1. Someplace Affordable? Can’t Do Better Than Wichita
Source: Go Wichita Facebook
Everyone in Wichita knows how great their city is, but the slowpoke media is finally catching up to speed. CNN named Wichita ninth on their list of the best U.S. cities to live in, MSN Real Estate ranked it as the number one most affordable city and Newsmax billed it as the most uniquely American city.
2. Their City Landmark Is So Much Cooler Than Yours
At the gateway to the city stands The Keeper Of The Plains, a 44-foot tall sculpture on the Arkansas and Little Arkansas rivers that overlooks the city. As if it weren’t cool enough, they added fire pits that are lighted at night to illuminate the sculpture, making it visible from way far away. What other city can say their major landmark includes fire pits? None, that’s how many.
3. Wichita Is A Cowboy City Through And Through
Source: Old Cowtown Museum Facebook
If you picture Wichita full of conservative families who are unbelievably nice, you would be right. Sure there are exceptions to every rule, but overall Wichita is just as Midwestern as you’d expect it to be. Anyone looking for proof can check out the Old Cowtown Museum or the Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum.
4. You Should Know Your Neighborhood
Source: Wikipedia user spacefem
Picking a neighborhood can be the most challenging part of moving, but here are a few inside tips. Two of the most popular residential areas of Wichita are College Hill and Riverside, and. College Hill sits east of the downtown district, but just below Wichita State University so you’ll likely find more students here. College Hill is more historic if that’s what you’re into, while Riverside is more scenic.
5. Old Town Is Really New Town
Source: Flickr user Ty Nigh
Just east of downtown is Old Town, which has been transformed from an old warehouse district into one of the hippest sections of town filled with cool exposed brick and limestone apartments, nightclubs, restaurants, hotels, theaters, museums, a ton of specialty shops and storefronts, and the popular farmer’s market. When you’re looking for the action, head to Old Town.
6. Wichita Is Basically The Air Capital Of The World
Source: Flickr user Brent Danley
In the first half of the 20th century, Wichita played a major role in the progression of aviation and the production of airplanes. Many are still produced there today, and the Kansas Aviation Museum in Wichita pays homage to the history and the Wichita Flight Festival brings everyone from across the state and beyond together to celebrate.
7. “Harold And Kumar Go To Burger King” Doesn’t Have The Same Ring To It
Source: White Castle Facebook
As a major entrepreneurial business center during the pre and post-war period, Wichita helped in creating some big names in business such as Coleman, Mentholatum and Koch Industries. But who cares about them, really. What really matters is the food right? Junk food lovers can thank Wichita for all those late night runs to Pizza Hut and White Castle, both born right here.
8. Wichita Is All Over Pop Culture
Source: Smallville Facebook
Once you start looking, you’ll see Wichita popping up everywhere in pop culture. The city is mentioned in the Shawn Colvin song "Wichita Skyline" and the White Stripes song "Seven Nation Army." The films "The Big Kahuna," "Wichita," and portions of 1994’s "Wyatt Earp" take place in Wichita, as does part of "Planes, Trains, And Automobiles." Wichita was also the childhood home of Clark Kent in the TV series "Smallville," and the city is even the setting of the classic comic Dennis The Menace.
9. Smaller Leagues Make The Best Games Of All
Source: Wichita Wingnuts Facebook
Wichita might not have any teams in the major or national leagues, but there are still plenty of great teams to follow. Check out a Wichita Wingnuts baseball game at the Lawrence-Dumont Stadium or watch the Wichita Thunder professional hockey team sell out the 15,000 seats in the Intrust Arena. And make sure to cheer loud and proud. It’s the Wichita way.
10. Beer: It’s Kind Of A Patriotic Duty In Wichita
Source: Wichita Brewing Co & Pizzeria Facebook
With so many places for a good beer in Wichita, how does anyone choose? Well you don’t have to. The new Amber Waves tour brings together the top bars and brewers around the city for a fun way to taste the hops of Wichita from one end to the other. Between events, make sure to check out the delicious hometown craft beers of Wichita Brewing Company.
11. Meet Your New Morning Sugar Rush
Source: The Donut Whole Facebook
Krispy Kreme or Dunkin Donuts? That’s just blasphemy here in Wichita. Who needs such chain nonsense when you have gems like The Donut Whole? Chances are you’ll think you’ve died and gone to doughnut heaven when you see their outrageous selection that include themed options like Beatles and Dr. Who doughnuts. So ditch the chains and go for the Whole.
12. Beauty Is In The Eye Of Wichita
Source: Wichita Art Museum Facebook
You don’t have to look far to find art in this Midwest city. Come out on the last Friday of each month for the Final Friday Gallery Crawl: Start with the Wichita Art Museum and wind your way around the multiple galleries throughout the city, completely free of charge! The Frank Lloyd Wright-Allen Lamb house-museum is also available for design lovers to tour.
13. A Rainy Day Is No Excuse To Be Lazy In Wichita
Source: Exploration Place Facebook
When going outdoors isn’t an option, that doesn’t mean you’re stuck bored at home in this city. Wichita is brimming with museums and exciting things to do indoors such as the Exploration Place science and discovery center for fun for kids as well as adults. And The Alley Indoor Entertainment is basically everything you could ever want: Bowling lanes, go karts, billiards, laser tag and more.
14. Don’t Be A Square, Eat At Old Mill Tasty
Source: Old Mill Tasty Shop Facebook
Coming to Wichita and not visiting Old Mill Tasty Shop is like going to Disneyland and saying “meh” to Sleeping Beauty's Castle. It’s been one of the most popular spots to grab a milkshake for more than 80 years. Everything from the decor to the creamy shakes are like pages torn from your grandparents’ book of memories. Don’t miss it.
15. Wichita Lights Up At Christmas Time, Literally
Source: Botanica, The Wichita Gardens Facebook
Th Botanica Wichita gardens are a beautiful, peaceful escape with 24 themed gardens for a new experience every day, but the place really comes alive during the holiday Illuminations event. 10,000 visitors come every year to see the tens of thousands of lights and luminaries on the nearly ten acres of botanical land, transforming this little corner of Wichita into a real-life wonderland.
16. Lions And Tigers And... Giraffes
Source: Go Wichita Facebook
The most popular outdoor attraction in all of Kansas by far, make sure to visit the Sedgwick County Zoo, broken into sections by geographical areas so you can plan your perfect itinerary. Take the Slawson Family Tiger Trek in Asia, see a grizzly bear like something out of Alaska, and don’t leave without feeding the giraffes in Africa.
17. Nine Days Of Fun On The River
Source: Go Wichita Facebook
Much more than just an ordinary festival, the Wichita River Festival is a nine-day extravaganza that nearly 400,000 annual visitors know has to be experienced to be believed. Think helicopter rides, zip lining, eating contests, the best live music, sporting events, traveling exhibits, cultural and historical activities, interactive events for kids, plays, a flea market, fun on the river, a parade, various block parties, and a massive food court.
18. Wichita Has Its Own Sundance
Source: Tallgrass Film Festival Facebook
For over a decade Wichita has hosted the Tallgrass Film Festival, showing more than 100 independent films from all over the world. The five-day bash made in hipster heaven has also drawn in some famous faces from the world of independent film in the past, so you never know who might show up.
19. This City Doesn’t Forget Its Roots
Source: Mid-American All-Indian Center Facebook
The Mid-American All Indian Center is the only museum of its kind in Kansas to honor the Native American heritage of the area. Wichita also holds the American Indian Festival every year to celebrate the art, music, dance and history of the Native American culture, where visitors can shop through handmade jewelry and art, eat authentic Native American cuisine and learn about the history.
20. Or Its Own Role In History
Source: Flickr user Jim Carson
In 1958 protesters sat at the lunch counter at Wichita's Dockum Drug Store all day until closing for three weeks, until the owner finally agreed to serve African American patrons, 18 months before the famous Greensboro sit-in. A 20-foot bronze statue marks the site of the successful sit in, and the protest that moved Wichita toward integration.
21. Performing Arts That Could Shatter Glass
Source: Wichita Grand Opera Facebook
Culture and performing arts are everywhere in Wichita. Music lovers have their pick between the Music Theatre of Wichita and the Wichita Grand Opera, both of which perform at the Century II Convention Hall. Head to the Orpheum Theater downtown for smaller, more intimate (but still awesome) shows.