Midwest Living Review
Manhattan is both college town and cow town. It's the gateway to the only tallgrass prairie in North America, and historic cattle trails skirt the city established by settlers, mostly abolitionists, in the early 1850s. In 1863, Blue Mont Central College was the nation's first land-grant university, later becoming Kansas State University. Campus gardens are open to the public. Stalwart Flint Hills limestone buildings line historic downtown Manhattan's Poyntz Avenue, which is anchored by the restored Wareham Hotel and Kansas's first electric-light theater. Downtown shopping is limited for now. There's Kieu's and Bling selling youthful fashions. Definite destination stores include Wildflower Yarns and Knitwear Shop and the stunning Strecker Nelson Gallery, which sells Kansas fine artists' works. Classy Della Voce restaurant serves Italian fare small-plate-style. Girlfriends book pampering treatments at Gaia SalonSpa and dine on gourmet breakfasts at The Chef Cafe. The Flint Hills Discovery Center opened in spring 2012 near downtown and close to contemporary Pierre Street Inn bed-and-breakfast. Free summer music concerts and festivals pack Manhattan's city park. Each June, the Country Stampede brings in big-name country acts. Aggieville stands near the K-state campus. It's a party zone packed with bars, casual restaurants, bookstores and clothing stores mostly catering to college-girl tastes. Try the tasty Tex-Mex fare dished at fun Coco Bolos. And you can wake up to good joe and fresh pastries at Radina's, Bluestem Bistro and new Varsity Donuts.