Two-Day Getaway to Wichita | Midwest Living

Two-Day Getaway to Wichita

Old West spirit meets urban energy in Wichita, where travelers find contemporary fine arts and a restored Old Town.
The Keeper of the Plains statue stands on sacred ground at the confluence of the Big and Little Arkansas rivers.
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Old Cowtown Museum.
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Botanica, The Wichita Gardens.
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Lindsborg. Photo courtesy of Hemslojd.
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Day 1

Old Cowtown Museum preserves the 1870s lifestyle with a history museum, working farm and a business district that includes a blacksmith’s shop, a newspaper press, and spring and summer gunfight shows.

Serenity defines the 26 themed gardens at Botanica, The Wichita Gardens.

Inventive starters, like crispy plantain chips with chimichurri, complement tacos and traditional Cuban sandwiches at Sabor Latin Bar and Grille.

Kansas Aviation Museum features historical aircraft, a flight simulator and an exhibit on how to make perfect paper airplanes.

The Wichita Art Museum reveals a large collection of glasswork, including Steuben glass.

Jumbo lump crab cakes and Scottish salmon fillets burst with flavor at Avi Seabar and Chophouse.

Casual elegance is the hallmark of the renovated 1926 Ambassador Hotel (from $139).

Day 2

In Goddard (14 miles west), giraffes eat from guests’ hands, kangaroos accept pats and lemurs jump into laps at Tanganyika Wildlife Park.

Back in Wichita, lovers of all things vintage could spend half a day perusing the more than 225 booths of Paramount Antique Mall.

Classic sandwiches like open-faced Reubens fill the lunch menu at Doo-Dah Diner.

History buffs marvel at dinosaur skeletons, a Berlin Wall segment and Egyptian mummies at the Museum of World Treasures.

Jazz plays while diners dig into seared diver sea scallops or the prime pork at Chester’s Chophouse and Wine Bar.

More information: Go Wichita Convention and Visitors Bureau  (800) 288-9424;

One Big Party

Wichita’s annual Riverfest (May 30–June 7, 2014) includes a parade, helicopter rides, a funnel-cake eating contest, Zumba party and concerts. Art in the Park features make-and-take projects for kids, and the Marketplace is a great place to shop for one-of-a-kind souvenirs. Everyone gathers along the riverbanks on opening night to watch the fireworks. (316) 267-2817;

Bring the Kids

Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center Crane your neck to see a rocket that’s more than 100 feet tall. And view the command module Odyssey from the Apollo 13 lunar mission and a cosmosphere showcasing space gear. Take a daredevil flight with the Blue Angels in the simulator, and check out Justice Planetarium. The center, in Hutchinson (52 miles northwest of Wichita), also wows with special events. (800) 397-0330;

Day Trip

Swedish flags on display and colorful wood Dala horses in Lindsborg (72 miles north of Wichita) serve as reminders of the town’s immigrant heritage. Take a tour of downtown on pedal carts. We suggest starting at the craft shop Hemslojd, where a resident artist sells Scandinavian art and lingonberries. The BrickHouse Grill pleases crowds with the popular meaty Viking pizza. (888) 227-2227;


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