An agricultural hub that rose to prominence as the “Air Capital of the World,” meeting planners may be forgiven for not recognizing Wichita, Kansas, as a multifaceted meetings destination now brimming with cultural institutions and downtown dining and brewpub options for delegates.
“It’s a thrilling time in Wichita. You can feel the momentum and excitement about the city’s future,” said Moji Rosson, vice president of sales of Visit Wichita. “A city that was once home to cattle drives is now home to contemporary art museums, exciting new attractions, a revitalized downtown and an ever-expanding dining and brewery scene.”
The cultural credentials of the largest city in Kansas may be a pleasant surprise for planners of meetings and events, including:
- More than 33 museums
- 22 attractions
- 22 live theaters
- Eight shopping districts
- More than 1,000 restaurants
Wichita also presents its bounty at a Midwestern price point and features a downtown convention district with a walking path along the Arkansas River to a variety of shops, breweries, restaurants and public art installations.
The city’s iconic work of public art, the 44-foot tall Keeper of the Plains, celebrates the city’s Native American heritage and draws a crowd for the nightly lighting of its fire pots.
Keeper of the Plains Fire Pot Lighting, Credit: Merrill Thomas
Don’t want to walk? Wichita’s free public transportation system can shuttle delegates to its many attractions as well as between hotels and the Century II Performing Arts & Convention Center, which offers more than 200,000 square feet of meeting and exhibition space directly connected to the 303-room Hyatt Regency Wichita.
Other major meetings hotels include the Doubletree by Hilton Wichita Airport, Wichita Marriott Hotel and the Drury Plaza Hotel Broadview.
The Artistic Surprises of Wichita
A town known more for its aeronautics engineers than its artists, Wichita may reveal a number of performing arts surprises to visitors.
Beyond the performing arts, Wichita also claims more than 25 art galleries and abundant public art among its offerings for those visiting the destination. One art piece has been recognized by Guinness World Records as the largest mural in the world painted by a single artist: a 50,000-square-foot expanse painted on grain elevator by Colombian street artist GLeo as part of the Horizontes (“horizons” in Spanish) art-and-community-engagement project.
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“The combination of heritage and urban revitalization make Wichita a fascinating destination,” Rosson said, “one with numerous museums and attractions that feature ample meeting space.”
5 Fantastic Offsite Event Venues in Wichita, Kansas
This refurbished warehouse space offers a modern, urban feel with a capacity for up to 600. It is attached to Wheat State Distilling, which makes premium spirits from local grains. Distillery 244 offers 150,000 square feet of meeting space and is located in Wichita’s brick-lined Old Town.
Distillery 244 Event Setup, Credit: Distillery 244
A 10-minute walk from the convention center, Exploration Place features the new Design Build Fly exhibit honoring the city’s aviation heritage.
The facility is a five-minute walk from the Keeper of the Plains sculpture and can seat 250.
Exploration Place Exterior, Credit: Gavin Peters
Once Wichita’s municipal airport, the Kansas Aviation Museum now celebrates aeronautics and engineering with a collection of vintage aircraft.
The National Historic Register venue offers four meeting rooms:
- an 8,250-square-foot atrium
- theater seating for 220
- banquet seating for 300
- and a 1,000-square-foot conference room that can seat up to 100.
Kansas Aviation Museum Atrium, Credit: Kansas Aviation Museum
Wichita’s oldest cultural institution was founded in 1920 as the Wichita Art Association and opened a prairie-style building in 2018 offering 11,850 square feet of meeting space as well as an outdoor reception area. Groups can use its teaching kitchen to hold more-intimate events.
Mark Arts Gallery, Credit: Mark Arts
Offsite venues at the seventh-largest zoo in the U.S. include space at the Elephants of the Zambezi River Valley, which includes a covered pavilion providing a nearly 360-degree view of the Saharan-inspired habitat for up to 150. Other enclosures also offer event rental options.
How to Get to Wichita, Kansas
Wichita is located in south-central Kansas, approximately 200 miles southwest of Kansas City and 160 miles north of Oklahoma City.
Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport (ICT) is served by Alaska, Allegiant, American, Delta, Frontier, Southwest and United airlines, which fly to 13 nonstop destinations, including hub airports in Los Angeles, Denver, Dallas, Atlanta, Chicago, St. Louis, Houston and Minneapolis.
Wichita CVB Contact Information