ICT: Food, fun and flying in the Air Capital City
You already know Wichita has a rich aviation heritage, but did you know opportunities abound for all your shopping, dining and entertainment pleasure? All the fun of a big city in a small package, Wichita has much to offer its guests.
Wichitans love to eat and it shows in the enormous variety of restaurants in the metro area - from quality fast food places to a convoy of food trucks to formal white-tablecloth establishments – if you have a craving, our restaurateurs can satisfy it. While the city does play host to most national chains such as Olive Garden, P.F. Chang’s, Abuelos, Chipotle, Krispy Kreme and Sonic, don’t miss out on local favorites including: Saigon Restaurant, Angelo’s Italian Restaurant, Delano BBQ Company, Tanya’s Soup Kitchen, DooDah Diner, the Donut Whole and Bella Luna. In a town where such franchises as Pizza Hut and White Castle were born, it’s no surprise that local chains Taco Shop and NuWay Café continue to thrive. In fact, you’ll find more than 1,000 places to dine in the Wichita Metro Area.
Wichita has a thriving arts community and everyone is welcome to play. Open mic nights, karaoke, free country-western dance lessons and DIY art opportunities join the more traditional whirlwind of concerts, movies, theatre, dance and fine art museums. Love music? Check out who is slated to appear at the modern, state-of-the-art sports and entertainment venue, Intrust Bank Arena, which has played host to Taylor Swift, Garth Brooks, the Eagles, Aerosmith and more since it opened in 2010. Smaller venues abound around the city, such as the popular John Barleycorn’s, if you’re interested in the local sound. Are the performing arts more your scene? Music Theatre of Wichita, Roxy’s, Wichita Community Theatre and the Guild Hall Players bring stories from page to stage, year-round, while Wichita Grand Opera hosts several large-scale productions of classics. Don’t rule out music, theatre, opera and dance from the three largest universities in the area – Friends University has a thriving music department and a rare Bachelor of Ballet degree program that hosts regular performances, Newman University theatre students focus on playwriting and new work can frequently be seen on its stages, while Wichita State University has a large and varied performing arts community with year-round events.
Spend an afternoon at one of Wichita’s museums. Modern art and a solid historic collection at Wichita Art Museum feature work by painter Mary Cassatt and glass artist Dale Chihuly – including his magnificent glass bridge and chandelier. Is history your thing? Check out Wichita’s Old Cowtown Museum for a look at Midwestern life in the 1870s. Outdoor sculpture? Head over to the Wichita State University campus for a tour of their huge outdoor art collection.
Shop ‘til you drop on the Plains
If your idea of “art” leans more toward retail therapy, there are several upscale shopping options in the area such as: Bradley Fair at 21st and Rock, Waterfront at 13th and Webb, Towne East Mall at Rock and Kellogg. The community additionally offers eight large-scale retail developments and numerous other shopping options – from chic boutiques to got-it-all retailers and warehouse-style merchants.
Want a little bit of everything? Head to Wichita’s red brick warehouse district “Old Town” or Historic Delano, which sprang up in Wichita’s notorious wild saloon days (and where Wyatt Earp once policed gunslingers and ladies of the night) and is now a family-friendly district with the area baseball stadium as its anchor.
Your stay in the Air Capital of the World puts you in close proximity to FlightSafety at Beech, Raytheon Beechcraft, Cessna, Boeing, Bombardier Aerospace, McConnell Air Force Base and countless aviation suppliers. And, of course, if golf is the only thing that surpasses your passion for aviation, you’ll appreciate Wichita’s 18 golf courses, for everyone from amateurs to professionals on both private and public courses. Wichita is conveniently located in the center of the heartland at the junctions of I-35 and I-135, and U.S. Hwy. 81 and U.S. Hwy. 54/400. It’s near the scenic Flint Hills and the renowned Kansas Cosmosphere & Space Center is less than an hour away.