Now that Christmas day has come and gone, it is time to find the next thing to look forward to. With the New Year less than one week away, why don’t we begin making our list of things we want to do in 2017, beginning with these 24 places in Kansas that everyone should visit:
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
Once upon a time in western Kansas, the city of Wallace was established by General William Tecumseh Sherman that was home to an established Fort, businesses, and various work opportunities made possible by the Union Pacific Railway. While the 2010 census shows 50-some people still living in this once thriving community, it is now deemed a semi-ghost town that contains several historic buildings, homes, and various structures.
2. Bomber Burger (WIchita)
Hungry? Me too... Let's meet at the famous Bomber Burger, which is known for having the best burger in Wichita! (Can you see why?)
Founded in the late 1800s, Yoder is considered to be the largest Amish settlement in Kansas with a population of nearly 400. Unlike most Amish communities, Yoder is progressive in technology when it comes to working the fields (they allow bulk milk tanks, rototillers, and tractors) and in transportation methods (you will see a healthy mix of both horse & buggy AND cars & trucks.) To explore the Amish community, and their lifestyle, plan to attend their annual Heritage Day on Saturday, August 26th.
4. Guy & Mae's Tavern (Williamsburg)
Don't blink or you may miss the unsuspecting Guy & Mae's Tavern and some of the best BBQ you'll ever try!
5. Wichita Troll (777 W. Central Ave., Wichita)
Meet the Wichita Troll: a seven-foot-tall goblin who lurks beneath the streets of downtown, quietly observing the world above overhead. Though he may look terrifying, this Troll has no interest in gobbling you up (see: Three Billy Goats Gruff). Au contraire, this green, 200-pound sculpture was created by local artist Connie Ernatt back in 2007 as a way to improve the looks of an overflow area near the old Westar Energy Plant. Since then, the discreet monster has been a mere hidden gem in the Air Capital of the World.
6. Fritz's Railroad Restaurant (Kansas City)
All aboard the train to Fritz's; a historic KCK railroad-themed restaurant with non-stop service all the way to Yums-ville!
7. Cowley Lake Waterfall (Dexter)
Named a “Must See” by AARP, Yahoo, and Most Amazing in the World, the Cowley Lake Waterfall is a 25 foot tall hidden treasure that deserves to be seen at least once. (Trust us; the pictures don’t do this place justice!)
8. Sommerset Hall Cafe (Dover)
You haven't lived until you've tried a slice of Norma's world-famous coconut cream pie, which won Good Morning America's "Best Slice Challenge" in 2008. Grab a cup of coffee, a slice of pie, and plan to stay awhile at the historic old Sage General Store.
9. Cedar Crest Lodge (Pleasanton)
Want to surprise your sweetie? Make your Valentine's Day plans NOW by booking a room at the stunning Cedar Crest Lodge! Imagine falling asleep in these luxurious accommodations and waking up Valentine's morning to a scrumptious, made-from-scratch breakfast... Could there be anything better?
10. Scott State Park
Located just north of Scott City, Scott State Park is home to several distinct Kansas landscapes, including a prairie setting, deep canyons, clear natural springs and so much more. But what sets it apart from the other state parks can be summed up with just one word: history. (During your visit, be sure to check out the El Quartelejo Ruins and Steele home.)
11. La Fiesta Mexican Restaurant (Manhattan)
It isn't hard to see why La Fiesta is a favorite among K-State students; with their reasonable prices and friendly staff, it's always the life of the party.
12. Symphony in the Flint Hills (Chase County)
Here is something that you won't soon forget: the goosebumps you will receive from singing "Home on the Range" with a full-scale orchestra. (This year's Symphony is scheduled to take place June 10, 2017.)
13. Olpe Chicken House (Olpe)
There is no shortage of delicious fried chicken in Kansas. Originally opened in 1934 as Cooper's Cafe, Olpe Chicken House has been specializing in chicken, steak, and seafood since 1958.
14. Davis Memorial (Hiawatha)
The gorgeous, albeit haunting memorial was carved entirely of Italian marble by John Milburn Davis after his wife's passing in 1930. The tribute was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1977.
15. Sake2me (Hays)
Didn't think you could find good sushi in Kansas? Then you have never visited this incredible state treasure! I cannot profess my love of Sake2me enough... the rolls are both unique and flavorful, and the industrial-chic building is nothing short of fabulous.
16. Kanopolis Drive-In (Kanopolis)
Did you know that there are only a few hundred drive-in theaters left in the entire country? Fortunately for us, four of these cinematic treasures can be found in the Sunflower State, including the Kanopolis Drive-In. We'll see you this summer!
17. Prairie Nut Hut (Altoona)
You'd be "nuts" not to try the famous Rocky Mountain Oysters at this historic and popular Kansas dive!
18. Luther's Smokehouse (Le Roy)
Everybody loves jerky... but have you ever seen how it's made? Take a tour of the famous Luther's Smokehouse, buy some perfectly cured meats, and enjoy lunch at this little known Le Roy establishment.
19. Gella's Diner & Lb. Brewing Co. (Hays)
In 2017, make a resolution to drink great beer and eat more incredible German food at the famed Gella's Diner & Lb. Brewing Co. in Hays!
20. Arikaree Breaks (Cheyenne County)
Located in northwest Kansas are the extraordinary Arikaree Breaks; a series of deep ravines and gullies that were formed millions of years ago by deposits of clay, sand, and silt. This is hands down something that you would not expect to see on the Kansas prairie!
21. Nelson's Landing (Leonardville)
If this hand-battered chicken fried steak with homemade gravy isn't making your mouth water, you best get your eyes checked... (In addition to their famous chicken fried steak, be sure to check out their daily specials.)
22. Paul Boyer Museum of Animated Carvings (Belleville)
I cannot express my love of Paul Boyer and his amazing talents enough... this man has hand-carved and given life to hundreds of wooden characters that you have to see to believe!
23. Grandma's Soda Shop (Wilson)
Hand-breaded pork tenderloin sandwiches, fried chicken, and desserts just as good (if not better) than grandma used to make! Sorry, Grandma...
24. Lee Richardson Zoo (Garden City)
Have we ever mentioned that this large and impressive zoo (complete with lions, camels, and even giraffes) is FREE to the public?! See you there!