Topeka travel guide

Topeka Tourism | Topeka Guide

You're Going to Love Topeka

Topeka is the capital city of Kansas, situated on the Kansas River. The city dates from 1842 and was a ferry crossing site on the Oregon Trail. Its pioneer town spirit remains and the city played an important role in the Civil Rights Movement.

Top 5 Reasons to Visit Topeka

1. Kansas Museum of History

The Kansas Museum of History is an acclaimed museum telling the story of the region.

2. Ward-Meade Historic Site

The Old Prairie Town at Ward-Meade Historic Site features a turn-of-the-century town and offers dinners served by hosts in period costume.

3. Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site

The Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site at Monroe Elementary School commemorates the US Supreme Court's 1954 decision to end segregation in schools, and allows visitors to gain an insight into the Civil Rights Movement.

4. Lake Shawnee

Enjoy watersports, camping, and hiking at the beautiful spot of Lake Shawnee.

5. Combat Air Museum

The Combat Air Museum has a fascinating collection of warplanes through the years.

What to do in Topeka

1. Kansas State Capitol: Topeka's Architectural Gem

Built over a period of almost 30 years in the late 19th century, the Kansas State Capitol is elegant and a fitting political hub for the Sunflower State. One of the great things about the Kansas Capitol is that tours go right to the top of the dome for excellent views of the interior, although get ready for 296 steps before you reach the summit. Other than that, don't miss the Visitors Center, with its Kansas hall of fame, and the Senate Chamber and Representatives Hall.

2. Kansas Museum of History: An Absorbing Showcase of Heartland History

Located on a huge plot in the west of Topeka, the Museum of History is absolutely fascinating. Exhibits include Cheyenne tipis, the story of 'Bleeding Kansas' (which prefigured the Civil War), and even a reconstructed 1950s diner (burgers not included). There's also a healthy collection of Americana, including General Custer's riding boots, as well as the oldest surviving locomotive from the historic Santa Fe railroad. Basically, if you love history, you'll find yourself immersed in no time.

3. Gage Park: Roses and Railways for Kids at the Heart of the City

One of Topeka's recreational hubs, Gage Park stretches across 210 acres of Downtown acreage, and packs plenty of attractions into the space. Aside from the pleasure of wandering the park trails, Gage Park is definitely set up for kids to enjoy. The model railway snakes around hits pathways, and has done for almost 50 years, while the Children's Discovery Center hosts a fascinating collection of hands-on science-related exhibits. And, if you just want to savor some beautiful heartland flowers, the Reinisch Rose Garden is an absolute delight.

4. Topeka Zoological Park: One of the Mid West's Leading Animal Attractions

Another highlight of Gage Park deserves its own section: the Topeka Zoological Park is one of the finest zoos in the Midwest. Tucked away in Gage Park just of I-70 (so it's very easy to reach), the zoo is home to more than 250 critters, as well as a famous indoor rainforest environment. With black bears, golden eagles, cougars, flying foxes, sloths, Sumatran tigers, elephants, giraffes, and hippos all part of the community, there's something for all animal lovers to enjoy at this fantastic municipal zoo.

5. Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site: How Schools Became Desegregated

In 1954, Topeka made waves across the world, when the Supreme Court ruled against the city's Board of Education, in the process deeming racial segregation in schools to be unlawful. Brown vs the Board of Education, as the case became known, opened the floodgates to the Civil Rights movement, as African Americans fought for their rights. Nowadays, even though the city was found to be at fault, the case was celebrated by making Monroe Elementary School a Historic Site. Find out how Kansan schools were revolutionized by this landmark decision and be inspired.

1. Kansas State Capitol: Topeka's Architectural Gem

Built over a period of almost 30 years in the late 19th century, the Kansas State Capitol is elegant and a fitting political hub for the Sunflower State. One of the great things about the Kansas Capitol is that tours go right to the top of the dome for excellent views of the interior, although get ready for 296 steps before you reach the summit. Other than that, don't miss the Visitors Center, with its Kansas hall of fame, and the Senate Chamber and Representatives Hall.

2. Kansas Museum of History: An Absorbing Showcase of Heartland History

Located on a huge plot in the west of Topeka, the Museum of History is absolutely fascinating. Exhibits include Cheyenne tipis, the story of 'Bleeding Kansas' (which prefigured the Civil War), and even a reconstructed 1950s diner (burgers not included). There's also a healthy collection of Americana, including General Custer's riding boots, as well as the oldest surviving locomotive from the historic Santa Fe railroad. Basically, if you love history, you'll find yourself immersed in no time.

3. Gage Park: Roses and Railways for Kids at the Heart of the City

One of Topeka's recreational hubs, Gage Park stretches across 210 acres of Downtown acreage, and packs plenty of attractions into the space. Aside from the pleasure of wandering the park trails, Gage Park is definitely set up for kids to enjoy. The model railway snakes around hits pathways, and has done for almost 50 years, while the Children's Discovery Center hosts a fascinating collection of hands-on science-related exhibits. And, if you just want to savor some beautiful heartland flowers, the Reinisch Rose Garden is an absolute delight.

4. Topeka Zoological Park: One of the Mid West's Leading Animal Attractions

Another highlight of Gage Park deserves its own section: the Topeka Zoological Park is one of the finest zoos in the Midwest. Tucked away in Gage Park just of I-70 (so it's very easy to reach), the zoo is home to more than 250 critters, as well as a famous indoor rainforest environment. With black bears, golden eagles, cougars, flying foxes, sloths, Sumatran tigers, elephants, giraffes, and hippos all part of the community, there's something for all animal lovers to enjoy at this fantastic municipal zoo.

5. Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site: How Schools Became Desegregated

In 1954, Topeka made waves across the world, when the Supreme Court ruled against the city's Board of Education, in the process deeming racial segregation in schools to be unlawful. Brown vs the Board of Education, as the case became known, opened the floodgates to the Civil Rights movement, as African Americans fought for their rights. Nowadays, even though the city was found to be at fault, the case was celebrated by making Monroe Elementary School a Historic Site. Find out how Kansan schools were revolutionized by this landmark decision and be inspired.

Where to Eat in Topeka

Tacos El Mexicano on SE California Avenue serves authentic Mexican food with mains from $10, while the RowHouse Restaurant on SW Van Buren Street offers new-American cuisine, with a four-course dinner menu at $45.

When to visit Topeka

Topeka in May
Estimated hotel price
$36
1 night at 3-star hotel
Topeka in May
Estimated hotel price
$36
1 night at 3-star hotel

Topeka has an extremely varied climate with hot, humid summers and cold, dry winters. Spring can be wet but fall is warm and dry.

Data provided by weatherbase
Temperatures
Temperatures
Average
Celcius (°C)
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How to Get to Topeka

Plane

Kansas City International Airport (MCI) is the nearest functional commercial airport, with good domestic and some international connections. A shuttle service will take you to Topeka for $41.

Train

Topeka is served by the Amtrak Southwest Chief service from Chicago to Los Angeles. The fare from Chicago starts at around $80.

Car

The I-70 connects the city from the west and east, while Highway 75 runs north to south.

Bus

Greyhound buses run services to Topeka. Fares from Chicago start at $38.

Airports near Topeka

Airlines serving Topeka

United Airlines
Good (2,619 reviews)
Lufthansa
Good (1,723 reviews)
American Airlines
Good (4,059 reviews)
KLM
Good (315 reviews)
Air France
Good (354 reviews)
Turkish Airlines
Good (1,156 reviews)
Delta
Excellent (2,813 reviews)
British Airways
Good (1,116 reviews)
Qatar Airways
Good (1,022 reviews)
Iberia
Good (761 reviews)
Air Canada
Good (945 reviews)
Brussels Airlines
Good (83 reviews)
Scandinavian Airlines
Good (377 reviews)
Finnair
Good (572 reviews)
Alaska Airlines
Excellent (2,261 reviews)
Spirit Airlines
Good (2,326 reviews)
LATAM Airlines
Good (705 reviews)
JetBlue
Good (1,209 reviews)
ITA Airways
Good (60 reviews)
Avianca
Good (743 reviews)
Show more

Where to stay in Topeka

College Hill - this is a historic area close to Washburn University. It has attractive Georgian and Victorian architecture and some of the best restaurants in town.

Popular Neighborhoods in Topeka

Westboro - this is home to the quaint Westboro Mart shopping area and features extensive Italian Renaissance architecture.

Potwin Place - this historical district has some of the grandest residences in the city and features frequent parades and holiday activities and celebrations.

Where to stay in popular areas of Topeka

Most booked hotels in Topeka

Hyatt Place Topeka
Excellent (8.4, Excellent reviews)
$174+
Endeavor Inn and Suites
Good (7.9, Good reviews)
$133+
Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Topeka West, KS
Good (7.6, Good reviews)
$179+
Hotel Topeka at City Center
Good (7.6, Good reviews)
$121+
Ramada by Wyndham Topeka Downtown Hotel & Convention Center
Good (7.2, Good reviews)
$176+
Senate Luxury Suites
Okay (5.7, Okay reviews)
$149+
See all hotels

How to Get Around Topeka

Public Transportation

Buses serve most of the main routes through the city, with single fares at $2 and a 24-hour pass costing $4.

Taxi

Taxis in Topeka charge an initial fare of $2.50 and then $4 per mile.

Car

Roads in Topeka are good and traffic is mostly light in this modestly sized city. Car rental starts at $30.

The Cost of Living in Topeka

Shopping Streets

West Ridge Mall has lots of big-name chain stores, while Fairlawn Plaza has more independent stores and restaurants.

Groceries and Other

A quart of milk in Topeka will cost around $0.87 and a dozen eggs is $2.17.

Cheap meal
$17.56
A pair of jeans
$73.18
Single public transport ticket
$4.39
Cappuccino
$6.85