As cowboys pushed the great cattle herds across Kansas' endless plains, they longed to glimpse Wichita on the horizon. Today, the city—with museums lining the Arkansas River and fresh dining options—makes a welcome oasis along Interstate-35.
revolutsia complex restaurant shops wichita kansas outdoor patio
Credit: C2 Photography

My Perfect Day

For a sweet start, hit Doo-Dah Diner. I'm all about the banana bread French toast topped with candied apples, apple butter and pecans. 

You will be in a food coma. Snap out of it with a stroll along the Arkansas River to the Museums on the River district.

Then it's off to Nifty Nut House to peruse the insane selection of bulk nuts, candies and snacks. (There are literally thousands of varieties to choose from.) 

I love an evening at the ballpark, and the Minor League Baseball Wichita Wind Surge plays at Riverfront Stadium.

End the day at Revolutsia, a cool shipping-container complex with outdoor seating. One of its eateries, Prost, serves fantastic German food (my fave). Cheers!

Must-See Mural

Colombian artist Gleo transformed the Beachner Grain Elevator with her 60,000-square-foot El Sueño Original (The Original Dream).

Bucket List


Wander through more than 30 themed gardens accented with sculptures, waterfalls and a restored 1949 carousel. During the holiday season, admire the gardens aglow with 2 million-plus lights.

Old Cowtown Museum

Dozens of buildings and 12,000-plus artifacts transport visitors to the 1800s. Cowboys patrol Main Street, and staged gunfights break out daily as you learn about Wichita's often rowdy frontier days. 

keeper of the plains kayaks wichita kansas
Credit: C2 Photography

Keeper of the Plains

The 44-foot-tall steel sculpture by local artist Blackbear Bosin stands where the Big and Little Arkansas rivers converge. For 15 minutes each night, fire drums light the tribute to Native Americans.

Sedgwick County Zoo

Safari through one of the country's largest elephant exhibits and other spacious habitats at this zoo, where more than 3,000 animals of 400 species roam. 

Wichita Art Museum

Among 10,000 pieces of American art, look for Kansas Cornfield, a 1933 painting by Kansas artist John Steuart Curry. Works by Mary Cassatt, Charles M. Russell and many others round out the museum's collection.

Family Hits


Kids can get smaller portions of the giant fall-off-the-bone ribs and chopped brisket served at Bite Me BBQ. There's always room for their homemade peach cobbler dessert.

exploration place science museum wichita
Credit: Ryan Donnell


The hands-on Exploration Place science museum engages all ages. Inspect a three-story medieval castle, work with NASA tools and design planes.

Budget Pick

See muskrats, beavers, duck and egrets at the free Great Plains Nature Center observatory. Adjacent Chisholm Creek Park's trails meander through scenic woodlands, wetlands and prairie.

Where to Eat

Think beyond the barbecue (although that's good too!) and get a taste of Wichita's diverse dining scene.


With more than 40 flavors, The Donut Whole keeps things locally sourced when possible. Pair your glazed glory with a cup of Reverie Coffee Roasters joe, served on-site. 


Plantain chips with chimichurri complement paella, tacos and pupusas at Sabor Latin Bar and Grille. On a date? Try the Sabor Parilla Plate for Two (chicken, steak, sausages, pork, sides and sauces).


The unique atmosphere at Hangar One Steakhouse immerses its guests in flight: A cargo plane stretches from the dining room out into the parking lot, and the building looks out onto a runway.


Offering more than 35 flavors, Wichita Cheesecake Company promises to satisfy any sweet tooth. Pick up a slice of classic plain, cookie butter or lemon drop. At Churn and Burn, order ice cream (created instantly at 320 degrees below zero, thanks to liquid nitrogen technology), espresso drinks from locally roasted beans, or a mash-up: Churn and Burns combine coffee with a cream base.

4 Top Places for Beer and Wine

Central Standard Brewing

Retro furniture inside a warehouse provides an eclectic ambience for enjoying drinks like the fruity Bling Blau sour gose.

Jenny Dawn Cellars

Jennifer McDonald ferments grapes and juice from California and Kansas growers into 11 vintages, including Black Locomotive Crimson Cabernet.


This restaurant and brewery serves 12 taps from Walnut River Brewing Company in nearby El Dorado. Sip your brew with fried pickles on the patio.

River City Brewing

Choose from 16 craft beers on tap, like Emerald City Stout and Tornado Alley IPA, at River City. (The pizzas are solid too. Try the Buffalo Chicken.)

Day Trip

Load the ABBA playlist for an hour-long drive north to Lindsborg, aka Little Sweden USA. Get the lay of the land from atop Coronado Heights, a bluff with a castle-like stone shelter. Then feast on Swedish dishes at Crown and Rye. Take home a personalized Dala horse-shaped house sign from Hemslöjd.

Where to Stay

Luxe rooms and suites with boutique decor pamper guests at the Ambassador Hotel. Savor refined dining at the Siena Tuscan Steakhouse and sip cocktails at Dockum, a speakeasy-style bar in the basement.