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.

By The editors of MidwestLiving.com
Advertisement

Do

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

Botanica, The Wichita Gardens 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.org

Botanica, The Wichita Gardens

Exploration Place Design an airplane seat, peek inside a luxury jet and test landing gear at the Design Build Fly exhibit in this interactive museum, celebrating its 20th year. exploration.org

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. kansasdinos.com

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. kansasaviationmuseum.org

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

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. theindiancenter.org

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. worldtreasures.org

Nifty Nut House For over 70 years, this family-owned business satisfies salty and sweet cravings with 4,500 items, including nuts, fudge and dried fruit. Food Network star Alton Brown called it "a national treasure." niftynuthouse.com

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

Old Cowtown Museum

Paramount Antique Malls Three locations offer browsing among dozens of booths. Need a break? Sink into the leather couch and sip free coffee. paramountantiquemall.com

Sedgwick County Zoo More than 3,000 animals thrive in spacious habitats at one of the top-ranked zoos in the United States. scz.org

Sedgwick County Zoo

Riverfest The party in and around the Arkansas River (May 29–June 6, 2020) begins with a parade and continues with boat tours, races and big-name concerts. wichitariverfest.com

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

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. wichitaartmuseum.org 

Quivira National Wildlife Refuge Hike to observation platforms for prime viewing of Sandhill cranes and other migratory birds in Stafford (85 miles west of Wichita). To date, 344 bird species have been seen in the salt marshes, sand prairie and woodlands. fws.gov

Wichita Art Museum. Photo: Ryan Donnell.

Eat

AVI Seabar and Chophouse Jumbo lump crab cakes and salmon fillets burst with flavor. Check out the black-and-white images of trains honoring the Arkansas Valley Interurban Railway (AVI). AVI Seabar on Facebook

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

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. centralstandardbrewing.com

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. chesterschophouse.com

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. thedonutwhole.com

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). doodahdiner.com

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. hangar1steakhouse.com

Harvest Kitchen and Bar The ever-changing menu at this eatery inside the Wichita Hyatt Regency highlights regional vendors and locally sourced ingredients. wichita.hyatt.com

Larkspur Bistro and Bar Jazz music played on a baby grand piano accompanies meals of handmade pasta, fresh seafood and juicy steaks. larkspuronline.com

Lemongrass: Taste of Vietnam Vietnamese and French cuisine blend in an Old Town gem dishing fresh crawfish, pho and fried bananas. Lemongrass: Taste of Vietnam on Facebook

Pop-Up Urban Park Food trucks appear between downtown office buildings on weekdays (and around the city on weekends). Check Facebook for details. downtownwichita.org

Prairie Rose Chuckwagon Supper There is no place for 21st-century cynicism during this dinner and show, 20 minutes outside of town. Come ready to experience cowboy music and comedy. prairierosechuckwagon.com

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

Sabor Latin Bar and Grille

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

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. revolutsia.com

YaYa's Euro Bistro It's hard to complain about a good steak in cattle country, but if you're in need of a change, try YaYa's. The menu offers fresh options, including wood-fired pizzas, hummus, Idaho rainbow trout and gnocchi. yayaswichita.com

Stay

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

Drury Plaza Hotel Broadview You'll love the granite counters, soft beds, stellar service and tasty hot breakfast in this beautiful 1922 property. druryhotels.com 

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. hotelatoldtown.com

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

For information visit visitwichita.com