Culture, events, entertainment, dining, shopping and all-American hospitality are waiting for you in Wichita. Big-city amenities at Midwestern prices and year-round events for every age make Wichita, the largest city in Kansas, a destination where you can explore throughout the year. The city has evolved from a trading post and cow town to “Air Capital of the World” and has more than 1,000 restaurants, 33 museums, 22 attractions, 22 live theatres, 17 festivals and eight shopping districts to appeal to any traveler.
In the city where 37% of the world’s general aviation aircraft are built, Wichita is an inexpensive American city in which to spend your recreational dollars.
Keeper of the Plains
One of the most iconic images in Wichita, the Keeper of the Plains is a 44-foot tall steel sculpture standing at the point where the Big and Little Arkansas rivers join together in downtown Wichita. This land between the two rivers is sacred ground to the Native American people and is also home to the Mid-America All-Indian Center. The Indian Warrior sculpture was created by Wichitan and Native American artist Blackbear Bosin (1921-1980). This icon of Wichita was erected on May 18, 1974 to celebrate the United States Bi-centennial and has kept a watchful eye on the city ever since. Decades later the Keeper of the Plains now has an even larger view of Wichita. A complete renovation of the sculpture and installation of the Keeper of the Plains Plaza now brings people out each evening to see the Keeper and the “Ring of Fire.”
Visit the Keeper by crossing pedestrian suspension bridges from either the intersection of west Central Ave. and Nims, or near Exploration Place on McLean Blvd. If visiting during the day, step inside the Mid-America All-Indian Center to learn even more about the history and culture behind this Wichita icon. The Mid-America All-Indian Center features almost 30 other pieces of Blackbear Bosin’s artwork and much more inside.
Stearman Field Bar & Grill – Delicious, homemade southern-style food in an atmosphere that’s like no other. Located on a private airport where aircraft take off and land 20 yards from you. There is also a play area for the kids.
Sedgwick County Zoo – Wichita is home to Sedgwick County Zoo, the seventh-largest zoo in the U.S. and the state’s most-visited outdoor attraction. The zoo is home to more than 3,000 animals of nearly 400 species. Residents are grouped geographically and in environments duplicating their natural settings. See orangutans, chimpanzees, gorillas, tigers, penguins and more.
Riverfest – One of the city’s 17 festivals, Riverfest is the largest community event in Kansas and the longest running. In 2015, 410,000 people enjoyed food, concerts, family activities and fireworks during the nine-day party.
Prairie Fire Marathon – See why runners from around the country participate in the Prairie Fire Marathon Race Series. There’s a spring half-marathon, May 1, to get ready for the Boston Marathon-qualifying full marathon held Oct. 9. Thousands of runners will descend along the river to run the flat, fast course.
Museum of World Treasures – Have you ever wondered about the history behind the origination and status of jewelry? Find out at the No. 1 rated museum in Wichita by tourists on TripAdvisor.com. The Museum is proud to unveil to the public the newest exhibit, Time Adorned: A Highlight of the Museum’s Jewelry Collection. The exhibit highlights the myriad of jewelry housed in the Museum. Topics touched upon in the exhibit will include the status of diamonds, cultural significance of ring fingers, and more. From pre-history to modern day, discover treasures around every corner. Featuring Ivan the T. rex, two real Egyptian mummies, military history, and more!
NBC World Series – For two weeks each summer, Wichita becomes a baseball mecca with more than 60 games played, including baseball around the clock at downtown’s Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.
Autumn & Art at Bradley Fair – This event takes place around a serene lake and features art demonstrations, performing musicians and hands-on activities for children. The festival brings nationally renowned artists into the city for a weekend of art appreciation. This is your chance to pick up that signature piece for your home.
Kansas’ Largest Light Display – No matter the season, you’ll be wowed by Botanica’s 18 acres of themed gardens. Springtime blooms 50,000 tulips and 100,000 daffodils while autumn brings 20,000 annuals and 5,500 chrysanthemums. Let 1 million lights and luminaries put you in the holiday spirit with Illuminations, Botanica’s musical sparkling wonderland.
Tanganyika Wildlife Park – Voted as the #1 “Best Place for Family” by Wichita Family Magazine, Tanganyika Wildlife Park provides wildly different animal encounters. Guests can touch or feed many of the animals in its collection, including the ring-tailed lemurs, lorikeets and a pygmy hippopotamus.
Performing Arts – Wichita is a cultural hub with surprising offerings, including the amazing sounds of the Wichita Symphony Orchestra, and the unmatched performances of Wichita Grand Opera, one of only 110 operas in the country and best in the region. Additionally, when you watch a Music Theatre Wichita performance, you are likely watching a future star. Did you know most every Broadway production currently running features a Music Theatre Wichita alumnus? See tomorrow’s stars in Wichita today!
Old Cowtown Museum – Be immersed in the 1870s and experience Wichita as a Wild West settler. Try a wagon ride, enjoy an ice-cold sarsaparilla and be prepared to take cover because you never know when a gunfight might break out.
Old Town District – See why the American Planning Association called the Old Town red-brick warehouse district in downtown Wichita a “Top 10 Great Neighborhood.” You’ll find eateries and retail shops along with venues for movies, music, comedy and live productions all within walking distance.
Some of Wichita’s best museums are within two miles of each other. Bike to the five Museums on the River, then walk around Old Town and downtown for even more exhibits