Blake Walsh

25 Best Things to Do in Manhattan, KS

  • Published 2022/11/13

Also known as the Little Apple, Manhattan is located in Riley County of Kansas.

Being home to Kansas State University, the city has a college town vibe.

Other than the obvious, the city has a lot to offer its visitors.

Home to a charming downtown area, Manhattan promises tourists a fun time in the city.

If you are planning to travel here on your next trip, here are some of the best things to do in Manhattan, Kansas:

Explore the Flint Hills Discovery Center

Night view of Flint Hills Discovery Centre

Xerxes2004, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Featuring local history exhibitions, the preservation of Flint Hills, a special playground, a temporary exhibition gallery, and a theater, the Flint Hills Discovery Center is a major tourist attraction of Manhattan.

Being a science center as well as a municipal heritage, it is promoted as a venue for special events and also hosts several educational programs for both young and adults.

The center promotes quite vast and unique exhibitions.

Flint Hills Discovery Center with lawn in the front

Kgwo1972, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Some of their exhibitions include: The Shaping Winds and Water, Blowing Winds in a Tallgrass Prairie, The Underground Forest, The Winds of the Past, Where the Air Is so Pure, Voices of the Flint Hills, Tallgrass Prairie: Tides of Time, Prairie Playscape, Tallgrass Gallery, and Prairie Garden Terrace and Trail.

It won’t be wrong to say Flint Hills Discovery Center is a one-stop guide for all the information you need about Flint Hills.

Visit the Sunset Zoo

Colorful flowers at Sunset Zoo

John P Salvatore, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Also called the Sunset Zoological Park, the Sunset Zoo is an abode to more than 300 animals from over 100 species.

Opened back in 1933, the zoo records over 100,000 visitors every year.

The primary aim of the zoo is to inspire the conservation of nature.

Water tank at Sunset Zoo

John P Salvatore, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Check Out the Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art

Located on the Kansas State University campus near Aggieville, the Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art is an art museum that is entirely free for general public admission.

The museum has special exhibitions and also houses KSU’s art collection of regional arts.

Here, you can view works of great artists like Birger Sandzen, Patricia Duncan, William Dickerson, John Steuart Curry, and Gordon Parks.

The museum offers a vast range of programs for adults as well as youngsters— family programs, early childhood programs, programs for students of Kansas, public tours, as well school trips are organized by the museum.

It’s a perfect informational destination for people of every age group.

Tour the Riley County Historical Museum

Riley County Historical Museum was established in 1914.

Presenting a well-organized and well-preserved collection of archives, documents, and objects to illustrate the history of Riley County, the collection comprises more than 70,000 objects, 5,000 cubic ft. of archives and manuscripts material, 4,500 monographic tiles, 300 periodical tiles, and 7,000 images.

The museum features many historical items, ranging from as small as a tax token to as big as the Hartford House.

Research can be conducted in the museum when you make a reservation or appointment, and donations are always welcomed.

The museum also offers various tours for visitors.

See Live Insects Up Close K-State Insect Zoo

The K-State Insect Zoo is situated in Kansas State University.

It aims to advance and foster habitat for small flying neighbors.

Visitors not only get a chance to witness live insects in the zoo but also preserved insects and fossils.

Housed in what was formerly a dairy barn on KSU’s campus, this iconic and informative zoo was built in 1999.

A museum tour guide will update you with all the information you need.

Additionally, tours are available only by appointment, so make sure you have one before visiting.

Snap Photos at The Gardens at Kansas State University

Close up view of a purple flower at K-State Garden Fountains

Photo by Mary Hammel on Unsplash

With a wide variety of flowers, the K-State Gardens Fountain is an ideal and dreamy location for many major events like weddings and receptions.

Furthermore, it is a haven for photographers as they will leave for home with the gift of exemplary images, no matter if they are in the backdrop or mainframe.

Aerial view of Kansas State University

No machine-readable author provided. Kzollman assumed (based on copyright claims)., CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The breathtaking views of the garden promote perfect trails for romantic walks and people who are looking for some peace of mind.

Another reason to visit the garden is the free entry and free parking to its visitors.

Go Back in Time at the Wolf House Museum

This museum is an enthralling limestone home that was built in 1868.

It was preserved along with its furnishings and interior decorations as an example of housing and lifestyle in the 1800s.

The house was used as a boarding house by the owner’s family until 1938; hence, it was also known as the German Boarding House.

This two-story building belongs to Max and Lucule Wolf, who sold the building to the Riley County Historical Society in 1982.

Take the Kids to the Wonder Workshop Children’s Museum

The Wonder Workshop Children’s Museum aims to honor the beliefs of its late founder Mr. Richard Pitts.

It provides educational activities for children of all academic backgrounds.

The museum hosts science explorations, hiking, storytelling, pottery classes, art workshops, business retreats, and leadership camps.

The Wonder Workshop also manages underground railroad tours and birthday parties.

There’s no doubt that your kids will have a fun time here while learning something new!

Glimpse into Manhattan’s Past by Paying a Visit to Goodnow House

Front view of Goodnow House

Spacini at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Goodnow House is a stone farmhouse that was built by Manhattan’s founders, Isaac Goodnow and his wife, Ellen.

The couple built this abode near a barn.

Besides giving you a rough idea about the life lived there, the place could be pretty informative to architecture and history enthusiasts.

The house is open all year round, except for the holidays.

It also welcomes any donations, and the cost of admission is free.

If you find yourself visiting with a group, remember to make prior reservations.

Blue Earth Plaza

Located near Flint Hills Discovery Center, Blue Earth Plaza is a center of entertainment.

Host your next picnic at this location or take a walk along the trails; either way, you are guaranteed to have a good time.

The plaza features a large water structure synchronized musically with laminar jets.

Its other iconic marvels include a monumental fireplace and a seasonal shade structure made of huge triangular sails.

It makes for the perfect backdrop for Instagram photos!

Enjoy the View from Atop Manhattan Hill

Bird's eye view from Manhattan Hill

No machine-readable author provided. Kzollman assumed (based on copyright claims)., CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This hill is a must-visit on your trip to the city.

Scenic views await at the peak.

It is also an ideal track for those who love hiking.

The area is filled with small tracks and hidden spots, adding to its mysteries.

A concrete pad can be spotted in the park, which earlier served as a water storage tank for the city’s people.

Wildwood Adventure Park

Wildwood Adventure Park is rated the number one adventure park in Flint Hills.

Encompassing 80 acres, the park provides a wide range of adventures to visitors.

In addition to that, it hosts national events, tours, and private reservations.

While you walk through its trails, one can quickly understand something or the other about the history of the land.

The knowledgeable tour guys will provide you with an informative and fun time during your visit to Wildwood Adventure Park.

The park has tandem runs, ziplines, hiking, and much more to offer.

Have Your Fill of Wine and Cheese at the Liquid Art Winery & Estate

Established by two natives of the land in 2014, the Liquid Art Winery & Estate performs viticulture on the ground of an old mountain in the Flint Hills.

The estate comprises a 20-acre vineyard, event center, complete production winery, and a tasting room.

The company also has a line of cedar production called Dave & Dani Craft Cider, named after its founders.

A cedar tasting facility is also available with a store to purchase the same.

The tasting room also provides you with a full menu that includes artisan pizzas and smoked cheese charcuterie boards to serve your cravings.

Go Fishing at Rocky Ford State Fishing Area

If you are into fishing, here’s your chance to do it.

The best time to fish at Rocky Ford State Fishing Area is right after the water drops.

With a wide range of fish, anyone can catch fish here, from big flatheads to rainbow strouts.

Apart from fishing, other fun and adventurous activities like hiking are also entertained at the site.

So grab your fishing rod along with other equipment; catch, cook, and enjoy!

Walk the Tails at Konza Prairie Biological Station

Narrow dusty pathway at Konza Prairie Biological Station

User:WaltBren, Konza Prairie Trail Fall 1, CC BY 3.0

Located in Flint Hills, the biological station serves as a preservation area for the local tallgrass prairie.

Kansas State University, the co-owner of the land, uses it as a research field for its Division of Biology.

The land is also owned by the Nature Conservancy.

Mountain and fresh green grasses at Konza Prairie Biological Station

inkknife_2000 (7.5 million views +), CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Konza Prairie Biological Station has also been enlisted as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and named in the Long Term Ecological Research Network.

It comprises claypan, shrubs, forest, and riparian communities and has a continental climate.

Visitors are allowed only to land through three loopy and inbuilt hiking tracks.

Gaze Upon Exotic Cars at the Midwest Dream Car Collection

Sixty-five glorious vehicles of all kinds (vintage, classic, foreign and domestic) are displayed in the Midwest Dream Car Collection.

If you’re a car owner yourself and share a passion for automobiles, then visit this fantastic place and check out some of the rarest cars ever made.

An eclectic mix of classic, modern, and sports cars can be spotted here, including Herman Munster’s coffin car, Tin Lizzie, Sonny and Cher’s car, a DeLorean, and a Jurassic Park jeep.

What’s more is that you’ll also find cars like fancy Cadillacs, Model T’s, Chevys, Cadillacs, model A’s, and foreign vehicles like BMWs.

Cars line the walls inside what used to be a grocery store fitted with vintage ads, two turning carousels, and old gasoline pumps in a throwback to when customers would go shopping for new cars.

Wall graphics advertising the artistic restorers of these automobiles bathe the restored cars in warmth and friendliness.

Even without paying admission, visitors can gaze upon several cars and even climb inside them for a photo op.

Here, you’ll also find an awesomely modified Citroen that’s perfect for cruising down the road, through an industrial desert landscape, or even across dessert sands on two wheels instead of four.

Catch a Basketball Game at Bramlage Coliseum

Fred Bramlage Coliseum is Kansas State University’s 12,528-seat, multi-purpose arena that showcases the Wildcats’ men’s and women’s basketball teams.

The arena also showcases Sports Information and Intercollegiate Athletics and is home to Kansas State University’s baseball team.

Aside from being one of the hottest basketball arenas in Kansas State, Bramlage Coliseum is also a haven for comical and musical performances, trade shows, undergraduate commencement ceremonies, and speeches.

With trophies and pictures of Wildcat greats decorated around its concourse, Bramlage Coliseum comfortably seats up to 14,000 people.

The notable performances it has featured include concerts by famous bands like Beach Boys and fun-filled shows by contemporary performers such as Will Ferrell, Jason Derulo, and Kevin Hart.

Immerse Yourself in Heart-Racing Escape Adventures at Locked Manhattan

Custom escape room games are becoming increasingly popular nowadays as an exciting way to build team spirit among friends, colleagues, or any group of people you may choose.

At Locked Manhattan, you and your friends are locked inside a room for an hour, and the escape room features tons of puzzles that will hopefully help you make it out.

Established in 2015, Locked Manhattan is one of the Little Apple’s earliest escape room adventures.

When you come here, you’ll experience adventures that’ll get your heart pounding faster and leave you wanting more.

The escape room facility is complete with smartly designed rooms, well-written stories, and realistic details inside them, authentic in every sense.

Locked Manhattan’s The Witching Hour will have you and your friends acting as detectives going to the outskirts of town to investigate and find out what a mysterious woman is hiding.

Order of the Veil is a two-to-six-person game where you help find out what’s behind a door by playing as part of this escape room game.

Get Pumped and Enjoy a Game at Bill Snyder Family Stadium

Exterior view of Bill Snyder Family Stadium

Bill Snyder’s family is honored with the naming of Bill Snyder Family Stadium in Manhattan, Kansas.

It serves as the Kansas State University Wildcats football players’ homecourt and is utilized for American football.

The stadium is the eighth biggest among existing Big 12 members and boasts a capacity of 50,000 spectators.

Audience watching a game at Bill Snyder Family Stadium

Mr.Konerko, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Limestone has been used to cover the surface of two of the stadium’s corners after new development in 2013 and 2015.

Its towers and ornamental limestone battlements are inspired by the university’s historic World War I Memorial Stadium.

Entrance to Bill Snyder Family Stadium

Kgwo1972, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Spend a Leisurely Afternoon at Colbert Hills

Colbert Hills, located in the picturesque Kansas Flint Hills, is the site of a fantastic public course and several practice grounds.

It is pristine and has all the facilities of a private club.

Let the scenery rejuvenate you as the game takes your breath!

Over 400,000 rounds have been played on the Championship Course at Colbert Hills.

The general public is welcome to enjoy casual meals at their comprehensive bar and grill, offering both indoor and outdoor options, and is housed in their natural limestone clubhouse.

Colbert’s Bar & Grill can host any event, including weddings, family reunions, and business gatherings.

Enjoy their hospitality at any activities, at their restaurant, or on the green.

Browse the Works of Artists at SNW Gallery & Custom Frames

Julie Strecker founded the Strecker Gallery in 1980 and eventually changed its name to Strecker-Nelson Gallery in 2000.

Alyn Pennington West and her spouse Kevin founded Strecker Nelson West Gallery in April 2017.

They changed the name of this landmark business in Downtown Manhattan to SNW Gallery & Custom Frames three years later.

The best local and Kansas artists are represented by SNW Gallery & Custom Frames.

These artists create in various genres, including painting, printmaking, sketching, sculpture, ceramics, glassware, photography, and jewels.

They aim to uphold high creative standards and provide archival custom frames with exceptional design that properly shows the art it protects.

They feature works by the best Kansas and regional artists for professional and aspiring collectors.

SNW Custom Frames offers on-scene custom framing of the greatest quality for cocktail gatherings and modest catered banquets.

Savor Your Breakfast with a Great View at Bluemont Hotel

Between Aggieville and the K-State campus, Bluemont Hotel offers a Manhattan-style atmosphere while gazing out over the city.

It has 112 luxurious guest rooms right in the middle of the action in Manhattan.

Aggieville and Kansas State University are just across the street from one another.

When you stay, you’ll get the greatest complementary breakfast in the Little Apple, with access to a heated indoor swimming pool, a 24-hour fitness facility, a lobby lounge, and unmatched service.

Enjoy a free Hot Breakfast daily from 6:30 am to 9:30 am while admiring the sky from their rooftop terrace or expansive apartments.

Their buffet has a variety of daily specials such as eggs, meat, bread, and fruit.

Shop Food Items at Downtown Farmers Market of Manhattan

Among the state’s earliest markets is Manhattan’s Downtown Farmers Market, which opened its doors in 1979.

Regional farmers have sent fresh meats, veggies, bread, and other products to the Manhattan area.

Numerous regional artisans will be selling their handcrafted goods at the market, including jewelry, soaps, crafts, and other types of artwork.

The marketplace is in Dillard’s west parking area at 3rd and Leavenworth.

Shop for wholesome ingredients to use in cooking and storing for all seasons.

Final Thoughts

Manhattan, Kansas, may not be like the Big Apple, but it certainly has its own charm.

Manhattan will give you a taste of college life in a town that exudes old-world elegance; take your pick from an array of cafes, bars, and shops.

Don’t forget to stop by a local museum or two, either.

Bookmark this list when planning your visit to the Little Apple, so you don’t miss out on its top tourist attractions!

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