Labor Day weekend may be just around the corner, but it's not too late to plan the perfect three-day getaway. There are a variety of activities, from a fully-staged opera show to a three-day music festival, happening over the weekend in Wichita and we've rounded up 10 activities you won't want to miss:
10 Things to Do in Wichita this Labor Day weekend:
1. Wildlife adventures await at two Wichita attractions. The Sedgwick County Zoois the seventh largest zoo in the United States and recently opened its newest exhibit, Elephantsthird largest elephantVisitors to Tanganyika Wildlife Parkcan feed giraffes and interact with ring-tailed lemurs in a hands-on environment – one of the only exhibits of its kind in the country.
2. The Wichita Grand Opera will be performing Verdi’s Rigoletto on Sept. 3 is an opportunity to experience world-class opera at one of the only opera houses in the region.
3. Labor Day weekend is the last chance to see Dinosaurs in Motion, one of the world-class traveling exhibits at Exploration Place.
4. Try an IPA at one of Wichita’s popular local breweries like Hopping Gnome Brewing Company, Central Standard Brewing, River City Brewing Co., The Hungry Heart & Whole Brewing Company or Wichita Brewing Co. & Pizzeria.
5. The 44-foot-tall Keeper of the Plains is Wichita’s iconic landmark. Just blocks away, Old Cowtown Museum relives the 1870s in Wichita.
6. ICT FEST: A three-day, all-ages music festival, Sept. 3 through 5, featuring more than 40 national and local bands ranging from noise rock, pop, punk, hip-hop, electronic and more.
7. A tranquil place to see Wichita in full bloom is Botanica Gardens. With more than 30 different gardens to tour, visitors are sure to be wowed by the seasonal floral throughout the gardens.
8. Tour five of Wichita’s popular neighborhoods along historic Douglas Avenue: Historic Delano, downtown, Old Town, Douglas Design District and Clifton Square.
9. Wichita is home to one of the only movie theaters in the country where you can enjoy a movie and be served dinner and cocktail at the Warren Theater Old Town.
10. Incredible hiking trails and adventures are all around Wichita. Wichita's more than 125 parks and greenways covering nearly 5,000 acres makes it easy to enjoy nature. In addition to hiking trails, Wichita has over 26 miles of bicycle paths following scenic areas such as the banks of the Arkansas River, giving the cyclist a safe, easy and enjoyable ride.
Since many think of Labor Day as the farewell to summer, take note of these events coming to Wichita in the fall.
Upcoming Festivals and Events
- Sept. 16: Autumn & Art at Bradley Fair is an alfresco fine arts show featuring 100 artists from 21 states, set lakeside at beautiful Bradley Fair.
- Sept. 24: The Wagonmaster’s Downtown Chili Cookoff brings 70 teams of chili makers to the streets of downtown Wichita, where they compete to be named the best chili in the city.
- Sept. 24: Sword will meet shield as knights battle for the honor of their fair lady at Wichita’s Renaissance Festival.
- Oct. 1: International opera season includes four fully-staged operas at the Wichita Grand Opera, including Puccini’s La Boheme.
- Oct. 9: See why runners from almost all 50 states participate in the Prairie Fire Marathon Race Series. There’s a spring half marathon to get ready for the fall full marathon, which is a Boston Marathon-qualifying event. Thousands of runners will descend along the river to run the flat, fast course.
- Oct. 12-23: Hailed by The New York Times as “the defining musical of the decade,” Wicked, will make its way to Wichita in the fall.
- October 12-16: Tallgrass Film Festival showcases independent films and up-and-coming filmmakers. This five-day independent film festival allows the public to interact with writers, directors, filmmakers and performers. Rated as a “Top 10 Film Festival” by Livability.com and “The Best Under The Radar Film Festival” by Flavorwire, Tallgrass Film Festival fosters an appreciation of the cinematic arts by creating shared experiences around the medium of film.
- Oct. 14: Time Eddy II, Kansas' only Doctor Who Convention, is coming to town. Special guest this year will be Peter Davison - The Fifth Doctor, courtesy of Galaxy Productions. Davison will be available all three days along with other guests including Mark Strickson, Terrrance Dicks and Caitlain Blackwood. Other events include information panel discussions, cosplay costume contests and screenings.
- October: Pick out your very own pumpkin or fall items at area pumpkin patches and corn mazes like Wichita’s largest corn maze, Bergmann’s Corn Maze & Pumpkin Patch.
- October: Get spooked at a variety of Wichita’s haunted houses, which also include hay rides, spook walks and more.
- Oct. 29: Old Cowtown Museum’s "A Night of Hay, Hooves and Halloween" will include trick-or-treating, dancing and games in a family-friendly setting.
For more details, read our blog post about fall activities in Wichita.
Year-round uniquely Wichita experiences
- Final Friday, a cultural highlight in Wichita, includes galleries, studios, museums, restaurants and retail shops around Wichita stay open late and welcome visitors to celebrate art on the last Friday of each month. Ride the Q-Line around downtown Wichita to visit nearly 30 gallery showcases, many of which offer free hors d'oeuvres and drinks.
- The Kansas Aviation Museum chronicles Wichita’s rise to aviation prominence.
- The beautiful Wichita Art Museum features one of the best collections of American art.
- The Kansas African American Museum tells the story of the local African-American experience and the people who helped shape it.
- The Orpheum Performing Arts Center is a fully operational historic theater that hosts world-class entertainment. Going strong for more than 90 years, the Orpheum is the place to see concerts, ballet, comedians and more.
Where to Stay
Choose from Wichita’s more than 8,000 hotel rooms, including historic hotels like Drury Plaza Hotel Broadview or Hotel at Old Town. Or indulge in the contemporary Ambassador Hotel. Plus, a 110-room Hampton Inn with a 550-square-foot meeting room opened this summer near the Wichita Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport.
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About Visit Wichita
Visit Wichita markets the greater Wichita area as a major convention and tourism destination, thereby enhancing the economic development of the city, county, region and state. Visit Wichita is led by president and CEO Susie Santo, and in 2015 travel and tourism contributed more than $1 billion in economic impact to the greater Wichita area.