15 Best Things to Do in Olathe, KS

Olathe, KS
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With a name coming from a Shawnee word meaning "beautiful," the best things to do in Olathe, Kansas, will treat you to a wealth of breathtaking natural wonders.

Olathe serves as the county seat of Johnson County.

It is one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States.

Olathe is home to some of Kansas' best schools, and Money magazine named it one of the country's "100 Best Cities to Live in."

Dr. John T. Barton established Olathe in the spring of 1857.

His journey took him to the county's center, where he staked out two-quarter sections of land as the townsite.

Later on, he told his companions about his journey that many wildflowers were blooming in and around the plains, and he couldn't stop thinking about the area's beauty.

According to the citations cited above, A Shawnee interpreter told Barton that he inquired how to pronounce "beautiful" in his own tongue.

The interpreter responded, "Olathe."

Attractions and activities suitable for all ages may be found only minutes from downtown Kansas City,  Olathe  offers big-city excitement and small-town charm.

Olathe's 45 neighborhood and community parks provide a wide variety of activities for residents and visitors alike.

Get a head start on your vacation planning by checking out the top things to see and do in Olathe, Kansas.

Explore the City's History at Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop & Farm Historic Site

Name and welcoming sign of Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop & Farm Historic Site.
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Olathe's Mahaffie Stagecoach Station & Farm Historic Site is the only remaining stop along the Santa Fe Trail available to the public.

Three of the structures date back to the nineteenth century, while others date to the twentieth century or have been rebuilt.

Historic Mahaffie House was a popular stop for pioneers traveling west from Missouri in the 1860s on the Oregon and California Trails.

A man riding a horse carriage.
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What tales these walls might tell if they could speak.

Forty acres of grounds surround the home, where regular Civil War Battle reenactments are held.

There are animals, stagecoaches, and agricultural instruments on display as part of the museum's tribute to the town's rural past.

Blacksmiths are on-site to demonstrate their craft when stagecoach trips are offered during the summer months.

Wooden fences at Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop & Farm Historic Site.
Chris Light, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Enjoy Water Activities at Lake Olathe Park

In addition to a 170-acre lake, Lake Olathe Park offers a 258-acre community park.

These amenities are available at the Swim Beach, including locker rooms, showers outside, and vending machines.

Visitors to Lake Olathe Park can rent kayaks, canoes, paddleboards, and pedal boats at the Marina.

Beach chairs and umbrellas, as well as coolers with food and non-alcoholic beverages, are welcome.

After more work was done, a new event lawn was constructed above Lake Olathe, complete with landscaping and a little stream to accompany it.

The water feature culminates in a pond through a waterfall. Spray Ground is surrounded by a creek that originates in the pond and flows into the lake.

An arena with 1,500 seats and a view of Lake Olathe is a terrific place to relax and appreciate nature.

The Frontier Military Historic Byway passes right through this spot on the map.

Learn Kansas Farmlife at Ensor Park and Museum

For only a few hours, visitors to Ensor Park and Museum may relive the glory days of Victorian America.

Jacob and Ida Ensor and their two children, Marshall and Loretta, lived at this National Historic Site.

With a heavy focus on vintage radio equipment from the 1940s, the Ensor family property has become an antique treasure trove.

For anyone interested in learning more about what it was like to start a dairy farm back in the early 1900s, the museum provides tours of the house and barn.

From May through October, the museum and park are open on weekends.

Go Winetasting at Stone Pillar Vineyard and Winery

Winemaking at Stone Pillar Vineyard and Winery has been in the Hoff family for over a century.

After visiting a couple of Niagara wineries in 2007, the family was inspired to start a vineyard on their land.

The first wines were made in 2010; since then, the winery has steadily increased in size and popularity.

The family's goal is to provide a welcoming setting where visitors may learn about the growing of grapes and the production of a fine bottle of wine.

Visitors are invited to visit their tasting room on-site or check their website for upcoming wine events and join in the fun!

Promote Understanding and Inclusivity at Museum of Deaf History, Arts and Culture

As a non-profit educational institution, the museum is dedicated to preserving and sharing information on deaf history, culture, and art worldwide and in the United States.

Visit its facilities in Olathe to learn about its rich history and how deaf people have positively impacted the world.

There are so many educational options in this area.

While you're here, start with learning about the legacies of Paul Hubbard, Luther "Dummy" Taylor, and Charles Baird.

Look around, learn about our cultural enrichment programs, participate in our various activities, and most importantly, volunteer with them!

What the Deaf community offers will leave a lasting impression on you.

Take Photos with Pumpkins at KC Pumpkin Patch

Visit the KC Pumpkin Patch in Olathe, Kansas, for a really unforgettable fall outing.

Spend the day sliding, climbing, and playing your way through a farm's worth of amusement.

The vast open spaces and fresh air will treat the entire family.

This is unlike any other pumpkin patch you've ever seen!

Attractions such as the farm's large acreage and hands-on activities make it a perfect place for team development.

With various on-site location options, you can tailor your next group adventure to your exact specifications.

Guests over the age of 21 are welcome to sample the farm's wine and alcoholic cider offerings from KC Wine Co.

Immerse Yourself in Natural Wonders at Ernie Miller Park & Nature Center

A young buck at Ernie Miller Park & Nature Center.
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Adventure awaits you at this nature park with 126 acres of various ecosystems, including bottomland forest, tallgrass prairies, upland meadows, a magnificent stream, three miles of nature paths, and a picnic shelter.

Visit the center's new exhibit gallery, which features live animal displays and interactive exhibits; the 500-gallon aquarium features native stream fish.

This wildlife observation room overlooks a water feature with birdfeeders and the gift store, which caters to nature lovers.

Tree bark texture at Ernie Miller Park & Nature Center.
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In the Freedom's Frontier National Heritage Area, extraordinary events permanently reshaped the United States, such as the Civil War.

There is no way to erase the imprint of these events from the nation's history.

The historic area focuses on three key themes: shaping the frontier, the Kansas/Missouri border war, and the ongoing struggle for freedom.

A young buck at Ernie Miller Park & Nature Center.
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Learn about Plant Cultivation at K-State Olathe Horticulture Research & Extension Center

Traveling with kids?

It's time to increase their awareness and appreciation of the natural surroundings at K-Olathe State Horticulture Center.

The center focuses on vegetable and turfgrass research with indoor and outdoor growing plots, natural grasslands, and woodlands.

An AV-equipped classroom with wireless internet is available in the main building's indoor classrooms.

Center facilities can accommodate groups of all sizes on 350 acres of land.

There's a demonstration garden here for Johnson County Extension Master Gardeners.

Spring and fall semesters, as well as summer day camps, offer horticulture science lab opportunities for school groups.

Students can purchase a plant, soil, and wildlife science lab items from Center personnel for $5 each.

The Spoon Creek Disc Golf course is also located in the center.

Go Practice Shooting at Centerfire Shooting Sport

Centerfire Shooting Sport's indoor shooting range with 16 heated, cooled lanes and equipped with an automatic target retrieval system is sure to please the most ardent fans of the Sport.

One of Centerfire's many offerings is a full-service retail gun store with a wide range of specialist shooting and personal safety products.

Centerfire Shooting Sports offers a variety of activities and programs geared specifically at women and kids and free firearm classes, so everyone, regardless of experience level or gender, will be able to participate.

All patrons may choose whether or not to become a member and benefit from all of the perks of membership, or they can simply come in as a visitor.

There is also a lounge, a coffee and snack facility, and a viewing area.

Located along I-35 between 119th and Santa Fe, Centerfire Shooting Sports is the most incredible indoor shooting range in Johnson County.

Have an Adrenaline Boost at RoKC Climbing Gym Olathe

At this indoor facility, there are 35-50 feet walls that all skill levels can try climbing.

RoKC has three different climbing walls: Top Rope, Auto Belay, and Lead.

While certification is required for the Top Rope and Lead walls, those with no previous experience can try Auto Belay.

You can even time your pace on the site's Speed Climbing Wall or race against friends.

If you're looking for a single-day or multiple-day attraction, here is the place to go.

Additionally, a play lounge is available as part of the climbing experience for parents bringing their children along.

Have a Blast at Main Event Entertainment

There is no better place in Olathe to celebrate your special occasion than Main Event!

While playing laser tag, they may take on their friends or try their hand at one of the arcade's more than 100 games, both old and new, for a chance to set a new high score.

The centerpiece of this facility is its state-of-the-art bowling alley, which has professional-level lanes for bowlers of all ages.

It also has dragon ramps for those who are just beginning to learn.

Olathe's Main Event is an excellent place for your kids to burn off some energy throughout the school day.

It also has a snack bar serving burgers, wings, and pizza, as well as other favorites.

See Vintage Cars at Kansas City Automotive Museum

What began as a concept for a small group of automobile enthusiasts in Kansas City quickly became a reality for the city's automotive scene.

It took two years of grassroots promotion and three prizes to get the first significant contribution for the Kansas City Automotive Museum, making the long-anticipated museum a reality.

Over 30 classic automobiles are on show at our temporary museum in Olathe's 12,000-square-foot display area.

Kansas City's Automotive Museum conducts automobile club meetings and other activities throughout the year.

The Frontier Military Historic Byway passes right through this spot on the map.

Taste the Award-Winning Beer of Red Crow Brewing Co.

While making beer in their garage for family gatherings, Chris and Mistie came up with starting Red Crow.

Mistie and Chris first met at Fort Hays State University as college students.

They married and had their first child there in 2003.

As far back as 2008, Chris started brewing in his garage and distributing it to his family.

When Chris' Belgian Blonde-Isabelle and Rye Porter-Elaine won awards, it was instantly apparent that his efforts had paid off.

It's clear to see, taste, and feel the family's devotion to their brewery when you visit Red Crow.

The shop has a wide selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beers, ciders, cocktails, wine, soft drinks, juices, and quick bites.

Peruse Different Stalls at Olathe Farmers' Market

Olathe's farmers market is an excellent place to stock up on groceries while visiting the city.

The Olathe Farmers' Market is open from April to October and sells various commodities, including baked goods, flowers, fruit and vegetables, and herbs.

Nearly everything is made within a 250-mile radius of Olathe.

Local residents can sell their fresh vegetables, flowers, and other goods at the Farmers' Market.

This market is not meant to be a wholesale outlet for products.

Admire Local Talent at Chestnut Fine Arts Center

Founded as a standalone enterprise in May 1998, the Chestnut Fine Arts Center was first housed in a single-room theater.

It provides a venue for adults and children in the Kansas City region to participate in a wide range of high-quality, stimulating art activities.

There are now six plays and/or musicals performed each year at The Chestnut in addition to various children's workshops, talent events, recital/concert performances by The Dickens Carolers, and a vocal/piano instructional school.

There have been several theater renovations, including more seats and a larger lobby area, dressing room facilities, and a technical section.

Make sure to stop by and catch a show to experience the city's art scene.

Final Thoughts

Olathe is a charming, up-and-coming tourist attraction with a small-town feel.

The unique and charming things to see and do in this secluded location will astound you.

This is a great place to stop for a few hours on your way to Kansas City or Jameson.