WICHITA, Kan., - Instead of joining the swarming masses traveling to packed, touristy hot spots across the globe this summer, use the time to be a tourist in your home town. Whether you book a couple of hotel nights or simply play tourist with day activities, a staycation can give you the feeling of a vacation without the big commitment, crowds or traffic.

“Have you always wanted to go to a particular museum in Wichita or take a certain tour of the city, but have never found the time? A staycation gives you the luxury of real, actual time to explore,” said Susie Santo, president and CEO of Visit Wichita. “Acting like a tourist in your own city will help you discover restaurants, attractions and experiences you never knew about or always wanted to try. Even if you’ve lived in Wichita for years, there are probably places you’ve never visited.”

Santo says Wichita also has a variety of options to simply take a break and relax. “In Wichita, there's something for everyone – even if all you want to do is unwind. You can take in the arts, socialize with friends, enjoy a spa day or put your taste buds to work at local eateries and breweries,” she said.

A great place to start researching staycation options is visitwichita.com or the Visit Wichita app, where you can find things to do, ways to pamper yourself, restaurants to try and places to see in the city. “There are so many ways to explore Wichita that you may not even be able to do everything in one summer,” said Santo.

12 Reasons to Staycation in Wichita this Summer

Fall deeper in love with Wichita.

By choosing to vacation in your own area, you can find new reasons to love Wichita, which will add to your general happiness throughout the year because you learn to love more about the place you live.

Staycations save money
If your current budget more resembles the spare coins beneath your cushions, a staycation is just the thing. Staying in the area will cut down costs by eliminating the need for plane tickets and rental cars. No worrying about delayed flights or lost luggage either. In addition, Wichita is an inexpensive American city in which to spend your recreational dollars. In the last AAA national travel cost comparison, an average hotel room rate in Wichita was $97.41 and an average food cost was $67.64 for a family of four. Kansas’ largest city boasts a low $165.04 daily cost. For comparison’s sake, Honolulu topped out as the most expensive locale, with an average daily cost of $583.66.

Zero packing required
Unless you count snacks for a car drive or picnic, your hometown acts as the ultimate home base, granting easy access to anything and everything you could possibly decide you need later. No more trying to cram multiple pairs of shoes into your suitcase. All you need is a Wicked Brew Tour passport from Visit Wichita and you can taste local flavors at breweries and coffee shops all throughout the summer.

Time to truly recharge
It's easy to get stuck in a pattern where you find yourself being busy all the time. Studies continue to show us how much havoc stress has on not only our emotions, but also our physical wellbeing. Be sure not to overbook yourself during a staycation. Step outside your daily routine, walk away from the work and chores of daily life, and sleep in. A tranquil place to relax is Wichita’s Botanica Gardens where summer is in full flower and you can delight in a colorful palette of seasonal flora.

Fun hotel stays

With a staycation, you can still stay at a hotel and enjoy a pool and the convenience of not having to make your bed – all without driving to an out-of-state destination. Choose from historic hotels like Drury Plaza Hotel Broadview or Hotel at Old Town or indulge in the contemporary Ambassador Hotel. Also, a 110-room Hampton Inn with a 550-square-foot meeting room will open this summer near the Wichita Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport.

Enjoy Simplicity

There's an incredible world out there, right outside your door. Wichita offers countless types of fun for you to enjoy during a staycation. Feed a lemur or rare black rhinoceros at Tanganyika Wildlife Park. Or, see the newly unveiled Elephants of the Zambezi River Valley, the third largest elephant exhibit in the country, at Sedgwick County Zoo.

It’s fun for the whole family

To get everyone involved in the fun, plan activities that you want to do together. This can be anything from visiting a local park or zoo to finding a new restaurant to try as a family. A couple of new experiences include Elderslie Farm and Mumbai Rail Indian Bistro. Elderslie Farm is a popular farm café in Valley Center, which just expanded seating and re-opened for the season. Mumbai Rail Indian Bistro, the new fast-service Indian restaurant in the Union Station project in downtown Wichita, just opened this summer as well.

When you step away from your daily routine, try to unplug as much as possible. Focus on using devices only when absolutely needed. A day or two without constant use of your phone and the internet can help remind you how life can be when you choose to live in the moment. To experience a simpler time, visit Wichita’s Old Cowtown Museum and experience Wichita like it’s 1865. On July 2nd, the museum is celebrating America by throwing an old-fashioned Fourth of July party. There will be a pie eating contest, carnival games and sack races.

Make the most of your time
Not much time? No problem. You don't have to take a week off or longer to feel the effects you're craving from a vacation. Sometimes we simply don't have the ability to step away from our responsibilities for more than a day or two, but that doesn't mean we can't fully relax with the time we do have. A variety of spas and salons are at your fingertips in Wichita. Healing Waters offers spa, aesthetic and plastic surgery services and has twice been named the “Best Medical Spa in the Country” as well as recipient of numerous local awards for best spa and best massage. For hair color and styling, nail services and body treatments, check out Pure Salon & Spa or Shine Salon.

Change your perspective
Incredible hiking trails and adventures are all around Wichita. Get back in touch with nature or simply experience the city in an entirely new way. 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. Find details at www.kansascyclist.com/trails/WichitaBicyclePaths.html and http://bikewalkwichita.org/educate/bike-locally. Rock climbing is also available at Bliss Climbing and Fitness, Wichita’s full-service indoor rock climbing gym that features a 38 ft. top-rope and lead climbing wall, auto-belays, 15 ft. bouldering wall, training room, yoga and cardio.

Connect more with loved ones
Be mindful with the time you spend with your partner, close friends or family. It's easy to be distracted when spending time with others, especially those you see on a daily basis. Choosing to take a staycation can help you connect with your loves in new ways, improve your ability to be present and mindful when spending time with them and simply increase your joy and shared memories. No matter who you choose to staycation with, head to Wichita’s Old Town District and enjoy the warming weather and take a stroll down the area’s charming, historic brick streets. Then grab a bite at one of the many delicious eateries: pizza at Pumphouse, sushi at Wasabi, healthy sandwiches and salads from Lotus Leaf Cafe, Korean fare from GangNam Grill & Bar or street-style tacos from District Taqueria.

No recuperation time needed
On Sunday night when your friends fly in from who-knows-where, totally burnt out and ready for a nap and loads of laundry, you’ll be all set to go for the coming week. In fact, while they’re still in the air, you can be enjoying 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.

Planning your Staycation

What are you waiting for? Get out your calendar and set a date for your next staycation. Below are a few upcoming events that will only be happening this summer. For a complete list, visit visitwichita.com.

  • Dinosaurs in Motion at Exploration Place brings 14 magnificent, fully interactive, recycled metal dinosaur sculptures with exposed mechanics, inspired by actual fossils, to Wichita. The exhibit opened Memorial Day weekend and continues through September 5.
  • Wichita is a food festival paradise. This summer, enjoy Wingapalooza on Aug. 20.
  • Each summer at Century II Performing Arts Center in downtown Wichita, Wichita Music Theatre self-produces five Broadway-scale musical productions, using a unique mixture of top-flight professionals from Broadway and Hollywood working hand-in-hand with talented Midwesterners. Performances start in June and run through August.
  • INTRUST Bank Arena is bringing in rock legends, KISS, on July 25.
  • The 82nd annual National Baseball Congress (NBC) Tournament will take place late this summer. The NBC World Series has been the Summer Collegiate National Championship since 1935 and features teams from across the country and more than 60 games at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. It’s the only event where you can experience 56 straight hours of baseball with Baseball ‘Round the Clock. 

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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.