10 Things to do in Topeka Kansas – 2024 Ultimate Guide

Table of Contents

Welcome

Welcome to Topeka, Kansas, a hidden gem in the heart of the Midwest that offers a plethora of exciting things to do in Topeka Kansas for travelers of all interests. From its rich history and vibrant arts scene to its stunning outdoor attractions, Topeka has something for everyone. Whether you’re a history buff, nature enthusiast, or foodie, this charming city has plenty to offer. Discover why Topeka is a must-visit destination and immerse yourself in all the unique experiences it has in store for you.

Popular Experiences and Attractions

Kansas State Capitol

Essential Information

– Address: 300 SW 10th St, Topeka, KS 66612
– Opening Hours: Monday-Friday 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
– Fee: Free
– Visit Duration: 1-2 hours
– Ideal for: History buffs, architecture enthusiasts

Overview

The Kansas State Capitol stands as a testament to the state’s rich history and architectural grandeur. With its iconic dome reaching towards the sky, this historic building is a must-see for visitors to Topeka, Kansas. The Capitol not only serves as the seat of government but also offers a glimpse into the state’s past through its impressive design and intricate details.

As you step inside, you’ll be greeted by the grandeur of the rotunda, adorned with murals and statues that tell the story of Kansas. Take a guided tour to learn about the building’s construction and the significance of its various chambers. From the Senate and House of Representatives chambers to the stunning dome observation deck, every corner of the Capitol exudes a sense of pride and heritage.

Whether you’re a history buff or simply appreciate stunning architecture, a visit to the Kansas State Capitol is sure to leave you in awe. Explore the halls where decisions shaping the state’s future are made, and marvel at the beauty of this iconic landmark that stands as a symbol of Kansas’ enduring spirit.

Combat Air Museum

Essential Information

– Address: 7016 SE Forbes Ave, Topeka, KS 66619
– Opening Hours: Monday-Saturday 9am-4:30pm, Sunday 12pm-4:30pm
– Fee: Adults $10, Seniors $8, Children (6-12) $6
– Visit Duration: 1-2 hours
– Ideal for: History buffs, aviation enthusiasts

Overview

The Combat Air Museum in Topeka, Kansas, is a must-see attraction for history buffs and aviation enthusiasts alike. With a collection of over 40 aircraft, this museum offers a fascinating glimpse into the world of military aviation. From World War I biplanes to modern fighter jets, visitors can explore the evolution of air combat through the decades. The museum’s knowledgeable staff are on hand to provide insights and stories behind each aircraft, making the experience both educational and engaging. Whether you have a passion for aviation history or simply enjoy learning about the past, a visit to the Combat Air Museum is sure to leave you with a newfound appreciation for the brave men and women who have served in the skies.

Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site

Essential Information

– Address: 1515 SE Monroe St, Topeka, KS 66612
– Opening Hours: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM, Tuesday to Saturday
– Fee: Free
– Visit Duration: 1-2 hours
– Ideal for: History buffs, educational tours

Overview

The Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site in Topeka, Kansas, stands as a pivotal landmark in the fight for civil rights and equality in America. This site commemorates the historic Supreme Court case that declared segregation in public schools unconstitutional, a landmark decision that reshaped the educational landscape of the nation. Visitors can explore the exhibits and learn about the courageous individuals who challenged the status quo, paving the way for a more inclusive society. A visit to this site offers a profound insight into the struggles and triumphs of the civil rights movement, making it a must-see destination for those interested in American history and social justice.

Topeka Zoo

Essential Information

– Address: 635 SW Gage Blvd, Topeka, KS 66606
– Opening Hours: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM (Monday-Sunday)
– Fee: Adults $10, Children (3-12) $7, Children under 3 free
– Visit Duration: 2-3 hours
– Ideal for: Families, animal lovers, nature enthusiasts

Overview

Topeka Zoo is a beloved attraction in Topeka, Kansas, offering a delightful experience for visitors of all ages. With over 250 animals from around the world, this zoo provides a fantastic opportunity to observe and learn about diverse species in a well-maintained environment. From playful primates to majestic big cats, the zoo showcases a wide variety of wildlife, making it a must-see destination for animal lovers and families alike.

One of the highlights of a visit to Topeka Zoo is the chance to witness engaging animal feedings and educational presentations throughout the day. These interactive experiences not only entertain visitors but also offer valuable insights into the behaviors and habitats of the zoo’s residents. Additionally, the zoo’s commitment to conservation and animal welfare shines through its conservation initiatives and dedication to providing enriching environments for all its inhabitants.

Whether you’re strolling through the lush grounds or marveling at the exotic creatures, Topeka Zoo promises a memorable outing filled with fun and learning. With its convenient location and affordable admission prices, this zoo is a fantastic choice for a day of exploration and discovery in the heart of Topeka.

Kansas Museum of History

Essential Information

– Address: 6425 SW 6th Ave, Topeka, KS 66615
– Opening Hours: Monday-Saturday 9 am – 5 pm, Sunday 1 pm – 5 pm
– Fee: Adults $10, Seniors $8, Students (6-17) $5, Children under 5 free
– Visit Duration: 2-3 hours
– Ideal for: History enthusiasts, families, school groups

Overview

The Kansas Museum of History in Topeka, Kansas, offers a captivating journey through the state’s rich heritage. From exhibits showcasing the struggles and triumphs of early settlers to displays highlighting the cultural diversity that shaped Kansas, this museum is a treasure trove of historical insights. Visitors can explore interactive displays, artifacts, and multimedia presentations that bring the past to life.

One of the main draws of the Kansas Museum of History is its comprehensive collection of exhibits that cover various aspects of the state’s history, including its role in the Civil War, the Dust Bowl era, and the emergence of the aviation industry. Whether you’re a history buff eager to delve into the intricacies of Kansas’s past or a family looking for an educational outing, this museum offers something for everyone.

A visit to the Kansas Museum of History is not just a walk through the annals of the past; it’s an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the events and people that have shaped the Sunflower State. With its informative displays and engaging presentations, this museum is a must-see destination for anyone interested in unraveling the fascinating tapestry of Kansas’s history.

Gage Park

Essential Information

– Address: 635 SW Gage Blvd, Topeka, KS 66606
– Opening Hours: 6:00 am – 11:00 pm
– Fee: Free
– Visit Duration: 2-3 hours
– Ideal for: Families, nature lovers, outdoor enthusiasts

Overview

Gage Park in Topeka, Kansas, is a must-see destination for those seeking a blend of natural beauty and recreational activities. With its sprawling green spaces, vibrant gardens, and diverse attractions, Gage Park offers a refreshing escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. Visitors can explore the picturesque rose garden, take a leisurely stroll along the walking paths, or enjoy a picnic amidst the tranquil surroundings. The park also features a mini-train ride, a carousel, and a playground, making it an ideal spot for families with children. Whether you’re looking to unwind in nature or engage in fun-filled activities, Gage Park provides a delightful retreat for all ages.

Evel Knievel Museum

Essential Information

– Address: 2047 SW Topeka Blvd, Topeka, Kansas
– Opening Hours: Monday-Saturday 10am-6pm, Sunday 12pm-5pm
– Fee: $15 for adults, $10 for children
– Visit Duration: 1-2 hours
– Ideal for: History buffs, thrill-seekers, families

Overview

The Evel Knievel Museum in Topeka, Kansas, is a must-see attraction for anyone fascinated by the legendary daredevil’s death-defying stunts and larger-than-life persona. Step into the world of Evel Knievel, the iconic American daredevil, and explore an impressive collection of memorabilia, including his iconic motorcycles, helmets, and costumes. Gain insight into the life and career of this fearless performer who captivated audiences with his daring jumps and stunts.

Visitors to the museum can immerse themselves in the thrilling world of Evel Knievel through interactive exhibits and displays that showcase his incredible feats and the impact he had on popular culture. From his famous Snake River Canyon jump to his record-breaking motorcycle jumps, the museum offers a comprehensive look at the man behind the legend. Whether you’re a history buff, a fan of extreme sports, or simply curious about this iconic figure, the Evel Knievel Museum promises an unforgettable experience that celebrates the legacy of one of America’s most legendary daredevils.

Cedar Crest Governor’s Mansion

Essential Information

– Address: 1 SW Cedar Crest Rd, Topeka, KS 66606
– Opening Hours: Monday-Friday 9am-5pm
– Fee: Free admission
– Visit Duration: 1-2 hours
– Ideal for: History buffs, architecture enthusiasts

Overview

The Cedar Crest Governor’s Mansion in Topeka, Kansas, stands as a historic gem that offers visitors a glimpse into the state’s political past. This stately mansion, serving as the official residence of the Kansas Governor, showcases a blend of architectural styles that reflect the state’s rich heritage. From its grand exterior featuring classic columns to its elegant interior adorned with period furnishings, the mansion exudes a sense of prestige and importance.

A visit to Cedar Crest Governor’s Mansion is a must for those interested in exploring the political history of Kansas and admiring the craftsmanship of a bygone era. Stepping inside, visitors are transported back in time, surrounded by the opulence and grandeur that once graced the halls of power. Whether you’re a history buff intrigued by the stories of former governors or an architecture enthusiast marveling at the intricate details of the building, Cedar Crest offers a unique and educational experience for all who walk through its doors.

Ward-Meade Park

Essential Information

– Address: 124 NW Fillmore St, Topeka, KS 66606
– Opening Hours: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM (Monday-Saturday), Closed on Sundays
– Fee: Free admission
– Visit Duration: 2-3 hours
– Ideal for: History enthusiasts, nature lovers, families

Overview

Ward-Meade Park in Topeka, Kansas, is a must-see destination for those seeking a blend of history and natural beauty. The park offers a glimpse into the past with its well-preserved historic buildings, including the 1854 Ward-Meade House and the 1870s Victorian mansion. History buffs will appreciate the exhibits and artifacts that showcase the area’s heritage, while nature enthusiasts can explore the park’s lush gardens and scenic walking trails.

Visitors can spend a leisurely afternoon wandering through the park’s picturesque grounds, taking in the sights and sounds of a bygone era. The peaceful ambiance and charming architecture make Ward-Meade Park an ideal spot for a relaxing day out with family or friends. Whether you’re interested in history, nature, or simply enjoying a tranquil setting, Ward-Meade Park offers something for everyone to enjoy during their visit to Topeka.

Lake Shawnee

Essential Information

– Address: 3137 SE 29th St, Topeka, KS 66605
– Opening Hours: Daily from 6:00 am to 11:00 pm
– Fee: Free entry, additional fees for activities
– Visit Duration: 2-3 hours
– Ideal for: Families, nature lovers, outdoor enthusiasts

Overview

Lake Shawnee in Topeka, Kansas, is a must-see destination for those seeking a peaceful retreat in nature. With its serene waters and picturesque surroundings, this hidden gem offers a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. Whether you’re looking to enjoy a leisurely stroll along the shoreline, go fishing in the crystal-clear waters, or have a picnic with loved ones, Lake Shawnee provides the perfect setting for a relaxing day outdoors.

The park surrounding the lake features well-maintained walking trails, playgrounds for children, and plenty of green spaces for recreational activities. Nature enthusiasts will appreciate the diverse wildlife that calls the area home, making it a great spot for birdwatching and wildlife photography. Additionally, the park offers various amenities such as picnic shelters, restrooms, and boat rentals, ensuring visitors have everything they need for a comfortable and enjoyable visit.

Overall, Lake Shawnee is a tranquil oasis where visitors can unwind, connect with nature, and create lasting memories with family and friends. Whether you’re looking for a peaceful retreat or a fun-filled day of outdoor adventures, this charming destination has something for everyone.

Food and Cuisine

BBQ Burnt Ends

Why is it so special:

BBQ Burnt Ends are a beloved dish in Topeka, Kansas, known for their rich, smoky flavor and tender texture. These flavorful chunks of beef brisket are double-cooked to perfection, resulting in a caramelized crust that is packed with savory goodness. The dish originated as a way to utilize the flavorful ends of the brisket, and has since become a staple in Kansas City barbecue culture.

Where to Try It:

For an authentic taste of BBQ Burnt Ends in Topeka, head to local barbecue joints such as Blind Tiger Brewery & Restaurant or HHB BBQ. These spots are known for their expertly smoked meats and mouthwatering burnt ends that will leave you craving for more.

Chicken Fried Steak

Why is it so special:

Chicken Fried Steak is a classic comfort food dish that has a special place in the hearts of Topeka locals. This dish features a tenderized steak coated in seasoned flour and fried to a crispy golden perfection. Served with creamy gravy on top, the combination of crispy exterior and juicy steak inside makes it a satisfying and hearty meal that is perfect for indulging in traditional American cuisine.

Where to Try It:

To experience the best Chicken Fried Steak in Topeka, visit local diners like The Pad or Lonnie Q’s BBQ. These cozy eateries are known for serving up generous portions of this Southern favorite, ensuring a delicious and fulfilling dining experience.

Events and Festivals

Apple Festival

The Apple Festival in Topeka, Kansas is a celebration of all things apple-related. Visitors can enjoy a variety of apple-themed activities such as apple picking, cider pressing, and apple pie baking contests. The festival also features live music, food vendors, and arts and crafts booths. It is a family-friendly event that offers a fun and festive atmosphere for all ages.

Country Stampede

Country Stampede is one of the largest country music festivals in the Midwest, held annually in Topeka, Kansas. The festival features top country music artists performing on multiple stages over the course of several days. In addition to the music, attendees can enjoy food vendors, beer gardens, and camping options. Country Stampede draws in thousands of country music fans from across the region, making it a must-visit event for music lovers.

Great Topeka Duck Race

The Great Topeka Duck Race is a unique fundraising event that takes place on the Kansas River in Topeka. Participants purchase rubber ducks, which are then released into the river for a race to the finish line. The event raises money for local charities and organizations, making it a fun and meaningful way to support the community. Spectators can watch the race from the riverbanks or participate by adopting their own ducks.

Interesting Facts

– Topeka, Kansas is home to the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site, which commemorates the landmark Supreme Court case that ended racial segregation in public schools.
– The city is known for its vibrant arts scene, with numerous galleries, theaters, and museums showcasing local and national talent.
– Topeka is the capital of Kansas and is situated along the Kansas River, offering picturesque views and outdoor recreational opportunities for visitors to enjoy.

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