1. Downtown Is Getting A Makeover

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Source: Downtown Topeka Inc. Facebook
Topeka is currently working on a major downtown revitalization project, that will completely reconstruct Kansas Avenue with all new sidewalks and roads, to make traveling and strolling downtown easier and more enjoyable. At the end of next year there’ll be a whole new Topeka!

2. Topeka People Are Happy, Officially

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Source: Downtown Topeka Inc. Facebook
Last year more than 800 citizens volunteered to get the city’s parks ready for the spring. In 2012 the city was named ninth in Gallup’s list of the top small communities for well-being in the country, based on factors like emotional health and work environment. So if you’re looking for your new happy place, this is probably it.

3. Religious History Was Made Right Here

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Source: Flickr user wishmerhill
Topeka is an area with heavy religious influence, often referred to as the home of Pentecostalism. It is also the home to the popular Reverend Charles Sheldon who wrote the book In His Steps and first posed the question that became synonymous with rubber-bracelet-wearing Evangelical Christians everywhere: What would Jesus do? The WWJD phenomenon sparked from sermon of Sheldon’s at Central Congregational Church.

4. Topeka Was Called Google—For A Day

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Source: Flickr user Corsin Camichel
In an attempt to become the chosen city for Google’s experimental Fiber For Communities program which staged to bring internet speeds 1,000 times faster than anywhere else, Topeka temporarily renamed the city “Google, Kansas.” A few weeks later in response, Google changed its popular and ever-changing Google lettering to read “Topeka” on April Fool’s Day.

5. Don’t Believe The Crime Hype

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Source: Visit Topeka Inc. Facebook
As with any city, Topeka has its share of crime which was so bad at one point in the '90s, it was breaking violent crime records year after year. But, while the crime rates in most cities have increased since 2000, Topeka’s has continuously gone down, with as much as an 18 percent drop in crime just from 2007 to 2008.

6. No Worries About Breaking The Bank

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Source: Visit Topeka Inc. Facebook
The numbers don’t lie when it comes to the cost of living in Topeka. The average cost is 92.4, a good eight points below the national average, and even farther below cities like Chicago, Denver and Houston. And I’m not just talking things like rent—food, healthcare and transportation all cost much less in Topeka.

7. The Farmers’ Market Is Kind Of A Big Deal

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Source: Visit Topeka Inc. Facebook
Every year from April through November, locals gather from the city and surrounding areas every week to shop through the plethora of vendors. Beyond the fresh fruit and vegetables, you can find everything from homemade soaps, handcrafted birdhouses and jewelry, to fabrics and home décor. Held across the street for the State Capitol, Topeka’s Farmers Market grows bigger every year.

8. Break Out The Blue, Sports Lovers

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Source: Visit Topeka Inc. Facebook
Topeka might not have any teams from the “Big Four,” but there’s still plenty of sports fun to be had here. The Kansas Koyotes are champions in the Professional Indoor Football League. And the Topeka Roadrunners are a popular Tier II Junior A ice hockey team that plays in the North American League’s Southern Division. Both teams play at the Landon Arena in Topeka.

9. The Arts Scene Can’t Be Missed

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Source: Visit Topeka Inc. Facebook
Topeka is loaded with amazing art and artists. The city is home to multiple art galleries, the Mulvane Art Museum, the Community Arts Center in the NOTO Arts District, First Friday Art Walk, the First Friday Art & Chocolate Walk, and also hosts the annual Aaron Douglass Art Fair. The city’s ARTSConnect group works to keep the art scene in Topeka vibrant and growing.

10. Seriously, There’s A Mural Everywhere

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Source: Visit Topeka Inc. Facebook
Topeka has become known for its plethora of extraordinary murals and is a major highlight of the booming arts scene in the city. Among them, The John Steuart Curry murals painted at the state house back in the 1930s were even nominated to be included in the 8 Wonders Of Kansas project. The Great Mural Wall of Topeka at 20th and Western is covered in murals that have been painted by professional artists and local residents with no art training. And Topeka native Aaron Douglas, one of the biggest artists of the Harlem Renaissance, has a mural and park dedicated to him at the Aaron Douglas Art Park.

11. Of Course, Not All The Art Is Traditional

Source: Roadside America YouTube
Located on the Lessman Farm is Truckhenge, one of Topeka’s most unique attractions. Truckhenge began in 2000 by Ron Lessman in response to the county’s orders for him to pick up all the trucks on his property. So, he literally picked them up and anchored them into the ground with 23 tons of concrete and several quotes painted across them. Along with trucks, there are many glass bottle exhibits, too, known as Beer Bottle City and an area with small boats. In 2006, Truckhenge was dedicated into the Kaw Region Art Park.

12. And You Can Get In On The Action Too

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Source: Cider Days Topeka Facebook
The Topeka Cider Days Fall Festival has been running strong for 33 years, and given residents the chance to get creative with arts and crafts, as well as enjoy some killer food and entertainment. The two-day event even has a petting zoo and live gunfights! Stop by the Walgreens or Hy-Vee to pick up your tickets for this year.

13. Kansas is from Kansas. Mind Blown.

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Source: Kansas Facebook
Phil Ehart and Kerry Livgren, founding members of the popular rock band Kansas, responsible for such hits as Carry On My Wayward Son and Dust In The Wind and whose first album was self-titled Kansas, were from… Topeka, Kansas. It’s like a classic rock Inception.

14. Topeka Has More Green Than Concrete

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Source: Flickr user Tyler
Topeka is full of over 100 great parks and gardens that offer something for everyone in the city. Visit Crestview Park for the disc golf, Central Park for the fishing pond, the amazing rose garden in Doran Rose Garden, the reflecting pool in Doran Rock Garden, or 2.5 acres of flowers in the Ward-Meade Botanical Garden. But the highlight of all the parks in Topeka is Gage Park, which features 160 acres of fun and surprises including a mini operational train, a carousel, the summer Concert In The Park series, and the popular Blaisdell Family Aquatic Center among much more.

15. And Trail Rats Will Be In Heaven

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Source: Visit Topkea Inc. Facebook
Just because you’re in Kansas doesn’t mean there isn’t some great terrain for exploring. Topeka has four major trails with nearly 20 miles for biking and hiking open year-round.

16. The History Of Kansas Is Alive In Topeka

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Source: Visit Topeka Inc. Facebook
Once a railroad station in Topeka, the Great Overland Station is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is now home to a railroad museum, the All Veterans Memorial, and the Kansas Hall Of Fame. And the Kansas Museum of History showcases Kansas’ history through prehistoric to modern exhibits including a locomotive, a full scale teepee, and a 1950s diner.

17. Rev Your Engines

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Source: Heartland Park Topeka Facebook
Car enthusiasts have a blast with the Heartland Park Topeka in the city. This multi-purpose motorsports facility has a track that can be used in four configurations of multiple distances with off-road course and a quarter-mile drag strip. Most of Heartland’s events, like the SCCA National Championship Runoff, are held by the SCCA and the National Hot Rod Association. Motorcycle lovers can tour 30 different rare Harley Davidson bike exhibits at Yesterday’s Museum located on the lower level of the Topeka Harley-Davidson.

18. Kids Can Get Messy Learning

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Source: Kansas Children’s Discovery Center Facebook
This brand new interactive children’s museum was built in 2011 and is another welcome addition and example of Topeka’s dedication towards city progression. The center offers hands on experiments and learning, daily programs and workshops, camps, field trips, birthday parties and many special events throughout the year becoming one of the best spots in the city for kids.

19. Learn About The Kansas From Yesterday

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Source: Old Prairie Town at Ward-Meade Historic Site Facebook
As the state capitol, Topeka is proud of Kansas and its history, making it available for anyone interested. Learn through fun at a scavenger hunt at The Kansas Museum Of History, visit the Museum of the Kansas National Guard for free to pay respect to the men and women who have fought for Kansas, or swing by the Old Prairie Town at Meade Historic Site to learn what life was really like in the 1800s in Kansas with replicas of a one room schoolhouse from 1891, a log cabin and blacksmith shop from 1854, an authentic general store, an outhouse, a church and more.

20. Go Geocaching At The Topeka Zoo

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Source: Topeka Zoo Facebook
This small zoo packs a big punch for its size and ends up being just big enough for trips with the little kids. The Topeka Zoo offers the ability to geocache your way through the park, photography contests, seasonal events like the Easter Eggstravaganza and Boo at the Zoo, pitch a tent with pops for Campout With Dad, show you care about Mother Earth at Party For The Planet and Conservation Connection, or come out for Feeding The Giraffes.

21. Curb Your Sweet Tooth At Hazel Hill

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Source: Visit Topeka Inc. Facebook
When your sweet tooth kicks in full gear, head over to Hazel Hill Chocolates where you’ll not only get the most delicious homemade treats for you and your pooch, but you can watch them being made. Caramel corn or candy apples, it doesn’t matter what you try because they’re all amazing. But it will definitely ruin you from grabbing another candy bar from the checkout line ever again. What do you love about living in Topeka? Tell us in the comments below!