Kansas’ largest city refers to itself as the Heart of the Country and, precise map coordinates aside, local love swells just about everywhere you look. Named after a Native American tribe, Wichita honors its roots at Keeper of the Plains, a 44-foot-tall steel sculpture by Blackbear Bosin. At this sacred confluence of the Big and Little Arkansas rivers, fire drums illuminate the sculpture for 15 minutes each evening. Just downriver, Exploration Place celebrates all things Kansas in interactive, kid-friendly fashion. Here, admire the details within the miniature display of 1950s Kansas and stand in the vortex of a simulated EF1 tornado.

For a calmer stroll through Sunflower State scenes, visit the Wichita Art Museum. Among its 10,000 works, seek out Kansas Cornfield, an evocative 1933 painting rooted in artist John Steuart Curry’s Kansas upbringing. Local harvests provide plump blackberries for scones and fresh veggies for skillets at newly opened museum cafe 1400 by Elderslie. If you’re inspired
to create your own work of art, fill a terrarium with succulents and cacti at GROW Giesen Plant Shop. The shop’s bar, Botanic, pours a Lavender Fields 4Ever cocktail along with nonalcoholic variations in a lush setting.

More food and drink options await within the shipping container complex of Revolutsia. Order a beer at Good Company Taps and Spirits and dig into schnitzel at Prost, then meet the locals around the firepit of a sprawling patio dripping with string lights. Cap it off with almost-too- pretty-to-eat truffles and cordials from nearby Cocoa Dolce, then check into the renovated Hotel at Old Town, a former warehouse appointed with nods to Old Town’s industrial past.



Belle Plaine

25 miles from downtown Wichita
Singer-songwriter Robin Macy and her small army of volunteers tend 50,000 tulips each spring. Sway with the branches during live concerts from April into November.



17 miles from downtown Wichita
Get a taste of la dolce vita (the sweet life) with weekend menus that promise five traditional Italian courses: appetizer, salad, pasta, entree, and dessert.



62 miles from downtown Wichita
Come face to face with a bison herd as you cross the prairie in a tram. Tours (reservations required) give an eyeful of native wildflowers and grasses too.                 

Continue your journey with more getaway ideas in the 2024 Official Kansas Travel Guide.