available on tap. You can get beer tasters from their menu for just $2 apiece. They also have a full food menu with prices hovering between $8 and $11. There may also be a local BBQ truck outside (which visitors often rave about).