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Arts & Entertainment

Wichita boasts a professional opera, symphony and ballet, as well as dozens of cinematic and performance theatres that stand ready to impress with independent films, old favorites or new drama. From traditional to contemporary, our art galleries, varied museums and breathtaking gardens are sure to engage you with their many enticing exhibits.

Whether you prefer upscale bistros or hometown barbecue, Wichita truly has it all. As a region globally recognized as a top pick in ?test markets? by those in the restaurant industry, Wichita residents have their choice of the best of the best. If it doesn't fly here, chances are it won't last anywhere.

As development in Wichita continues to boom, so do options in shopping. Local boutiques, antique shops and specialty stores can easily be found throughout the city, as well as nationally recognized retail chains and department stores.

Whether you are a newcomer or a long-time resident, discovering Wichita is a never-ending opportunity.

 

Music and Nightlife

Local talent can be heard year round, while a growing number of traveling artists continue to add Wichita to their tour schedules. Whether you want jazz, oldies or just some mellow singer-songwriters, you're sure to find something you like in one of our local hot spots. Mark your calendar for every April, when Wichita State University hosts the Wichita Jazz Festival and offers locals a weekend full of musical fun. Also, be sure to check the performance schedule for local and visiting bands playing at the Orpheum, Wichita's recently restored historic theater.

There is plenty of excitement to uncover while exploring Wichita's nightlife scene. Residents groove at a variety of nightclubs, with interiors ranging from 1970s style to upscale west coast. Be sure to stop by Old Town's local nightclubs and bars where the dancing is fierce and the music is hot. Several sports bars in the area provide the perfect environment to meet up with friends, catch some Monday Night Football or just shoot some pool. Wander over to the nearby Delano District for some low-key areas to sit outdoors, relax to live music or enjoy a drink.

 
Dining

As a test market for local restaurants and an excellent variety of ethnic foods, Wichita is home to many truly unforgettable dining locales. Culinary entrepreneurs here are common, such as the two college students who founded Pizza Hut in Wichita in 1958. Such talent spoils residents with a plethora of delectable cuisine and cutting edge dining environments.

Chefs around town specialize in Mediterranean , European, Mexican and Indian, along with everything in between. Staying true to the region, Wichita also offers a wide variety of down home barbecue, southern and Cajun favorites to suit your tastes. And although miles from ocean waters, our seafood selections are surprisingly fresh and tasty.

For a good old American burger and shake, visit Spangles, or for the best chips and salsa in town, Carlos O'Kelly's Mexican Caf? is a must try. The local barbecue is also hard to beat, especially the unique baked beans at Delano Barbecue Company or the phenomenal hot links at Hog Wild Pit BBQ. You'll find excellent hummus and a variety of Mediterranean fare at Bella Luna Caf?, or you could sample some wine and a steak at Chester 's Chophouse & Wine Bar.

One thing is sure - you won't be disappointed with the variety of restaurants you will find in Wichita . Click here for a great list of Chamber member restaurants.

 
Shopping

There are widespread shopping opportunities in the Wichita area, from antique and specialty shops to shopping malls and outlet stores. Peruse distinctive shops in Old Town and the Delano area, both just minutes from downtown. Clifton Square is a collection of shops, housed in a 19 th century village setting, featuring home d?cor, collectables, unique gifts and more. The Wichita WaterWalk downtown features Gander Mountain, with plans to acquire other specialty and destination retailers, concept restaurants and apartment and condominium living.

On the west side, indulge in plaza style shopping at Wichita 's largest outdoor shopping center NewMarket Square or the enclosed mall, Towne West Square.

On the east side, be sure to visit Towne East Square and Bradley Fair, where you'll find an appealing blend of shopping, dining and entertainment. Don't miss the Waterfront, one of the latest developments on the east side and a premiere location for up and coming retail stores.

 
Performing Arts and Festivals

Local performances are top notch and guaranteed to entertain, with options for all ages that range from the Wichita Grand Opera to the highly acclaimed Prairie Rose Chuckwagon Supper, a full scale barbecue dinner served to the music of talented cowboy musicians.

One of the largest dinner theaters in the United States, the Crown Uptown Dinner Theatre, presents year round professional Broadway shows, with American cuisine available to the audience during the performance. Every summer, Music Theatre of Wichita blends local and national talent to bring Wichita such Broadway favorites as Beauty and the Beast and Aida. The Orpheum downtown features everything from acrobatic acts to old movies to dramatic theater, all housed in the beautifully renovated and impeccably maintained 1920's theater.

Dozens of festivals are held during the year throughout Wichita and South Central Kansas, including the Wichita River Festival, the biggest of them all and the largest event in the state of Kansas . Lasting for nine days every spring, the River Festival is highly anticipated by the community for the food, fun and outdoor activities it offers. Another unique offering is the Kansas Flight Festival, which celebrates the past, present and future of Kansas aviation.

Experience the sights, sounds, fragrances and dazzling colors of spring in 13 amazing indoor gardens every March at the Wichita Garden Show. Another you won't want to miss is the Taste of Wichita Festival, which combines great music and food with the opportunity to shop for local art on the banks of the Arkansas River.

The Wichita community also encourages and celebrates cultural diversity through several events including the Cinco de Mayo Celebration, the MultiCultural Festival, Wichita Black Arts Festival and the Annual Asian Festival.

 
Museums and Attractions

The art museums in Wichita are filled with diversity, history and creativity, displaying collections from the great masters as well as creations by local talent.

Find both student and professional art displays at the Ulrich Museum of Art at Wichita State University and at the Whittier Fine Arts Gallery at Friends University .

The Wichita Art Museum features changing displays along with longtime classical collections. Get a taste for the local heritage at the Wichita/Sedgwick County Historical Museum, Wings Over Wichita, City Arts, Frank Lloyd Wright-Allen, Lambe House Museum, Kansas African American Museum and the Kansas Aviation Museum.

Kids and adults alike can open their minds at Exploration Place on the Arkansas River, or families can take a trip to the stars at the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center in nearby Hutchinson, Kan., which also features an IMAX theatre. Take the chance to explore the beauty of glass art at Karg Art Glass or visit the one-of-a-kind Kansas Firefighters Museum.

For those with more specific interests, Wichita offers a wide range of specialized museums including the Museum of World Treasures, the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame, Lowell D. Holmes Museum of Anthropology, the Mid-America All-Indian Center, Old Cowtown Museum and the Society of Decorative Painters.

Nature areas in the city include the nationally renowned Sedgwick County Zoo, the Lake Afton Public Observatory, Botanica - the Wichita Gardens and the Kansas Underground Salt Museum which is the only one of its kind in the western hemisphere. The Great Plains Nature Center contains over 25 different species of native mammals, reptiles and birds, along with two miles of paved hiking trails showcasing several species of wildflowers and trees.

Going to the movies will be an unforgettable experience if you choose to visit one of three Warren Theaters located throughout Wichita . Local entrepreneur Bill Warren was the mastermind behind these deluxe multi-screen theaters, each appointed in the motif of the grand movie houses of the 1930s and 40s. You can also view the latest releases at Northrock Theater, the Palace and even the Starlite Drive-In.

 
Libraries

The Wichita Public Library System has a large downtown main branch along with neighborhood branches all over the city. Academic libraries include the University of Kansas School of Medicine - Wichita Medical Library, Edmund Stanley Library at Friends University, Ryan Library at Newman University and the Wichita State University Libraries.

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