When I first came to Wichita, Kansas from my hometown, I believed that there was nothing to do, but I was wrong.
Wichita is a city, but also a small town, and when people say there is traffic they don't mean that the freeway (highway) has become a parking lot, they mean that it'll take 20 minutes instead of 15 to get where they're going.
This whole city and small town works for Wichita because you get to experience the city feel, but you also have a community of kind people willing to help you. There are definitely more things you can do than visiting your local Walmart and walk around for an adventure (yes, this is a thing.)
So, without further adieu here are some of my favorite things to do in Wichita.
1. Old Town
If you are planning on having a night in, DON'T! While I understand staying in and watching Netflix or reading a book on a Friday night, I recommend going out! Firstly, Old Town is full of street art and sculptures that you could take pictures of and after your walk you could stop by Yo-B's and get frozen yogurt, or head to Old Town Warren and catch the latest movie.
2. Drive-In Theater
The Starlite Drive-In is a well know secret because many residents know but few actually have experienced it. The movies can range from the newest releases to seasonal films. You can park your car, bring lawn chairs, your cooler, and enjoy the food they offer at the concession stands.
Museums in Wichita are great because they are mostly located in well-populated areas such as the Riverwalk and Old Town, which means you can really get a sense of the city by just being in the parking lot. Also, some museums are free on Saturdays, so, if you play your cards right, you can learn so much while also having fun. Also, on any given day if you present your student ID at the art museum, you can get $3 off admission.
My favorite museum would have to be the Museum of World Treasures because they have so much information on different eras and epochs. They also have the best gift shop full of books, authors, geodes, Egyptian mini statues, along with some amazing magnets and other stuff.
4. Orpheum Theater
There are always events going on here that are both fun and affordable! I highly recommend attending in the summer when they'll show seasonal movies and film festivals. On December 21st they will be Showing Miracle on 34th Street for only $5!
5. Sedgwick County Zoo
This would have to be my favorite thing to do in Wichita because the zoo is constantly growing and expanding. Recently, the zoo added a new elephant exhibit, and their South America exhibit is great because you can see birds and some animals roam freely within the exhibit path. My favorite things about the zoo are feeding the coy fish, seeing the orangutans, and visiting the Nganda village along with the Zambezi River Valley.
6. Aquarium In Old Town
This isn't your typical aquarium because it is not an actual aquarium, but more of a store. They have some amazing salt and freshwater fish that you could take home, along with purchasing some habitats and supplies. I love this pace because these fish are rarely ever stressed and the owners are so kind and helpful! So, whether you want to buy a fish or just sightsee, you could always go visit the fish in Aquarium Old Town.
7. Keeper of the Plains
This is very a very iconic thing to do in Wichita because it is a great place to see the community, take a walk or run, catch a sunset or sunrise, and even see the Ring of Fire.
What is the Ring of Fire, you ask? I'll tell you! Essentially, every night in the summer, fire blazes about the statue at 9 p.m. and during fall and winter, it blazes at 7 p.m. The fire runs for 15 minutes. So, grab some Ice Cream and wait for the show!
8. Chisholm Creek Park
This park is great for bird watching, peaceful walks, or an interesting adventure. Animals roam freely around this park and they can be observed in their natural habitat. My favorite thing to do is forget about the world and bring a book to read, and just relax.
9. All-Star Sports
Unlike other bigger cities, Wichita does not have a Dave and Buster's, but we do have All-Star Sports, which is great. You can get on rides, play mini-golf, drive bumper cars, play laser tag, go rock climbing, and they also have a fun arcade!
10. Mead's Corner
Great coffee at a decent price and a great environment to get work done? Sign me up! Plus, if you are a Friends University student, you can take your student ID and get a discount since they are part of the Falcon Discount Program!
11. La Galette French Bakery
This place is amazing because the prices are pocket-friendly and the baked goods are delicious. It is a great place for brunch or a light lunch while you are out enjoying the town.
12. Pinot's Pallete
You get a step by step class on how to paint an amazing picture while sipping on wine with your friends, but you do have to be 21 or older to drink (of course, If you don't want to drink you don't have to). Classes are only open to those 18+ but if the calendar says "All ages welcome," then the class is alcohol-free. This is a great bonding opportunity for friends to catch up and create decor that's specific to them. Did I mention that it is also in Old Town? No? Well, it is!
13. Great Plains Nature Center
When it comes to the Nature Center, I'll let the picture do the talking.
14. Shakespeare in the Park
These are free plays presented by the Wichita Shakespeare Company that's sole purpose is to provide theatrical entertainment, while also presenting the art in a way that teaches the viewers Shakespeare's work. I highly recommend this because the actors are dedicated to being true to the script and characters and this creates for a great experience. Did I mention that it's also free? This company also holds auditions for anyone who may be interested.
15. Christmas Light Displays
This is something Wichita does extraordinarily well! Each year, Friends has the Ceremony of Lights where Christmas lights are placed on our historical Davis Building.
Wichita also holds their annual Christmas light ceremonies. There are so many that you would have to choose for yourself, but my favorite is the Arc's Lights (Lights on St. Paul.) It is only $10 per carload.
16. Botanical Gardens
The environment itself is so tranquil and the scenery is so beautiful. My favorite garden is the Chinese friendship garden and the Butterfly house.
17. Texas Roadhouse
So, this is very Texan, but the fact that Wichita has a Texas Roadhouse means it already better than any place that does not. All I will say is that their rolls are divine, don't go if you have a peanut allergy, go if you love amazing food, and don't go during dinner or lunch hours... it'll be an hour wait.