10 things you can get in Kansas City for $5 that will blow your mind


This was a hard list to write, mainly because there are so many killer ways to have fun, get fed, or get a little buzzy in Kansas City for $5 or less. That said, I decided to make some rules: First, I would only spend half the list on food and drink. Picking ten amazing food or drink deals in KC that cost $5 or less would have been easy. Second, I only allowed myself one thing that was free. Similar to the food rule, there are just too many incredible things to do and see in KC that do not cost money but will entertain you for hours. KC kicks ass for visitors and locals alike, and is one of the best places in the country to eat, drink and be amazed for less than cab fare.

Food and drink
Almost everything on the menu at Town Topic Hamburgers
33. That is the number of items on Town Topic's menu that cost less than five bucks. 33. Cheeseburger, hot dog, egg sandwich, pork tenderloin, breakfast sandwiches, ice cream sundaes and the list goes on. It's a diner through and through. Your doctor will hate you if you admit to eating there, but the food is like crack (except it's legal and delicious) and who listens to doctors anyway?

A tallboy and eight games of pinball at Up Down
$3 for a tall can of your favorite yard beer and eight games of pinball (or any of upwards of 50 classic and newer arcade games) sound like a pretty good time? It is. Make that Lincoln last while you take a break between games to watch classic '80s movies, pro wrestling or local sports on the big screens throughout the bar. If it's nice out, step out for a game of giant tower stacking on the patio. Loser buys shots, so make sure you win because that $5 is already gone.

Five pieces of sushi at Friends Sushi
When I think of "cheap sushi," I tend to just stop thinking of sushi, period. On Mondays that opinion changes. Friends Sushi in Westport is a real-deal sushi joint with this amazing deal: You can buy up to 15 pieces of sushi for just $1 apiece. That's even cheaper than that creepy stuff in the plastic container at the grocery store, and a way better meal. A good rule to follow: Sushi should not come in a box with a barcode on it.

Two tasters of craft beer at Bier Station
Bier Station is the crusader of good against crappy beer. Their rotating tap list and thousands of individual choices in bottles means you'll never run out of options for beer that doesn't end with the word "light." While two tasters may not sound like a lot, two four-ounce pours of a beer packing 11% or more ABV definitely give you $5 worth of warm and fuzzy feelings.

A slice of New York style pizza at Johnny Jo's (and a drink depending on the special)
If you like New York style pizza and live in KC, Johnny Jo's is the spot. It is pure street corner style. Walk in and try to find a seat at one of the handful of mismatched chairs, or just sit on the steps. It is basically just a pizza kitchen with a counter and a few seats, but the pizza is a giant, crispy crust, foldable slice of KC's finest. You can byob (at least that's what John told me) and if you need to warm up, don't worry, it's about 30 degrees warmer inside the barebones establishment than outside temps (great in the winter). Depending on the current lunch specials, you can probably add a classic glass bottle of Fanta to that lunch meal and still keep it at $5.

Non food and drink
Handmade pottery at First Friday
You know those mugs, bowls and plates you see at art fairs that are beautifully hand crafted and hand glazed and cost more than all the dishes you still have left from when you were in college? Well, you can get your hands on pieces like that for just a few dollars, as long as you don't mind a few imperfections like slightly out of round cups, or chipped glaze that can be fixed with fingernail polish. Impress your hipster friends and look good doing it by grabbing some locally made dishes from the Crossroads Art District's First Fridays in KC.

Ticket to the top of the Liberty Memorial
$5 will get you the absolute best view of Kansas City that doesn't involve an airport. For a relaxing day, take a picnic to the picturesque lawn of the Liberty Memorial (that's free) and then skip the museum and head straight to the top of the tower. This is the stuff of Christmas cards, calendars and engagement photos, but it's just pretty damn cool on a warm spring day too.

The National Museum of Toys and Miniatures
Although the name is pretty straightforward, the stuff you'll see inside is flat out amazing, especially for history buffs, tinkerers and people who just like uniquely cool artifacts of the good old days. Take the kids, or leave 'em behind with a tablet or smartphone so you can enjoy things the way they should be enjoyed, slowly and without a theme song or a touchscreen.

KC Streetcar
I'm slipping one freebie in here to make all the big city people who brag about their public transportation systems jealous. Our brand spanking new streetcar is free to ride. Granted, it is currently just a two mile route, but it connects some of the liveliest and up and coming areas of the downtown KC and Crossroads Arts District.

Tour of the Kauffman Center
The Kauffman Center is approximately five years old now, but it is still gaining acclaim as one of the most acoustically astounding music venues in the world. Operas, ballets, symphonies and a variety of other world class entertainment call this place home or make stops on tour. For $5, you get an in-depth tour of the engineering that went into making this monument to KC's arts scene a reality.

Drew has been living in KC, and searching it inside and out for the best things to do, for over 25 years. He knows that sometimes it's nice to get out and see the city without having to spend the paycheck. The places on this list will feed your mind, body and soul for just $5 or less.