Kansas, the Midwestern state of the United States, is undoubtedly considered the charming epitome of the Wild West. The name of the lively state, derives from the word “Kansa”, and means in the language of the Sioux; people of the south wind. Until today, the state is considered the birthplace of the myth of America, which is reflected in almost endless expanses, unique landscapes and breathtaking cities.
With varied landscapes and grandiose cities, Kansas exudes a very special charm that best conveys the romance and spirit of the United States. Therefore, Kansas provides unbroken enthusiasm and euphoria among travelers and visitors, and clearly scores with its originality. Due to its varied history, Kansas has numerous attractions with meaningful backgrounds that make the state a sought-after destination. Find out more about the 16 best places to visit in Kansas.
Wichita is the largest city in the state of Kansas and is also the most populous city with its 390,000 residents. At the beginning of the 20th century, Wichita developed into one of the wealthiest cities due to its oil deposits, which is why many entrepreneurs and aircraft manufacturers settled here. Numerous museums, such as the Kansas Aviation Museum, preserve the living heritage of this now cosmopolitan city. Thousands of aviation enthusiasts are drawn to Wichita each year, making Wichita a widely popular destination among aviation enthusiasts.
In addition to fascinating history museums and vibrant architecture, Wichita also boasts a diverse and dynamic arts scene. The Wichita Grand Opera, consistently holds its own with its regular productions reminiscent of a Broadway show. If you’re planning a visit to Wichita during the winter months, don’t miss one of the grand “Broadway Shows”.
15. Maxwell Wildlife Refuge
The Maxwell Wildlife Refuge in Canton-McPherson’s County, is a sanctuary for numerous animals located there. The area covers a considerable 1042 acres. Largely composed of mixed grass prairie, a substantial number of bison and elk, to which this area provides refuge. The reserve now provides a true recreational habitat for a herd of over 150 bison, and 75 elk.
On a number of lookout towers you can enjoy the panorama over the whole area, and at the same time observe impressive animals in breathtaking vegetation. Adjacent to the vegetatively challenging area, McPherson State Fishing Lake, with an inviting campground, rounds out the entire visit to Maxwell Wildlife Refuge, making it a perfect destination for the whole family.
Topeka, the capital of the state of Kansas, is considered one of the most diverse and coolest cities in the Midwest. Artistic architecture, such as the Kansas State Capitol, built in 1903, or numerous museums, invite you to take a historical tour. Besides impressive architecture, you can also marvel at grandiose murals by the famous painter John Steuart Curry. Topeka is therefore a true paradise among art lovers.
The family-friendly city of Topeka also offers a whole potpourri of great restaurants and culinary delights. Traditional to international cuisine, awaits your discovery at award-winning restaurants. Enjoy a visit to Raw House Restaurant, located in a historic row house built in 1876, and soak up the unique atmosphere. In Topeka, architecture, great museums, and culinary arts come together to make this unique city so worth living in.
13. Overland Park
Founded in 1960, Overland Park is the second largest city in the state, and is located in the heart of Kansas. Overland Park is considered America’s largest inhabited park, and attracts numerous visitors each year with its well-known arboretum, and a picturesque botanical garden. In particular, the nature preserve, interspersed with numerous hiking trails, makes Overland Park an amazing natural experience.
The New Theater Restaurant, with its 600 seats, is also considered a special highlight. Numerous Broadway musicals are performed here, never failing to thrill visitors. In addition, numerous golf courses, biking trails, and fishing opportunities are available and invite you to stay.
Lindsborg was founded in 1869 by Swedish immigrants and is therefore still called the “Little Sweden” of the USA. Today, this harmonious small town is home to educators, artists and a variety of business owners who place great value on traditions and their Swedish heritage. This makes the idyllic small town an ideal destination for a day trip. In the center of Lindsborg, you will find a whole range of handicraft stores and boutiques along the main street.
Especially recommended is a visit to the Trollslända Toy Store, and The Good Merchant, which will bring you closer to the Swedish way of life through lovingly handmade products. Numerous stores live the open mindset of Swedish culture, and are happy to give you a peek behind the scenes, making a visit to Lindsborg an amazing experience.
Also regular events and parties, revive Swedish traditions, and offer you lots of fun all year round. In Linsborg you will make great memories that will probably make you want to return to “Litte Schweden” very soon.
Once the home of the famous writer William S. Boroughs, Lawrence is today also a culturally rich place; especially for music lovers. That’s because every year Lawrence hosts the popular rock music festivals Wakarusa Music and Camping Festival, which annually transforms Lawrence into a veritable mecca for rock music fans.
At the University of Kansas Museum of Natural History, stands the stuffed and famous Comanche horse, long thought to be the sole survivor of the 7th Cavalry in the battle between General Custer’s troops, and the indigenous tribes under Crazy Horse. Between rock music and museums, in Lawrence you will get acquainted with the free-spirited way of life and culture of the United States that make Kansas stand out in a special way.
Olathe is part of the metropolitan region surrounding Kansas City, and contributes to Kansas state government with its county seat. Once an important stopover for adventurers and explorers, Olathe today is also an exceptional city through and through; a city that is all about history and culture.
The special landmarks and historic sites, like Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop & Farm Historic Site, give this authentic town on the Santa Fe Trail its own unique charm. Whether it’s at Black Bob Bay Water Park, or Heritage Park, playing a round of golf, or enjoying delicious food or drinks at one of Olathe’s many restaurants, you’ll experience a sophisticated and historic city at its best.
9. Dodge City
Dodge City’s adventurous history dates back to 1871, when the first farms, saloons and businesses settled here. Dodge City, also known as the “Queen of the Cowtowns,” immerses you in its very own Wild West adventure. Dodge City’s historic district is home to notable buildings such as the George Hinkle House, St. Cornelius Episcopal Church, and the Boot Hill Museum, which is open daily from 8 am to 8 pm.
Approximately 150,000 visitors annually head to Dodge City during the summer months for the many events, festivals and attractions. Annually, at the end of June, Dodge City Days takes place. On these days, the city is teeming with cowboys and cowgirls. There are numerous concerts, rodeo competitions and barbecue cooking contests, which is sure to make the heart of any Wild West fan beat faster.
The small town of Manhattan, located on the Kansas River, developed early on, in the mid-19th century, into a true educational center and important educational hub in the northeastern part of the state of Kansas. Thus also in the middle of the 19th century the Bluemont Central College and the Kansas State Agricultural College were founded, which until today offer a place of study to the more than 23,000 students. The large number of students therefore predominantly determine the cultural and lively cityscape of Manhattan.
Aggieville is considered the center of nightlife, and equally the central hub for many clubs, bars and concert opportunities. There is almost no day of the week when the nightlife in Manhattan stands still. Every weekday, one of the over one hundred bars and restaurants, hosts numerous events. At 1125 Moro Street, the Rally Center is home to countless bars and nightlife options such as Vandeys, which offers great concerts, excellent drama performances and book readings almost around the clock. Feel free to immerse yourself in the lively nightlife of Manhattan and experience unique evenings.
The Kansas Cosmosphere, or Cosmosphere for short, is one of the most popular space museums in the world that will have you literally reaching for the stars. Visitors from around the world regularly come to Hutchinson to marvel at one of the most significant collections of rare artifacts. Covering 35,000 square feet, visitors are treated to a unique architectural experience that showcases the breathtaking history of space travel.
On a three-storey exhibition gallery, important cultural treasures such as the landing capsule of the Apollo 13 mission, and the reserve specimen of the Sputnik-1 satellite, as well as the decommissioned SR-71 Blackbird are exhibited and prepared. Through interactive and scientific processing, the visitors are offered a comprehensive insight into the world of space travel. The Cosmosphere Space Museum is a great place to spend a day with the whole family.
6. Fort Scott National Historic Site
Fort Scott National Historic Site in Bourbon County, is under the control of the United States National Park Service, and offers visitors extraordinary insights into the dynamic past of the United States. The fort served as an important military base and supply station for the U.S. Army in the mid-19th century, during the Mexican-American War.
Located at 1 Alter Fort Boulevard, the historic site can be visited 362 days a year, and includes 20 significant structures in 20,000 square feet. Throughout the year, visitors can marvel at the 1840s military fort to gain an insightful understanding of the realities and daily lives of the soldiers, laundresses, and resident doctors stationed there at the time.
5. Monument Rocks
If you’re in the mood to take a look around Kansas nature, don’t pass by the time-honored natural landmark of Monument Rocks in Grove County. Standing 21 feet tall, the chalk formations present themselves majestically in various arch and rock formations. It is estimated that they are up to 80 million years old.
Monument Rock is located in Grove County, 25 miles south of Oakley, on private grazing land. However, the property is open to the public during the day, thanks to the owner. The Monument Rock site remains a popular public attraction today and has been listed as one of the Eight Wonders of Kansas since 2007.
4. Eisenhower Presidential Library
What would a stay in Kansas be without paying a visit to the Eisenhower Presidential Library? The Eisenhower Presidential Library, is the presidential library of the 34th President of the United States. Today, in addition to its primary function as an archive for documents and artifacts, the library serves as a museum and equally as a treasured venue for popular events.
A variety of public programs take place throughout the year. From monthly Lunch & Learn, to Evenings at Ease events, this meaningful venue at 200 SE 4th Street provides a comprehensive look at American democratic history. In addition, the Eisenhower Presidential Library, offers special activities such as film screenings, lectures, and special events to commemorate the annual D-Day anniversary. Free admission days: Symphony at Sunset, Annual D-Day Commemoration Concert (first Saturday in June), Independence Day (July 4), Veterans Day (November 11).
3. Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve
Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve is a U.S. protected area located north in Kansas in the Flint Hills in bravura landscapes. The preserve protects a significant portion of tallgrass prairie, and works to preserve this important ecosystem.
Over 60km of trails provide access to the Tallgrass Prairie for all visitors. In addition, Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve is home to a diverse array of flora and fauna, and is now home to a small bison herd and rare wildlife species.
2. Flint Hills
The Flint Hills, also known as the Flint Hills, is a very special place that will surely exceed your expectation. The Flint Hills area, stretches for hundreds of miles from north to south, and along with the Tallgrass Prairie, is one of the last remaining tallgrass ecosystems in the world. The unique preserve, manages more than 40 species of grasses, 140 species of birds, 35 species of reptiles and amphibians, 31 species of mammals, and about 10 million insects per acre, making it one of the most biodiverse regions in the United States.
Whether you are interested in bike touring, group riding, or high clear cycleary, the Flint Hills offer unique adventures and unforgettable moments. Iconic bike trails with various levels of difficulty can certainly impress you for sporty explorations of the Flint Hills. If you like to take it a little easier, the Flint Hills with natural scenic beauty offer wonderful nature trail tours that will give you an educational insight on the local wildlife. An exclusive insider tip is also the Pioneer Bluffs Ranch, which is still completely preserved from the turn of the century. Dedicated to passing on Flint Hills history, the ranch is now a unique venue that significantly represents the Flint Hills spirit through regular concerts and arts festivals.
1. Prairie Lavender Farm
Prairie Lavender Farm, south of Bennington, grows over 4600 lavender plants, and boasts twelve different varieties of lavender. Charming founders Mike and Diane Neustrom established Lavender Farm in 2002, and from then on have made it their mission to inspire visitors about the versatile lavender plant, and their shared farming operation.
The exemplary founders offer regular tours of the farm to their customers, and are also happy to provide lavender growing tips. Special activities are also on the agenda during the summer months. Mike offers tours of the farm production facility, lectures and illustrations about the processing process, live music and art. Also an all-day open gift store, with a wide selection of lavender products, including body care products, dried pick-up bundles, specialty baths, fire sticks and tinctures. In addition, culinary products, such as honey, tea, herbs, chocolate bars and lavender ice cream, which is appreciated far beyond the country’s borders.