Sunday, March 11, 2018

Basketfall Fans: Insider's Guide to Wichita

Congratulations and welcome Houston, San Diego St., Michigan, Montana, Kansas, Penn, Seton Hall and NC State!! You won't find a friendlier city anywhere to celebrate with your team.

Let me give you some idea what to do when you are not at Intrust Bank Arena watching your team:

When you step off your plane at Eisenhower National Airport, notice the glass jetways. They will take you inside to one of the most beautiful and modern airports in the nation. Usually, bag service is quite fast. Rental car is across the street in the parking garage. The airport is about 12 minutes west of downtown. 


If you are staying in downtown: Ambassador (four diamond!), the Hyatt, Drury, Inn at Old Town, Fairfield or Courtyard Old Town you will be very pleased. You will also be very pleased with the full service Marriott in east Wichita. The Hilton Garden Inn at Bradley Fair is very nice, also. 

Note: there are other nice hotels in Wichita but the ones above are the ones I can personally vouch for based on family and AccuWeather business guests. 


I do not wish to recommend chains, I want to recommend restaurants that are unique to Wichita that I believe you will enjoy. These are in no order. Times quoted are by auto from the center of downtown.
  • Tanya's Soup Kitchen. Fantastic soups. Great sandwiches. The best bread pudding (even if you don't like bread pudding) in the world. Five minutes east of downtown on Douglas. 
  • The Anchor.  Eclectic place: great food, great drinks, unique atmosphere. Three minutes east of downtown on Douglas
  • Do-Dah Diner.  Both the play-by-play and in-studio announcers went on and on about the Diner's food at halftime of the Shocker's game last Sunday. These guys eat all over the country. Enough said. Three minutes south of downtown.
  • Picasso's Pizza.  This pizza is very special in the town that invented Pizza Hut, Big Cheese Pizza and Pizza Inn. Try the "Big Island" and add sun-dried tomatoes. Amazing. Four minutes west of downtown in the fun area of Delano. 
  • Milkfloat.  An all dessert restaurant and the desserts are terrific. Go have spicy pizza at Picasso's and then take the short walk to Milkfloat. Four minutes west of downtown in Delano. 
  • Hurts Donuts.  Pink, yes that Pink, was in town last week and made a run to Hurts. Her family was apparently very happy with the result. Two locations. 
  • Chester's Chophouse.  This is Harrison Ford's favorite restaurant when he is in town. Kathleen and I go there a couple of times a year and really enjoy it. Twenty minutes northeast of downtown. 
The restaurants inside the Hyatt, the Ambassador and the Drury are all great. Much better than average hotel restaurants. I especially like the Tuscan Siena Steakhouse in the Ambassador.

Exploration Place

There are many. That said, there are several that I would highly recommend. 
  • If you have children, go to Exploration Place ( ). Enough said. Four minutes northwest of downtown. 
  • If you are a space aficionado you MUST go to the Kansas Cosmosphere ( ) which many believe is the second best space museum in the world.  It is 50 minutes northwest of downtown. More than worth the drive to Hutchinson.
  • The Wichita Art Museum ( ) currently has the traveling exhibit, "Monet to Matisse: French Moderns from the Brooklyn Museum, 1850-1950." It is eight minutes northwest of downtown.  
  • Sedgwick County Zoo. ( ) Much nicer zoo, with a children's petting zoo, than you might expect in a city of our size. It has won many awards. 
Note: the aviation factories, Learjet, Cessna, Beechcraft, and Spirit Aerosystems (where most of the 737 is made) do not give tours. While more airplanes are made in Wichita than in any other city in the world, since September 11 there are no public tours. 
On February 14, Spirit Aerosystems produced the 10,000 Boeing 737 fuselage


I am not a shopper. Kathleen is not a "shopper." So, I am not an expert in this regard. 

If you are looking for a shopping center, I recommend Bradley Fair ( ). While shopping, dine at Red Rock Canyon, Bella Luna or Il Vicino. You won't go wrong with these three. Twenty minutes northeast of downtown. 

A shop unique to Wichita is Hatman Jack's, a locally owned hat shop in Delano. It is really cool and just three minutes west of downtown in Delano.  ( )

Midwest Drum. I'm told this is an outstanding drum store ( ). It is seven minutes east of downtown.

Like nuts? A trip to the Nifty Nut House is essential. You won't believe it!!

A concentration of the "big box" stores are north of 21st on Webb. Greenwich [shows how much of a shopper I am].

Airport Return

If you get to the airport counter an hour before the flight, you will be there in plenty of time. There are two restaurants before security and three after security, including Old Town Brewery, an airport location of the Old Town brewpub of the same name. If you have time, view the history of aviation (our #1 industry) exhibit just before security. 

Summing Up

The following was posted by Thrillist two weeks ago. It is from their list of underrated cities. 

Kansas: Wichita 

The biggest city in Kansas sees little of the spotlight that shines on brawnier, Missourier Kansas City. But don’t sleep on the riches here: at least 33 museums, a Gallery Alley, timeless live music hangouts, nine authentic brewpubs, and in a rarity for Middle America, a half-dozen gay bars (possibly the Sunflower State's entire total). Urban art and Wichita State University set a backdrop for non-discrimination: what Durham is to North Carolina and Austin is to Texas, Wichita is to Kansas.

Historic Old Town now has 100-plus thriving businesses on brick-lined streets showcasing an anthology of mid-1800s converted brick warehouses, antique lamp posts, Coleman’s founding factory, and swank condos. You can sense the city’s rough-and-tumble cowboy history winking at today’s style-conscious happy-hour revelers. Outdoor music festivals include Riverfest (a nine-day country music-ish party) and Vortex (twang meets progressive). The 15 years-strong annual Tallgrass Film Festival is, like so much of this town, big, pretense-free, and criminally overlooked. -- Bruce Northam, American Detour

Additional information from Greteman Group:
Wichita’s craft beer scene has exploded, with Douglas Avenue serving as the main connector between Central Standard Brewing, the Hopping Gnome, River City, Third Place and Aero Plains. Food Network star Alton Brown has called Wichita “one of my favorite coffee towns in the United States.” He frequently visits Reverie Coffee. NCAA attendees should, too. It’s close by on east Douglas and just expanded into a new space with food, adult beverages and a bakery.

Safe travels to Wichita and enjoy your visit!!!

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