The Best Things to do in Kansas

The 25 Best Things to do in Kansas

An underrated state to visit, Kansas is oftentimes a state that many drive through on road trips to other destinations. But, instead of passing through, with this guide, you’ll want to make stops at the many unique attractions found scattered throughout Kansas. Known for its beautiful tallgrass prairies that seem to go on endlessly, Kansas is a state full of rich history and a great place to visit, thanks to its distinctive and eccentric sites! 

From the outdoor attractions in the Flint Hills to the Cosmosphere Space Center in Hutchinson, there’s enough to keep everyone entertained. Visit the Wild West town of Dodge City, the Strataca Kansas Underground Salt Museum, and the cities that are well-known for their art scene. From each corner of the state, you’ll find diverse attractions and destinations that play an important role in American history, like Topeka’s Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site. 

With so many things to see and do in the Sunflower State, you might not know where to begin. So we’ve compiled our list of the absolute best things to do in Kansas for you. Stick to these fun and unique Kansas bucket list recommendations, and there’s no doubt you’ll have an amazing time exploring this one-of-a-kind Midwestern state!

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase or booking through one of our links we may earn a small commission (don’t worry, it’s at no extra cost to you).


25 Fun and Unique Things to do in Kansas

1. Pay a Tribute to All Things Oz in Wamego

Best Things to do in Kansas: Oz Museum
Image courtesy of Kansas Tourism

If you find yourself in Wamego, follow the real-life yellow brick road on Lincoln Avenue past the statue of Toto and all the colorful murals until you reach the emerald building adorned with the source of your childhood nightmares – flying monkeys. Here is where the adventure begins!

Feast your eyes on over 2,000 artifacts that span over 120 years of The Wizard of Oz’s history at the Oz Museum. Embrace your childhood nostalgia while you watch the entire 1939 movie in the cozy back theater, or if that isn’t exhilarating enough for you, then you can test your bravery in the tornado simulator that blows winds of up to 78 miles an hour.

For the ultimate souvenir, you can purchase your very own pair of ruby red slippers at the gift shop to always be reminded that there’s no place like Wamego.

Wamego is a charming little rural town that is so quintessentially Kansas. Want to stick to the Oz theme? Toto’s TacOZ! is a great spot for lunch, or for a more sophisticated evening, you can opt out of being the designated driver and head on over to the Oz Winery to try their local specialties.


2. Take a Stroll Through the Stunning Gardens of Botanica in Wichita

Fun Things to do in Kansas: Botanica
Images courtesy of Kansas Tourism

Sitting in the heart of the Wichita museum district, this place has been adored by locals since it first opened its doors in 1987, and for a good reason. Botanica is a year-round destination that you are sure to fall in love with.

You can come here anytime to wander through the majestic gardens. Come here in the spring to see over 50,000 tulip bulbs and 120,000 daffodil bulbs flowering. From June to September, witness a kaleidoscope of colors as over 50 species of butterflies fly freely in the butterfly house. Approach the hatching house, and you can observe them emerging from their chrysalises and taking their first cautious flight.

For the ultimate autumn vibes, check out over 1,000 unique glow-in-the-dark pumpkins, cautiously make your way through the Haunted Woodland walk, then nestle in at the cozy fire pits that are perfect for toasting s’mores. Check out the largest light show in the Midwest as you walk through this Winter Wonderland to witness their famous illuminations!

Finish off your evening stroll with the perfect winter warmer, a delicious cup of hot chocolate, and pay a visit to Kris Kringle himself, who is delighted to greet the kids and young at heart, all while delightful live music plays to put you in the festive spirit.


3. Experience the Real Wild West at Boot Hill Museum in Dodge City

Must do things in Kansas: Boot Hill Museum
Images courtesy of Kansas Tourism

Whip out your rodeo attire and fasten your chaps because we’re heading back in time to the Old West and the American Frontier. Back in the 1870s and 1880s, Dodge City was known as the “Queen of the Cowtowns” and the “Wildest, Wickedest, and Woolliest.”

With its replica of Front Street, the Boot Hill Museum is a portal to the times when Dodge was full of whisky-scented saloons, rowdy cowboys, and shootouts at sundown. This museum tells the history of the infamous Dodge City. Outside of the museum is “Front Street,” a recreation of what Dodge City would have looked like in its heyday.

Kansas Bucket List: Boot Hill Museum

You can go inside all the replica buildings and look around at the artifacts and see how daily life was for all the crazy cowboys that called this place home. The term “Boot Hill” was pretty commonplace throughout the Wild West. 

The term comes from the fact that so many local cowboys died swiftly in gunfights, essentially “dying with their boots on.” Today, the Boot Hill Museum is located on the original site of the Boot Hill Cemetery. 

Like this post?! How about...
The 15 Best Things to do in Lawrence, Kansas

4. Unleash Your Inner Astronaut at the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center

Kansas Things to do: Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center
Images courtesy of Kansas Tourism

See things you’ve never seen before – not even at NASA! Learn all about the history of the Space Race, from Nazi rockets to the moon landing. Skip Russia because they have the largest collection of Russian space artifacts outside of Moscow. You can even see the real Apollo 13!

This totally unique collection allows the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center to tell the story of the Space Race better than any museum in the world, making this one of the must-do things in Kansas for space geeks. 

Sure, it’s smaller than the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, but the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center is more intimate and does a much better job of putting everything into a historical context – which is especially useful for those of us who didn’t grow up during the Space Race!

Admire the twinkly night sky in the impressive planetarium, watch a movie in the huge dome theater, take your time in the museum, and be sure to check out a live science demonstration in Dr. Goddard’s Lab.

This place offers something for kids of all ages and is sure to delight anyone who used to look up at the stars and dream of being an astronaut. Don’t forget to finish your trip with a visit to the cafe because they have cookies that are out of this world! 


5. Learn All About Nature at the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve

Unique Things to do in Kansas: Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve

This preserve is the largest protected tallgrass prairie left in the country and the only national park unit dedicated specifically to the tallgrass prairie. Home to over 150 species of birds like vultures, turkeys, and red-tailed hawks, this is one of the best things to do in Kansas for animal and nature lovers. The preserve also contains one of the largest remaining populations of the endangered greater prairie chicken.

When you are exploring the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, you’ll find it has a wide range of exhibits from ecology and geology to history and culture. It covers just about everything that shaped the tallgrass prairie and made it the marvel that we see today. After stopping off at the Visitor Center, you’ll enjoy taking a self-guided tour of the ranch or trying catch-and-release fishing in Fox Creek or any of the three ponds.

Three glorious nature trails allow you to experience the beauty of the tallgrass prairie firsthand. You might even see a jumping jackrabbit or an elegant white-tailed deer.

Any nature lover will be ecstatic to hear that this place is home to a sizable population of over 2,000 wild bison. Did you know that in 2016 the American bison became the United States’ first national mammal? 

Much like the bald eagle, bison are a symbol of American identity. They are also one of the greatest conservation success stories of our time. All the more reason to see them at this preserve!


6. Immerse Yourself in Science at the Exploration Place

Fun Things to do in Kansas: Exploration Place

One of the best Kansas attractions for kids, dive into hundreds of amazing interactive exhibits that are sure to excite you at the Exploration Place. Immerse yourself in 360-degree views under the largest dome theater in Kansas, catch one of their live science shows in the theater (performed multiple times daily), or feel like a giant while exploring 1950s Kansas in miniature.

Kids will have a blast being kings and queens of the three-story medieval castle in a town “where kids rule.” In the Exploration Park, you can unleash your inner Indiana Jones by digging for archaeological treasures in the giant sandbox or just sit and relax and soak up the impressive panoramic views.

Kansas Bucket List: Exploration Place

Explore the wacky and wonderful world of the human body inside and out with hilarious carnival games, show off your surgical skills in a life-sized game of Operation, experience a literal Emotional Roller Coaster simulator, or just be plain silly on the fart chair that spits out flatulence facts!

Like this post?! How about...
The 12 Best Hotels In Kansas City, Missouri

7. Admire the Artwork at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

Must do things in Kansas: Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

Located in Kansas City, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art contains mind-blowing artwork from almost every corner of the globe, spanning a whopping 5,000 years.

Upon arriving, the building itself is simply stunning, and it’s easy to see why this is one of the top Kansas attractions. With its sheer scale and dramatic columns, you’ll instantly feel like you’re stepping back in time to Ancient Rome until you notice the world’s largest shuttlecocks scattered around the freshly manicured lawn. It’s hard to believe that admission here is free!

Why go all the way to the Louvre when Nelson Atkins has art by many of Europe’s most famous artists right here in Kansas City? Featuring works by Claude Monet, Vincent van Gogh, Albrecht Dürer, John Constable, Caravaggio, Titian, and Rembrandt, they even have a replica of Rodin’s The Thinker. Step inside, and you’ll immediately see why visiting this place is one of the coolest things to do in Kansas.

What about a glance at the Far East? Marvel at their world-renowned collection of Asian artwork spanning several dynasties. Some of their most priceless gems are undoubtedly by Katsushika Hokusai and Qiao Zhong Chang.

Get lost in the Glass Labyrinth, created by Kansas City native artist Robert Morris or take your sweet time walking through the stunning Sculpture Garden. Finish your evening off with a visit to The Rozzelle Court Restaurant. The restaurant is designed in the dramatic yet perfectly ambient style of a 15th-century Italian courtyard, making it the perfect place to sit with a cappuccino after a satisfying day of perusing global artwork.


8. Ride a Tram 650 Feet Below the Earth at the Strataca Kansas Underground Salt Museum

Unique Things to do in Kansas: Strataca Kansas Underground Salt Museum
Images courtesy of Kansas Tourism

A must on any Kansas bucket list, this is the only underground salt mine and museum in the US that’s open to tourists. Located in Hutchinson, there are only two other museums of this type in the whole world, and they are in Poland and Austria. Despite all of this, the Strataca Kansas Underground Salt Museum remains a hidden gem that’s barely advertised, so check it out before the place is overrun with tourists!

You would never guess that beneath this small Kansas town lies a salt mine – 650 feet below the earth! It all begins on board a double-decker elevator in an exhilarating 90-second descent into the unknown. When you arrive at the underground salt deposits, you’ll board a tram and be given a fascinating tour of the mine.

Cool Things to do in Kansas: Strataca Kansas Underground Salt Museum

Hitler stored treasure and stolen artwork in German-controlled salt mines during WW2. This idea then inspired locals to do the same thing here in Kansas. The mine is 70 degrees and has low humidity, so it was the obvious place to store precious documents, artifacts, and valuable records.

Be sure to give yourself enough time to experience the Salt Safari. It is a guided ride through the hidden parts of the mine where you will discover unique old salt formations that only a few have seen – until now.


9. Discover the Ancient Chalk Pyramids in Gove County

Kansas Things to do: Chalk Pyramids

This is one of the most unique Kansas activities because it is almost impossible to pick up a rock there without seeing a fossil or ancient seashell. If you look closely at some of the formations, you can even see teeny-tiny sea creatures that once used to swim right where you are standing. It’s crazy to think that they have been here for 80 million years!

Standing in front of the chalk pyramids, you’ll find it difficult to believe that this whole place used to be underwater for millions of years. Do yourself a favor and visit the Fick Fossil and History Museum first. Most of their specimens come from the Monument rocks area. They have fascinating items like a mammoth tusk and a 15-foot fish skeleton.

You need to see this national landmark while you still can! Sadly the wind and the rain that hits these natural wonders are slowly eroding them over time. Currently, some of these formations are over 70 feet tall – can you imagine how enormous they were originally?

Like this post?! How about...
The 25 Best Things to do in Oklahoma

10. Stop at the Kansas Wetlands Education Center and visit the Quivira National Wildlife Refuge in Great Bend

Fun Things to do in Kansas: Kansas Wetlands Education Center
Images courtesy of Kansas Tourism

Located in Great Bend, the Kansas Wetland Education Center overlooks Cheyenne Bottoms – the largest inland marsh in the US. Here you can become an eco-warrior by learning about this globally important wetland through interactive exhibits. Test your woodshop skills by building a bird station and experience an augmented reality watershed simulator.

Stop by in October or November to see the mysterious and endangered whooping crane, which gets its name from the whooping sound it makes. They stand at an impressive 5 feet tall and can live for as long as 24 years in the wild. Want to get up close and personal with other prairie animals? They also have an education room with live animals.

Located about 50 minutes south of the Kansas Wetland Education Center is another one of the best Kansas attractions. Bring your binoculars because the Quivira National Wildlife Refuge is a bird-watcher’s paradise – with over 300 bird species calling this place home, from colorful painted buntings to gaggles of geese, you are sure to love this place. 

The refuge provides food, water, and comfortable nesting areas for the migratory waterfowl that come to the area. Take a relaxing stroll through multiple habitats in Migrants Mile because this trail is the perfect place for connecting with nature.


11. Enjoy Panoramic Views of the Prairie at the Flint Hills Discovery Center

What to do in Kansas: Flint Hills Discovery Center
Images courtesy of Kansas Tourism

Located in Manhattan, Kansas, the Flint Hills Discovery Center is a phenomenal tribute to the last remaining area of unbroken tallgrass prairie. You could easily spend an entire day here looking at all of the fascinating exhibits that highlight the science, history, and culture of this eco-region, all the way from prehistoric times to the present day!

The perfect starting point for an exploration of the uniquely Kansas Flint Hills is the immersive theater that has panoramic photography and special effects presented on a 120-degree curved screen. Bring the kids because they’ve got an interactive playground that’s bound to be a hit with people of all ages!

This 35,000-square-foot must-see attraction has something for everyone. Plus, they have constantly got new temporary exhibits, so no two trips there will ever be the same. 

Only going once? Don’t worry – there are plenty of permanent exhibitions that you are sure to enjoy. The facility also promotes various educational outreach programs for kids, teens, and adults.

This museum is the perfect place to learn all about the history of the area, starting with the history of the Native tribes who lived here to the settlements of the 19th century. One of the highlights is the replica of the actual tallgrass – roots and all – that make up the grassland.


12. Uncover History at Topeka’s Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site

Best Things to do in Kansas: Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site
Images courtesy of Kansas Tourism

Monroe Elementary School is a National Historical Park commemorating the landmark ruling in the 1954 Brown v. Board case. This was a major victory of the civil rights movement and paved the way for integration. 

The Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site is the original school building where public education was desegregated for the first time. Each exhibit demonstrates the before, during, and after periods of the Brown case.

Oliver Brown began the case in 1951. It all began when he attempted to enroll his daughter Linda Carol Brown in the local public school system in Topeka. They refused to enroll his daughter at Summer Elementary, the closest elementary school, a mere seven blocks from their house. She was instead redirected to Monroe Elementary, a segregated school that would require her to walk six blocks to get a bus to school.

The Browns and 12 other parents representing their 20 children in similar situations filed a class-action lawsuit in US federal court against the Topeka board of education – and they lost. They immediately appealed the ruling to the Supreme Court. 

On May 17, 1954, the Supreme Court issued a unanimous 9-0 decision in favor of the Browns, ruling that “separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.” It was a monumental moment in American history, making this one of the must-see Kansas attractions. 

Like this post?! How about...
The 15 Best Things to Do in Tulsa, Oklahoma

13.  Get Behind the Wheel at the Kansas Speedway

Unique Things to do in Kansas: Kansas Speedway

If you find yourself in Kansas City, visiting the Kansas Speedway is one of the most fun things to do in Kansas. It’s your turn to get behind the wheel of a supercar. You can choose from Ferraris, Porsches, Lamborghinis, and more! 

Push the pedal to the metal in a 1.5-mile tri-oval racetrack that is perfectly designed for high-speed runs. Feel the adrenaline pumping through your body as you cross that checkered finish line.

At the Kansas Speedway, you can finally cross off “Drive a Supercar” off your bucket list as you race around the same track used by NASCAR champions. Would you prefer to just sit back and enjoy all the action? 

Leave it to the pros and have a ride-along experience instead. Going with a group that is too scared to ride? Get them the Spectator Pit Pass so they can watch all the action up close.

Every year Kansas Speedway hosts the American Royal BBQ Weekend. Are you famous for your top-secret sauce or mouthwatering juicy hamburgers? Then you can battle it out with almost 500 contestants to prove that you are the best at BBQ! If you can time your visit right, this is a must on your Kansas bucket list.


14. Cruise Route 66 with a Stop at the Kansas Route 66 Visitors Center

Kansas Bucket List: Kansas Route 66
Images courtesy of Kansas Tourism

Kansas has the shortest amount of the historic Route 66 running through it, with just 13 miles, but that short distance has some of the best stops on the entire route.

Baxter Springs Visitor Center is home to a local celebrity, “Crazy Legs” Dean Walker, who can turn his feet backward! He was one of the sources of inspiration for everyone’s favorite Disney Pixar Cars character Tow Mater and was the inspiration to make Tow Mater drive backward!

Fun Things to do in Kansas: Kansas Route 66

It started off as a gas station in 1930. Ownership of the place has passed hands several times, mostly remaining a gas station until 1970, when it was converted into an office building. In 2003, it was placed on the National Registry of Historic Places, and in 2007, the building was converted back to its 1940s appearance. 

These days it serves as a Heritage Center and Museum and is one of the most unique things to do in Kansas if you’re driving along Route 66.


15. Hike the Trails at the Konza Prairie Biological Station in Manhattan

What to do in Kansas: Konza Prairie Biological Station
Images courtesy of Kansas Tourism

Kansas isn’t all flat, you know! Konza Prairie contains a narrow chain of hills that are home to some of the densest remaining native tall grass prairies in North America. This place is so rare and diverse that it actually counts as its own eco-region! This site is named “Konza” in recognition of the Native American “Kaw” or “South Wind People,” a tribe that inhabited this region up until the mid-19th century.

Tallgrass prairies once covered more than 170 million acres. The rich and fertile soil was an obvious choice for settlers to use for agriculture. Thankfully, the Flint Hills were spared the plow because it was too rocky. Of the tiny amount of tallgrass prairies that remain today, almost all of it is in the Flint Hills.

Must do things in Kansas: Konza Prairie Biological Station

Almost 9,000 acres of protected land sounds like a lot to cover, but don’t worry – you have three loop options to choose from that’ll allow you to see the best the park has to offer. 

You’ll love the nature trail. It’ll take you through the timber-lined banks along Kings Creek before arriving at the peacefully swaying long grass of the Flint Hills prairie. The best times to visit this trail are April to June. Maybe you’ll even be lucky enough to spot a great horned owl or even an elusive bobcat. If you’re a nature enthusiast, add the Konza Prairie Biological Station to your Kansas itinerary pronto!

Like this post?! How about...
The 12 Best Hotels in Tulsa, Oklahoma

16. Step into History at the Fort Scott National Historic Site

Fun Things to do in Kansas: Fort Scott National Historic Site

Fort Scott was named after General Winfield Scott, who was renowned during the Mexican-American War. The Fort Scott National Historic Site protects 20 important historic structures – 11 of which are original buildings, a military parade ground, and five acres of restored tallgrass prairie. Because of its strategic location close to the border of Kansas and Missouri, Fort Scott remained a combat zone throughout the Civil War.

What exactly happened at Fort Scott? During the Bleeding Kansas era in the 1850s, settlers occupied the abandoned fort, and Fort Scott became a brutal battleground between those who were anti-slavery and those who were pro-slavery. Throughout history, it has also been used as a supply base, hospital complex, recruitment center, and training ground.

These days it is a lot more peaceful, serving as a museum to educate people. This area was important throughout American history. It is one of only two National Park Service sites that share the history of the Mexican-American War. While it is furnished in the style of the 1840s era, Fort Scott tells the rich story of over three decades of American history.


17. Take a Walk through Time at Wichita’s Museum of World Treasures

Unique Things to do in Kansas: Museum of World Treasures
Images courtesy of Kansas Tourism

If you’re looking for unique things to do in Kansas, this place is a must! This non-profit organization has some of the most amazing and unusual finds, from shrunken heads to dinosaurs and Egyptian mummies! 

At Wichita’s Museum of World Treasures, you can delve into history as you learn about American presidents and enter the battlefield as you learn about world wars. This place is sure to excite your inner history buff.

Did you know that Kansas’s Great Plains were once home to prehistoric creatures? See the terrifyingly large skeleton of Logan the Tylosaurus, which once hunted in the sea over Kansas. 

Then there’s the scary Xiphactinus, an almost 17-foot-long fish that still looks ready to devour unsuspecting prey! The Sea Creatures of the Plains exhibit is a fascinating place to see the unusual inhabitants that lived in Kansas when it was submerged in water!

With three floors of exhibits full to the brim with fascinating items, this place is easily one of the best things to do in Kansas. Walk through the Founding of America exhibit to read facsimiles of documents written by the Founding Fathers and find the answer to what kind of food colonial Americans ate. See artifacts from every great American war – from the Vietnam War to the Korean War. They even have a massive piece of the Berlin Wall!


18. Explore a Historic Farm at the Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead

What to do in Kansas: Deanna Rose Children's Farmstead

If you find yourself in Overland Park, this is where you’ll find one of the most adorable Kansas attractions. At the Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead, you can bottle-feed a cute baby goat, then take a stroll through the main street to try your hand at fishing with an old-fashioned cane pole in the pond. 

After that, learn all about farming – from growing flowers and vegetables to milking cows with a live seminar – and visit the chicken coop and horses, and don’t forget to make a stop at the old-fashioned one-room schoolhouse.

Relive the days of westward expansion by taking a relaxing ride through the woods on a wagon pulled by a herd of beautiful Belgian horses. Want to know what life was really like for the Kaw Nation? Experience the historically accurate, culturally sensitive replica of a small Kanza village featuring real artifacts of the Kaw Nation.

You can also observe birds of prey at the Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead, like the majestic bald eagle and red-tailed hawk that now call the farmstead home, or you can enjoy the rainbow plumage of the peacocks. Get up close and personal in the petting pen – the pygmy goats are super friendly. This farmstead is a really affordable day trip and one of the most fun things to do in Kansas for the whole family!

Like this post?! How about...
The 15 Best Things to Do in St. Louis, Missouri

19. Visit the Eccentric Garden of Eden in Lucas

Kansas Bucket List: Garden of Eden
Images courtesy of Kansas Tourism

The Garden of Eden is easily the craziest sculpture garden in Kansas and possibly the world. The town of Lucas is known as the grassroots art capital of Kansas, and that is largely attributed to the Garden of Eden. The artwork is infused with humor and influenced by the Bible and politics.

Civil War veteran Samuel Perry Dinsmoor began construction on the garden in 1907 at the ripe age of 62. In his lifetime, he was viewed as being very eccentric, and with good reason. He built a structure of limestone logs for the family home. Using over 100 tons of cement, he built 40-foot-tall trees to hold the crazy sculpture figures that he envisioned as part of his sculpture garden. He eventually stopped working on his sculptures in 1929, but only because he went blind. 

Dinsmore enjoyed the fact that he was considered quite the jokester, and as his final prank, he built a concrete mausoleum, complete with a glass coffin which later became the final resting place of his mummified remains. That’s right – for his final exhibit, you can view his body as part of the tour. This is seriously one of the most unique things to do in Kansas! 

Need the restroom? Hold it – because a 30-second drive away, you can use the award-winning toilet in Bowl Plaza, otherwise known as the “most artsy public toilet in the US.”


20. See the Breathtaking Sunrise at Mushroom Rock State Park

Must do things in Kansas: Mushroom Rock State Park
Images courtesy of Kansas Tourism

At only five acres, Mushroom Rock is Kansas’s smallest state park, but we all know that good things come in small packages! Sadly, despite their appearance, these aren’t giant fossilized prehistoric mushrooms. 

Located in Ellsworth County, they were actually formed in a time when T-Rex and Velociraptors roamed the earth during the Cretaceous period. The mushroom rocks are the remains of beach sand and sediments that were bound by natural cement and were formed around 100 million years ago.

What to do in Kansas: Mushroom Rock State Park

This is a super popular spot for people camping or RVing through Kansas. If you wake up early, you’ll see with your own eyes why this area is called the “Smoky Hills” as the fog gently envelops the landscape and rolling hills. When the light starts illuminating the giant mushroom structures, you might start questioning if you are on an alien planet!

When you look really closely at some of the rocks, you’ll find something really neat. Among the small fossils, people carved their names into the rockface well over a hundred years ago, proving that visiting this place has long been one of the coolest and most unique things to do in Kansas!


21. Dig into Kansas BBQ in Kansas City

Cool Things to do in Kansas: Kansas BBQ

With so many cities in the US claiming to be the top dog when it comes to BBQ, Kansas City obviously is in the running, and for good reason. So it’d be a shame to leave the state without trying some of the best BBQ joints in Kansas City. 

Here, the city is known for its pulled pork, slowly-smoked beef brisket, and burnt ends, topped with a heavy dose of tangy and sweet BBQ sauce. Basically, a visit to any random BBQ restaurant would most likely be worth a stop, but here are a few of our favorites! 

One of the local favorites is Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que. Despite its humble beginnings inside a gas station, now it’s one of the most-visited BBQ restaurants in town, with lines out of the door. But, it’s well worth the wait. Try the Z-Man Sandwich, a juicy slowly-smoked beef brisket sandwich garnished with smoked provolone cheese and onion rings. 

Leave room in your belly for Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbeque. What started as a modest BBQ food stand has now evolved into one of the best casual fine-dining restaurants serving up more than 10 styles of hickory-smoked meats. 

If you can’t decide, try the Kansas City Combo, where you’ll get a taste of the restaurant’s finest selections, including tender pulled pork, beef or pork burnt ends, beef brisket, smoked turkey, or sausages. 

Like this post?! How about...
12 Cool Boutique Hotels in St. Louis, Missouri

22. Visit Lindsborg (aka Little Sweden)

Best Things to do in Kansas: Lindsborg
Images courtesy of Kansas Tourism

Stepping into Lindsborg feels like you are visiting Sweden without even leaving the States, thanks to the town’s Swedish heritage, large Swedish population, and Scandinavian architecture.  

The town is home to many events throughout the year, including the bi-annual Svensk Hyllningsfest, which is a celebration of Swedish culture and traditions. The influence is everywhere, especially in the charming downtown area that features the brightly colored and intricate wooden Dala horses that Sweden is known for. 

Kansas Things to do: Lindsborg

For such a small town (with a population of under 5,000 people), it has an unexpectedly impressive art scene. Not only does the town have outdoor sculptures in public parks scattered around the city, but another highlight includes the Small World Gallery, which displays National Geographic photographs from a photographer that calls the town his home. 

Then, stop at the Hemslöjd to watch the woodworkers, painters, and glass etchers make their traditional handcrafted artwork. Watch the sunset from Coronado Heights, a castle-like structure that provides a great overlook to see the surrounding countryside. 

Before calling it a night, dine at one of the many Swedish restaurants in town, like Dröm Sött at the Sweet Dreams Inn, to chow down on all the Swedish grub that Lindsborg has to offer. 


23. Take a Photo with the Famous Kansas Sunflowers at Grinter’s Sunflower Farm

Fun Things to do in Kansas: Grinter's Sunflower Farm

Just a bit outside of Lawrence, Kansas, a visit to Grinter’s Sunflower Farm should definitely be added to your Kansas bucket list. Usually in bloom from July to early September, the sunflower fields provide a stunning backdrop for photos. 

With over 40 acres, it’s a sight to see with a sea of thousands of the giant flowers that Kansas is most known for. The family-run farm also has a small general store with locally produced goods and homemade bakery items. 

Unique Things to do in Kansas: Grinter's Sunflower Farm

During peak season, hordes of people visit the farm, so it’s recommended that you go on weekday mornings to avoid the crowds and to get the best lighting for your photos. The fields look their best and are in full bloom for about two weeks after Labor Day. Plus, there are no admission fees to enter, so it’s a great free attraction to visit while you are in town. 


24. Get Tipsy Wine Hopping in Lawrence

What to do in Kansas: Wine Hopping

After your visit to the sunflower fields, it’s time to visit all the wineries and breweries that Lawrence has to offer. Underrated and a bit unknown in the wine circles, Kansas wines have a distinct flavor with plenty of different varietals to choose from. 

Surprisingly, Kansas has a rich history with wineries and breweries, even before Prohibition. Plus, most of the wineries surrounding Lawrence have tasting rooms where you can try locally-produced wine. Then, take a stroll through the vineyard, have a picnic outside, or join in on the events that wineries regularly hold. 

Some of the wineries have won national and international awards with locally-grown Kansas grapes. For starters, stop at the Crescent Moon Winery on the weekends, which is located just a few miles outside of Lawrence. They also have a tasting room within city limits for those that don’t want to make the trek out to the countryside. 

You can also head to Irvine’s Just Beyond Paradise, located north of Lawrence, to sample their wines at their tasting room, which is surrounded by a beautiful 40-acre vineyard and farm. If you prefer craft beer, a visit to Free State Brewing Company is a must since it was the first legal brewery in Kansas in over 100 years.

Like this post?! How about...
The 15 Best Things to Do in Memphis, Tennessee

25. Discover the Art on the Outdoor Sculpture Tour in Salina

If you happen to find yourself passing near Salina, in the heart of Kansas, the Sculpture Art Walk is one of the most exciting Kansas activities. Each year in May, the town unveils new sculptures that are dotted across the historic downtown area. 

Judged from a competition, up to 35 outdoor works of art are carefully selected to be displayed for visitors to see on their own through a self-guided tour. Not only is it a great way to explore the city, but each sculpture is available to purchase if you happen to find yourself unable to part with one.

The tour features a variety of unique sculptures – from eccentric giant insects made from metal to intricate butterflies inspired by nature and the outdoors. Simply pick up a map and brochure of the Art Walk at many crosswalks downtown and also in many businesses to show you where each piece of art is located. 

You can also vote for the People’s Choice Award, and the one with the most votes will be bought by the city to become part of Salina’s permanent art collection. This permanent collection is always exhibited downtown and throughout the city. 

Plus, with more vibrant murals going up across the city and all the art festivals and artistic events that are held throughout the year, Salina is becoming one of the most-visited art destinations in the state!

There you have it! The 25 best things to do in Kansas. What’s your favorite thing to do in the Sunflower State?


Planning a trip to Kansas? Check out our favorite books and travel guides!


About the Author:

  • Carrie Back

    Carrie Ann Back is part-time travel writer and full-time globetrotter based in Southeast Asia. Recent bylines include Travel + Leisure, Parents Magazine, Postcards Magazine, Culture Trip, Matador Network, & more!

    Leaving her home in 2015, she has embarked on an around-the-world journey and has been traveling continuously ever since. Her most recent adventures include working in the Bolivian Amazon jungle, surfing in Sri Lanka, and exploring Laos via a slow boat up the Mekong River.

    She’s a proud member of the Cherokee Nation and is passionate about sustainable travel. She now lives in Siem Reap, Cambodia, with her cat Lil’ Mama. Most nights, you can find her munching down at the street food vendors.

1 thought on “The 25 Best Things to do in Kansas”

  1. Nelson Atkins Museum is not in Kansas…it is in Missouri…and you missed some great eateries that are actually in Kansas…you don’t have to go to KC for barbecue!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

0 Shares
Share
Pin
Tweet