ICT POP-UP URBAN PARK
We often think of Wichita as a place without an identity. We don't have beaches like Miami, mountains like Denver or a distinctive music scene like Seattle. But if you ask me, Wichita is defined by its resilience—taking what is given to us, no matter how little, and creating something from it. The most recent example is the ICT Pop-Up Urban Park, which is on the site of what used to be a huge hole from a failed development in the middle of downtown. It now hosts food trucks, art, a concrete ping pong table, mobile vendors, a piano, community events... the list goes on. It's simply a great public space. A space where people from all walks of life can interact and engage. It's one of those rare places that you can visit alone and be sure to see someone you know or to meet someone you want to know. That's what makes a city feel like home.
AVENUE ART DAYS MURAL CRAWL
The Douglas Design District encompasses one block north and one block south of Douglas Avenue from Washington to just east of Oliver. However, five years ago, no one could tell you where it was, much less what the District was all about. The first Avenue Art Days was in the fall of 2015, and it created a unifying theme for the District, with building owners offering up their walls to local artists to paint murals. Not only has it helped define and beautify this stretch of Douglas, but the murals are a window into what Wichitans love and value. There are 22 murals now, with more to come. It makes for a fun afternoon to visit them all.
THE ORPHEUM THEATRE
Wichita is all about acknowledging it's rich history, while embracing it's bright future. To me, there's no structure in town that better represents this way of life than the Orpheum Theatre. All the greats have performed at this breathtaking venue; Harry Houdini, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, The Marx Brothers, Count Basie, B.B. King, Ray Charles, Glen Campbell, Bob Hope, Jason Isbell… the list goes on and on, and continues to grow. If live performances aren't your cup a tea (I'm not judging… okay, that's a lie), you might check out their almost weekly classic movie showings. Speaking of movies, The Orpheum Theatre plays host to a large number spectacular Tallgrass Film Festival related events.
Monday blues got you down, and you need to sing, scream (please don't), or joke about it? Come on down to Monday Night Open Mic. Want to test your knowledge of random information? Trivia Night on Wednesdays are the place to be. Got an itch to see some of the best local, regional, and national performing acts on a weekly basis? You've come to the right place. There's always something going down at Barleycorn's!
A LEGACY ANTIQUE MALL
One of my favorite Antique shops. They always have a great variety of vintage treasures, jewelry, instruments, furniture, Native-American artifacts, clown heads, taxidermy, old post cards, tea sets, records, mid century modern furniture, etc. I have lost a lot of hours exploring this place. Don't forget to check out the upstairs. Plan to stay a while.
One of my favorite spots in town to grab a drink, The Monarch has superb atmosphere, located by the river in Delano. This gastropub is famous for its infused vodkas, smoked meats, and huge bourbon selection (I just called to check... they have 160 bourbons). Their enormous patio by the roundabout clock tower can't be beat, especially on nice days when they open the garage doors. To top it off, the Monarch displays a really great local art collection. Oh, and there's a pool table.
MID-AMERICAN FLEA MARKET
I’ve been going to this Flea Market for 18 years or so, and it has never failed to disappoint. Held at the Kansas Coliseum Pavillions on very select Sundays throughout the year (be sure to check the website before going), you'll enjoy a day of rummaging through the 700 booths of just about anything you could imagine. Attendees over 12 years old need to bring $1 for admission.
Easily the greatest Thai restaurant in the United States. I saw Harrison Ford eat there, and he's been back several times since. Great prices (which haven’t gone up in 10 years), great people, great food. I can't stress this enough—Thai House rules.
FINAL FRIDAY ART CRAWL
Every Final Friday Wichita's galleries and venues open their doors to feature visual artists and their work, allowing the public to soak in the talent that the city has to offer. There's a strong following from the public, and usually in the warmer months galleries are packed with people. Wichita is lucky to have a wide variety of galleries and venues that exhibit work ranging from long-established Wichita artists to students. Non-profits and experimental pop-up spaces add some flavor as well. Final Fridays always bring a serious buzz and energy to the city, and it's by far one of my favorite things about Wichita.
SEDGWICK COUNTY ZOO
Growing up Sedgwick County Zoo was a staple for me and my family, but it's not just a novelty for my own childhood - it's a legit gem for Wichita. The SCZ has grown so much over my lifetime and it continues to boast some of the nicest exhibits and programs that stand up against the best zoos in the country. A trip to the Sedgwick County Zoo was a total blast when I was five, and it's still a total blast for me now.
PUBLIC @ THE BRICKYARD
My favorite restaurant/bar in Wichita because 1.The food is high quality and amazing, using mostly local producers for their ingredients and beer menu. 2. One of the most comfortable atmospheres in town. 3. They are very involved with the community and local events. 4. Awesome owners and staff that take the time to get to know their customers. 5. Live music on Saturday nights. Enough said.
CRAVINGS GLUTEN FREE BAKERY
Being a celiac with an insatiable sweet tooth is not easy at times. Cravings has made it so much easier to feed my addiction and has quite possibly made it even worse. I frequent there about two, sometimes three times a week, loading up on goods. In all truth, I'm eating a pastry right now while typing. All addiction aside, this place is awesome and whether celiac, gluten intolerant or a lover of all things gluten, check this place out, because they have some awesome baked goods!