Once Sessions 1 and 2 of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship are played at INTRUST Bank Arena on Thursday, March 15, fans (and locals partaking in the fan festivities) will have some free time on their hands.

Tournament games will not be played in Wichita on Friday, March 16, but fan events and area attractions will be open and welcoming fans. On Saturday, games will resume for Session 3, the final session of games in Wichita.

Friday is an opportunity for visitors to tour the city – and Wichita has something for everyone,” said Susie Santo, president and CEO of Visit Wichita. “While basketball fans will find a variety of sports bars and fan events, those wanting to learn more about Wichita will enjoy a whole day to explore.”

For more specific ideas, draw inspiration from Visit Wichita’s Top 10 things to do in Wichita in between NCAA Sessions:

1. Eat, Drink and Be Merry: ESPN writer Myron Medcalf recently called Wichita’s dining scene the “best surprise in the Midwest.” With more than 1,000 restaurants to choose from, fans of fine dining, traditional barbecue, American and ethnic cuisine can indulge in Wichita. In addition to the many food trucks, there are more than 200 restaurant options in downtown alone. With eleven local breweries mixing up unique, handcrafted flavors, there’s a type of brew for every palate. Not far from the arena, Wheat State Distilling uses local grains to produce premium spirits. Plus, the 2018 Kansas Beer Bar of the Year, decided by CraftBeer.com readers, is Wichita’s The Anchor – a gastro pub with 175 bottles/cans to choose from and 58 beers on tap.

2. Watch Games at Sports Bars: For those really into college basketball, there are plenty of sports bars to keep up with tournament games from around the country. This guide will help fans find the closest spots to INTRUST Bank Arena to watch games.

3. Shop Local in Distinct Wichita Districts: Hop on the historic Q-Line Trolley and discover works of art, bath and body products, clothing, jewelry, home décor, antiques, snacks and Wichita souvenirs, among many other items within close proximity to the arena. Fans will find fun local shops within a block of the arena, plus many more in nearby Old Town Wichita, Historic Delano and Douglas Design District.

4. Enjoy the Outdoors: Wichita is one of best cities to play golf with five public courses and a private and semi-private golf courses, and access to both disc golf and foot golf. All disc golf courses in Wichita require players to bring their own equipment, but items can be purchased at Ducks Flying Discs. To discover Wichita on two wheels, rent a bicycle through Bike Share ICT to explore downtown and the trails along the river. When biking along the Arkansas River, don’t forget to stop by the most iconic monument in Wichita, the Keeper of the Plains. The Ring of Fire, a lighting of fire pots at the base of the Keeper, takes place nightly at 9 p.m.

5. Find Art of All Kinds: Go on an Urban Art Tour, exploring the different kinds of free art exhibitions around Wichita, including 31 bronze sculptures downtown along Douglas Avenue and dozens of murals and paintings throughout the Douglas Design District. Additionally, many of Wichita’s art galleries, art museums and art organizations are downtown.

6. Explore Museums: Wichita has more than 30 museums and many are close to the arena. From museums along the river to one of the most complete tyrannosaurus rex in the country, museums in Wichita are one of the best things to do in the city. Branching out a little farther, see more than 30 themed gardens at Botanica Wichita, encounter a Frank Lloyd Wright house, and see one of the first electric guitars at the Wichita-Sedgwick Co. Historical Museum

7. Share in Wichita’s Love for Flight: Wichita is known as the Air Capital of the World for its innovation and manufacturing aptitude in the aviation industry. A few places highlighting Wichita’s love affair with flight include:

  • Exploration Place’s Design Build Fly features a collection of genuine aircraft parts and assemblies for a hands-on look at how airplanes are designed, built and flown.

  • Kansas Aviation Museum is housed in the original Wichita Airport and features art-deco details inside and out and also historical aircraft, engines, photos and more.

  • Aero Plains Brewing’s beers are brewed at ‘the crossroads of history and innovation.’ It sits in the Historic Delano District on the former Chisholm Trail and the bar is made from the wing of a Beech Model 18.

8. Be a Night Owl: There are a variety of places in Old Town to catch live entertainment from live music to comedy shows and open mic nights. For a live show and a side of martinis or cigars, head to Mort’s Martini & Cigar Bar. Bands and DJs are sure to be playing at popular hangouts like the Brickyard, Pumphouse and Rock Island Live, which typically feature local or regional rock bands. These concerts are loud and proud, usually bringing a rock or punk-rock vibe to the city.

9. Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day: March 17 will consist of Session 3 games and plenty of parties to mark the holiday, such as Wichita’s 12th annual Historic Delano District’s parade and Brick + Mortar’s Irish Fest 2018. A Wichita tradition, the parade in Delano will start at noon.

10. Sit Back and Relax: Those attending games are sure to spend a lot of time sitting or standing at the arena, and a massage or body treatment at one of Wichita’s spas may be the perfect way to enjoy a day in between games. Just down the street from the arena, Bohemia Healing Spa uses natural and holistic methods of treatment, specializing in therapeutic massage, facials, waxing, indulgent and health wraps and men’s services.

For more ideas on how to spend down time in Wichita, go to VisitWichita.com.


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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 2017 travel and tourism contributed nearly $1.1 billion in economic impact to the greater Wichita area.