Wichita is known as the “Heart of the Country” and is not only the largest city in the state of Kansas but it is also the 48th largest city in the United States. Wichita is about a 7.5 hour drive from Boulder, CO, making it a great weekend destination if you are looking to head over to the Midwest for a few days.
We spent a weekend in Wichita in late September and had so much fun! We had never explored Kansas before (aside from the occasional pass-thru on the way to Indiana or South Carolina). But, during each of those long drives, we talked about how we’d love to start exploring areas we had never visited more. Thus, we researched different areas in Kansas and decided we wanted to spend a weekend exploring a new city, which is a little different from our normal trips.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Visit Wichita. All opinions are our own.
It’s so important to us that our furbabies, Ollie and Baxter, can join us on our travels. So, we are sharing all of the dog-friendly locations, restaurants, breweries, and activities in Wichita for your next visit!
Keeper of the Plains
If there is one location you need to add to your list while visiting, Keeper of the Plains is it! This 44 foot sculpture sits at the point where the Big and Little Arkansas Rivers merge near downtown. It was created by a Native American artist and local Wichita resident, Blackbear Bosin. The land where the statue sits is sacred to the Native American communities in the area and surrounding the statue there are important pieces of information about the indigenous communities sharing history and stories. The Keeper of the Plains is also near the Mid-America All-Indian Museum. This representation and collaboration with the local indigenous community is so important, and we loved learning more about it. The statue was originally built in 1974 and has been keeping watch over the city ever since.
We recommend visiting at various times of the day because the river walk is stunning and there are great views of the city itself. However, if you only have time to visit once, we suggest going during the “Ring of Fire” which is when the fire around the statue will burn for 15 minutes every day. In the fall and winter, the fire starts burning at 7 PM. In the spring and summer, the fire starts burning at 9 PM.
There are many distinct districts that make up downtown Wichita. Each offers unique experiences, dining, and attractions. We loved exploring the many districts from admiring the murals and art on Douglas Street to seeing the unique architecture of the buildings in Old Town (and even a dinosaur outside of the Museum of World Treasures). Walkability is so important to us, and it’s such an easy and not to mention beautiful walk throughout the many districts downtown.
Pawnee Prairie Park
Of course, we can’t visit a location and not explore a little nature :) Before heading back home, we made a stop at Pawnee Prairie Park to let the boys stretch their legs before the road trip home. The park is around 400 acres with many trails for hikers, bikers, and equestrians. There is a cute playground, an open shelter, and restrooms as well. It was a beautiful way to end our trip. What we loved most was all of the shade. The large trees provided much needed shade from the heat of the early afternoon. Additionally, there was even a paved path that made the trail accessible to everyone. It truly felt like we were exploring a local park that we would frequent if we lived in the area, which was a real treat!
If you are looking for a unique find, then try searching for the troll statue near the Arkansas River! We unexpectedly stumbled upon this creature and it was such a fun find. Be sure to look closely (and down!) or you may miss it!
River City Brewing Company
After a long drive from CO, our first stop when we arrived in Wichita, after checking into the hotel, was dinner at River City Brewing Company. Whether you sit inside or outside, the vibe is so cozy with exposed brick, beautiful artwork, and twinkle lights. The food and drinks were delicious and the patio was perfect to bring the dogs. We watched the sun set from our table over Old Town. It was a great introduction to Wichita!
To be honest, we don’t usually go out for breakfast, and if we do it’s our routine stop at McDonald’s on the way out of town during a road trip. But, when Visit Wichita suggested trying HomeGrown for breakfast, we knew we had to try it. Boy, are we glad we did! 100% recommend!
Tanya’s Soup Kitchen
You know Tanya’s is a beloved local restaurant. We arrived at around 1:30 PM for lunch and the line was out the door as soon as we sat down. The food was amazing. The pasta salad is a must!
Hopping Gnome Brewing Company
The inside of the brewery really helped you understand the commitment to being Hopping Gnome. With gnome decorations, dolls, stickers, signs, you name it, you become immersed in being one with a gnome and it was the best! The beer was great and everyone was so friendly. Highly recommend sitting at the bar with your partner or BFF with an Oktoberfest beer and staying a while to chat. 10/10 experience!
Piatto Neapolitan Pizzeria
If you are looking to pair your beer with some pizza, you should also check out Piatto! It is right next door to Hopping Gnome Brewing Co. With handmade dough and baked in a wood-fired oven, you know you are in for a great meal! Definitely recommend!
Leslie Coffee Co.
Coffee shops typically have a cozy feel to them. But, the feeling you get when stepping into Leslie Coffee Co. is something else. The live plants, blue-textured ceiling, and Wichita-inspired wallpaper in the back, made you feel comfortable. However, it was the staff that made you feel at home and were so welcoming. The iced coffee and breakfast were also amazing. A must-visit while in town.
Wichita Brewing Company
To round out our culinary experience in Wichita, we stopped at one final brewery, Wichita Brewing Co., for lunch on our way out of town. We arrived hungry and left with happy stomachs ready to hit the road home. It was the perfect way to end our time in Wichita and certainly left us craving for more.
Old Town Farmer’s Market
From April to December, the farmer’s market arrives at Old Town with a mixture of food, art, and so much more. There were so many dogs at the market! We love to see that. It was a great way to see the locals and visitors alike buying and selling goods in support of the local community. Being in Old Town, the location of the farmer’s market was also very cool as well!
Prairieland Beer & Music Festival
We planned our visit around the Prairieland Beer & Music Festival! This was the first festival after a two-year break and everyone seemed so excited about this, including us! More than 40 breweries from Kansas and other states came to share samples of over 100 different types of beer. There was live music, puppies, and great conversation. J. actually used to work as a quality assurance biologist at a brewery in Boulder (it was actually the reason we moved to CO initially!) and that’s where he fell in love with beer: tasting, the science behind it, you name it. So, it was such a great experience to be able to attend this beer festival!
Our weekend in Wichita was incredible! There was so much to explore and something for everyone to do within the city. Perhaps though, our favorite part was how dog-friendly it was. Everything mentioned above is dog-friendly! And not only are dogs allowed but they are so welcomed, with water bowls, pets, and friendly strangers commenting on how cute our boys were. That meant so much to us. If you are looking for a city adventure in the Midwest, you should add Wichita to your list ASAP!
Until next time, keep adventuring!