Wichita is the largest city in the state of Kansas and the 48th-largest city in the United States, with a population of more than 389,000. The estimated population of the Wichita metropolitan area is 650,000.
The Wild West gave birth to a new era as cowboys and Indians roamed across the Plains, many establishing towns west of the Mississippi. Wichita was one of those towns, established in 1870 by 123 men and one woman, who happened to be the mother of infamous outlaw Billie the Kid. The city began as a trading post on the Chisholm Trail in the 1860s, and subsequently became a key destination for cattle drives traveling north from Texas to access railroads, earning it the nickname "Cowtown.”
In the 1920s and 1930s, businessmen and aeronautical engineers established a number of successful aircraft manufacturing companies in Wichita. Lloyd Stearman, Walter Beech and Clyde Cessna established the Travel Air Manufacturing Company in Wichita in Jan. 26, 1925. The city transformed into a hub of aircraft production and became known as “The Air Capital of the World.” Beechcraft, Cessna (both now part of Textron Aviation) and other firms including Bombardier Learjet, Airbus and Spirit AeroSystems continue to operate design and manufacturing facilities in Wichita today, and the city remains a major center of the aircraft industry.
Since its early days, Wichita has evolved into a vibrant, multicultural city, with many new eateries, shops, breweries and outdoor spaces like Naftzger Park, a newly-redesigned urban park in downtown Wichita and regular gathering spot for food trucks, and Revolutsia, a shipping container development with shopping and dining.
First Fridays are a way to experience the local art scene, which earned Wichita a spot in Expedia’s list of Most Artistic Towns in the United States. Additionally, expansion of the city’s free Q-Line transportation, Bike Share ICT and electric scooters have ignited vibrancy into the city’s core. Lively festivals like Riverfest, Autumn & Art and the Tallgrass Film Festival also keep Wichita buzzing with excitement throughout the year.