You’re in for a treat if you have a business trip to Wichita, Kansas. Between meetings you can recharge, relive history, and indulge at elegant restaurants.
Count yourself lucky if your next business trip takes you to Wichita, Kansas. Wichita once conjured images of dirt paths, outlaws, and smoky saloons, but the 49th largest city in the U.S. has come a long way since the days of the Wild West. Whether you arrive in town a day or two ahead of your first meeting or you simply decide to see the sights in your downtime, you won’t be disappointed by the entertaining possibilities.
Old Cowtown Museum
Although Wichita can no longer be called a cowtown, it was one of the most famous of its time. As a vital leg along the Chisolm Trail, Wichita survived more than its fair share of ruffians and rogues. In fact, Wyatt Earp was fired as a lawman in 1876 due to his habit of pistol-whipping opponents. Old Cowtown Museum captures the wildness and immerses you in what it felt like to walk the streets of 19th-century Wichita.
The museum site includes 54 historic and recreated buildings located along the bank of the Arkansas River, each filled with period furnishings. Stroll the dusty roads to see domestic textiles, farming equipment, and tools common to the 1800s. Visit Residential Street and meet men and women dressed in period clothes, ready to answer your questions. Don’t miss the Buffalo Hunter/Trader Area, where you can get a taste of what it was like to make a living hunting buffalo. Old Cowtown perfectly captures the history of the city.
Meetings are sometimes stressful, but there is an antidote. Turn off your cell phone, laptop, and iPod, and recharge with a breath of fresh air — literally. Few things are more relaxing than a trip to Botanica Wichita. The Chinese Garden pays tribute to the Sung Dynasty (960-1127 AD) and features a small waterfall and cliffs around the edge of a peaceful pond.
Take a walk through the Butterfly Garden with its range of nectar plants and impressive population of native and migratory butterflies. Enjoy the beautiful native wildflowers in the Cissy Wise Wildflower Meadow and see the collection of low-growing perennials, dwarf shrubs, and annuals that thrive among the Garden on the Rocks. The garden is open year-round, with extended hours during spring and summer months. The Roman politician Marcus Tullius Cicerop once said, “If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need,” and he may have been right.
Mid-America All-Indian Center
You don’t have to have Native American blood running through your veins to enjoy a visit to Mid-America All-Indian Center (MAAIC) at 650 North Seneca. Located in downtown Wichita, the center has more than 3,000 artifacts in its collection and features rotating exhibits throughout the year. Outside, a genuine tipi and gardens honor Native American artists Woody Crumbo and Blackbear Bosin. Located east of the building is the unforgettable Keeper of the Plains, a 44-foot statue that towers over the Arkansas River with its arms raised toward the sun.
Chester’s Chophouse & Wine Bar
Chester’s Chophouse & Wine Bar is a Wichita original with plenty of ambience and great food. Rich mahogany woods and stone fireplaces set the backdrop for soft leather booths that offer sweeping riverfront views. Chester’s offers a contemporary take on steaks and seafood, including a raw bar with fresh oysters flown in from the Atlantic, as well as an extensive wine selection, full bar, and cigars. It’s the perfect getaway for evenings when you just want to spoil yourself.
Although no one is quite sure why, Wichita is often referred to as “Doo-Dah.” Urban Dictionary suggests that it’s a reference to the laid-back, whimsical attitudes of the city’s residents. Whatever the genesis of the nickname, it continues to stick. Doo-Dah Diner, celebrates the laid-back reputation by providing a casual place to enjoy breakfast and lunch. With local classics like Crab Cake Benedict and Bat Out of Hell Meatloaf, Doo-Dah’s is a must-visit diner.
What are your favorite spots to visit during your downtime in Wichita? Fill us in on Facebook.