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Home > Experience Wichita > Playing Here > Arts & Entertainment
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Arts & Entertainment

Wichita boasts a professional opera, symphony and ballet, as well as dozens of cinematic and performance theatres that stand ready to impress with independent films, old favorites or new drama. From traditional to contemporary, our art galleries, varied museums and breathtaking gardens are sure to engage you with their many enticing exhibits.

Whether you prefer upscale bistros or hometown barbecue, Wichita truly has it all. As a region globally recognized as a top pick in test markets by those in the restaurant industry, Wichita residents have their choice of the best of the best. If it doesn't fly here, chances are it won't last anywhere.

As development in Wichita continues to boom, so do options in shopping. Local boutiques, antique shops and specialty stores can easily be found throughout the city, as well as nationally recognized retail chains and department stores.

Whether you are a newcomer or a long-time resident, discovering Wichita is a never-ending opportunity.
 

Music and Nightlife

Local talent can be heard year round, while a growing number of traveling artists continue to add Wichita to their tour schedules. Whether you want jazz, oldies or just some mellow singer-songwriters, you're sure to find something you like in one of our local hot spots. Mark your calendar for every April, when Wichita State University hosts the Wichita Jazz Festival and offers locals a weekend full of musical fun. Also, be sure to check the performance schedule for local and visiting bands playing at the Orpheum, Wichita's recently restored historic theater.

There is plenty of excitement to uncover while exploring Wichita's nightlife scene. Residents enjoy a variety of nightclubs, sure to please anyone. Be sure to stop by Old Town's local bars and sports bars that provide the perfect environment to meet up with friends and enjoy the variety of entertainment in the area . Wander over to the nearby Delano District for some low-key areas to sit outdoors, relax to live music or enjoy a drink.

Performing Arts and Festivals

Local performances are top notch and guaranteed to entertain, with options for all ages that range from the Wichita Grand Opera to the highly acclaimed Diamond W Wranglers, a grand western-style chuckwagon supper with world-famous western musical entertainment, located at Wichita's historic Old Cowtown Museum.

One of the largest dinner theaters in the United States, the Crown Uptown Dinner Theatre, presents year round professional Broadway shows, with American cuisine available to the audience during the performance. Every summer, Music Theatre of Wichita blends local and national talent to bring Wichita such Broadway favorites as Beauty and the Beast and Aida. The Wichita Symphony Orchestra is the largest and most active performing arts organization in the state, nationally recognized for its artistic level and for the community support it receives. The Orpheum downtown features everything from acrobatic acts to old movies to dramatic theater, all housed in the beautifully renovated and impeccably maintained 1920's theater.

Dozens of festivals are held during the year throughout Wichita and South Central Kansas, including the Wichita River Festival, the biggest of them all and the largest event in the state of Kansas. Lasting for nine days every spring, the River Festival is highly anticipated by the community for the food, fun and outdoor activities it offers. Another unique offering is the Wichita Flight Festival, which celebrates the past, present and future of Kansas aviation.

Experience the sights, sounds, fragrances and dazzling colors of spring in 13 amazing indoor gardens every March at the Wichita Garden Show. Another you won't want to miss is the Taste of Wichita Festival, which combines great music and food with the opportunity to shop for local art on the banks of the Arkansas River.

The Wichita community also encourages and celebrates cultural diversity through several events including the Cinco de Mayo Celebration, the MultiCultural Festival, Wichita Black Arts Festival and the Annual Asian Festival.

Dining

As a test market for local restaurants and an excellent variety of ethnic foods, Wichita is home to many truly unforgettable dining locales. Culinary entrepreneurs here are common, such as the two college students who founded Pizza Hut in Wichita in 1958. Such talent spoils residents with a plethora of delectable cuisine and cutting edge dining environments.

Chefs around town specialize in Mediterranean, European, Mexican and Indian, along with everything in between. Staying true to the region, Wichita also offers a wide variety of down home barbecue, southern and Cajun favorites to suit your tastes. And although miles from ocean waters, our seafood selections are surprisingly fresh and tasty.

One thing is sure - you won't be disappointed with the variety of restaurants you will find in Wichita. 

Museums and Attractions

The art museums in Wichita are filled with diversity, history and creativity, displaying collections from the great masters as well as creations by local talent.

Find both student and professional art displays at the Ulrich Museum of Art at Wichita State University and at the Whittier Fine Arts Gallery at Friends University.

The Wichita Art Museum features changing displays along with longtime classical collections. Get a taste for the local heritage at the Wichita/Sedgwick County Historical Museum, Wings Over Wichita, City Arts, Frank Lloyd Wright-Allen, Lambe House Museum, Kansas African American Museum and the Kansas Aviation Museum.

Kids and adults alike can open their minds at Exploration Place on the Arkansas River, or the Museum of World Treasures in Old Town. Take the chance to explore the beauty of glass art at Karg Art Glass or visit the one-of-a-kind Kansas Firefighters Museum.

For those with more specific interests, Wichita offers a wide range of specialized museums the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame, Lowell D. Holmes Museum of Anthropology, the Mid-America All-Indian Center, Old Cowtown Museum and the Society of Decorative Painters.

Nature areas in the area include the nationally renowned Sedgwick County Zoo, the Lake Afton Public Observatory, and Botanica - the Wichita Gardens. The Great Plains Nature Center contains over 25 different species of native mammals, reptiles and birds, along with two miles of paved hiking trails showcasing several species of wildflowers and trees.

Going to the movies will be an unforgettable experience if you choose to visit one of three Warren Theaters located throughout Wichita. Local entrepreneur Bill Warren was the mastermind behind these deluxe multi-screen theaters, each appointed in the motif of the grand movie houses of the 1930's and 40's. You can also view the latest releases at the Starlite Drive-In.

Shopping

There are widespread shopping opportunities in the Wichita area, from antique and specialty shops to shopping malls and outlet stores. Peruse distinctive shops in Old Town and the Delano area, both just minutes from downtown. Clifton Square is a collection of shops, housed in a 19th century village setting, featuring home décor, collectables, unique gifts and more. The Wichita WaterWalk downtown features Gander Mountain, with plans to acquire other specialty and destination retailers, concept restaurants and apartment and condominium living.

On the west side, indulge in plaza style shopping at Wichita's largest outdoor shopping center NewMarket Square or the enclosed mall, Towne West Square.

On the east side, be sure to visit Towne East Square and Bradley Fair, where you'll find an appealing blend of shopping, dining and entertainment. Don't miss the Waterfront, one of the latest developments on the east side and a premiere location for up and coming retail stores.

Libraries

The Wichita Public Library System has a large downtown main branch along with neighborhood branches all over the city. Academic libraries include the University of Kansas School of Medicine - Wichita Medical Library, Edmund Stanley Library at Friends University, Ryan Library at Newman University and the Wichita State University Libraries.
 

Section Highlights:
  • Wichita ranked No. 23  for small-business growth among the top 102 metro areas in the United States in 2013.
  • Wichita boasts an average commute time of 18.7 minutes.
  • The median sales price for an existing single-family home in the Wichita metro area was $114,200 in the first quarter of 2014 according to the National Association of Realtors.
  • Wichita is home to 40 museums and galleries.
Aeroflex Wichita, Inc. Airbus North America Engineering, Inc. Ambassador Hotel Wichita Armstrong Chamberlin AT&T Berry Companies, Inc. BKD, LLPBuilding Trades Council of Central & Western Kansas Butler Community College Capital Enterprises, Inc. Carlos O'Kelly'sCNH Industries CHOOSE Networks, Inc. Clear Channel Media + EntertainmentConco ConstructionCornejo & Sons Coventry Health Care, An Aetna CompanyCox Machine, Inc. Davis-Moore Automotive, Inc. Delta Dental of Kansas, Inc. Dillon Food Stores Dondlinger & Sons Construction Company Inc.Eby Construction Co. Envision, Inc. Friends University GLMV Architecture, Inc. Go Wichita Convention & Visitors Bureau House of SchwanHigh Touch Technologies Hyatt Regency Wichita IBEW L.U. 271 - Electrical Workers IMA, Inc. Johnson ControlsKAKE-TV Kansas Health Foundation Kennedy and Coe, LLC Key Construction, Inc. KSNW-Channel 3 Law Company Inc. LawKingdon Architecture LDF CompaniesLegacy BankLubrication Engineers, Inc. Martin Pringle Oliver Wallace & Bauer, L.L.P. Metro Courier, Inc. MKEC Engineering Consultants, Inc. Murfin Drilling Company Inc. Newman University Occidental Management, Inc. Pioneer Balloon Company Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 441 Poet Ethanol Products Range Oil Company, Inc. Ritchie Exploration, Inc. Rusty Eck Ford Security 1st Title LLC Slawson Real Estate Company Star Lumber & Supply Co. Inc.TCK - The Trust Company of Kansas TECT Aerospace UCI United Way of the Plains Value PlaceWichita Area Assn. of Realtors Wichita Area Technical College (WATC) Wichita Business Journal Wichita Community Foundation Wichita Downtown Development Corporation Wichita State UniversityWorkforce Alliance of South Central Kansas, Inc.Yingling Aviation