Nestled in south central Kansas, Wichita is a hotspot for culinary enthusiasts, shopping aficionados, and families seeking fun and education alike. From eclectic restaurants and shops to the kid-friendly attractions sprinkled throughout the nearby towns, Wichita promises an adventure. I’ve visited a few times – once with my family and once with fellow travel writers. In this guide, I’ll spotlight the ultimate spots for dining, shopping, and family fun in and around Wichita.
Ready to uncover the best that Wichita has to offer? Let’s dive right in!
When I visit a new city, I seek out locally-owned boutiques, the places with unique items and one-of-a-kind stores. Shops that really show the personality of the city. So, if you’re looking for shopping mall recommendations, this post isn’t it. However, if you want to know about some cool shops in Wichita, this is the place.
My favorite kind of stores are the boutiques with a mix of gifts, funny shirts, and home decor. I found great stuff in The Workroom, which is part-local art and part-gift shop. It sells items from about 100 local makers and artists, plus serves as an incubator space for new retailers trying to get established. When I was there, a super cute bookstore was in the incubator space.
For a little more artsy and vibrant of a retail shop, check out The Loud Cicada located at Revolutsia. You’ll want to explore Revolutsia while you’re there. It’s a shipping container mall of sorts with restaurants, shops, bars.
GROW Giesen Plant Shop is part-plant store, part-gift shop, and part-bar & coffee shop if you count Botanic located inside GROW. You can go there to make a terrarium, too. It’s a lot of things. If you want to mix all the things, order a martini that comes in a terrarium for you to keep. And side note: There are also a few clothing boutiques nearby.
Nifty Nut House is the snack shop to end all snack shop. It got its start in 1937, and over time, it’s evolved into a wholesaler of nuts, dried fruit, snack mixes, gourmet chocolate, sugar-free items, and homemade fudge. You can find just about any candy brand you can dream of there, too.
For decadent chocolates and scrumptious macarons, head for Cocoa Dolce. Everything is handmade in small batches. You may buy them as a gift for someone else, but I guarantee you those chocolates aren’t making it all the way home.
- The Workroom, 150 N. Cleveland, Wichita, Kan.
- Loud Cicada located at Revolutsia, 2721 E. Central Ave., Suite 113, Wichita, Kan.
- GROW Giesen Plant Shop | Botanic at GROW, 320 S. Market St., Suite 120, Wichita, Kan.
- Nifty Nut House, 527 St. Francis, Wichita, Kan.
- Cocoa Dolce Downtown Wichita, 235 N. St. Francis, Wichita, Kan.
I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the variety of fantastic restaurants in Wichita. You will not eat bad food when you visit this city.
For breakfast eateries and coffee shops, I’ve tried a few. I am a huge fan of breakfast and brunch, so I prefer places offering savory plates. If that sounds like you, go to Doo-Dah Diner. It’s a local favorite. Everyone nods in approval if you tell them you plan to eat there.
It’s good stuff. Some of the most popular things to order are Crab Cake Benedict, Chicken Fried Steak, Smothered Breakfast Burrito, Banana Bread French Toast (gluten free) and Corned Beef Hash.
If you prefer a sugar rush for breakfast, go to the Wichita staple, The Donut Whole. We were among several families there the morning we went. You can go as vanilla or as rainbow as you want when choosing a donut here. The popular flavor is maple bacon, which you gotta try. All donuts are made from scratch daily.
Just a coffee person? Try Milkfloat in the Delano neighborhood. I had iced coffee when I stopped in during a morning walk. There are also pastries for breakfast and ice cream for dessert. Or breakfast. I won’t judge.
Viola’s Pantry is one of those little shops with super memorable food. Unfortunately, lunch is only served there on Fridays and Saturdays. Plan it into your weekend trip, though! I’ve never had homemade focaccia bread as good as the bread at Viola’s. All the food served there come from recipes passed down for the original owner’s Italian mom and grandma. (Viola was her grandma)
On our first visit to Wichita, my family had a great lunch at The Kitchen, which was pretty new to the dining scene at that time. The focus is on seasonal and clean food (so no nitrates in lunch meat and the burger is 100% beef). Try the disco fries, a New Jersey take on poutine.
Old Mill Tasty Shop in downtown Wichita is great for lunch, though I’m partial to their chocolate shakes made the old-fashioned way behind their old-fashioned soda fountain counter. It’s been a Wichita institution since the 1930s. Everyone – and I mean everyone – you ask will tell you to get the chicken salad. It’s slap-your-knee good.
My favorite dinner was at Public, a large restaurant in the Brickyard that has funky decor and locally-sourced ingredients. The staff at Public can tell you which local farms grew each ingredient. It’s pretty impressive and the freshness of each food makes a huge difference. Don’t leave without visiting the restaurant’s eclectic back patio.
Now, if you want a hearty, carb-heavy dinner, get yourself to the German restaurant, Prost. It’s located in Revolutsia. The food is all handmade by the owner’s German wife. You can order German beer with your meal, too.
The best part of the restaurant is all the thought that went into the decor. Every design touch has a reason. And all of the benches and tables at the restaurant were once in a legit German beer hall, so you can be comforted in knowing that some drunk German once danced on your table.
If you’re really hungry, go to the historic Delano District for some barbecue at Delano Barbeque Co. It’s huge servings, including the entrees on the kid’s menu.
Related post: Where to go when dining with kids in Wichita
- Doo-Dah Diner, 206 E. Kellogg St., Wichita, Kan.
- The Donut Whole, 720 E. Douglas Ave., Wichita, Kan.
- Milkfloat, 535 W. Douglas Ave., Suite 140, Wichita, Kan.
- Viola’s Pantry, 156 N. Cleveland, Wichita, Kan.
- The Kitchen, 725 E. Douglas Ave., Wichita, Kan.
- Old Mill Tasty Shop, 604 E. Douglas Ave., Wichita, Kan.
- Public at the Brickyard, 129 N. Rock Island Ave., Wichita, Kan.
- Prost at Revolutsia, 2721 E. Central Ave., Suite 101, Wichita, Kan.
- Delano Barbeque Co., 710 W. Douglas Ave., Wichita, Kan.
Art and Creative Wichita
Love art? I’ve got some recommendations for you! Wichita has a supportive art scene that is helping establish a lot of new, up-and-coming artists, as well as an impressive art museum.
Wichita Art Museum has a range of artworks to view, from antiquities to today. You’ll want to go upstairs in the museum and walk across the Chihuly sculpture. Where else will you get to do something like that?If you go to the museum with kids, be sure to stop in The Living Room. It’s a space dedicated for children with a lot of activities.
Tip: Admission is free to the Wichita Art Museum!
You can visit all four exhibition spaces at Mark Arts for free, as well, and as a gallery, the art is for sale. It’s also a center for art classes, culinary classes, and special events. A highlight for me was seeing “Oh Give Me A Home,” a nature sculpture by Patrick Dougherty. It’s one of his last sculptures, and given the nature of the wooden sculpture, it will only exist for about two years (so visit it soon!).
Mulberry Art Gallery is a hidden gem I stumbled upon while I was walking around Revolutsia. It’s a tiny little gallery, but the art on display was impactful. The gallery focuses on Black artists, artists of color, and artists often historically excluded from gallery representation.
Exploration Place is the outlier in this group, since it’s a science center, but I think it encourages a ton of creativity so I’m including it. Exploration Place has a mix of permanent exhibits and traveling exhibits, and for my family’s favorites were “Design, Build, Fly” and building with the KEVA blocks.
- Wichita Art Museum, 1400 Museum Blvd., Wichita, Kan.
- Mark Arts, 1307 N. Rock Road, Wichita, Kan.
- Mulberry Art Gallery, 2721 E. Central Ave., Suite 215, Wichita, Kan.
- Exploration Place, 300 N. McLean Blvd., Wichita, Kan.
Outdoor Attractions In Wichita
The Keeper of the Plains has become an iconic symbol of the city ever since it was erected in 1974. It stands 44 feet tall at the at the confluence of the Arkansas and Little Arkansas rivers in Wichita. Each night, weather permitting, people come down to the riverfront to watch The Ring of Fire, when the caldrons at the base of the statue are lit for 15 minutes. They’re lit at 9 p.m. in the spring and summer (Daylight Saving Time) and at 7 p.m. in the fall and winter (Standard Time). It’s free to visit.
While you’re there, take the time to walk along the riverfront trail. In the mornings, you might see a crew team rowing by. On a nice summer night, it’s a lively place to be.
Tip: You’ll find the Wichita Troll along the riverfront trail. It’s a creepy looking sculpture located under a large sidewalk grate along the trail on the east side of the Arkansas River near the Energy Systems Control Center.
Botanica, The Wichita Gardens is the city’s botanical gardens, and whatever the season, there will be a ton of beautiful things to see outdoors. There are 30 themed gardens and exhibits over 18 acres. If you’re visiting Botanica Wichita with children, you simply cannot skip Downing Children’s Garden. Every turn on the path revealed something whimsical, delightful, and beautiful.
- The Keeper of the Plains, 339 Veterans Parkway, Wichita, Kan.
- The Troll, 777 W. Central Ave., Wichita, Kan.
- Botanica, The Wichita Gardens, 701 Amidon St., Wichita, Kan.
Adventures Just Outside of Wichita
On each of my visits to Wichita, I’ve ventured outside of the city and made some great memories. I highly recommend planning at least a half-day outing to one of the following places.
Tanganyika Wildlife Park is a must visit. It’s best described as an interactive zoo, where there are animal encounters at every turn. Some keepers walk around with animals, like a porcupine, while other encounters are in designated areas. I first visited Tanganyika more than five years ago with my kids, and let me tell you, they were upset to hear I returned for another visit this year…without them!
Some of my favorite encounters were feeding a giraffe, a young rhino, a curious lemur, and some very determined lorikeets. In addition to animal encounters, the wildlife park has a playground for kids to let off a little energy.
Fun fact: The rhinos at Tanganyika are all named after characters from “The Office” (the American version). I fed the only male rhino, named Dwight. Word is, Pam is the nicest of all the rhinos.
Keeping up with the animal theme for a moment, the Art Barn at Lazy Moon Ranch is a quirky stop with several farm animals to meet. Their specialty is paint parties in the alpaca enclosure. While an art instructor guides your group with a painting lesson, alpacas will roam nearby.
Granted, the alpacas generally kept a distance from us until food was involved. Which is fine by me. I’m not above bribing alpacas with food for a good photo opp.
Other animals on the farm in crude donkeys, lambs (one named Clarice, which I thought was a nice touch), chickens, a tortoise, and goats. I haven’t even mentioned the best part about Lone Tree Farm: The abundance of quirky yard art, sculptures, and games around the property. It was really fun to walk around!
If wine tasting is more of your speed, you’ll want to plan a visit to Grace Hill Winery. You can sample a variety of wines (be on the look out for Peckerhead, which can only be described as “adult Juicy Juice”) and sangria there, and if you plan ahead, you arrange for an affordable private tasting in the winery’s wine library.
I liked the casual and friendly vibe at Grace Hill Winery. If you’re a dog person, you’ll love it too. The employee of the month at the winery is always a dog. When I visited the winery, Modi, a ginormous 122-pound Great Dane was the “pup on staff” (my phrase, not theirs).
The Kansas Maze is a seasonal destination, for sure, but what’s a visit to Kansas without a visit to a sunflower field? This particular field just happens to be a little extra than typical fields. There are miles of pathways! Admission includes a flower you can pick yourself.
If you visit with kids, which I highly recommend, there are other fun things for them on the farm. There’s a jumping pillow, climbing structures out of old tires, and funny photo opps.
Tip: The Kansas Maze hosts 5k races and mile fun runs in the maze!
- Tanganyika Wildlife Park, 1000 S. Hawkins Lane, Goddard, Kan.
- Lazy Moon Ranch, 11296 SW. 104th Terrace, Augusta, Kan.
- Grace Hill Winery, 6310 S. Grace Hill Road, Whitewater, Kan.
- Kansas Maze, 13209 E. 82nd Ave., Buhler, Kan.
As I wrap up this guide to Wichita and nearby attractions, I hope you’ve learned the city has something for everyone. From its bustling dining scene and diverse shopping options to interactive museums and family-friendly spots, Wichita promises a mix of fun and excitement for visitors of all ages. Don’t miss out on the simple joys and vibrant offerings of this dynamic city on your next visit.