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 By the editors of
Kansas State Capitol


Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site Visit the former Monroe Elementary School for exhibits and films on the context and effects of the U.S. Supreme Court decision to end segregation. Rangers lead free tours of the school building twice a day.

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. Exhibits include Evel's "Big Red" Mack truck from his coast-to-coast travels and the Skycycle rocket he used to attempt a jump over Idaho's Snake River Canyon.

The Evel Knievel Museum

Charles Curtis House Museum This engaging museum sheds light on the United States' first Native American vice president, who served under Herbert Hoover.

First Friday Artwalks Topeka's studios and galleries come alive when thousands shop for arts and dance to street music each month.

First Presbyterian Church Tiffany Windows What began as a memorial by two widows in 1911 has become a prized collection. The 10 stained-glass windows exemplify Louis Tiffany's patented Favrile technique of creating iridescent and bright jewel tones.

Hazel Hill Chocolate Traditions A third-generation chocolatier is the expert behind the truffles, candy-dipped caramel apples and homemade fudge that make the shop a treat-lover's paradise.

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

Kansas Museum of History The Sunflower State's multifaceted history reveals itself in displays about Native Americans, early railroads and 1950s diners.

Kaw River State Park Launch canoes, kayaks and other small crafts from Kansas' only free state park.

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 popular First Friday Art Walks.

Old Prairie Town The retro Potwin Drug Store soda fountain and a 2½ -acre garden star in this collection of turn-of-the-19th-century buildings.

PT's Coffee Roasting Company Passionate about java? Schedule a tour of the roasting facility or pick up a sample of beans from one of the nation's top roasters.

Scenic byways near Topeka Glacial Hills Scenic Byway runs 63 miles from White Cloud to Fort Leavenworth and passes Lewis and Clark sites, preserves and evidence of glaciers. Frontier Military Scenic Byway traces Civil War history along its 167-mile route from Fort Leavenworth to Fort Scott.

State Capitol Free tours leave visitors impressed with the dome (taller than the U.S. Capitol's) of this restored 1903 beauty. Murals in the rotunda and statues of famous Kansans speak to state history.

State Capitol

Topeka Zoo While on the smaller side, the zoo provides up-close encounters with giraffes, tigers, hippos and elephants who paint with their trunks.


Blind Tiger Brewery and Restaurant Come for the award-winning brews, including the raspberry wheat ale made with pure raspberry extract and a pinch of honey.

Bobo's Drive-In The classic American burger joint comes complete with carhops and Formica- topped booths. The $2.39 steak burgers taste as good now as when the tiny spot opened in 1948. Bobo's Drive-In Facebook

Bradley's Corner Cafe A father-and-son team serve good, inexpensive country cooking and more than 25 flavors of fresh-baked pies a day. Bradley's Corner Cafe Facebook

The Burger Stand at College Hill Classed-up burgers include the Fire, with habanero- cactus jam and avocado.

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

Norsemen Brewing Company Swig a Coffee Porter amid chandeliers and limestone walls. KB's Smokehouse serves smoked meat loaf and pork rib dinners on-site.

The Pennant Bowling alleys and a vintage arcade invite lingering in this new restaurant that features gourmet burgers, loaded fries, beer and shakes-both classic and spiked.

The Pennant. Photo: Starboard and Port.

Pepe and Chela's Stellar margaritas, chips and guac tide you over while you choose from the long menu.

Rowhouse Restaurant Owner-chef Greg Fox shows off his fine-dining chops with a prix fixe menu that changes weekly. The restored 1876 row house sits near the Capitol.

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


Hyatt Place Topeka Convenience reigns with a coffee shop, a 24-hour fitness center and breakfasts with tasty egg sandwiches.

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

The Woodward Inns on Fillmore

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Day trip

Twenty miles east of Topeka, LeCompton boasts an interesting Civil War history-billing itself as both a Civil War birthplace as well as "where slavery began to die"- along with a passion for the Christmas season. Read more here about visiting LeCompton.