First things first. The day can’t begin without a cup of joe from PT’s Coffee Roasting Company. Just a few blocks east lies Kansas’ State Capitol, with its 500-pound oak doors, gorgeous brass-and-copper stair railings and 22-carat gilding that highlights the stunning architecture.
Bradley’s Corner Cafe dishes good, inexpensive eats and 25 freshly baked pies daily.
Thousands of people crowd art galleries, shop for affordable antiques and dance to street music during ArtsConnect First Friday Artwalks in North Topeka Art District (known as NOTO).
Inside a lovingly restored row house, RowHouse Restaurant owner-chef Greg Fox shows off his fine-dining chops with a prix fixe menu that changes weekly.
Stay at The Woodward Inn, a 1920s Tudor-style mansion restored and converted to an upscale bed-and-breakfast, complete with richly designed decor (from $145).
Touring the Charles Curtis House Museum provides a fascinating glimpse into the life of the first Native American vice president of the United States. Continue your history lesson at the thought-provoking Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site. On May 17, 2014, the former school building marks the 60th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision that integrated schools.
Boca Cafe has many lunch options, but faves are The Cuban—slow-braised pork, smoked ham and provolone cheese—and the B.L.A.T. (a bacon, lettuce, avocado and tomato sandwich).
Truffles, candy-dipped caramel apples and homemade fudge are just some of the goodies that make Hazel Hill Chocolate Traditions a chocolate-lover’s paradise.
Learn about ancient inhabitants, Spanish conquistadors, early railroads and 1950s diners at the Kansas Museum of History; then finish the day with a Chicago-style pie or thin-crust Margherita at Via’s Pizzeria.
More information: (785) 234-1030; visittopeka.com
Bobo’s Drive In is a classic American burger joint, complete with carhops and Formica-topped booths. The $1.99 steak burgers taste as good now as when the tiny spot opened in 1948—especially with a side of crispy onion rings. (785) 234-4511