If you want to explore some of the top things to do in and around Wichita, you’ve come to the right place! The list of things to do in the Heart of the Country is endless, from taking in a Wind Surge game at Riverfront Stadium to aahing at the flames at the “Ring of Fire,” the lighting of fire pots around Wichita’s most iconic landmark – the Keeper of the Plains.
These are our picks for the top 20 must-do things when you come to Wichita, but the list doesn’t stop here. We have lots more to explore, from dining and nightlife to shopping to places to stay and events that are sure to keep you feeling the love while you’re here.
See the flames at the Keeper of the Plains
Wichita is home to one of the most photographed places in Kansas: the 44-foot, 5-ton weathered steel sculpture, Keeper of the Plains. Known as the most iconic symbol of Wichita, it sits proudly at the confluence of the Big and Little Arkansas rivers, keeping a watchful eye over the city. The sculpture was created by Native American artist Blackbear Bosin in 1974 and placed atop a 30-foot pedestal overlooking Wichita in 2007.
Learn about Native American culture and the history of this beloved statue at the Mid-America All-Indian Museum. There, you can also immerse yourself in Native American art, as well as learn about different tribes native to Kansas and the region.
Discover why Wichita is the Air Capital of the World
There is a rich aviation history in the heart of the country. Iconic aviation brands Beechcraft, Cessna, Learjet, Boeing and Stearman were born in Wichita; and modern-day Airbus Americas, Bombardier, Spirit AeroSystems and Textron Aviation now design and manufacture aircraft and aircraft parts in this city. Aircraft manufacturing continues to be an economic driver in Wichita to this day. Dive into aviation at the Kansas Aviation Museum, to B-29 Doc Hangar, Education and Visitors Center, or see aviation exhibitions at Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum and Exploration Place. For aviation enthusiasts, there is no place better to enjoy a meal than Stearman Field Bar & Grill. The open-air patio draws a crowd excited to watch the traffic of the private airport while dining.
Journey back to the Old West
The historic feel of the Old West comes to life at Old Cowtown Museum. This western village takes visitors back to the 1860s – gunfights and all. Step onto the dirt streets or into the saloon and see why this living history museum is a favorite to travelers and locals alike. Re-enactors showcase Wichita as the cattle town it once was with daily activities, special events and educational programs.
Continue exploring Wichita’s Old West history by strolling through the historic Delano District. In the late 1870s, it was the perfect stop for cowboys looking to relax and recharge after months on the Chisholm Trail from Texas. In the district, you’ll find the Delano Clock Tower, which has four panels that showcase a different part of the district’s heritage. Today, the Delano District is lined with more than 250 thriving restaurants and retail stores.
Immerse yourself in Wichita’s culture
When you visit the heart of the country, it’s a must to take in the city’s culture and history. In addition to experiencing the Keeper of the Plains and the Mid-American All-Indian Museum, embark on a cultural journey at The Kansas African American Museum or visit the first national gallery for artists with vision loss, the Envision Arts Gallery and Engagement Center. The inclusive and diverse art gallery is operated by Envision, the nation’s premier service provider to and employer of individuals who are blind or visually impaired.
Get in the game
If you need proof that Wichita is a sports city, look no further. From sporting events at the collegiate and pro and semi-pro levels, there are a variety of ways to cheer on the home teams at exceptional stadiums and complexes in Wichita. Sports in Wichita continue to grow beyond favorite sporting traditions such as Wichita State athletics, Wichita Thunder hockey and the Wichita Open golf tournament. Stryker Sports Complex recently completed a multi-million dollar rebuild, Chicken N Pickle has opened an innovative experience with family-friendly activities and the Double-A baseball team, the Wichita Wind Surge, excites crowds at the new Riverfront Stadium.
Night out on the town
No matter what kind of night you're after, Wichita's Old Town District and other downtown hotspots have you covered. With over 200 restaurants & bars in the city's core, you're sure to find the perfect spot for a night out on the town. If spirits or cocktails are more your speed, check out Mort's Martini & Cigar Bar or the largest bourbon selection in Kansas at The Monarch.
Museums on the River
In the heart of Wichita flows the scenic Arkansas River, a centerpiece of the city that connects all it surrounds. As you follow the river's path you will encounter five popular museums, called the Museums on the River, comprised of Botanica Wichita, Exploration Place, Mid-America All-Indian Museum, Old Cowtown Museum and the Wichita Art Museum. Also, along the river and within walking distance to the Museums on the River is Wichita’s all-new Wichita Baseball Museum. It features trivia and artifacts showcasing Wichita’s baseball history and is located near the River Plaza entrance to Riverfront Stadium in downtown Wichita.
Get wild with wildlife
With more than 220 days of sunny skies in the city, you will have plenty of time to enjoy Wichita’s great outdoors. Make it a zoocation by enjoying one of the 10 largest zoos in the country, the Sedgwick County Zoo, or have an exotic encounter at the Humane Certified Tanganyika Wildlife Park. You can also see free animal exhibits at the Kansas Wildlife Exhibit in Riverside Park.
Feel like a kid again
Wichita is loaded with family-friendly activities that are perfect for making memories. With so many engaging attractions and events, you'll discover why all kids, and the kid in all of us, love visiting Wichita. Plus, parents will love that it won’t bust the budget! Find a breakdown of family-friendly fun for kids of all ages in our guide.
Downtown walking tour
Downtown Wichita offers a unique take on art, with urban art murals and classical bronze sculptures throughout the streets. One collection, created by Georgia Gerber, is called “Streetscape” and includes more than 30 pieces scattered throughout a four-block area. Additionally, you can learn about Wichita’s rich past by downloading the PocketSights app and embarking on the Wichita History Walk.
Wichita has a thriving public art scene and offers many ways to celebrate it from taking part in First Friday to visiting a gallery or museum or creating art firsthand. The public displays in the city offer visitors an opportunity to see phenomenal art – for free!
Catch the Shocker spirit
Wichita State University’s campus has plenty of things for any lover of art, sports and history. Cheer on the Shockers at a variety of sporting events, from basketball to volleyball. Stop by The Original Pizza Hut Museum where Dan and Frank Carney grew one of the largest pizza restaurant chains in the world. The Carneys started their pizza business in this very building. Or gaze at art at the Edwin A. Ulrich Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art. You can also take a stroll through the Martin H. Bush Outdoor Sculpture Collection, which features 81 works spread across campus. Plus, it’s always free and always open! Get more inspiration here.
Raise a pint to Wichita’s vibrant brewing scene
The booming brewery scene has put Wichita on the map as a beer and winery destination. Experience the local craft brew scene at any of the breweries in Wichita or sign up for a Brew Wagon Tour for a unique experience at three local breweries. Head to Wichita each summer for the annual Wicked Brew Tour to sample flavors and earn a free T-shirt.
Eat your heart out
From food trucks to fine dining, locals and visitors alike love eating at the staples and trying new restaurants in Wichita. Over 1,200 restaurants in Wichita reflect the appetite for diverse international cuisine, delicious steaks, sweet treats, stacked sandwiches and more. In the heart of the country, you can travel the world without leaving the city! Get started by browsing all the options.
Go on an outdoor adventure
The heart of the country offers something for everyone – from peaceful hiking through nature to paddling on the Arkansas River in downtown Wichita. And if you like a cold pint and a satisfying meal after a long day of adventure, unique breweries and eateries are around every corner of the city. But where to start? Check out this list of popular outdoor adventures.
Shop ‘til you drop
Wichita is a regional shopping destination where you can find something for everyone at one-of-a-kind shops or got-it-all shopping centers. Are you doing some holiday shopping or trying to find that perfect birthday or anniversary gift? Shop local and find retro treasures or items to decorate your home and office at a variety of shops in downtown Wichita, Old Town or the Douglas Design District. Find great deals and unique artisan pieces during 2nd Saturday, Small Business Saturday and the weekly Old Town Farm & Art Market.
Experience a live performance
The Wichita arts scene surprises many with its variety and quality and welcomes an impressive collection of performing arts in the Midwest. Wichita is proud to offer not only a unique sound in the Wichita Symphony Orchestra, but culturally impressive performances from Wichita Grand Opera, The American Theatre Guild’s live Broadway Tours and Music Theatre Wichita’s local Broadway productions. Plus, any time of year is a great time to catch a live show at great local venues such as INTRUST Bank Arena, The Cotillion, WAVE, Roxy’s Downtown, TempleLive Wichita, Mosley Street Melodrama, Brickyard or Kirby’s Beer Store.
Attend a fair or festival
There’s always something to celebrate in Wichita! Wichita festivals and annual events bring together the city’s diverse community and highlight the best Wichita has to offer. From multicultural festivals celebrating Wichita’s heritage such as the Wichita Asian Festival to annual parties like Riverfest and one of the top film festivals in the U.S., Wichita knows how to throw a good party.
Explore distinct districts
Wichita’s distinct districts each offer unique attractions, museums, shopping and dining experiences you won’t want to miss. The city meets at the crossroads of history and innovation, with a vibrant past and bright future. Start just west of the Arkansas River in Wichita’s most historic district and work your way east along Douglas Avenue to the up-and-coming Douglas Design District. Learn more about Wichita’s unique downtown districts.
Treat yourself to a sweet treat
If you’re looking to soothe a sweet tooth, Wichita has an abundance of ice cream, hand-crafted chocolates, frozen yogurt and other sweet treats. Swing by Wichita’s newest sweet shoppe in east Wichita – Bakesale Treat Parlor – and go by the Nifty Nut House for more than 4,500 classic and modern candies, nuts and snacks. And that only scratches the surface! Get the full list here.
Packed with incredible restaurants, top-notch bars and breweries, a vibrant arts scene, tons of family-friendly activities and entertainment galore, it’s easy to see how the heart of the country is your ticket to fun. Get even more ideas from our official guide.