Wichita, Kansas. Photo via Shutterstock.

Best Things to Do in Wichita, Kan.

BY Fifty Grande Editors | June 20, 2021

Welcome to Fifty Grande’s Best of the U.S. Bucket List series. This is your one-stop travel guide to the best, most unique and quintessential experiences of a city, state or event. Want to know how to “do” Wichita? We’ve got you covered. Curated by experts, vetted by in-the-know locals, this is all you need to have the best trip ever. If we’ve written a Bucket List, we recommend you go. If it’s on this list, it’s the best the city has to offer right now. Consider this your one-stop answer to “What are the best things to do in Wichita?”

Nestled on the bank of the Arkansas River, Wichita is one of those often-overlooked but burgeoning and modern American cities that has retained its small-town feel. After humble beginnings as a small trading post, it became the country’s fastest-growing city after the Santa Fe Railroad opened an outpost there in 1872. During the early 20th century, Cowtown became a hub for the booming aviation industry and earned the new nickname of “Air Capital of the World.”

Today, Cowtown shines for different reasons, including a local dining scene that’s rich and varied — first, push aside the fact that Wichita is the birthplace of fast-food franchises like Pizza Hut and White Castle —  and home to more than 1,200 restaurants. A prime destination for cattle drives from Texas and other states, Cowtown has become the place to go for steaks and barbecue. There’s also an innovative food-truck coalition, several shopping districts, a fun nightlife scene and over 100 miles of biking and walking paths that have contributed to Wichita’s rise as one of the most exciting spots to visit in the Midwest.

You’re here for the steaks, barbecue and burgers

Wichita became the city it is today because of its location at the end of the Chisholm Trail. Discover why the city still deserves its Cowtown nickname through these spots.

Bite Me BBQ in Wichita, Kansas.
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Bite Me BBQ in Wichita, Kansas.

Bite Me BBQ

132 St Francis, Wichita, KS, USA

This family-owned and -operated barbecue joint is a local institution. You’ll find classics like chopped brisket, pulled pork, ribs and smoked sandwiches on the menu. If you’re in the mood for a stiff drink, don’t leave without trying the Bloody Mary.

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Dempsey’s Burger Pub in Wichita, Kansas.
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Dempsey’s Burger Pub in Wichita, Kansas.

Dempsey’s Burger Pub

3700 E Douglas Ave, Wichita, KS, USA

Dempsey’s delivers a premium burger experience in a traditional Irish pub setting. It offers different upscale meat options like Waygu beef patties or black Angus burgers that you can pair with toppings like bleu cheese, bourbon-candied apples or shallot marmalade, as well as classics like house pickles and bacon.

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Scotch & Sirloin in Wichita, Kansas.
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Scotch & Sirloin in Wichita, Kansas.

Scotch & Sirloin

5325 E Kellogg Dr, Wichita, KS, USA

Scotch & Sirloin has been a Wichita mainstay since it first opened in 1968. It’s on the pricier side, but a primo steakhouse with an impressive selection of cuts — prime ribs, filet mignon, rib-eyes and Kansas City strip, among others. The steakhouse also has its own butcher shop.

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You’re also here for other culinary adventures

With over 1,200 different restaurants, you can explore a wide range of cuisines and influences in Cowtown.

Sumo by Nambara in Wichita, Kansas.
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Sumo by Nambara in Wichita, Kansas.

Sumo by Nambara

11233 E 13th St N, Wichita, KS, USA

Sumo by Nambara is a Japanese restaurant with a modern feel. You’ll find a mix of classic Midwest fare with menu items like Kansas City strips or filet mignons and some traditional Japanese dishes like teriyaki salmon, yakisoba calamari or hibachi shrimp.

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Rating: +3. From 5 votes.
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Neives’ Taco Truck in Wichita, Kansas.
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Neives’ Taco Truck in Wichita, Kansas.

Neives’ Taco Truck

119 E 9th Ave, Winfield, KS, USA

Watch for Neives’ Taco Truck during your stay in Wichita! It’s one of the best food trucks around. It’s a local favorite for street tacos, but you can also get other inexpensive items like tostadas or enchiladas. 

The owner uses traditional Mexican recipes handed down by family members.

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Il Vicino in Wichita, Kansas.
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Il Vicino in Wichita, Kansas.

Il Vicino

4817 E Douglas Ave, Wichita, KS, USA

Il Vicino is a local franchise with wood-fired pizzas. You can find classic pies like margheritas or campagnolas or opt for original creations with toppings like spicy shrimp or pine nuts. It’s also an excellent spot for local microbrews, cannoli and cheesecake.

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Picasso’s Pizzeria in Wichita, Kansas.
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Picasso’s Pizzeria in Wichita, Kansas.

Picasso’s Pizzeria

621 W Douglas Ave, Wichita, KS, USA

Picasso’s Pizzeria is a local institution and a go-to for New York-style thin crust, calzones and sandwiches. If you don’t feel like eating an entire pie, you can get pizza by the slice and choose from over 30 different toppings.

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Where to go for a drink

For a place that was one of the earliest places to ban alcohol sales in 1880, Wichita’s come a long way. Nowadays, you’ll find bars, pubs and breweries that have become local institutions. The Oldtown and Uptown neighborhoods are two areas where you’ll find plenty to do, whether you’re into microbrews, classic cocktails or innovative creations.

Harry’s Uptown Bar & Grill in Wichita, Kansas.
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Harry’s Uptown Bar & Grill in Wichita, Kansas.

Harry’s Uptown Bar & Grill

3023 E Douglas Ave, Wichita, KS, USA

Stop by Harry’s Uptown Bar & Grill if you’re looking for a bar with a laid-back atmosphere. Besides classic pub fare, you’ll find strong drinks at a reasonable price.

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Lucky’s Everyday in Wichita, Kansas.
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Lucky’s Everyday in Wichita, Kansas.

Lucky’s Everyday

1217 E Douglas Ave, Wichita, KS, USA

A local fave, Lucky’s Everyday has a brunch menu, pool tables, a great selection of beer on tap and some live music.

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The Anchor in Wichita, Kansas.
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The Anchor in Wichita, Kansas.

The Anchor

1109 E Douglas Ave, Wichita, KS, USA

First opened in 2004, The Anchor is known for its craft cocktails, huge selection of craft beers and gastropub menu. There’s a sister business called Anchor Meat Market right next door that sells locally sourced meats, cheese, gourmet goods and more. 

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Wichita Neighborhoods

Plan your visit to Wichita by learning more about the different neighborhoods. You’ll probably spend most of your time in the Old Town and Downtown areas, but take the time to explore neighborhoods that are off the beaten path like College Hill or Riverside.

Old Town neighborhood in Wichita, Kansas. Photo via Shutterstock.
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Wichita, Kansas — Old Town is in the heart of Wichita. In Old Town, there are places to shop, get drinks, eat, watch movies, play games, go sightseeing and so much more.

Old Town

Old Town, Wichita, KS, USA

Old Town is old school. It refers to the eastern portion of the Downtown area and includes Douglas Avenue, one of the busiest spots for dining and shopping options in Wichita. In the 19th century, residents conducted most of their business in Old Town. Today, you’ll find several old warehouses transformed into places of business, along with plenty of restaurants, bars and live music venues.

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Downtown Wichita, Kansas. Photo via Shutterstock.
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Downtown Wichita, Kansas. Photo via Shutterstock.

Downtown

Downtown Wichita, East Douglas Avenue, Wichita, KS, USA

Downtown is hectic and where you’ll find event venues, art galleries and many entertainment options. It’s busy but worth visiting for the Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum, the Orpheum Theatre or the Kansas City Sports Hall of Fame. You can take a stroll to see old buildings like the Carnegie Library Building or the Market Centre.

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College Hill in Wichita, Kansas. Photo via Shutterstock.
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College Hill in Wichita, Kansas. Photo via Shutterstock.

College Hill

College Hill, Wichita, KS, USA

Take a stroll through College Hill, which you’ll find to be a quieter residential area, and take in the historic houses. You can find trolley and walking tours for this neighborhood if you want to learn more about the history of Wichita and see some of the unique homes. College Hill Park is an ideal spot for relaxing, sunbathing or having a picnic.

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Douglas Design District in Wichita, Kansas. Photo via Shutterstock.
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Douglas Design District in Wichita, Kansas. Photo via Shutterstock.

Douglas Design District

Douglas Design District, East Douglas Avenue, Wichita, KS, USA

One of the best destinations in Wichita for breweries, but you’ll also find some unique eateries and lots of businesses that offer products and services related to art and design.

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More cool and unique stuff to see in Wichita

Wichita is home to several unique museums, landmarks and attractions. Here are a few things to consider when planning your trip to Cowtown.

The Museum of World Treasures in Wichita, Kansas.
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The Museum of World Treasures in Wichita, Kansas.

The Museum of World Treasures

835 East 1st Street North, Wichita, KS, USA

The Museum of World Treasures is a fascinating place between its old brick building and the vast collection of artifacts from all over the world. You’ll find curiosities like a fossil gallery, a rocks and minerals exhibit and a section dedicated to the Civil War. There is a Hall of Presidents with unique memorability, an Ancient Egypt section and even a piece of the Berlin Wall.

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Old Cowtown Museum in Wichita, Kansas. Photo via Shutterstock.
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Old Cowtown Museum in Wichita, Kansas. Photo via Shutterstock.

Old Cowtown Museum

1865 Museum Blvd, Wichita, KS, USA

You can’t visit Wichita and not see the Old Cowtown Museum. It tells the city’s history through 54 recreated buildings along the bank of the Arkansas River. You can travel back in time and visit an Old West barbershop, schoolhouse, jail, trapper’s cabin and so much more.

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Sedgwick County Zoo in Wichita, Kansas. Photo via Shutterstock.
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Sedgwick County Zoo in Wichita, Kansas. Photo via Shutterstock.

Sedgwick County Zoo

5555 W Zoo Blvd, Wichita, KS, USA

The Sedgwick County Zoo is one of the most popular attractions in the area. Highlights include the orangutan and chimpanzee habitat, gorilla forest and impressive collection of Australian and South American animals. There are even boat and tram tours. 

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Kansas Aviation Museum in Wichita, Kansas. Photo via Shutterstock.
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Kansas Aviation Museum in Wichita, Kansas. Photo via Shutterstock.

Kansas Aviation Museum

3350 S George Washington Blvd, Wichita, KS, USA

The city stopped using its old airport terminal in the 1950s. The terminal is now a museum dedicated to the history of one of the industries that shaped Wichita. The terminal features a unique Art Deco style, and you’ll love this museum if aviation is your thing. There is a collection of old engines, a WWII exhibit and some sections dedicated to legendary manufacturers like Cessna and Beechcraft.

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Wichita State Shockers play in Wichita, Kansas. Photo via Shutterstock.
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Wichita State Shockers forward Markis McDuffie (1) during a NCAA basketball game between the Wichita State Shockers and SMU Mustangs March 3, 2019, at Moody Coliseum, Dallas, Texas.

Catch a Shockers Game - Charles Koch Arena

1845 Fairmount St, Wichita, KS, USA

The Wichita State University basketball team, the Shockers, are a big deal in these parts. Even if you’re not a huge NCAA fan, catching a Shockers game at Charles Koch Arena is a Wichita experience with an electric atmosphere.

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Botanica, the Wichita Gardens, in Wichita, Kansas. Photo via Shutterstock.
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Botanica, the Wichita Gardens, in Wichita, Kansas. Photo via Shutterstock.

Botanica, the Wichita Gardens

701 Amidon St, Wichita, KS, USA

Botanica, the Wichita Gardens is a series of impressive community gardens spawning over more than 17 acres. There is a gorgeous butterfly house, a collection of junipers with more than 30 different species, a rock garden, a Shakespeare garden and a lot more to discover. Walking through the community gardens and discovering something new around every corner is a delightful experience and the perfect way to spend an unforgettable afternoon in Wichita.

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Starlite Drive-In in Wichita, Kansas.
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Starlite Drive-In in Wichita, Kansas.

Starlite Drive-In

3900 S Hydraulic Ave, Wichita, KS, USA

Here’s a retro experience: Wichita is one of the few cities that still has a drive-in movie theater. Catch one of the latest releases from the comfort of your car.

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