Blake Walsh

15 Free Things to Do in Wichita, KS

  • Published 2022/11/13

Wichita is a vibrant city in Sedgwick County, Kansas, renowned for its rich local arts scene and numerous noteworthy attractions.

Also dubbed the “Air Capital of the World,” Wichita became the nation’s center for aircraft manufacturing in the mid-1920s.

In addition, it’s the birthplace of two iconic fast-food brands, White Castle and Pizza Hut.

Today, it’s one of Kansas’s most-visited cities because of its friendly community and plenty of attractions and recreation.

This major city in the Midwest offers plenty for a traveler like you.

It has dozens of attractions from museums, parks, historic sites, and events with free admission.

If you’re a budget traveler, read this list of the free things to do in Wichita, Kansas.

Marvel at the Keeper of the Plains Plaza/Ring of Fire

Daytime view of the Keeper of the Plains Plaza/Ring of Fire

EWY Media /

The Keeper of the Plains Plaza/Ring of Fire is a 44-foot-tall steel sculpture along N. Seneca Street.

A visit to this famous sculpture is one way of getting acquainted with Wichita’s locality, especially the local Native Americans.

This iconic sculpture was erected in 1974 to celebrate the nation’s Bi-centennial celebration.

Today, it has remained one of the city’s top tourist spots ever since.

Close view of the Keeper of the Plains Plaza/Ring of Fire

Nagel Photography /

Posing in front of this towering sculpture is one excellent souvenir as proof of your visit to Wichita.

At the same time, you can also visit the All-American Indian Center to find out the history and the real meaning of the Keeper of the Plains Plaza/Ring of Fire.

Also, don’t miss out on the spectacular lighting of the sculpture, which shines for 15 minutes every evening.

Traverse the Arkansas River Trail

Head to the Arkansas River Trail for a worthwhile hiking adventure.

You can visit the trail’s entrance at Garvey Park, which spans over 10.8 miles.

This point-to-point trail is a famous hiking spot in the city that takes you to some of its most pristine areas with scenic locations to explore.

Hiking this trail takes about three hours to complete depending on how often you stop to take photos of the scenery along the way.

You’ll pass through scenic pastures, prairies, and farmlands throughout your hiking journey.

At the same time, the trail also provides you access to other city attractions such as parks and museums.

Besides hiking, the Arkansas River Trail is also famous for biking and running.

Wander Sedgwick Park

Sedgwick Park is one of Wichita’s biggest parks, making it an excellent venue for various events.

You can visit this park along 21st and 13th streets in the city’s northeast portion.

This park is home to the famous Scottish Festival and the Great Plains Renaissance Festival.

With that in mind, it makes an excellent place to catch some of the city’s most exciting events.

Besides colorful festivals and events, this park also has a top-notch and all-inclusive playground for kids regardless of their mobility.

Meanwhile, it has four lakes and ponds for grownups with plenty of fish to catch.

If you want to relax, Sedgwick Park has a picnic area and other park amenities for a delightful visit to this gorgeous outdoor attraction.

Hop on the Q-Line

The Q-Line is Wichita’s main downtown transportation that offers everyone a free trip.

It’s mainly an all-electric bus roaming downtown Wichita to transport you from various spots.

Riding on this public bus allows you to quickly move from one place to another within Wichita’s downtown area.

At the same time, most of its stopovers are the city’s famous tourist attractions, such as the Old Town, Historic Delano, and Naftzger Park.

The Q-Line trip takes about 15 minutes through Douglas Avenue, Edgemoor Street, and Seneca Street.

Just pull the cord near the bus’s window to signal the driver if you want to get dropped off.

Catch a Live Performance of the Wichita Shakespeare Company

Wichita Shakespeare Company is the best live performance troupe for free stage plays in Wichita.

This group offers free live performances at various venues across Wichita and neighboring cities.

They present various Shakespearean plays, such as Macbeth, Hamlet, Two Gentleman of Verona, and Twelfth Night, with free admission.

It’s your perfect opportunity to witness a top-notch performance from this group without spending a penny.

Bring your stool, blanket, and snacks, and enjoy the show.

Also, the Wichita Shakespeare Company accepts donations to continue their extraordinary contribution to the city’s local performing arts scene.

Spend Your Leisure Time at the Old Town

The grounds of Old Town

Kaleb Harvey /

Visiting Old Town offers you a bit of history and plenty of leisure activities.

This shopping and entertainment district houses dozens of restaurants, shops, and bars in repurposed 19th-century warehouses.

It’s the go-to place for people who want leisure activities such as dining, partying, shopping, and other recreational activities.

Many people love this place for its top-notch restaurants serving Japanese and southern to classic American and Italian dishes.

At the same time, it has numerous watering holes that you can choose from to spend your happy hour.

Strolling through the Old Town’s old brick-and-mortar buildings, now colorful restaurants and bars, is a fascinating and worthwhile experience.

Find the Wichita Troll

The Wichita Troll is an unusual attraction.

If you want to see it, you must find a hidden troll sculpture across Wichita.

This troll can be hidden in plain sight, like in lampposts, mailboxes, a storm grate, or in one of the city’s parks.

Finding the troll offers you a unique and fun-filled outdoor adventure with your family or friends.

Thanks to local artist Connie Ernatt, this art project in Wichita revived its riverside area.

She built the mysterious sculpture in 2007.

Besides the Wichita Troll, Ernatt also contributed numerous works to Wichita.

Given that the Wichita Troll doesn’t have many indicators of its presence, you can ask locals for hints or clues about where to start looking for it.

Learn about Wichita’s Flora and Fauna at the Great Plains Nature Center

The Great Plains Nature Center is a spectacular place to learn about the region’s flora and fauna.

This nature center along East 29th Street features an indoor facility to educate everyone about the Great Plains flora and fauna.

Visiting this place allows you to understand deeper The Great Plains’ wildlife, natural environment, and the importance of protecting its natural resources.

Enjoy a two-mile hike through a trail that highlights an educational tour of The Great Plains.

At the same time, learn about the native wildlife of Kansas at Chisholm Creek Park, known for its unspoiled prairie and wetland habitats.

Besides the educational tour, plenty of educational opportunities await at the Great Plains Nature Center, including junior naturalist classes, scout programs, field trips, and workshops.

Pose beside the Sculptures on Douglas

Sculptures on Douglas is a public art installation from renowned artist Georgia Gerber of Puget Sound, Washington.

You can find these fantastic artworks along Douglas and St. Francis Streets.

A total of 31 bronze sculptures highlight this fantastic public art installation created by Gerber in the late 1990s.

These sculptures feature playful scenes that reflect people’s everyday lives.

One of its most impressive sculptures is the dime store counter, which depicts a scene from a diner that is pretty common in many parts of the nation.

In addition, other notable bronze Sculptures on Douglas are the “Carry Nation Statue” and the “Barefoot Business Man.”

Seeing these magnificent artworks is fascinating, especially if you pose beside them for photos.

Step inside the Ulrich Museum of Art

Exterior of the Ulrich Museum of Art

Brent Danley from Saco, ME, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Ulrich Museum of Art is a magnificent place to see hundreds of artworks at Wichita State University.

This art museum opened in 1974 and was named after Edwin A. Ulrich.

This businessman from New York donated over 300 artworks from 20th-century artist Frederick Judd Waugh.

Besides Waugh’s artworks, this museum has hundreds more artworks from various countries.

Browsing this art museum is a fascinating experience where you’ll see fancy artworks you won’t find anywhere else.

Above all, Ulrich Museum of Art has free admission, giving you plenty of reasons not to miss visiting this charming historical attraction.

To make your visit to this art museum more worthwhile, join guided tours or witness various art events and workshops.

Channel Your Artistic Side at Gallery Alley

Head to the Gallery Alley if you’re up for more art-related activities in Wichita.

You can find this public art installation along E. Douglas Avenue.

A visit to Gallery Alley is a fun and fascinating art experience that takes you to the other side of Wichita’s artful community.

It mainly features five sculptures created by Armando Minjarez, Laura Shank, Denise Irwin, Tomoyo Tajiri, and Mike Miller.

These local artists teamed up to create a unique experience that enhances the inter-sensory art experience for everyone.

The alley is filled with various colors, touch, and sound artworks, making it an idyllic location for photo opportunities.

You’ll find different and unique artworks that occasionally change along the alley.

Amazingly, you can’t just see but also touch and hear every artwork’s unique features, making it a must-visit attraction.

Treat Your Kids to Story Time at the Kansas Humane Society

The Kansas Humane Society-Tot Tuesday is an event wherein youngsters experience a wonderful story time that aims to foster compassion and responsibility.

This experience would be a fitting activity, especially if you brought your kids to Wichita.

Kids should have fun listening to thoughtful stories about the importance of taking care of animals and other related topics.

At the same time, you can also adopt a pet cat or dog with the Kansas Humane Society during the event.

Don’t forget to add the Kansas Humane Society-Tot Tuesday to your family-friendly itinerary.

Connect with nature at the Riverside Park Kansas Wildlife Exhibit & Education Center

Riverside Park Kansas Wildlife Exhibit & Education Center is a fantastic place to connect with nature.

You can visit this attraction along Nims N Street and see various exhibits displaying natural and modern designs that help animals.

This place once served as a zoo after opening in 1988 and became an exhibit featuring Kansas’ local wildlife.

Visiting this place allows you and your kids to see animals up close through its viewing program.

You’ll come across animals such as bobcats, porcupines, hawks, minks, owls, beavers, and red foxes.

Of course, there are plenty more animals inside the Riverside Park Kansas Wildlife Exhibit & Education Center.

Join the Wichita Mural Scavenger Hunt

Join the fun and exciting Wichita Mural Scavenger Hunt.

Wichita is renowned for its urban art scene, which comes in dozens of forms.

Still, none can be compared to the gorgeous murals decorated throughout the city.

Embark on a self-guided tour to see each mural depicting positive and thought-provoking messages, civic pride, and other themes that enliven Wichita’s neighborhoods.

There are over a hundred murals scattered throughout Wichita that you can see during the Wichita Mural Scavenger Hunt.

You can locate all the murals through Google Maps, making your scavenger hunt much easier.

Browse the Wichita Art Museum

Exterior of the Wichita Art Museum

FUBAR007, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Wichita Art Museum features an outstanding collection of classic American art.

You can visit this art museum along Museum Boulevard and take advantage of its free general admission every Saturday.

Visiting the Wichita Art Museum is a worthwhile experience, especially if you’re an art lover.

This museum is home to over 10,000 artworks from its permanent collection, including Edward Hopper’s and Mary Cassatt’s masterpieces.

At the same time, it’s also home to the Art Garden, which highlights well-manicured pathways filled with sculptures and other artworks.

Browsing its collection lets you see rare and beautiful artworks from renowned artists that captivate your imagination.

Final Thoughts

Wichita is a place that should be on your bucket list of travel destinations.

It’s got its own identity and charm that pays tribute to the past while continuing to innovate its sophisticated arts scene.

Don’t forget to add the free things to do in Wichita, Kansas, to your itinerary for a fantastic budget-friendly experience.

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