Are you thinking about visiting Kansas this year? Here are some of the most fun, visually stunning, and unique things to do in Kansas. These captivating sights, exciting activities, and engaging attractions are sure to make for an unforgettable vacation experience.
Wondering what could be the best things to do in KS? Well, there are a lot! But here, I’ll let you in on the coolest ones this amazing destination offers to travelers with discriminating taste. Kansas, the heartland of America, is a treasure trove of unique experiences waiting to be discovered. Known as the Sunflower State, it’s a place where the echoes of the Wild West still linger, where the tallgrass prairies sway under the vast skies, and where the spirit of adventure is as boundless as the horizon.
Kansas is a state that’s steeped in history, from its Native American roots to its pivotal role in the American Civil War. It’s a place where you can walk in the footsteps of pioneers, explorers, and outlaws. But it’s also a state that’s looking to the future, with vibrant cities like Wichita and Topeka offering a thriving arts scene, innovative culinary experiences, and a host of modern attractions. Here’s everything you need to know about these fun things to do in Kansas.
Best Places to Visit in Kansas
Are you ready to discover the coolest things to do in Kansas? From the bustling streets of Kansas City to the tranquil beauty of the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, these are the experiences that will make your Kansas journey truly memorable.
Whether you’re a history buff, an outdoor enthusiast, a foodie, or a culture vulture, Kansas has something for you. You can explore the state’s stunning natural beauty, from the rolling Flint Hills to the dramatic Monument Rocks. You can immerse yourself in the state’s rich history at places like the Boot Hill Museum in Dodge City or the Fort Larned National Historic Site. Or you can indulge your need for speed at the Kansas Speedway, or marvel at the wonders of the cosmos at the Cosmosphere in Hutchinson. Let’s hit the road and explore the wonders that await in the Sunflower State! Here’s all the best attractions in Kansas you should know about.
1. Monument Rocks
Looking for the best things to do in Kansas? Don’t miss this one! Begin your Kansas adventure with a visit to the awe-inspiring Monument Rocks. Known as the Chalk Pyramids, these natural formations stand tall in the flat expanse of the Kansas prairie, offering a sight that’s as unexpected as it is breathtaking.
Designated as a National Natural Landmark, Monument Rocks are a testament to the geological history of the region. These towering formations, reaching up to 70 feet, were formed millions of years ago when Kansas was covered by a vast inland sea.
The rocks are a photographer’s dream, with their intricate shapes and textures offering endless opportunities for creative shots. They’re particularly stunning at sunrise and sunset, when the changing light paints them in hues of gold and pink.
Whether you’re a nature lover, a history buff, or a photography enthusiast, a visit to Monument Rocks is a must when in Kansas. It’s a place that reminds you of the power of nature and the passage of time, offering a perspective that’s both humbling and inspiring. As such, this Kansas attraction is one of the most popular sights in the state.
2. Botanica Wichita
For a unique experience like no other, you’ll want to check out this top place to visit in Kansas. Immerse yourself in the beauty of nature at Botanica Wichita, a stunning garden paradise in the heart of Wichita. Spanning 18 acres, this botanical garden is a haven of tranquility and a feast for the senses.
Botanica Wichita is home to over 30 themed gardens, each offering a unique experience. Wander through the Shakespeare Garden, inspired by the Bard’s plays, or explore the Chinese Garden of Friendship, a symbol of Wichita’s sister city relationship with Kaifeng, China. Don’t miss the Downing Children’s Garden, a magical space designed to engage kids with nature.
Throughout the year, the garden hosts a variety of events, from concerts and art shows to educational workshops and holiday celebrations. It’s a vibrant community space that brings people together to celebrate the beauty and diversity of nature.
Whether you’re a gardening enthusiast, a nature lover, or simply looking for a peaceful retreat, Botanica Wichita is a must-visit destination in Kansas. It’s a place where you can connect with nature, find inspiration, and leave with a sense of peace and renewal. There is so much to see at Botanica Wichita, that it’s no wonder this is among the most fun things to do in Kansas.
3. Kansas Speedway
Thrill-seekers will love this top thing to do in Kansas. For a dose of high-octane excitement, make your way to the Kansas Speedway in Kansas City. This premier motorsports facility is known for its thrilling NASCAR races and its fan-friendly atmosphere.
The 1.5-mile tri-oval track offers intense racing action, with high speeds and close finishes. Whether you’re a die-hard NASCAR fan or a newcomer to the sport, the roar of the engines, the speed of the cars, and the energy of the crowd make for an unforgettable experience.
But it’s not just about the races. The speedway also hosts a variety of events throughout the year, from concerts and car shows to charity runs and community events. It’s a vibrant hub of activity that brings people together for shared experiences.
Whether you’re seeking the thrill of a NASCAR race, looking to immerse yourself in the local community, or simply wanting to try something new, the Kansas Speedway is one of the coolest things to do in KS you don’t want to miss.
4. Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve
Looking for the best places in Kansas? Add this to your bucket list! Experience the beauty and serenity of the American prairie at the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve. Located in the Flint Hills, this preserve protects a significant remnant of the tallgrass prairie ecosystem that once covered much of the central United States.
The preserve offers a variety of ways to explore the prairie. You can hike along the scenic trails, take a guided bus tour, or even embark on a horseback ride. As you explore, you’ll encounter a diverse array of wildlife, from bison and deer to a multitude of bird species.
Don’t miss the chance to visit the historic Spring Hill Ranch, where you can learn about the region’s ranching history. The limestone ranch house, barn, and outbuildings offer a glimpse into the life of 19th-century ranchers.
Whether you’re a nature lover, a history buff, or simply seeking a peaceful retreat, the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve offers a unique and enriching experience. It’s a place where you can connect with the land, the wildlife, and the history of the American prairie. This is definitely one of the most unique Kansas things to do you should experience.
As far as things to do in Kansas go, this activity is among the coolest! Take a journey through the cosmos at the Cosmosphere in Hutchinson. This world-class space museum and science education center offers an immersive exploration of the history and wonders of space exploration.
The Cosmosphere houses one of the most significant collections of U.S. and Russian space artifacts in the world. You can see the actual Apollo 13 command module, a full-scale replica of the Space Shuttle Endeavour, and a Sputnik satellite, among many other exhibits.
The museum also features a planetarium, where you can gaze at the stars and learn about the mysteries of the universe. For a more adrenaline-fueled experience, try the astronaut training simulator, which gives you a taste of what astronauts experience during space flight.
Whether you’re a space enthusiast, a science geek, or simply curious about the universe, the Cosmosphere offers an educational and entertaining experience that’s out of this world. As such, I highly recommend this thing to do in Kansas to everyone I meet.
Yearning for a getaway like no other? This thing to do in Kansas has got you covered. Delve deep into the earth at Strataca, an underground salt museum located in Hutchinson. This unique attraction takes you 650 feet below the surface into an active salt mine, offering a fascinating glimpse into the world of mining and geology.
The journey begins with a dark, thrilling ride down the mine shaft in an original hoist. Once underground, you can explore the mine’s vast network of chambers and tunnels, see giant machinery used in mining operations, and learn about the geology and history of salt mining.
One of the highlights is the Salt Safari, where you can ride a tram into parts of the mine not usually open to the public. You’ll see unique salt formations and learn about the mine’s ecology, including the bacteria that live in the salt.
Whether you’re a geology enthusiast, a history buff, or simply looking for an adventure, visiting Strataca offers a unique and educational experience. This makes it one of the best things to do in Kansas that’s not to be missed.
7. The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
Experience the Midwest in style at this unique place to visit in Kansas. Art lovers should not miss a visit to The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City. This world-class museum houses an extensive collection of art spanning over 5,000 years, from ancient to contemporary.
The museum’s collection includes European and American paintings, Asian art, Native American art, and a renowned collection of photography. Highlights include works by Caravaggio, Titian, Rembrandt, Monet, and Van Gogh.
One of the museum’s most iconic features is the Donald J. Hall Sculpture Park, home to the famous Shuttlecocks installation. This outdoor space blends art and nature, offering a tranquil setting for enjoying the museum’s impressive collection of sculptures.
With its diverse collection, beautiful architecture, and serene sculpture park, The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art offers a rich and inspiring cultural experience. Whether you’re an art connoisseur or a casual visitor, you’re sure to find something that captivates and inspires. No wonder this is one of the top things to do in Kansas for the most discerning travelers.
8. Old Cowtown Museum
This is one of the best things to do in Kansas, hands down. Step back in time at the Old Cowtown Museum in Wichita, a living history museum that recreates a frontier cattle town from the 1860s to the 1880s. This immersive experience offers a glimpse into the life and times of the early settlers of Wichita and Sedgwick County.
The museum features over 50 historic and re-created buildings, including a saloon, a jail, a blacksmith shop, and residential houses. As you wander the dirt streets, you’ll encounter costumed interpreters who bring the past to life with demonstrations of period crafts and trades.
Don’t miss the chance to see a traditional cattle drive, watch a gunfight reenactment, or take a ride on a vintage horse-drawn carriage. The museum also hosts a variety of special events throughout the year, from historical reenactments to seasonal festivals.
Whether you’re a history buff, a Wild West enthusiast, or simply looking for a fun and educational experience, the Old Cowtown Museum is one of the top Kansas attractions you’ll definitely want to add to your travel itinerary.
9. Kansas State Capitol
A visit to Kansas would be incomplete without a trip to the Kansas State Capitol. Experience the grandeur of Kansas’s political history at the Kansas State Capitol in Topeka. This stunning architectural masterpiece is not only the seat of the state’s government but also a museum that tells the story of Kansas’s journey from territory to statehood.
The capitol building, completed in 1903, is a marvel of 19th-century architecture. Its most striking feature is the magnificent copper dome, one of the largest in the United States. You can climb to the top of the dome for a panoramic view of Topeka and the surrounding area.
Inside, you’ll find beautifully restored spaces like the Senate Chamber, the House of Representatives Chamber, and the State Library. Don’t miss the stunning murals by Kansas artist John Steuart Curry, including the famous portrait of John Brown.
Whether you’re a history buff, a political enthusiast, or an architecture lover, the Kansas State Capitol offers a rich and inspiring experience. It’s easy to see why this is one of the best things to do in Kansas!
10. Sedgwick County Zoo
Looking for Kansas activities that don’t break the bank? Then this is what you’re looking for!
For a fun-filled family outing, head to the Sedgwick County Zoo in Wichita. As the largest zoo in Kansas, it’s home to more than 3,000 animals of nearly 400 species, offering an exciting and educational experience for visitors of all ages.
The zoo is divided into themed areas that replicate the animals’ natural habitats. Explore the African Savannah, home to lions, giraffes, and elephants. Venture into the North America Prairie, where you’ll find bison, grizzly bears, and wolves. Or visit the Jungle, a tropical rainforest filled with exotic birds, primates, and big cats.
The zoo also offers a variety of interactive experiences, from feeding the giraffes to watching the penguins at play. Throughout the year, the zoo hosts special events and educational programs that bring you closer to the wonders of the animal kingdom.
Whether you’re an animal lover, a nature enthusiast, or looking for a great day out with the kids, the Sedgwick County Zoo guarantees a ton of enjoyment to any visitor, that’s why this is one of the most fun things to do in Kansas for me.
11. Eisenhower Presidential Library, Museum, and Boyhood Home
It would be a crime to write an article on the top things to do in Kansas without mentioning the Eisenhower Presidential Library, Museum, and Boyhood Home. Immerse yourself in the life and legacy of one of America’s most influential presidents at the Eisenhower Presidential Library, Museum, and Boyhood Home in Abilene. This comprehensive complex offers a fascinating insight into Dwight D. Eisenhower’s life, from his humble beginnings in Kansas to his time in the White House.
The museum houses a vast collection of artifacts and documents related to Eisenhower’s life and career. You can explore exhibits on his military service in World War II, his presidency, and his personal life. Highlights include his presidential papers, military uniforms, and personal mementos.
Don’t miss the chance to visit Eisenhower’s boyhood home, a modest two-story house where he lived from 1898 until his admission to West Point in 1911. The house is preserved much as it was during Eisenhower’s boyhood, offering a glimpse into his early life.
Whether you’re a history buff, a political enthusiast, or simply interested in learning more about one of America’s most important figures, the Eisenhower Presidential Library, Museum, and Boyhood Home is one of the top places to visit in Kansas that you should know about.
12. Flint Hills
This is one of the best things to do in Kansas as you end your midwestern journey: visit the breathtaking Flint Hills. This region, stretching across much of eastern Kansas, is home to the largest remaining tract of tallgrass prairie in North America, offering a landscape of rolling hills, wildflowers, and endless sky.
The best way to experience the Flint Hills is to take a drive along the Flint Hills National Scenic Byway. This 48-mile route offers stunning views of the prairie, with overlooks and interpretive signs along the way. You can also explore the region’s hiking trails, go bird watching, or even take a guided prairie bus tour.
Don’t miss the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, where you can see a herd of bison and learn about the ecology and history of the prairie. Or visit the Flint Hills Discovery Center in Manhattan, which offers interactive exhibits on the region’s natural and cultural history.
Whether you’re a nature lover, a photographer, or simply someone who appreciates the beauty of the open road, the Flint Hills offer an experience that’s quintessentially Kansas. Is this one of the coolest things to do in Kansas? You bet!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the Best Things to Do in Kansas
Looking for more content on the top things to do in Kansas? Here are some popular questions (and answers) I get that will help you plan your trip to Kansas:
What is the number one attraction in Kansas?
One of the most well-known sights in Kansas is the Eisenhower Presidential Library, Museum, and Boyhood Home in Abilene. This site honors Dwight D. Eisenhower, the 34th President of the United States, and features his childhood home, a museum with exhibits on his life and presidency, and his final resting place.
Other popular attractions include the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center in Hutchinson. In addition, the Sedgwick County Zoo in Wichita is one of the largest zoos in the state. Outdoor enthusiasts might also enjoy the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve. This offers a glimpse into the natural landscape that once covered much of the central United States.
What is Kansas most famous for?
Kansas is most famous for its central role in U.S. history, particularly as the setting of many pivotal events in the American Civil War. It’s also known for its agriculture, notably wheat farming, earning it the nickname “the Wheat State.”
What food is Kansas known for?
Kansas is renowned for its barbecue, particularly in Kansas City, which has a distinctive style of barbecue that’s characterized by a wide variety of meats and a sweet, thick, tomato-based sauce. The state is also known for its steakhouses and home-style cooking.
What is the best time of year to visit the Flint Hills in Kansas?
The best time to visit the Flint Hills is in the spring (May and June) when the wildflowers are in bloom, or in the fall (September and October) when the grasses turn a beautiful reddish hue. Both seasons offer mild weather and stunning scenery.
Are there any special events or festivals in Kansas?
Yes, Kansas hosts a variety of events and festivals throughout the year. Highlights include the Kansas State Fair in Hutchinson in September, the Symphony in the Flint Hills in June, and the Wichita River Festival in May.
Why should people visit Kansas?
People should visit Kansas for its rich history, diverse landscapes, and vibrant cultural scene. From the rolling prairies of the Flint Hills to the bustling city life of Wichita and Kansas City, the state offers a unique blend of experiences. They cater to history buffs, nature lovers, foodies, and art enthusiasts alike.
Is there anything fun to do in Kansas?
Absolutely, Kansas is brimming with fun activities for all ages and interests. Whether it’s exploring the cosmos at the Cosmosphere, stepping back in time at the Old Cowtown Museum, enjoying the thrill of a race at the Kansas Speedway, or immersing yourself in the arts at the Nelson-Atkins Museum, there’s no shortage of exciting experiences to be had in the Sunflower State.
Final Thoughts on Visiting Kansas
From its rolling prairies to its bustling cities, Kansas offers a wealth of experiences that are as diverse as they are captivating. Whether you’re exploring the cosmos at the Cosmosphere, stepping back in time at the Old Cowtown Museum, or immersing yourself in the beauty of the Flint Hills, you’re sure to find something that sparks your interest and stirs your soul. So why wait? Start planning your Kansas adventure today, and discover the wonders that await in the heart of America.