Located in the Midwest in Kansas is Newton, a small town north of the state’s largest city, Wichita.
Incorporated in the 1800s, Newton has seen a rich and evolving history, being a prime area of Mennonite immigration from Europe.
Rooting from the evolution of American railways in the 1870s, the town has become an important hub for railroad shipping and import of Texas Cattle.
At present, the city is a rural reprieve surrounded by Kansas nature and waterfronts.
It’s a great area to visit for those looking for great natural landscapes and a warm sense of community and Kansan hospitality.
Ready to explore Newton?
Here are the 20 best things to do in the city:
Honor the History of Mennonite Immigrants at the Mennonite Settler Statue
Located within the expanse of Athletic Park is the Mennonite Settler Statue, honoring the Mennonite immigrant farmers who moved to Kansas in the 1800s and their wheat farming heritage.
The statue was made in 1942 by Topeka artist Max Nixon.
The figure was done in native Kansas limestone, depicting a Mennonite farmer with his hat in hand.
The statue is an important figure in commemorating the introduction of Turkey Red hard winter wheat from Russia, which helped Kansas coin the nickname “America’s bread basket.”
The Mennonite Settler Statue continues to be a significant figurehead in Kansan history, being listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1998.
Visit the Historic Warkentin House
Located in Central Newton is the Victorian-era Warkentin House, home of Bernhard and Wilhelmina Warkentin.
Originally from the Mennonite settlement in Ukraine, Bernhard Warkentin moved to Kansas in 1873, seeing the benefit of Mennonite farmers settling down in the American Midwest.
He built the first grist mill and his farmstead in Harvey County.
He eventually met his wife Wilhelmina as he expanded his farm business in the Midwest.
Bernhard died in 1908 from a gunshot accident, and his wife continued to live in the Warkentin House until her death in 1932.
The house, built in 1886 in the Queen Anne style, promotes Victorian architecture and style that reflected the way Americans lived at the time.
Visitors can stop by and take guided tours or go around the historic house on their own to see all the preserved furniture and artifacts from when the Warkentins lived in the late 1800s to the early 1900s.
The house can also be rented for private events and gatherings.
Explore the Kansas Grasslands at Harvey County Camp Hawk
Just a short drive from downtown Newton is Harvey County Camp Hawk, a vast park perfect for different recreational activities for both tourists and locals alike.
Camp Hawk is the only one in the county to have a disc golf course available for use, winding throughout the expanse of the park.
There is a four-acre fishing pond on-site, and fishing is a popular activity, provided visitors secure fishing licenses to be able to do so in the park.
The park is also a great place to set up camp for a night or two, perfect for basking in the lush natural landscape of Harvey County.
Camping is subject to a small fee to be paid to the park office.
To fill the day of recreation at Camp Hawk, there are also playgrounds, softball diamonds, and a basketball court available for visitors to use.
Learn About Newton’s History at the Harvey County Historical Museum
A city with a rich history, the Harvey County Historical Museum is the home of research and documents highlighting the history and development in the area.
Maintained by the Harvey County Historical Society, the museum is housed in Newton’s Carnegie Library building, built in 1904.
Visitors can take in the history of Newton and Harvey County through a mix of permanent and rotating exhibitions showcasing different events that shaped the development of the area.
There is also a research library that is free to access for anyone interested to read in-depth about Harvey County’s history.
Guided tours can also be availed, given by the Historical Society’s knowledgeable volunteers.
It’s definitely worth a visit when in Newton, especially for history buffs!
Work on Your Fitness at the Newton Recreation Commission
For visitors looking to squeeze leisure and fitness into one, the Newton Recreation Commission is a great place to stop by in the city.
Right next to Okerberg Park, The Newton Recreation Commission offers a variety of sports and leisure programs.
There is a wellness center available on-site, boasting pieces of equipment for fitness and wellness, such as treadmills, ellipticals, rowing machines, and weights.
The center also has a great aquatics program, with lessons available for swim enthusiasts.
The pool is also open to the public for those who want to enjoy a quick swim.
Numerous fitness classes are open for visitors, such as yoga, Zumba, and weight training.
There are also classes for senior citizens looking for a quick heart-pumping workout session!
Recreational play for select sports is also doable at the club, such as baseball, disc golf, and softball for both kids and adults.
The Newton Recreation Commission is a great place to spend an active day in Newton!
View the Newton Art Scene at Carriage Factory Art Gallery
For art enthusiasts, the Carriage Factory Art Gallery is a must to put on the list when in Newton.
The gallery has rotating exhibitions featuring different American artists, some locals of Newton and around Kansas.
The gallery was built and established in 1883 as a carriage factory and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Visitors can spend the day looking through the different artworks on display.
Art workshops are also available for both youth and adults looking to tap into their inner artists.
Visitors can commemorate their stay by dropping by the gallery gift shop for souvenirs.
Artwork by Albert Krehbiel is also on-sale for collectors looking to expand their repertoire.
Have a Day by the Lake at Harvey County Park
The 1300-acre expanse of Harvey County Park offers a great day of outdoor adventure for both locals and visitors to Newton.
Just a short drive east of the city center, Harvey County East Park offers lots of different outdoor activities on both the ground and water, with the park’s location next to the East Park Lake.
Visitors can enjoy lakeside activities like fishing, swimming, and boating.
Visitors can also camp out and set up picnics on the grounds surrounding the lake.
Volleyball and softball courts are also available for use for those who want to get in a few rounds of active sports.
The expanse of the park is also great for hikes great for taking in the nature of Newton.
Take a Splash at Springlake Splash Park
In the south of Newton is Springlake Splash Park, a great place to beat the heat when in the city.
The park is free for use for visitors. The water splash areas are a great place to cool off for both kids and adults, especially during the summer.
In addition to the water parks, there’s also a dry playground and bike trails available around the expanse of the park.
Ponds with fishing access are also available, provided visitors secure state licenses for use.
Tee Off at the Sand Creek Station Golf Course
Newton is quite the hub for golf, with numerous courses located in the area.
Just outside the city proper is the Sand Creek Station Golf Course, a public 18-hole golf course designed by architect Jeff Brauer.
The Sand Creek Golf Course is one of the most highly acclaimed courses in Kansas, bagging a few awards and being honored by the National Golf Foundation.
The course is a 7200-yard expanse covering the 18-holes, with the nearby Sand Creek neighboring 4 of these holes.
There are also custom ponds decked out within the expanse, as well as a railway going around the entire area.
There is also a wooden cart bridge that spans Sand Creek allowing golfers to pass through, as well as a concrete underpass that goes through the nearby Burlington Northern Santa Fe tracks.
Apart from golfing, visitors can also utilize the expanse of the Sand Creek Golf Course by hiking or biking along the sprawled trails.
Feel the Kansan Community Spirit at Athletic Park
Centrally located in Newton is Athletic Park, a 40-acre expanse established in 1897.
The park’s location makes it an ideal venue for community activities for Newton locals.
Located on the park’s grounds is the Fischer Field Stadium, a local hotspot for Newtonites as the site is home to the Newton High School football team.
The park is also a great site for visitors and locals who want to spend an active day outdoors, with basketball courts, baseball and softball fields, tennis courts as well as sand volleyball areas available to use.
There are also unique activities like the horseshoe pit for some quick shooting, as well as a few water play areas.
Sculptures are spread out within the vicinity to also add an element of art backdropped with Kansas nature.
Families can also spend the day with their kids and pets, setting up mats on the different picnic sites available to enjoy a nice, breezy day in Newton.
Bat a Swing at Centennial Park
Located in northern Newton is Centennial Park, a great place for America’s favorite pastime in Newton.
Within the park is the Klein-Scott Baseball field, where locals hold baseball tournaments and small games.
Visitors can also use the fields for a quick game, practicing their swings and running the bases.
Apart from the baseball field, there are also softball, football, and disc golf fields available for a fun sports day.
The park is also a great place for runners and hikers taking in Newton’s nature and landscape on the trek.
For those looking to just spend a chill day outdoors, visitors can opt to do quick barbeques and picnics on the fields surrounding the park.
For pet parents, visitors are also free to bring their furry friends to spend the day with them in Centennial Park.
Grab Some German Favorites at The Breadbasket
Opened in 1984, The Breadbasket is a beloved Newton establishment serving up American and German favorites.
The restaurant is known for their buffets, offering a variety that their regular patrons love.
Visitors are treated to either their breakfast buffet, Sunday buffet, or the German buffet. The latter features favorites such as borscht, sauerkraut and sausage, and German chocolate cake on their regular line-up.
For those with smaller appetites, there is an ala carte lunch menu, as well as fresh breads and baked goods in their bakery selection.
The Breadbasket also offers catering for private events and gatherings in the Newton area.
See the Leaves Fall During Autumn at Sand Creek Bike Path
Sand Creek Bike Path is one of the lesser-known treasures of Newton.
Not the same as Sand Creek Trail in North Newton, this path is a multi-use route within Centennial Dog Park.
It runs along Sand Creek, which stretches all the way from Centennial Park to Athletic Park.
This is why the path also offers convenient access to major sidewalks and roads, including Twelfth and First Streets.
But perhaps what makes this bike path a step up from other trails is its undisturbed nature charm.
During autumn, the path's trees turn a beautiful shade of orange and red—ideal for your fall foliage photo op.
The path is also home to many wildlife, including ducks and geese.
Sand Creek Bike Path is on Centennial Park Drive, ready to welcome you at all times.
Admire the Gardens at Midtown Arboretum
Established in 1977, this iconic tourist attraction serves as both a public arboretum and a memorial garden.
It spans over 1.30 acres.
The park features a gazebo and a memorial planting garden that showcases native plants and blossoms.
Within the park, there are also engraved memorial bricks.
Midtown Arboretum is open for your search for artistic inspiration on West 8th Street.
Enjoy Performances at the Harvey County Free Fair
Every first weekend of August, Newton celebrates Harvey County Free Fair.
This annual fair and festival feature a multitude of tournaments, games, live music, and carnival shows.
Other parts of the program include a demolition derby, a rodeo, and various goods and artwork exhibits.
The official start-off of this event is a Parade all over downtown Newton, which gathers wagons and antique vehicles, as well as classic car lineups.
Harvey County Free Fair offers all of these and more!
Head over to West 1st Street for that glimpse of county fair culture in Harvey County.
Experience a One-of-a-Kind Food Adventure at Taste of Newton
Taste of Newton is one of the premier festivals of the city that you shouldn't miss out on while on your trip.
It's a unique celebration of food, fine arts, and diverse culture.
Started in 1987, this was once put up as a celebration of Bethel College's 100th anniversary.
Over time, the Newton Area Chamber of Commerce took over the management of the renowned festival.
Now, Taste of Newton has evolved into something more.
And the best part is it's not a ticketed event!
Be part of the festivities in downtown Newton, including the streets of East Broadway, 7th, and 6th.
Learn the Beauty of Outdoor Art with a Tour of Newton’s Community Murals
Newton's outdoor art scene is vibrant and inclusive, and this fact is more prominent with its community murals.
One of these is the Newton Historical Mural by Andrea Braker.
This artwork features the uniqueness of the city, including its state bird—the western meadowlark, the Blue Sky Sculpture, and events like the Gunfight at Hyde Park.
Another outstanding piece is by Stephen Owens named the Eagle Mural.
This North Main Street mural serves to pay tribute to the First Responders and Military personnel.
There are more community murals within the city, including the Butterfly Mural on South Pine and the Community Hands Mural at the Giving Garden on Old 81 Highway.
So, be sure to have your camera ready on your self-guided mural tour.
Other Things to Do Nearby
Take a Photo at the Blue Sky Sculpture
Just across from Centennial Park is the Blue Sky Sculpture, considered one of the 8 Wonders of Kansas Art.
Designed and created by the joint efforts of artists Phil Epp, Terry Corbett and Cory Snider, the sculpture was inspired by the natural Kansas Sky views.
The optimum view of the sculpture is through pausing at the viewing pad, seeing where the sculpture and the sky come together.
Visitors are also encouraged to interact as they can feel and take in the textures of the different elements of the artwork.
Explore Mennonite History at the Kauffman Museum
Housed on North Main Street, the Kauffman Museum showcases North Newton’s rich history, dating back to the Mennonite settlement in Kansas in the 1870s.
Named after the original founder Charles Kauffman, the museum houses different artifacts and elements that shaped the history of the area of Newton.
There are numerous permanent and rotating exhibitions on-site. There is also a prairie adjacent to the museum building, with over a 1.5-acre field with over 15 grass and 100 wildflower species and a historic farmstead.
The permanent exhibit features a rare collection of immigrant Mennonite furniture, with pieces from Prussia, Poland, and Russia.
Visitors can spend the day looking through the different artifacts or going around the outdoor fields, taking photos to commemorate their stay at Kauffman Museum.
Unleash Your Inner Plant Lover at Dyck Arboretum of the Plains
The Dyck Arboretum of the Plains is a beloved Newton establishment founded by husband-and-wife duo Harold and Evie Dyck.
The first tree of the arboretum was planted in 1981 on the original 13 acres.
Harold and Evie were very passionate about the appreciation of the simple beauty of life in Kansas and saw how showcasing local Kansas plants in the arboretum could mean to Kansans.
At present, the arboretum is now home to one of the largest plant gardens in the area, housing over a thousand varieties of native and adaptable trees, flowers and shrubs.
Visitors can either do self or guided tours on the arboretum grounds.
Visitors are free to bring their pets on-site, as well as bikes and skateboards to use on select trails.
Newton is a hidden gem in the heart of Kansas, offering visitors a sprawling expanse of Kansan nature with genuine Midwest American hospitality.
Newton is a great place to put on the list on a visit to the United States.
What are you waiting for?
Plan a visit to Newton, KS, today!