Planners who’ve yet to book an event in Wichita, Kansas’ largest city, should find much worth recommending to the boss, board members and attendees. With a slew of new and ongoing developments in town, the city is enticing association meetings in particular.
1) In downtown, Wichita’s all-in-one neighborhood framed by the banks of the Arkansas River and with some 1,200 guest rooms, the first phase of a two-part, $54 million redo of historic Union Station recently wrapped. That redesign project, which debuted in June, includes a rambling, user-friendly plaza sporting food vendors and patios wired for live entertainment. The plaza also provides walkable access to Old Town, Intrust Bank Arena and the Commerce Street Arts District, and is easily accessible from Century II Performing Arts & Convention Center.
2) Just east of downtown lies Old Town, a brick-lined, 16-block entertainment district home to 45 bars and restaurants and a burgeoning craft brewery scene. Post-meeting mainstays such as River City Brewing Co. and The Anchor have recently been joined by Taste and See 2 (international cuisine) and Gianni Bacci’s, a speakeasy-cum-tapas bar. At 244 Old Town, which opened in August, planners can utilize both a 580-seat event center and the distillery itself, which holds 120.
3) Wichita’s thriving arts and culture community provides numerous work-and-play options. Live entertainment includes opera, a symphony orchestra, Broadway shows, plays, stand-up comedy and pop/rock music performances. Wichita Art Museum and its new Art Garden (shown above) make it a plausible venue for indoor/outdoor events, rounded out by an 800-seat amphitheater and on-site catering by The Muse Cafe.