The Evel Knievel Museum’s recent arrival injected fresh energy in the state capital. But sites that explore Kansas’ roots and a landmark court decision reflect the importance history holds too.

By The editors of MidwestLiving.com
Updated March 06, 2021
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Pandemic-related closures and restrictions may be in place. Please check destinations' websites before making travel plans.

Do

Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site Visit the former Monroe Elementary School for exhibits on the effects of the U.S. Supreme Court decision to end segregation. A mural across the street explores themes of equality. nps.gov

Brown vs. Board of Education National Historic Site
Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site

The Evel Knievel Museum Indulge your inner daredevil by donning VR goggles and attempting a heart-stopping leap over 16 cars. Other exhibits include Evel’s “Big Red” Mack truck from his coast-to-coast travels. evelknievelmuseum.com

Evel Knievel Museum
The Evel Knievel Museum

Hazel Hill Chocolate Traditions A third-generation chocolatier is the expert behind the truffles, caramel apples and butter-toffee popcorn that make the shop a treat-lover’s paradise. hazelhillchocolate.com

Kansas Children's Discovery Center Cheery pavilions with hands-on exhibits tell the story of art, agriculture and science. kansasdiscovery.org

Kansas Museum of History The Sunflower State's multifaceted history reveals itself in displays about Native Americans, early railroads and 1950s diners. Check their website for reopening dates. kshs.org

Lecompton Territorial capital of Kansas from 1855 to 1861, the town (20 minutes from Topeka and Lawrence) bills itself as both the birth place of the Civil War and the place" where slavery began to die." Learn about the history at sites like the Territorial Capital Museum and Constitution Hall. lecomptonkansas.com

NOTO Arts District Many of the city’s studios and galleries line this colorful pocket of North Topeka. Shop for art and dance to music during First Friday Art Walks. notoshopping.com

PT's Coffee Roasting Company Pick up a sample of beans from one of the nation's top roasters or try breakfast, lunch or snacks. ptscoffee.com

State Capitol Take a self-guided tour of this restored 1903 beauty, known for its dome (taller than the U.S. Capitol's). Murals in the rotunda and statues of famous Kansans speak to state history. kshs.org

Topeka Trip Guide
State Capitol

Topeka Zoo and Conservation Center See lions and monkeys at Camp Cowabunga, then find moments of zen at the Kay McFarland Japanese Garden. topekazoo.org

Eat

Bobo's Drive-In The classic American burger joint, opened in 1948, comes complete with carhops and Formica-topped booths. Bobo's Drive-On Facebook

Iron Rail Brewing Enjoy Southern comfort food with craft beer like the CKH Wheat, named for Cyrus K. Holliday, the railroad magnate who founded Topeka in 1854. ironrailbrewing.com

Lonnie Q's BBQ The Cup of Heaven delivers on its promise with three meats, cheesy potatoes and beans. lonnieqsbbq.com

Norsemen Brewing Company Swig a Coffee Porter amid chandeliers and limestone walls. KB’s Smokehouse serves BBQ specialties on-site. norsemenbrewingco.com

The Pennant Try the bowling alley or vintage arcade after your comfort-food meal of gourmet burgers, loaded fries, beer and shakes—both classic and spiked. thepennanttopeka.com

The Pennant
The Pennant. Photo: Starboard and Port.

The Wheel Barrel Gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches and craft beer star at the North Topeka spot. thewheelbarrow.com

The White Linen Celebrate special occasions with the chef's signature Old Fashioned and a menu that integrates French and American flavors. thewhitelinen.com

Stay

Cyrus Hotel New in 2019, the upscale boutique lodging offers rooms blending modern chic with historical elegance. The Weather Room bar and restaurant is already a go-to spot. (You may see Kansas legislators here.) cyrushotel.com

The Woodward Some rooms in the 1920s Tudor-style mansion come with fireplaces and claw-foot tubs. Relax in the heated lap pool set among gardens. thewoodward.com

The Woodward Inns on Fillmore
The Woodward Inns on Fillmore

For more information visittopeka.com