Cowboys pushing cattle across the Kansas prairie longed for a view of Wichita on the horizon. Today, the city of 390,000 still makes a great stop. Check out our list of what to do, where to eat and where to stay.



Boats and Bikes Rent kayaks, paddleboards and bikes from a new riverside dock at this spot operated by the Wichita State University rowing program.

Botanica More than two dozen themed gardens and a butterfly house encourage quiet walks and hands-on learning. At the Downing Children's Garden, even adults can't resist climbing a giant tree house or wandering a music maze.


Botanica, The Wichita Gardens

Exploration Place This science museum engages all ages. Kids design planes and work with NASA tools while adults marvel at Kansas in Miniature, a display with more than 125 buildings.

Field Station: Dinosaurs Forty-plus life-size animatronic dinosaurs roar in a dreamland for budding paleontologists in Derby (11 miles south of Wichita). Live shows and an 18-hole Jurassic-theme mini golf course add to the fun.

Field Station: Dinosaurs
Field Station: Dinosaurs. Photo: Doug Stremel.

Kansas Aviation Museum A revamped airport terminal showcases historical aircraft while illustrating the state's role in the evolution of flight.

Keeper of the Plains For 15 minutes each night, fire drums erupt with flames around this riverfront statue honoring Native Americans.

Keeper of the Plains

Mid-America All-Indian Center See a collection of works by renowned Native American sculptor Blackbear Bosin. A museum of native art tells the Plains Indian story.

Museum of World Treasures The theme is ambiguous at this Old Town collection, but the 10,600 artifacts all enlighten. See displays of a Berlin Wall segment, Egyptian mummies and the Scarecrow's pitchfork from The Wizard of Oz.

Old Cowtown Museum The 19th-century living-history town and farm includes a blacksmith's shop, daily gunfight shows and a saloon serving sarsaparilla.

Old Cowtown Museum

Old Cowtown Museum

Riverfest The party in and around the Arkansas River (in June) traditionally begins with a parade and continues with boat tours, races and big-name concerts.

Sedgwick County Zoo More than 3,000 animals thrive in spacious habitats at one of the nation's top-ranked zoos, celebrating 50 years in 2021.

Tanganyika Wildlife Park Giraffes and lemurs (and many of the other 400-plus residents) eat from guests' hands in nearby Goddard.

Wichita Art Museum Glasswork—by Steuben and contemporary artists—makes up a big part of the more than three centuries of American art on display. The garden features 80 species of plants and 13 sculptures. 


Bite Me BBQ Known for its giant ribs, the Old Town joint also gets props for its oversize Bloody Marys.

Central Standard Brewing Head to an open-air shed appointed with cozy seating for tastes of funky brews, like the Bling Blau sour gose, made with blueberries, vanilla bean, cinnamon and brown sugar.

Central Standard Brewing

Central Standard Brewing. Photo: Ryan Donnell.

Chester's Chophouse and Wine Bar Mahogany and leather warm this date-night destination serving steaks, plus some Italian dishes.

The Donut Whole It's part coffee bar, part performance center, but mostly the place for doughnuts. Toppings include Fruity Pebbles, bacon and Hydrox cookies.

Doo-Dah Diner This highway-side breakfast and lunch spot plates from-scratch items with twists (banana bread French toast topped with candied apples, apple butter and pecans).

Hangar One Steakhouse The atmosphere immerses guests in flight: A cargo plane stretches from the dining room out into the parking lot, and the building looks out on a runway. The menu follows suit with King Air filet and Piper Cub chicken strips.

Jenny Dawn Cellars On Saturday evenings, stop in for jazz music and enjoy vino served with artisan cheeses and petite naan bread at the city's first urban winery.

Lava and Tonic This new tiki bar mixes creations like Shark Bite, a combo of Jamaican and Guyanese rums with fruit syrups and egg white. Try it with a Tiki Snack Tray or a slice of Lilly's Luau pizza.

Revolutsia One of the city's newest additions, this hip shipping-container complex includes dining and shopping built around an outdoor gathering space. Try eateries like German-focused Prost (bierocks and sauerbraten), then check out the artsy gift shop, Vortex Souvenir.

Sabor Latin Bar and Grille Inventive starters, like crispy plantain chips with chimichurri, complement mains, such as paella, tacos and pupusas.

Sabor Latin Bar and Grille

Sabor Latin Bar and Grille

Wine Dive The wine list enhances meals like wild boar Bolognese.


Ambassador Hotel A neoclassic 1926 exterior hints at luxury inside. Sip cocktails at speakeasy-style Dockum in the basement.

Hotel at Old Town This 1906 warehouse-turned-hotel preserves its vintage feel with classic furniture in the atrium and an original water tower on the rooftop.

The Inn at Tallgrass Stay in mod studios or apartment-like units with full kitchens and fireplaces. Lounge at a spa and outdoor pool.

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