Guide to Visiting to Topeka, Kansas

Topeka downtown with capitol

This post is sponsored by Visit Topeka. Opinions belong to the writer. 

Drive about an hour west and you can visit Topeka, the state capital of Kansas. Topeka has tons to offer families that want to do a day trip or stay for a long weekend. Check out our recommendations for places to visit, eat, and shop for your first (or returning) visit to Topeka.

Places to Visit

Brown V Board of Education National Historic Site

1515 SE Monroe St, Topeka, KS 66612 | Website

This is a can’t-miss spot to visit with your kids. Tour the site and learn about the important role that Topeka and Brown V Board of Education played in the civil rights movement. Because this is a national parks site kids can earn a junior ranger badge.

Combat Air Museum

7016 SE Forbes Ave, Topeka, KS 66619 | Website

This museum has 46 different aircraft from the earliest planes to what is flown today. They also offer a young aviators program.

Equality House

1200 SW Orleans St, Topeka, KS 66604 | Website

The Equality House is a rainbow painted home that stands across the street from a church that is a well known hate group. The house is a symbol of peace, compassion, and positive change. Visitors are welcome to visit the property and take pictures.

Gage Park

635 SW Gage Blvd, Topeka, KS 66606 | Website

This is a must stop for a visit to Topeka. This park has multiple playgrounds including large stone animals kids can play on. Don’t miss riding the historic carousel and mini-train (only $2 a ride). The Topeka Zoo and Kansas Children’s Discovery Center are also located at Gage Park.

Great Overland Station

200 NW Railroad St, Topeka, KS 66608 | Website

This train station built in 1927 now serves as a museum with all kinds of information about Topeka’s storied railroad history.

Kansas Children’s Discovery Center

4400 SW 10th Ave, Topeka, KS 66604 | Website

This is a great spot for families with young kids. There are interactive exhibits both indoors and out and you can easily spend an entire day having fun or pair a visit with time at Gage Park or the Topeka Zoo.

Kansas State Capitol Visitor Center

SW 8th &, SW Van Buren St, Topeka, KS 66612 | Website

The visitor center is open to the public and there are free tours available including a dome tour for those that aren’t afraid of heights (or the 296 stairs)!

Kansas Museum of History

6425 SW 6th Ave, Topeka, KS 66615 | Website

Closed for renovations until 2024.

Mulvane Art Museum ArtLab

1700 SW Jewell Ave, Topeka, KS 66621 | Website

Browse the museum and then visit the ArtLab to let your kids create art of their own. ArtLab is open to the public on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

NOTO Arts and Entertainment District

935 N Kansas Ave, Topeka, KS 66608 | Website

You’ll find over 40 murals and public art pieces in this part of the city as well as restaurants and shops. There are also several parks to explore and regular events including the first Friday art walks.

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

124 NW Fillmore St, Topeka, KS 66606 | Website

Step into the 1800s and explore replicas of a schoolhouse, church, general station, and visit the botanical garden. The best time to visit is in the spring during tulip season as they have 20,000 tulips on site!

Topeka Zoo

635 SW Gage Blvd, Topeka, KS 66606 | Website

What I love most about the Topeka Zoo is that it is small and easily walkable (no hills!) and it packs in so many great exhibits and special events. Their brand new giraffe exhibit opens in spring of 2023.

Seasonal Activities

Annual Events and Festivals

Various Locations | Website

No matter the season there are fun events happening like the tulip festival, country stampede, art fairs, and more. You can check the city’s calendar of events here.

CoreFirst Ice Rink at Evergy Plaza

630 S Kansas Ave, Topeka, KS 66603 | Website

From mid-November through January you can go ice skating in downtown Topeka. Mom pro tip: Rent the skate helper for your kids that aren’t skating independently yet.

Lake Shawnee Adventure Cove

3137 SE 29th St, Topeka, KS 66605 | Website

In the summer you can visit Lake Shawnee and rent a paddle boat, kayak, or play on the floating playground. Or just hang out on the beach and take a swim.

Zoo Lights

635 SW Gage Blvd, Topeka, KS 66606 | Website

From mid-November through December you can visit the Topeka Zoo in the evening and experience their holiday and animal themed light displays.

Places to Eat

The Pennant

915 S Kansas Ave, Topeka, KS 66612 | Website

The Pennant offers more than just good food in downtown Topeka. They also have a small bowling alley and a vintage arcade featuring classic arcade games, pinball machines, and skeeball.

Iron Rail Brewing

705 S Kansas Ave, Topeka, KS 66603 | Website

This train themed spot has craft beer on tap and a menu with bbq, sandwiches, and hearty sides. I had the Kansas classic of a bowl of chili and a cinnamon roll. My kids loved the dinosaur themed kids menu.

Bobo’s Drive-In

2300 SW 10th Ave, Topeka, KS 66604 | Website

This is a Topeka institution and they’ve been serving food since 1948. They have a classic drive-in menu with burgers, coney dogs, and onion rings.

Norseman Brewing Company

830 N Kansas Ave, Topeka, KS 66608 | Website

I don’t really know how to describe Norse food and drink but the menu looks delicious, and I hear the beet chips are really good.

The Wheel Barrel

925 N Kansas Ave, Topeka, KS 66608 | Website

A restaurant that specializes in grilled cheese sandwiches? Yes, please! They also have a great craft beer selection.

A-Hahn Thai

2222 SW Washburn Ave, Topeka, KS 66604 | Website

If your kids are open to trying new foods (or already appreciate how delicious Thai food is!), this is a great spot to grab lunch or dinner.

Glory Days Pizza

Several Locations | Website

Choose from one of their specialty pizzas or build your own. The six-inch pizza is perfect for kids.

Nanny’s Soul Food

822 N Kansas Ave, Topeka, KS 66608 | Website

Delicious southern fare and cajun food made from scratch daily.

G’s Frozen Custard

1301 SW 6th Ave, Topeka, KS 66606 | Website

Stop by for a concrete, shake, or a specialty sundae.

Places to Shop

Cashmere Popcorn

728 S Kansas Ave, Topeka, KS 66603 | Website

This cute shop in downtown Topeka has over 15 unique flavors of popcorn that you can sample and bring home. We loved the cinnamon toast and peanut butter cup flavors as well as the traditional cheesy cheddar and perfectly plain.

Hazel Hill Chocolate

724 S Kansas Ave, Topeka, KS 66603 | Website

This sweet shop is next door to Cashmere Popcorn in downtown Topeka and they have dozens and dozens of delicious made from scratch chocolate treats as well as caramel apples. We had not even left before my kids were already planning a trip back.

Leaping Llamas

725 S Kansas Ave, Topeka, KS 66603 | Website

This store has local artisan goods from soaps to jewelry to ceramics and more. My kids were drawn to the table of stickers and picked out a new one for their water bottle. Don’t miss this shop in downtown Topeka.

Paper June

927 N Kansas Ave, Topeka, KS 66608 | Website

This adorable children’s book and toy shop is located in NoTo, and you’re sure to find something to take home for your kids.

I'm Julia and I live in Olathe with my husband of 16 years, my 10 and 6 year old daughters, and our rescue pug Mabel. I’m a social worker turned SAHM and love Dr. Pepper, thunderstorms, and talking to other adults. I hate coffee, diet culture, and washing dishes. I'll talk your ear off about the best local parks and which restaurants have wronged me by changing their long-standing menu items. I try to walk the line between knowing a lot of stuff and not being a know-it-all. Some days I'm better than others.