Those of you who know me personally know that I am a traveler. I've always been enthralled by seeing new places and experiencing life through a different lens. I've made it a personal quest to hit all 50 states, and while I'm not quite there yet, I've seen life all across America. I've spent summers on the coasts, winters in the mountains, and months of my life seeing where the roads will take me. There's an old saying, "All roads lead home," and sometimes, the best place to be is right under your feet — in whatever place you call home.
I'm from Kansas. I've lived my whole life here. And no matter how many new places I visit, there is always something special about my homeland.
When most non-Kansans think of Kansas, they likely think of vast nothingness. Images from history classes may pop into their heads, images of the "new frontier," a place so desolate and forgotten that some people don't even know it exists. That might be a little bold, but is it really a bad thing? What could possibly make one of the flattest and most desolate states in America a place that you can't afford to miss? There aren't mountains here, there aren't beaches, and some years, there really aren't even seasons. It could be 80˚ in December and snowing on the first of May, and nobody would bat an eye.
What we lack in geography, though, we make up in spirit. We're proud to call this place home, and I'm proud to share 5 reasons why everyone should visit Kansas.
Kansas City Skyline
When people think of Kansas, they certainly don't think "big city," and Kansas City is no exception. It's by no stretch a big city, but there's enough here to keep just about anyone entertained for a month. Into sports? Catch a Royals game at Kauffman Stadium or a Chiefs game at Arrowhead! How about the arts? Hit up the Crossroads district. Foodie? Kansas City is world-renowned for Bar-B-Que. KC Joe's, Jack Stack, and Arthur Bryant's are all can't miss stops. Nightlife? Friday nights at the Power and Light district are just a Streetcar ride away! There really is something here for everyone.
Cathedral Of The Plains, Victoria
One of the least-known treasures I've found in Kansas has been the Cathedral of the Plains. Situated in the small town of Victoria, this small church earned itself a spot as one of the "Eight Wonders of Kansas" in 2008. Whether you're religious or not, a visit to this space is certainly worth the time. Renovations were underway last time I visited, and the members of the church are always happy to see visitors.
German V-2 Rocket on Display
If you're a sucker for a good museum or a space fanatic like me, you cannot miss a visit to the Cosmosphere museum in Hutchinson. The museum attracts visitors from all 50 states and many foreign countries and has been given many awards, including accolades as home to the largest collection of American and Russian space artifacts in the world — more than 13,000! It's easy to spend a full day exploring just the museum, but the town of Hutchinson itself is worth a day's visit.
Kansas State Fair, Hutchinson
There's really no better way to experience quintessential Kansas than the State Fair. Each fall, people from all walks of Kansas life descend on Hutchinson to put on a show unlike any other. From livestock shows and auctions to flea markets to the food of dozens of vendors, every Kansan and visitor to Kansas should visit the fair. We may not have the best food (Texas, I'm looking at you!), but our fair has the homiest feeling and I love it.
From the traditional to the modern, there is sure to be something for everyone. Be sure to make your plans early, because tickets sell fast, as do hotel rooms in Hutchinson!
Open Space. Lots of Open Space.
Kansas Wheat Field
Hustle and bustle of city life and lots of people not your thing? Take a drive. Or ride.
Even from the centers of our cities, wide-open views and wheat fields are no more than a short drive away. The rest of America might think we're weird for not having people at every corner, but there's something uniquely relaxing about miles and miles of gentle rolling hills and wheat waving in the wind. Some of the best memories I have from my own travels haven't been on the highways, they've been on the dirt roads, soaking in the peace and serenity of the land.