Arts and culture are part of the Wichita experience
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.
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 1970's 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.
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, 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 area 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 1930's and 40's. On Dec. 17, 2010, Warren added a six-story IMAX theatre screen to his westside theatre complex, the largest digital screen in the country. You can also view the latest releases at Northrock Theater, the Palace and even the Starlite Drive-In.
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 Diamond W Wranglers, a grand western-style chuckwagon supper with world-famous western musical entertainment, located at Wichita's historic Old Cowtown Museum.
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 Wichita Symphony Orchestra is the largest and most active performing arts organization in the state, nationally recognized for its artistic level and for the community support it receives. 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 Wichita Flight Festival, which celebrates the past, present and future of Kansas aviation.
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.