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Wichita is an off-the-beaten-track destination, located right in the middle of the country, which means that you could very well find your way passing through it on a road trip. It is the largest city in Kansas and it has lots of outdoor recreation and cultural attractions to explore. Here are some of the best things to do in town when you’re in Wichita.
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Wichita has a beautiful outdoor area called the Arkansas River Path that is a paved trail about 10 miles long. It’s perfect for taking a walk, going for a morning jog, or riding your bike along. The path extends from 21st Street North to Galena Street. If you don’t have your own bike, you can take advantage of the Bike Share ICT self-serve stations nearby. While on this path, you’ll pass by other top attractions in the city, such as Cowtown and the Keeper of the Plains statue. There are also many more miles of bike trails in town, making it easy to get outside and active when you’re in Wichita. For example, this river path provides access to Sedgwick County Park and Riverside Park.
Old Cowtown is a must-visit when you’re in Wichita, as it tells the story of the city and also the United States. Here you’ll find dozens of historic buildings and some that have been recreated to look like what would have been here in the mid-1800s. It’s an open-air history museum that’s interactive and offers tours with guides in period costumes. This is a fun place for the whole family because you’ll get a better understanding of frontier settlements and take a step back into this gateway to the Wild West. The adult admission price is $9. This attraction is closed on Mondays but opens on Sundays from 12pm to 5pm and on the other days of the week from 10am to 5pm.
Frank Lloyd Wright houses are always fun to visit if you enjoy architecture and home design. Wright’s Allen House was designed to help people feel like they are living among the elements of nature and out on the prairie of Kansas. The home was originally commissioned in 1916 and has since been restored to serve as a museum that allows tours. The basic guided tour costs $15, and the in-depth tour is $20. Other tour options are the grand tour, moonlight tour, and Elise Allen art tour.
Wichita is also a great place to pull over and stay for the night if you enjoy craft beer. One of the best breweries in town is gnome-themed and called Hopping Gnome Brewing. This is a small, festive brewery on Douglas Avenue that promotes supporting local businesses. It is open to stop into Tuesdays through Thursdays from 3-10pm, Fridays from 3pm to midnight, Saturdays from noon to midnight, and Sundays from noon to 5pm. Hopping Gnome doesn’t serve food but you can order in pizza that pairs perfectly with the beer.
It’s also fun to visit the Sedgwick County Zoo in Wichita, especially if you’re traveling with kids. There are thousands of animals here that belong to hundreds of species, and the zoo has been widely recognized for its conservation efforts. The zoo hours are typically 8:30am to 5pm, and the adult admission price is $15.95 per person. There’s also a gift shop onsite and strollers and wheelchair rentals as well.
A fun way to get active no matter what the weather is outside is to go to Bliss Climbing and Fitness in Wichita. This complex has been in Wichita for a few years and has climbing walls, bouldering areas, a yoga studio, cardio room, and weightlifting area. Bliss is open on weekdays from 10:30am to 9:30pm, Saturdays from 9am to 8pm, and Sundays from noon to 6pm. Challenge yourself and your whole family by renting gear, then trying your best to get to the top!
The Old Town area of Wichita is about four blocks in size and is a historic district worth checking out. It is bordered by the streets of Santa Fe, Douglas, Washington, and Central and lined with lampposts. Lots of festivities and events take place here throughout the year, so check an events calendar online to see what’s going on when you’ll be in the area. This is also a nice place to walk and browse local shops, restaurants, and bars. You’ll enjoy seeing the historic brick warehouses that are filled with over 130 businesses. This is also the site of the Old Town Farmers Market on Saturday mornings between spring and fall.
Check out Wichita’s Museum of World Treasures to see lots of different displays throughout various eras. Inside this museum, you can learn about everything from ancient Egyptians to dinosaurs, world leaders, royalty, and pop culture icons. The adult admission fee to this museum is $9.95, and family day passes are available for $32.95. Stop by between noon and 5pm on Sundays or between 10am and 5pm any other day.
A great way to learn about the region’s natural wonders is to visit the Great Plains Nature Center. You and your travel companions can walk through the exhibits and displays to learn about ecosystems, habitats, animals, and plants that live here. Onsite, you’ll also find trails, a wildlife observatory, and platforms that are perfect for bird watching. Check the attraction’s website to see what types of events are going on when you’ll be in town, such as free auditorium programs, family fishing nights, and second Saturday bird walks.