Midwest Living Review
Topeka's restored historic architecture and booming arts community make Kansas' capital city a destination along Interstate-70, the main highway traveling through the Sunflower State. Start your Topeka tour at the 1866 capitol building whose decade-long restoration is almost complete (slated for 2013). Although the soaring copper dome is still swathed in scaffolding, the House and Senate chambers, Kansas history murals, old Supreme Court and governor's ceremonial office are open for visitors to see for free. In summer, the capitol's 20-acre grassy grounds fill with people attending Topeka's cultural events. Artists, shopkeepers and restaurateurs are leading a steadily growing 21st-century Topeka renaissance. While some of the beautiful Victorian buildings flanking wide boulevards are vacant, others house independent shops and restaurants, such as Blue Planet Cafe, Marion Lane Candles and Hazel Hill Chocolate. Artist studios, galleries and antiques dealers have revitalized north Topeka, creating the NOTO Arts District, which hosts a monthly art market with live music and food vendors. The Overland Train Station turned stellar railroad museum is nearby. On the other side of town, the new color-blocked glass box Kansas Children's Discovery Center recently opened, as did Kaw River State Park near the Kansas Museum of History.