Wichita “has the large city amenities as well as the Country character,” with commuters to the city passing “wheat and milo fields as well as pasture with grazing cattle,” says Anthony Horsch from Old Cowtown Museum.
With the city’s first log home as part of his stamping grounds in the re-created 1865-1880 frontier town, Horsch is the go-to man for learning about the city’s top history spots—more than 100 are listed on Wichita’s self-guided walking tour. Here, Horsch has given us a guide so you can visit the favored locales of Wichita locals.
Good Cowboy Bar: Club Rodeo has great Country music, mechanical bulls and live bull riding on Saturday nights.
Favorite Local Cuisine: I love the ribs and sauce at Hog Wild Pit Bar-B-Q, “Maytag Pasta” and fried pickles at Red Bean’s Bayou Grill, and the shakes at Jimmie’s Diner (1950’s atmosphere).
Best Art Galleries of the West: The Wichita Art Museum has a fine collection of Frederic Remington paintings, while the Mid-America All-Indian Center has a wide collection of contemporary American Indian art.
Best Bookstore of the West: Watermark Books, for its rare books.
Best Spot to View Wildlife: The Great Plains Nature Center focuses on local habitat experiences on the 240-acre Chisholm Creek Park through wetlands, prairie and riparian habitats.
What historic site do most of the schoolchildren visit? Why, Old Cowtown Museum, of course.
Old West Attractions: Old Cowtown Museum shows the clash of the cowboy and Victorian cultures through hands-on activities, costumed interpreters and exhibits. The Wichita–Sedgwick County Historical Museum traces the history of the city.
Do-Not-Miss Attraction: Exploration Place is a creative and fun place for children of all ages to learn science.
Popular Local Event: The nine-day Wichita River Festival in May culminates in a gigantic fireworks display over the Arkansas River.
What radio personality do the locals listen to? Brett Harris. He has a love of the town and some may say a quirky sense of humor.
Best Time of Year: Spring shows Kansas at its most dynamic. The constant changing weather and abundant rain make the lawns and the prairie grasses come alive.
Avg. House Cost: $154,000.
Avg. Temperature: Summer, 60s to 90s; Winter, 50s to 20s.
Who’s the person in Wichita everyone knows? Actress Kirstie Alley, star of Cheers, was born and raised in Wichita. She owns several homes in town and comes back frequently for charity events and to hang out.
Preservation Project: The Old Town District reclaims buildings in a warehouse district that now houses many restaurants, hotels and shops.
Special thanks to J. Anthony Horsch, education and interpretation coordinator at the Old Cowtown Museum, for sharing his love of the town with us.