Cultural Attractions in Topeka
If you find yourself hankering after some culture during your stay, Topeka won’t disappoint you. Whether you have an eye for architecture, a passion for painting or an appreciation of performing arts, there’s something for everyone.
One place you can go to figuratively kill two of the aforementioned birds with one stone is the Kansas State Capitol Building. This beautiful building, which was under construction from 1860s to the 1880s was commissioned to house the state legislature in a manner as grandiose as could be managed at the time. With its iconic dome, the building is a work of art in its own right, and, if you get the chance, you should certainly see if you can get onto one of the tours that take you to its very summit. You’ll be rewarded with a close up look at some the building’s most intriguing architectural features and an unbeatable view of the city into the bargain. (Take note that you will need to climb you fair share of stairs and that taking an elevator is not an option).
On top of this the building is home to a variety of incredible artworks. Perhaps most notable among them are the murals made by Kansas local, John Steuart Curry, which were intended to tell the story of the state’s history (he was stopped short of completion as some of his contemporaries took umbrage with his vision). In truth the entire space is a thing of beauty and really should be seen as a priority. The building is open from 8am to 5pm on weekdays and tours go on throughout the day. Group size permitting, you can walk on to one of these tours without having made prior arrangements.
Right across the street from the Capitol Building you’ll find the beautiful First Presbyterian Church, much famed for its Tiffany stained glass windows. If you have the time it’s worth coming to see them at a few different times of day as, with the changing of the light, the scenes take on a different character, though they are always stunning.
For a further art fix look in at the Mulvane Art Museum on the Washburn University Campus. The museum is open every day with the exception of Wednesdays and, as well as its extensive in house collection, it also features an ever changing series of guest exhibitions. If you want to know more about the works on show, you can take a guided tour and get the story behind the pieces. On top of this, they also hold a number of interesting events, such as discussion groups and hands on, practical workshops.
In the evening, if you want to catch a show you can head down to the Topeka Civic Theatre and Academy, a community theatre venue that puts on a variety of different shows throughout the year. If you go on a dinner night, you can treat yourself to a delicious meal before enjoying the entertainment on offer. If that doesn’t take your fancy, there’s more on offer at the Topeka Performing Arts Centre, from comedy, to magic, to ballet and live music. There’s lots of nearby parking available and no shortage of places you can go to grab a bite to eat. It makes for a great night’s entertainment if you find yourself with a free evening.
Image courtesy of Topeka Library