Known for the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education, there are plenty of other notable reasons to visit Topeka, Kansas. From exciting year-round festivals, boutique shopping, and outdoor adventures, these are our top five reasons to visit Topeka.
1. THE FESTIVALS
If there’s one thing that Topeka, Kansas is known for, it’s the year-round festivities that bring both locals and out-of-towners into the city. From the “Traditional Inter-Tribal Pow Wow,” “Kansas Chocolate Festival,” “India Fest,” “Mariachi Festival,” “Huff ‘n’ Puff Hot Air Balloon Festival,” “Cider Days,” “Apple Festival,” Science and Tech Fest,” “WinterFest,” “Sunflower Music Festival,” “Spirit of Kansas Blues Festival,” “Fiesta Mexicana,” “Tap That” (the biggest beer festival in the Midwest), “Touch-a-Truck” festival, and even a concert to close out the summer intern season — Topeka has a festival for everyone!
One festival that caught our eye was the “Food Truck Festival,” which takes place over two days around the capital and brings in over 50 food trucks along with big crowds to sample their food. While sampling delicious street food, you can also shop at several vendors and catch concerts at Gage Park Amphitheater.
2. THE ARCHITECTURE
From the magnificent Gothic tower of Topeka High School to the copper dome with Ad Astra statue atop the Kansas State Capitol, Topeka is greatly ambitious, staunchly determined, deeply resilient, and always dedicated to excellence.
Named one of the state's "Most Iconic Buildings" by Architectural Design, the circa 1903 Kansas State Capitol serves as both a home to the state's legislature and a monument to the defining history of Kansas.
3. THE COCKTAILS
In the heart of Topeka sits The Burger Stand at College Hill. This hospitality driven, locally focused restaurant is known for its gourmet burgers, craft beer selection and innovative cocktails. Using homegrown and locally sourced ingredients, they offer unique twists on original concepts and bring something fresh and exciting to the table.
Stop by and enjoy some of their best-selling dishes such as funnel cake, a traditional American fair food—with a Burger Stand twist. The fried funnel cake fries are topped with a lemon curd drizzle, raspberry compote swirl ice cream, chamomile tea, cloves and sugar sprinkle with a candied mint garnish.
Try Nat’s Nasturtium, a pale yellow cocktail concocted with Beefeater gin, yellow Chartreuse, Luxardo, lemon juice and Asian Szechuan Bitters. It’s even garnished with a bright red Nasturtium bloom grown in The Burger Stand’s own beer garden. You’ll love the crisped corn on the cob, a street fare classic also known as elotes. Grilled to perfection, it’s drizzled with garlic parmesan aioli and topped with blackened seasoning and grated parmesan cheese. Burgers, beers, hospitality. But, don’t forget street food, cocktails and all your favorite American classics. See you there!
4. THE ZOO
The Topeka Zoo, located in Gage Park, is home to nearly 400 animals from all over the world. Exhibits include the Hill's Black Bear Woods, Tropical Rain Forest, Discovering Apes, Lions Pride and Children's Petting Zoo.
Thirsty? Open seasonally, Grazer’s Café affords several picnic tables that showcase a stunning view of the zoo’s giraffe family. Additionally, the 85-year old Topeka Zoo hosts The Annual Brew at the Zoo, which features 140+ beer tastings locally and from all around the country.
5. THE OUTDOORS
In Topeka you'll find a large variety of parks, trails and green spaces celebrating the beauty of nature. Venture down the Landon Nature Trail, part of the rails-to-trails movement which converts unused railroad lines to nature trails.
Hike through the woods of Kaw River State Park, Kansas' newest state park and only urban park in the state.