|Downtown Wichita and the Arkansas River|
Each issue of United Airlines’ in-flight magazine Hemispheres contains an article called “Three Perfect Days” (TPD) that tells the story of a glamorous destination and how to spend three days there. TPD is often authored by a native of the area. The most recent five stories are Las Vegas, Sao Paulo, Ho Chi Minh City, Los Angeles, and Paris.
But, there are many smaller destinations where a great vacation can be had without dealing with huge crowds or high prices. One of those is Wichita. Recently The Boston Globe and The Washington Post have come to the same conclusion. So, I thought I would take a shot at writing Three Perfect Days for Wichita.
The stories begin by suggesting a time of year and a hotel. While a lot of people might suggest autumn, I am going to suggest late May, right after school is out. There are two reasons, the Flint Hills (see Day Two) are especially green and beautiful and there is a better than average chance of a Kansas thunderstorm.
Hotel? There are two excellent choices. Both the (full service) Marriott and the Hyatt Regency are excellent choices. In favor of the Hyatt is that it is downtown and near several visitor attractions (Exploration Place, stadium, Old Town). In favor of the Marriott is great food, customer service, and proximity to great shopping. Both have relatively new rooms but with the edge to the Marriott in that regard. My choice: Marriott.
Weatherwise, late May features highs in the low 80’s and lows in the upper 50’s. It is a time of year when thunderstorms are relatively frequent. A nice thing about Wichita is that you don’t need reservations to do much of anything. So, while I’m going to plan three perfect days, I want to allow you time to go out an watch a storm if the opportunity presents itself. If you want to try to see a tornado (most Kansans live their entire lives without seeing one, let alone being affected by one), search the web for one of the tornado tour companies.
Day 1. You are tired after your drive or flight, so you want to stay in Wichita. Start in Old Town with a stroll and lunch at Café Moderne. After lunch, you split up.
Dad can take the kids to Exploration Place (www.exploration.org/ ) downtown to see all of the science exhibits (including real flight simulators), then walk up the river to view the fountains.
|Downtown Fountains by the Hyatt|
while Mom goes shopping at Bradley Fair and Towne East Square. Visit Sephora, Coach, and all the great stores. Be sure to sample the gourmet chocolates at Coca Dolce and bring some back for the kids! The Marriott bus will pick you up and Dad can meet you back at the hotel, after perhaps a stop at All-Star Sports near the hotel.
Dinner is a special treat, Chesters Chophouse and Wine Bar. It is one of the finest restaurants in town and is near the Marriott.
Day Two tomorrow.