Strolling the streets of the Historic Delano District as it is today, with its thriving shops, eateries, businesses, bakeries and more, it’s clear that the area has evolved since its roots in the old days, when saddle-worn cowboys and tired horses and cows made their way to the very same streets. But you can still find plenty of nods to the area’s colorful past.
Located along Douglas Avenue on the west bank of the Arkansas River at the end of the Chisholm Trail, the Historic Delano District was established during the days of the Chisholm Trail cattle drives as a place for the cowboys to blow off steam after months on the trail from Texas.
During the 1870s through 1880s, the cowboys that drove cattle from Texas to railheads in Kansas on the Chisholm Trail often would find their so-called rest and recreation in Delano. It was a time of saloons, brothels, gambling houses, gunfights and cattle rustling, with the fines levied in Delano bringing in revenue to build Wichita.
Eventually incorporated into Wichita, Delano is now a thriving shopping district with more than 250 businesses, including dining and shopping.
Several notable businesses are Bungalow 26, Hatman Jack’s Wichita Hat Works and Bohemia Healing Spa. If you’re looking for a bite to eat or a place to find a microbrew or specialty drink, try Delano favorites like Monarch, Aero Plains Brewing, Ruben’s Mexican Grill, Delano Barbecue Company and others.
The district, located just across the river from downtown, takes part in many downtown happenings such as Final Friday, a time when galleries, studios, museums, restaurants and retail shops stay open late to welcome visitors to celebrate art on the last Friday of each month. It’s also in the path of the Q-Line trolley, which offers free and convenient transportation throughout the downtown area, and Bike Share ICT locations can be found in the area.
In addition, Delano is perfectly located within a mile of the Keeper of the Plains and the Museums on the River district. Just head north along the Arkansas River and you’ll encounter these five museums and Wichita’s most iconic landmark: Exploration Place, Mid-America All-Indian Center, Old Cowtown Museum, Wichita Art Museum and Botanica. Near the Mid-America All-Indian Center, is the Keeper of the Plains plaza.