About This Place
Known as “Cowtown” due to its historic role as the end of the Chisholm Trail, Wichita is the largest city in Kansas and a cultural center. The first European in the area was Francisco Vasquez de Coronado, who met with members of the Wichita tribe in the 16th century during his search for the “cities of gold.”
Visitors to the city can investigate the history of the Wichita people and other Native American tribes of the Great Plains at Wichita’s Mid-American All-Indian Museum on N Seneca St. This facility is one of three museums clustered in the downtown area close to Riverside Park. The Old Cowtown Museum nearby transports visitors back in time to experience Wichita as it was in the 1870s. Art lovers visiting the city can explore the Wichita Art Museum, also downtown. This museum houses a permanent collection of nearly 7,000 pieces focused on American art. Works of Georgia O’Keeffe and Charles M. Russell, as well as engravings by William Blake and collections of Steuben glass, stand out in the collection.
Another of Wichita’s must-see museums is the Kansas Aviation Museum, which chronicles the city’s history as the “Air Capital of the World” from inside a 1935 municipal airport. Located next to McConnell AFB, the museum exhibits classic aircraft and features a state-of-the-art combat flight simulator.
To get back to nature while visiting Wichita, tourists head to the northern side of the city. Oak Park is a great place for hiking as well as disk golf along the banks of the Arkansas River. Another setting for a pleasant stroll is Botanica, the Wichita Gardens. One of the more unusual gardens in its 10 acres of meadows and ponds is a sensory garden, where guests are free to touch and smell as well as view the flowers.
Travelers interested in architecture should set aside time to tour the Allen Lambe House, the last prairie house Frank Lloyd Wright designed. Architecture buffs will also enjoy the historic brick-lined streets of Old Town. A variety of boutique shops, museums and eateries now occupy the 19th century brick warehouses in this district. When the sun sets in Wichita, beautiful historic lampposts illuminate Old Town.
River City Brewery Co. is a great dinner option in Old Town. The menu offers such unique choices as the Adobo, a burger marinated in wheat beer and chipotles and topped with a cilantro-lime sauce. When the after-dinner agenda calls for dancing and drinks, Club Indigo is the place to go. And during summer, its rooftop Moonbar is a romantic option.
The nearby Orpheum Theatre is a hub for arts and entertainment. Opened in1922, the theater hosts film, music, comedy and dance events throughout the year. With its Spanish-style courtyard and magnificent interior, the structure is well worth touring, even for visitors who do not attend a performance.