Old Town District
With more than 100 businesses, Old Town has become a destination sought out for its dining experiences, eclectic shops, vibrant nightlife, unique attractions and more. It is often considered the pulse of downtown Wichita, on the eastern edge of downtown proper and at the western edge of what’s considered the Douglas Design District. Among the brick-lined streets and historic lampposts are a collection of converted warehouses dating back to the late 1800s. Built with brick and native limestone accents, these distinctive architectural features define the character of the district.
The area was born during the 1870s as a collection of warehouses that used various rail lines that ran throughout Old Town, connecting Wichita to St. Louis, Chicago and other eastern cities. During this time, the area was a bustling industrial and manufacturing center known for brands like The Coleman Company, Keen Kutter and International Harvester. By 1911, Wichita was the nation’s second-largest distribution point for agricultural implements. But as the country’s transportation industry shifted from rail to interstate trucking, many of the operations in Old Town were closed and the buildings were boarded up.
After revitalization efforts that began in the 1990s, the area is now a successful mix of businesses, including restaurants, locally owned shops, clubs, theaters, galleries, museums, loft residences, public plazas and more.
Where to Shop
In addition to locally-owned shops such as Lucinda’s, Uniquities Home and Viva La Olive, visitors will find the Old Town Farmers’ Market happening outside in Old Town Square on Saturdays April through Dec. 16.
Where to Eat & Drink
There is no shortage of dining options in Old Town. Choose from Forge ICT, HomeGrown Wichita, The Kitchen, Larkspur Bistro & Bar, Old Mill Tasty Shop, Playa Azul, Public, Sabor Latin Bar and Grille and more. Enjoy handcrafted cocktails and soulful jazz at Walker's Jazz Lounge. Sports fans will enjoy the food and the big TVs at spots like B&C Barbecue Pub and Grill, Emerson Biggins and Pumphouse.For craft beer, head to Nortons Brewing Co., The PourHouse, River City Brewing Co. or Third Place Brewing. Or choose from the selection of beers on tap at Lucky’s Everyday. You can even satisfy your sweet tooth or pick up breakfast items at Cocoa Dolce and Paradise Donuts.
Where to Play
Take in live music and spirits at Brickyard, Mort’s Martini & Cigar Bar, WAVE and a variety of other venues in the district. Not only is Old Town a great place to imbibe with friends and family and a go-to when you want to cheer on your favorite team at a sports bar, but the district also has a variety of museums, attractions and entertainment venues.
Don’t miss the educational opportunities at CityArts, the Great Plains Transportation Museum and Museum of World Treasures. Be entertained for hours at Kiss My Axe! Throwing, Mosley Street Melodrama, The Arcade and The Loony Bin. Mere blocks from the eateries in Old Town, catch big-name acts and shows at INTRUST Bank Arena. Your feet are sure to get tired after exploring Old Town! Pamper yourself at A. Jay Health and Wellness and walk away refreshed and restored with energy.
Where to Stay
Built in 1906, the building which is now home to the Hotel at Old Town was a warehouse facility for the Keen Kutter brand of tools, silverware, dishes and more. At the time, it was known as not only the strongest building in Wichita, but also the largest warehouse in the world. The warehouse was also identical in design to the Cupples Building in St. Louis. Nearly a century later, in 1999, the building was converted into the Hotel at Old Town, which has been locally owned and operated ever since and has the largest authentic collection of Keen Kutter brand items. The hotel’s lobby and lounge have recently been renovated and plans to add a historic aviation floor and renovate rooms are set to be completed in 2024. When staying at Hotel at Old Town, head to The 1906 lounge and bar to enjoy live jazz music on Friday and Saturday evenings.
Just steps from Pumphouse and Old Town’s nearby entertainment and dining options is Courtyard Wichita at Old Town. This sophisticated hotel has an urban and modern feel with all the comfort you are looking for and plenty of amenities for the business traveler such as a fitness center, laundry facilities, a fully equipped business center and Starbucks on site.