9 Fun Things To Do In Topeka, Kansas

things to do in topeka, kansas

Topeka, Kansas, United States, is the capital of Kansas. In 2010, the city was named one of the Top 10 Best Cities for the Next Decade by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine. Topeka is a Kansas Native-American tribe name that means “place where we dug potatoes” or “a good place to dig potatoes.” Topeka is best known for the popular United States Supreme Court case known as Brown versus the Board of Education. This case was a history changer since it proclaimed racial segregation in public schools unconstitutional. Here are some fun things to do while in Topeka:

1. Lake Shawnee

things to do in topeka, kansas | lake shawnee
Source: Photo by Flickr user Brooke Raymond used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

This is a pretty lake with scenic views that you can enjoy with family. Here you will find something for everyone like the Garden House, Reynolds Lodge, a marina, tennis courts, sand volleyball courts, open spaces, a campground, a golf course, shelter houses, water activities, a playground and best of all, a swimming beach complete with a water slide. Just be aware that if you want to trout fish or just fish here, you will need a Kansas state license to do so. Lastly, most festivals and special events are held here, so this place is a favorite of the local community.  

Lake Shawnee

Address: 3137 SE 29th Street, Topeka, KS

Website: Lake Shawnee

2. Gage Park

Reinisch Rose Garden, Gage Park, Topeka, Kansas01
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Marion Doss used under CC BY-SA 2.0

This is a serene park that is one of the largest parks in Topeka. The Topeka Zoo, the Kansas Children’s Discovery Center, a miniature train of gauge, an outdoor theatre as well as the 70-year old Reinisch Rose Garden can all be found here. Last, but not least, there is a cute train here for kids to ride.

Gage Park

Address: Between 6th and 10th Streets caca, Topeka, KS

Website: Gage Park

3. Evel Knievel Museum

Evel Knievel museum Fun Fun Fun Fest 2013-6599.jpg
Source: Photo by Flickr user Anna Hanks used under CC BY 2.0

This is a museum that is dedicated to Evel Knievel. There is a lot of memorabilia here of the famous American stunt performer, painter, entertainer, and international icon that wowed the world. He attempted more than 75 ramp-to-ramp motorcycle jumps during his courageous and daring career. This is a place that fans and non-fans alike will enjoy. When you are here, don’t forget to check out the 4-D Virtual Reality Jump.

Evel Knievel Museum

Address: 2047 SW Topeka Boulevard, Topeka, KS

Website: Evel Knievel Museum

4. Brown vs Board of Education National Historic Site

BRVB school ext
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user NPS-Photo used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

As mentioned before, the Brown vs Board of Education case is one of the things Topeka is famous for. The United States Supreme Court’s decision in the Brown vs Board of Education is one of the most important opinions ever made. What people remember about this case is a little girl, whose parents sued the Board of Education so that she could attend an all-white school in her neighborhood. This historic site pays tribute to the case that changed history forever.

Brown vs Board of Education National Historic Site

Address: 1515 SE Monroe Street, Topeka, KS

Website: Brown vs Board of Education National Historic Site

5. Combat Air Museum

F-86H - Combat Air Museum - Williamsport, KS, USA - panoramio (98)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Eric Friedebach used under CC BY 3.0

At this historic museum you will see a collection of 39 aircrafts in two hangars. You will also get to see various military aviation engines, exhibits, artifacts and aviation art, from WWI to present day. The museum is one of the major aviation museums in the United States that is located on an active air field.

Combat Air Museum

Address: 7016 SE Forbes Avenue Forbes Field, Topeka, KS

Website: Combat Air Museum

6. Kansas State Capitol

Kansas State Capitol in Topeka
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Tony Webster used under CC BY-SA 2.0

One thing I love to do when I visit United States capital cities is to visit the specific state’s capitol building. I grew up in a capital city and that is what fueled my passion for state capitol buildings. The Kansas State Capitol building is regarded as the state’s greatest architectural treasure. It has 5 floors, which house murals, statues, and artwork. Best of all, you can enter the dome by climbing 296 steps that go from the fifth floor to the top. Be sure to take a tour and see the exciting building for yourself.

Kansas State Capitol

Address: 300 SW 10th Ave Ste 525, Topeka, KS

Website: Kansas State Capitol

7. Old Prairie Town at Ward-Meade Historic Site and Botanical Garden

OPTmansion copy
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user OldPrairieTown1 used under CC BY-SA 4.0

This historic site has a botanical garden. It is neat to see the 1854 replica of the log cabin which includes a blacksmith shop. Also, here you will find an 1870s Victorian Prairie Mansion that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Old Prairie Town at Ward-Meade Historic Site and Botanical Garden

Address: 124 NW Fillmore Street, Topeka, KS

Website: Old Prairie Town at Ward-Meade Historic Site and Botanical Garden

8. Ted Ensley Gardens

Ted Ensley Gardens 003
Source: Photo by Flickr user Marion Doss used under CC BY-SA 2.0

As soon as you enter the park you will get an opportunity to walk through a beautiful covered bridge, which goes over a serene rocky stream. Equally as relaxing is the meditation garden, the rock gardens, the many annual and perennial beds, the rose gardens as well as water gardens. There is also a gazebo, pergola, waterfalls, streams, and several ponds to enjoy.

Ted Ensley Gardens

Address: 3650 SE West Edge Road, Topeka, KS

Website: Ted Ensley Gardens

9. Cedar Crest

Cedar Crest, Topeka, KS
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user 25or6to4 used under CC BY-SA 4.0

This landmark and historical place is the Kansas Governor’s mansion. It was built in the year 1928 and given to the state in 1955, but it did not become the governor’s residence until 1962. Today it is the main attraction of a French architectural estate that oversees the Kansas River. The estate has several ponds, gardens as well as hiking trails.

Cedar Crest

Address: One SW Cedar Crest Road, Topeka, KS

Website: Cedar Crest

Topeka, a gem in Kansas

Topeka Kansas
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user America's Power used under CC BY 2.0

Topeka is a capital city that is rich in history and culture. Be sure to pay this exciting city a visit on your next vacation to Kansas.

Frequently asked questions about best things to do in Topeka, Kansas

1. What are the top attractions to visit in Topeka?

There are a lot of attractions to choose from, depending on your interest, when you visit Topeka. But if you’re only after the top attractions in the city, then you shouldn’t forget visiting the Evel Knievel Museum, Lake Shawnee, and Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site.

2. What are the best outdoor activities in Topeka?

Topeka boasts many natural attractions and green spaces that’s why one of the best outdoor activities you can do here is to explore Gage Park. It is an expansive park that houses many interesting attractions like Topeka Zoo and the Kansas Children’s Discovery Center.

3. What are the most popular things to do in Topeka with kids?

In case you’re coming to Topeka with your mini-me, then you should bring her/him to Gage Park and let him/her explore the park, where you’ll find a museum, a zoo, and a miniature train. Another top attraction for kids here is Lake Shawnee, where the family can have a picnic, play sports, or just bask at the beautiful surrounding.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Tabassum Rahmani is a technical writer, who was born and raised in the USA to Indian parents. She loves to write and has been doing so for over a decade now. She enjoys travelling, especially with...Read more

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