Bars, funky cafes, coffee houses, 100-plus specialty shops and bookstores line the streets of Aggieville, an enclave with tenure almost as long as the university’s. Varney’s Bookstore, the marquee of Aggieville, is the place for all things purple. By late afternoon, rhythms and aromas, from barbecue to curry, spill from the clubs and cafes. Five miles south, a lookout along K-177 provides expansive views of 8,600-acre Konza Prairie and the Flint Hills rolling into the distance. Follow a short walking trail from the scenic overlook. Or, for a longer hike through grasslands (three, five or six miles), head to the natural area’s entrance.
A dozen antiques shops in a restored downtown so quaint it gets mistaken for a movie set bring dealers to Paxico from all over. Continue northwest to Wamego. Along a Main Street that once carried Oregon Trail wagons, the Oz Museum holds a staggering collection inspired by the L. Frank Baum books and the 1939 movie. Be sure to see what’s playing at the Columbian Theatre, Museum and Art Center, a renovated 1800s opera house.
For information: Manhattan Conventions & Visitors Bureau (785) 776-8829; manhattancvb.org