Midwest Living Review
Thanks to Topeka artists, the old part of town recently renamed NOTO (for North Topeka) is returning to vibrancy after half a century of hard times brought about by the Kaw River Flood of 1903. Studios, galleries and antiques shops occupy renovated 1800s warehouses and Victorian storefronts along North Kansas Avenue, bordered by the river, railroad tracks and the Great Overland Station. During First Friday weekend shopping events held once every month, NOTO's galleries open their doors to up to a 1,000 visitors. Live music and food vendors create a festive block-party atmosphere. You may want to bring a U-Haul to cart home your finds, ranging from vintage roadside signs and old school maps ($40) to a Hayward-Wakefield dining set ($900) at Two Days antiques gallery (785/266-6000). View Topeka portrait, landscape and abstract painters at work in Studio 831 (785/266-4139). Robuck Jewelers specializes in antique Rolexes and contemporary, semiprecious stone pieces crafted by resident jeweler Chris Haug (785/235-5616). Artist co-op showroom Eclectic features mixed media, handmade jewelry, collage and folk artworks (785/806-7674). Come any day to NOTO's Bradley's Corner Cafe (785/235-0086), a father-son diner serving breakfast, lunch and 25 homemade pies.