Things to Do
Whether you like to get active outside or take in professional theatre, there are options for entertainment in Wichita. Expand the sections below for information on highlights of our community.
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. Also, be sure to check the performance schedule for local and visiting bands playing at the Orpheum, Wichita's recently restored historic theater, INTRUST Bank Arena, or the Cotillion.
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 an alfresco fine arts show and sale, Autumn & Art, which is held lakeside every September.
Each fall, Wichita holds Open Streets, which promotes activities such as biking, walking, running, dancing and yoga along one of the city’s busiest streets to help local businesses, restaurants and street vendors reach out to the public during this half-day event.
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.
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 Kansas African American Museum is the premier place where the community comes to learn about or tell the Kansas African American story.
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. Warren sold his Wichita theaters to Regal Entertainment in 2017, and AMC returned to the Wichita market in 2018. You can also view the latest releases at the Starlite Drive-In.
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 dancing water fountains, with plans to acquire other specialty and destination retailers, concept restaurants and apartment and condominium living.
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.
The Wichita Public Library System has a large downtown main branch along with neighborhood branches all over the city. In June of 2018, a new Advanced Learning Library opened to the public and better provides for the current and future educational and technological needs of our community. It can be found at 711 W. 2nd St. near the Arkansas River.
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.
Wichita is an active center for organized sports, including college basketball, indoor football, hockey and event racing.
Local universities provide lots of action on the basketball courts. Wichita State University is a Division 1-A team (Missouri Valley Conference) that made a run to the Final Four in 2013.
Big 12 action is nearby at the University of Kansas and Kansas State University to the north or Oklahoma State University and the University of Oklahoma to the south.
Construction is underway for a new baseball stadium, which will be home the Triple-A affiliate of the Miami Marlins. Formerly known as the New Orleans Baby Cakes, the team will receive a new name and is expected to play their first season in Wichita in 2020.
Wichita State University is home to one of the finest college baseball stadiums in the country, and the Shockers are perennial powers in the Missouri Valley Conference. With one national championship under their belt, you can watch the Shockers make a run for the College World Series each spring.
The Wichita Force of the Champions Indoor Football League play their home games at the INTRUST Bank Arena in downtown Wichita. Additionally, local colleges compete on the gridiron and Big 12 action is just up the road. Fans of the National Football League will enjoy a trip north to Arrowhead Stadium, home of the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Wichita Thunder hockey team competes in the Central Hockey League. Their home ice is in the 15,000-seat Intrust Bank Arena.
For the racing fans, Wichita features the 81 Speedway where you can catch local or national dirt-track racing.
FC Wichita is an American soccer club based in Wichita. The club competes in the South Central Conference of the South Region in the National Premier Soccer League. Founded in 2013, FC Wichita has both men’s and women’s teams as well as a youth academy. The teams call The Stryker Soccer Complex home.
Opportunities for outdoor recreation are plentiful in the Wichita area. Take time to enjoy the beauty of our parks, play a round of golf, hike the numerous nature trails or bike along the Arkansas River.
Parks, Trails and Recreation
Wichitans have access to boating, waterskiing, sailing, canoeing, fishing and swimming in local lakes and rivers. The city has more than 100 miles of scenic bike paths that wind throughout the city, one of which includes a trail built along the original Chisolm Trail. There are 4,200 acres of parks and greenways in Wichita, along with 11 swimming pools and five interactive fountains offering a chance to cool off in the middle of the city. Some featured parks in the city include the Sedgwick County Park, adjacent to the Sedgwick County Zoo, and OJ Watson Park, where you can play a round of mini golf or take on a paddle boat in the pond.
From amusement parks to bowling alleys, Wichita has something for everyone. If you're looking for some water-filled entertainment, try the Rock River Rapids which houses a giant tree house-themed water spray ground, six crazy water slides and more. All Star Adventures offers a variety of rides, along with miniature golf, a driving range and an arcade.
Corn fields are abundant across Kansas, so every fall, area farmers take advantage of their crops and open their fields to the public after plowing "mazes" through the tall stocks. Pumpkin patches also provide a fun outing in the fall.
Golf courses in the Wichita area are well above par, and that's a good thing! We have some of the most beautiful municipal courses in the Midwest and more than 35 courses in the greater Wichita area, including public, private and semi-private. Crestview Country Club served as host site of the PGA Wichita Open in July 2005. Flint Hills National Golf Course showcased the 2007 USGA Senior Amateur Championship in September 2007.
Both children and adults can participate in city-wide leagues for most major sports including soccer, softball, baseball, bowling, basketball and volleyball.
The Greater Wichita YMCA has eight sites well stocked with workout equipment, pools and indoor basketball courts. The North branch even has an outdoor aquatic center with a wave pool!