Disclosure: Visit Wichita sponsored this post, however all opinions and photographs are my own.
What better way to celebrate Wichita’s 150th birthday than by experiencing it like a local? Whether you visit a museum, winery, or take a historic downtown walk, each destination will provide you an authentic experience of Wichita, Kansas.
I’ve included a number of places that I think you’ll love! For bonus ideas, head over to Visit Wichita’s page for 150 ways to celebrate the city I call home.
FOOD AND DRINK
JENNY DAWN CELLARS
When in Wichita, make your way to the city’s first and only urban winery, Jenny Dawn Cellars located in historic Union Station (703 E. Douglas, Suite 180) for a glass of wine, or better yet, a wine flight! Owned by Kansas State University grad, a certified sommelier and winemaker, Jenny McDonald launched the winery in 2016 after years of honing her craft. Visitors to the tasting room can expect a lesson in wineucation as they sip on award-winning wine—a win-win.
Thanks to her extensive research in Napa Valley, and her partnership with grape growers in California and Kansas, McDonald brings the best in handcrafted wines to Wichita. Jenny Dawn Cellars began from McDonald’s unrelenting passion to make and serve first-class wines that easily competes with any nationally recognized brand in concept and quality.
During our visit, we enjoyed two separate wine flights ($15) to enjoy as many selections as possible. Jenny Dawn Cellars serves 2oz pours of each wine along with a slate board of four artisanal cheeses ranging from cheddar to goat cheese imported from Denmark. I highly recommend the Traditional Flight, which appealed to my love of dry wines and included four options from white to red. We also appreciated the Rosé and Trains Flight, a journey of semi-sweet wines.
Wine drinkers from the area love Union Station, a 2019 Chardonnay from Kansas, that is light bodied with a smooth finish. Show your Wichita pride by sipping on sweet wines, Wichita Passion or Wichita Moment.
A bottle of wine sells for $19.99-$49.99 depending on the selection and they can be purchased by the case. If you’re someone who prefers something other than vino during your visit, the winery also serves beer ($5-6). Ask about the charcuterie and dessert plate options to complement your wine of choice.
If you’re unable to make the trip to the winery, you can purchase Jenny Dawn Cellars wines at liquor stores across Wichita, the Kansas City market, as well as several in Kansas towns. Visit the Jenny Dawn Cellars online store to have bottles shipped to your door (she ships to 37 states!).
The tasting room is closed Mondays and Tuesday, so plan your visit by viewing the operating hours here.
Within walking distance of Jenny Dawn Cellars sits The PourHouse (711 E Douglas Ave) restaurant and tap house. They serve exclusively Walnut River Brewing Company’s craft beers. The PourHouse is the brainchild of WRB’s owners who wanted to make their beer more accessible to the Wichita community since they’re home base is located 30 minutes away in El Dorado, Kansas. An amazing thing happens when hobby home brewers relentlessly work on recipes until they’re perfected. You’ll love sipping on suds at The PourHouse!
Visitors to The PourHouse will discover at least 12 beers on tap, and the restaurant serves quality food, or what I refer to as gastropub dining. I can recommend many items from the menu from appetizers like the Charcuterie Board ($16) and Fried Cheese Curds ($11) to the Cobb Salad ($13), a hearty portion ideal for lunch. Diners like myself will appreciate that all of their salad dressings and most condiments are made from scratch. We devoured the charcuterie board, which could have easily served 3-4 people. All of it was delightful, but I’m still dreaming about the bacon jam.
Some of my favorite beers on tap include the Falconer’s Wheat and Teter Rock Kölsch, although another one of their flagship beers is quite popular, Warbeard Irish Red. I recommend asking about their specialty beer, Carmine, an American Wheat Ale aged in red wine barrels now available in limited quantities. Brewing beer is an art form, and Walnut River Brewing Company is definitely skilled at their craft. They make beer you want to drink.
The PourHouse is closed Mondays. Check their hours via their Facebook page here. (Love to visit breweries? Check out my post about WRB in El Dorado here.)
THIRD PLACE BREWERY
Continue the craft beer tour by heading over to another independently owned and operated business, Third Place Brewing (630 E Douglas Ave #150). A cozy space to gather with friends or make new ones, we appreciate that locals and tourists alike love the laid back atmosphere. Although we’ve always enjoyed drinking a pint indoors, they also have an outdoor seating area east of the building where you can often find local bands playing.
Red Headed Stranger is a popular beer selection amongst locals, but I’d encourage you to try one or more of their rotating taps. I appreciated drinking Danke Schön (Berliner Weisse) as well. Note: If you visit before July 21 and mention #CelebrateWichita150, you’ll get $2 off your second pint (per person).
A trip to the taproom is always an experience! We met a nice couple who was visiting from Kansas City just to try our city’s breweries. Excitedly, I welcomed the chance to tell them about our city and thank them for supporting our local economy. We swapped brewery tour stories and shared our favorite bands with one another as the conversation turned to topics of missed summer concerts and nostalgic vacations.
Third Place Brewery is located directly across Douglas Avenue from the new Naftzger Park, an outdoor entertainment venue, park, and commercial retail space.
PEACE LOVE & PIE
No adventure downtown is complete without a stop at Peace Love & Pie (645 E. Douglass, Suite 104) adjacent to Naftzger Park. More than a pie shop, the eatery is the dose of nostalgic comfort that we all crave. What I love about Peace Love & Pie is that they consider eating pie to be an experience that conjures up feel-good vibes or as they say, “Pie happens. Enjoy the journey.”
The shop offers mouthwatering pie by the slice ($5), and if you want to order a whole pie, you can reserve one in advance for pickup. During my visit, I had the hard decision of deciding on which one of six seasonal summer pies that I wanted to try. They all looked so delectable!
I devoured a warm slice of Triple Berry made with blackberries, blueberries and raspberries topped with dried lavender bud streusel crumb. Upon first bite, the lavender’s floral flavor came right through, a welcomed delight. One might think that coffee (they serve a local favorite, Reverie Roasters) or milk would be the perfect complement to a slice, but I opted for a glass of wine with mine. They match each available pie with a wine, making the tasting experience a true journey of flavors.
The entire menu is authentic. They make every recipe from scratch. Other menu options include Pie Shakes ($6), Pie-Faits, Franken Pie (a pie designed with seven of your favorite slice selections, $30), Pie à la Mode (+$2), Pie-Fries (think fries but made with baked pie crust), and specialty coffees and teas.
Whether you’re enjoying a day at Naftzger Park or looking for a place to enjoy a locally made dessert, Peace Love & Pie is a must-stop! Don’t miss their HapPie Hour Sunday and Thursdays from 4pm-6pm when slices are $4, Franken Pies are only $20.
Shop Hours: Tuesday-Sunday, 11am – 6pm. You can also find Clementine, their pie van, serving slices to happy diners at Bradley Fair. Find the pie van by visiting this link.
AUGUSTINO BREWING COMPANY
But wait! The brewery tour doesn’t end yet! Hop in the car and head west from the downtown district to Augustino Brewing Company, 756 N. Tyler Rd. There, you find locally produced beers and a tasty, bbq restaurant The Angry Elephant.
During our visit, Augustino had four of their flagship beers on tap including a Blonde Ale, Wheat Ale, IPA, Nut Brown Ale, and Coffee Porter. You can expect to find several more speciality beers on the menu. Of course, I sampled a few before ordering a signature series selection, Chad’s Hibiscus Saison ($6.25), a summery-sweet craft beer that I enjoyed enough to order twice.
Depending on the night, you might catch a live band playing in the tap room. Check the event listings via their Facebook page here.
The Angry Elephant was voted #5 Best BBQ in Kansas by USA Today in 2019. The servings are large and the flavor is big or what I call a “flavor bomb.” Owner Sanitago Munoz’s menu is loaded with delicious smoke bbq sandwiches and the heaping appetizers, like the loaded nachos below, are more of a meal than a starter. Have a sweet tooth? You will want to save room for towering desserts. Dining with the family? Stop in for dinner on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday and order an adult entree and kids eat free.
The brewery and restaurant is closed Mondays. View the hours here.
OTHER THINGS TO DO
WICHITA HISTORY WALK
Do you love learning about local history when you travel? Use the PocketSights app to listen to the story of downtown Wichita created by The Wichita Library! The free app connects to your location for a self-guided tour of the area’s buildings and parks allowing you to take a stroll while learning the significance of historic places. Each site on the app’s tour includes images and an audio narration.
You can also use the app in the East Douglas area, Delano District, or while on a walking tour of Old Cowtown Museum.
As a native Wichitan, I was amazed at how much I didn’t know about the buildings that I’ve passed hundreds of times. For example, I didn’t realize that the Delano District was originally known as a town called Elgin and was considered to be a rowdy wild west town and home to artists and innovators. When wild cowboys would get injured or shot, they were taken to a hospital at the intersection of Douglas and Seneca, now occupied by a QuikTrip gas station.
The app also gives you the option to take a photo in real time and upload it to the historic page you’re listening about in the app. Mind blown! You’ll love exploring Wichita’s neighborhoods while learning the city’s past. Download the PocketSites app here.
GREAT PLAINS TRANSPORTATION MUSEUM
If you glance up while walking along the Downtown Historic Walk on Douglas Avenue near the Union Station, you’ll spot the Great Plains Transportation Museum with many trains on display.
Opened to the public in 1986, train enthusiasts come from all over to learn the history of trains and view them first-hand. A lover of trains since my grandpa worked for Frisco Railroad, I jumped at the chance to tour the train cars. Did you know that railroaders were the settlers of the west? Steam railway replaced travel by stagecoach in the mid-1800s, according to the Kansas Department of Transportation. Trains made travel readily available from Kansas City to Lawrence in 1864. Within 20 years there were 8,000 miles of track in Kansas. A branch of the Santa Fe Railroad expanded to Wichita and the town “busted wide open.”
Today, the museum displays steam locomotives, meticulously restored train cars, railroad equipment, and the indoor exhibits showcase prints and artifacts.
The museum is open on Saturdays and Sundays during these hours. Stay tuned to their Facebook page about upcoming events they host including the Great Plains Trains and Toy Trains Celebration, Railfest, and Final Friday art crawl.
PLAN YOUR VISIT
Plan a road trip or flight into Wichita (we have a new and improved airport!) to experience a city that’s pride is on display for you to discover. I encourage you to talk to small business owners or strike up a conversation with a local. We’re inclined to brag about our city because we’re proud of its history and vitality.
To discover more ways to experience the city like a local for #CelebrateWichita150, check out Visit Wichita’s list of 150 things to do. Have a delightful visit!
Do you have questions about Wichita? I’d love to help you navigate your visit. Comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more highlights of Wichita, follow One Delightful Life on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.