Wichita, Kansas

Doo-Dah (nobody knows why they call it that)

The BUZZ

What's it like to live in Wichita

Why do you live in Wichita?

Cost of living is so cheap here and I genuinely like it here. I was able to purchase a home (pre pandemic) on my own with no bachelors degree. Wichita is pretty chill. It does not have some of the draws that larger cities have but I don't mind it. The food scene here is phenomenal so there is always a good meal to be had. I have been getting more and more into the local music scene and there are some good local bands to enjoy. There is always someone playing what seems like every night. A lot of times they are playing at local restaurants. Shopping is lacking a bit but it has picked up in the last couple of years. Traffic is not bad I live and work on opposite sides of town and I can get home in 25 minutes.

If your a sports fan (Which I am) look at the 3 hour drive time radius of the city. You have OU, OSU, KU, K-State, WSU, Tulsa, Wind Surge, Royals, Sporting KC, Chiefs, and the Thunder. For college sports that currently spans 2 conferences and soon to be 3. I really enjoy golf and the city courses are pretty good and better priced than other cities I have played in. There is also Sand Creek Station in Newton which is a great course.

For day or weekend trips there is Dallas, KC, Tulsa, OKC, and Branson. There is direct flights to Vegas, Phoenix, Denver, Dallas, Chicago, St Louis, Atlanta, and Destin.

Why do you live in Wichita?

I'm from Wichita but live in Omaha and want to rebuttal on a few points but not the entire thesis. 1) Botanica is an order of magnitude better than Lauritzen. The zoo here cannibalizes landscaping, plant species, and cultivars and doesn't give Lauritzen a chance. 2) Sedgwick County Zoo is world class even if it's not the best in the world. 3) Trails are way more accessible in Wichta. Fontanelle Forest is not in Omaha, but Wichita has Pawnee Prairie and Chisholm Creek in the city. 4) Craft beer is better in Wichita. Omaha's beer culture relies heavily on imports. Beer is sold in grocery stores here so there aren't many specialized beer stores selling local beers. It's getting a lot better though over the last couple years.

Not mentioned: 1) local pride/pride in the community is much stronger in Wichita, 2) Omaha has no real gay bars. Maybe Flixx. But it was very jarring moving here after the diversity/options in Wichita, 3) no food truck culture in Omaha.

Overall, I think Wichita should look to Omaha as an example for how to improve the city, especially in density and walkability. But I just want to remind people that every city is different, and Wichita has a lot of strengths as a midsized Midwestern city

What is it like to live in Wichita, KS?

I enjoyed living in Wichita from 2010–2014 (5 years+ total). One of the things I enjoyed the most about it was that it had a kind of big city feel without being a big city. And if you even need to take the next step up to big city experiences, you are only 3 hours away from both Kansas City and Oklahoma City, both of which have a lot of neat things to do as well.

Infrastructure: The city hardly has any traffic, though there are a couple specific exits that bind up during rush hour. But you are never more than 25 minutes from anywhere because of a relatively efficient interstate/belt route system. There are sufficient numbers of schools and hospitals, and the health care system actually has very good outcomes. Contrary to a comment elsewhere, I found that Wichita had a lot of variety in the type of food, and outside of fast food, wasn’t really franchise-heavy except for local franchises. I have lived and travelled all over the world and some of my favourite places to eat are in Wichita, Kansas. There are bowling alleys, movie theatres, plenty of malls, speciality stores, eateries, museums, theatre/playhouses, concert halls, activities, etc. so that you won’t be bored. My wife and I stayed busy with at least one major activity a month (operas, minor league baseball games, symphonies, play, movie, cultural festivals, exhibition, etc.).

Work/Economy: The city itself if very centered economically on the aerospace industry at large (that is why Wichita is known as the “Air Capital of the World,” so when the industry sneezes, Wichita gets a cold. Rounds of layoffs for companies like Spirit, Cessna & Beechcraft (which are now both owned by Textron), and Learjet are not uncommon, and that can have a profound impact on the economy in general. There are a couple of other large companies in the area that are not in aerospace (notably, Via Christi Health, Koch Industries, Coleman, and Cargill); Coleman and Cargill won’t grow much from where they are, and VCH as a health system will really only grow as the population in general does, and so much of the economic growth power from Wichita comes from Koch Industries, love them or hate them, and other small businesses and cottage industries.

I’m moving out to Wichita in a few days. What’s it like living there? What’s things to do, and good places to hangout?

There are many different things to do in Wichita. It depends on what you enjoy. If you enjoy outside activities we have numerous parks and nature trails. There are Farmers Markets you may wish to visit. Walking along the river and visiting the Keeper of the Plains is highly recommended. Our Old Town is a fun place to hang out. There are restaurants and bars which often have local live entertainment. We have a variety of museums and theaters, also. Live performances range from ballet to children’s shows. Our city is currently rebuilding our baseball stadium and we have an indoor hockey team. Many people here support our Wichita State University Basketball team. We have different festivals in the spring, summer and fall. Our Riverfest is a ten day city party. We have ‘Food Trucks at the Fountains’ throughout the summer. This is a very shortlist of things I enjoy doing in my city. Personally, I wish you a warm welcome to Wichita and hope you enjoy your new life here!

Wichita KS Pros and cons 5 of each | Living in Wichita, KS