15 Best Things to Do in Topeka, KS

15 Best Things to Do in Topeka, KS

Topeka is the capital city of Kansas and is also known as the Golden City. This city has more to it than we think. It is the fifth largest city in Kansas. Fun Fact: the city changed its name to “Google” temporarily in 2010 just for fun (I am just as surprised as you are!). This city played a major part in the Civil War. The city is famous for the United States Supreme court case Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka where it declared separation in public school based on race unconstitutional.

The city is magnificent in its own ways. The warm sunshine pours down on the city’s hills, valleys and soil. It is the windiest city in the entire United States. The climate is mild but intercontinental. Snow, wind, and rains are customary throughout the year. The center of the country is home to lots of vibrant art, sports, outdoor entertainment, and delicious food.

Trains at Great Overland Station

Great Overland Station
Ron Reiring, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Great Overland Station in Kansas Avenue is one of the places you cannot afford to miss on your visit to the city. It used to be a Pacific Railroad Station and is now transformed into a museum that displays Topeka’s history and Railroad Information and details. It is a people’s place with lots of interactive exhibits to learn from.

Visitors and tourists that come here can learn about the city’s railroad and stations that operate in the city. There is a kids section and an operative locomotive train junction. Sometimes there are weddings and events going on in here. Gilbert Stanley Underwood designed the station in 1925 and the station was fully functional from 1927. However, passengers declined from the 1950s and the museum then later  got converted into a railroad heritage museum.

Spring days at Ward Mead Historic site

Also known as Old Prairie town, the historic site in Fillmore Street is an ancient historical site with lots of activities to do. They not only tell you about the history back in the day in the 1800s but also let you experience past in the present. It is located on 6 acres of land and includes the Ward-Meade Botanical Garden that preserves the family history of the earliest settlers of Kansas City.

It takes two hours to visit the park and there are various ancient drugstores inside to have a sweet treat or a snack. You can stroll through the Garden; it has a path for walking with flowers and greens grass on both sides. The perfect time to visit the site would be during Spring as you get to see the tulips blossoming in the garden.

Get dazzled at the Kansas State Capitol Building

Kansas State Capitol Building
Gino Santa Maria / Shutterstock.com

Kansas State Capitol visitor center is the only Capitol building in the United States where the tourist can go to the top of the dome and stroll around the outside area of the building, which makes it a must visit when you come to Topeka. This is a wonderful opportunity to explore the city and revisit the state’s history. The bronze statue of the Kansas warrior is situated at the top of the dome.

The architecture in the interiors is intricately designed and is an eye catcher. They filled the inner dome with glass panels and they made the outer dome out of copper. The very famous mural “The Tragic Prelude” can be found inside the museum. There is a state library in the northern area of the building. There is a stairway that leads you to the top of the building. There is a visitor area with exhibits on display. It took millions of dollars to design the tombs and the structure of the building.

Sunny days at Lake Shawnee

Lake Shawnee in Topeka is an artificial lake with an amusement park alongside. It is one of the most beautiful secluded areas of Topeka. There are large outdoor seating areas for families to visit, cook and enjoy. There is a sufficient man-made waterfall inside. There are shelter houses that are available for rent. There is a beach area as well.

The place has lots of playgrounds, tennis courts and sand volleyball nets. There are lots of attractions and things to do here including fishing, swimming, skiing, camping, boat rafting, a long ride on a private yacht. There is a garden area in case you want to go for a stroll. The artificial lake is filled with various breeds of indigenous fishes such as yellow perch, northern pike, and pickerel.

Smell flowers at the Gage Park

Gage Park Topeka
Faina Gurevich / Shutterstock.com

Gage Par is a city park on Gage Boulevard. It is one of the most visited parks by the residents of Topeka and is one of the prettiest parks in Topeka.  The mini-train gives a tour around the park; there’s a merry-go-round inside the park for kids.  A zoo can be located inside the park filled with wild animals and a garden filled with plants that was built in 1930 having different types and colors of roses.

There is a 2-mile trail that goes around the park which is perfect if you want to take a hike. It has a water theme park and a children’s discovery center. This park is ideal for events, family outings and kids’ birthday parties.

Learn history at Brown v. Board of education National Historic Site

Brown v. Board of education National Historic Site
APN Photography / Shutterstock.com

As I have mentioned this before, Topeka is one of the first places to abolish segregation based on race in school.  The site is a former Monroe elementary school where parents of six students filed a lawsuit and rewrote history that later would abolish generations of injustice. Here, you can walk down through the ugly part of history where children were separated based on race.

The school is still functional and is playing a cosmic rule in making the history of Kanas. There is a huge graffiti wall on the field with drawings of various prominent figures including Nelson Mandela, Gandhi and Martin Luther King. There is an auditorium that plays historic movies of African Americans. There are plenty of paintings and exhibits made by children representing freedom and equality.

Back in time at Kansas Museum of History

When you visit some place, you must attempt to learn about their culture, traditions and past. One such easy and exciting way to do so is by visiting the museums of that place. Kansas Museum of History in Sixth Avenue, Topeka feature the past of Kansas from pre-historic to medieval to modern times. It is one of the most famous attractions of the city.

There are images, posters, paintings and artefacts on display and the collection keeps growing every day. There are prominent African American military unit flags on display that are rare to find. There are lots of exhibits of the Civil War. There is a museum store inside that sells Kansas made products like pottery and candles, lots of gift items such as show pieces. There are also dozens of books written on Kansas History, pillows, key chains and plenty of other souvenirs to shop.

Nature Interaction at Ted Ensley Gardens

It is a huge park in southeastern part of the city at West Edge Road. The gardens are famous for their tulips that blossom every year and make the garden look beautiful. A natural creek runs through the garden. The garden over sees the Lake Shawnee and has a very homely vibe. You can go for cycling around the path on a fresh summer morning. There is seating areas with shades for visitors to sit and admire the beauty of the lake. There are fresh flowers blossoming on every plant around the garden. The park is filled with tall trees and green grass.

A path down the past with Mulvane Art Museum

Topeka is a city with a very vibrant past. Hence, there is no doubt it has dozens of museums with tons of exhibits to view. The Mulvane Art museum in Jewell Avenue is one of the museums that catches the eye. It has prominent Civil Rights Exhibits on display. It shows visual images and pieces that represent the human rights struggle of the past. It was opened in 1924 and is one of the oldest museums in the city. The museum features pieces of famous Kansas Artists on display.

Engage in a luxury tour at Cedar Crest

Cedar Crest
25or6to4, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Cedar Crest in Topeka is home to the governors of Kansas. It is open during certain hours of the day for tourists and visitors. The French Normandy style architecture is the crucial aspect of the manor. The 244 acre manor overlooks the Kansas River and screams all kinds of luxury. The renovated estate includes several gardens, hiking trails, and ponds open for public visits. You can also tour through the library in the mansion. There are portraits of the ancient manor and past governors inside the mansion. The library has a collection of over 1500 books.

A heart-racing game at Heartland Motor Sports Park

Heartland Motor Sports Park
Grindstone Media Group / Shutterstock.com

In South West Topeka Blvd, this is practically the dream of every car racing fanatic. There are plenty of top-notch car racing events like the Drag Strip, Road Course, Dirt Track, Autocross and Moto X that take place and people from all over the world come here to see the race and cheer the players. It is one of the world’s famous and top racing tracks park that can be used for many purposes. It is located on 65 acres of land and has enormous facilities for motor cars and maintenance, There is a huge seating area for fans to watch over the race.

Fun day out in Kansas Children’s Discovery Center

If you are traveling with kids to Topeka or you are looking for places in Kansas to let your kids have fun then Kansas Children’s Discovery Center in Tenth Avenue is the place you are looking for. It is a children’s museum. The museum allows your kid to create, discover and learn and have fun at the same time.

There are practical exhibits that kids can use to solve problems, create structures, and build items. They conduct special events throughout the year to help children with programming and learning. There is a model hospital for children to act like doctors and examine their toy animals and dolls. There are model garages, libraries and various other public areas to help children learn and grow.

Aviation Learning at Combat Air Museum

Combat Air museum is a speciality museum for non-profit purpose in Topeka Regional Airport. If you have arrived to this city through flight, this could be your first tourist spot to visit. It is a very special museum because the visitors get to see the military airplanes operating right in front of them.

They have 43 different Airplanes on display in the museum and two additional hangers. The museum is located in the airport and you can see the runway outside. It takes around two hours to check the planes out. After that there is a tremendous variety of World War one and World War Two Airplanes. You can try the fly stimulator and fly some planes yourself!

Animal watching at Topeka Zoological Park

Topeka Zoo and Conservation center in Gage Boulevard is a must visit on your next trip to Topeka. The zoo has an enormous variety of wild animals on display.  The zoo usually adds new animals frequently. You can have a look at the giraffe, Llamas, a trip of goats and a magnificent black bear on display. There are also hippos, Bats in their natural habitats, tigers, elephants, crocodiles and many other animals on display. There is an artificial water area with benches around where visitors can sit and have lunch.

Watch drama and arts at Topeka Performing Arts Center

If you want to end your trip with a revision of the city’s culture, to remember the city for days to come, you must visit the Topeka Performing Arts Centre in Tenth Avenue. We know it for their live entertainment shows like concerts and comedy shows. It is a non-profit organization that helps students with budget crisis to perform arts and dramas. It helps over ten thousand such school students. You could have the time of your life here and at the same time help some kids in need.