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...

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Topeka’s Annual Events

There’s always lots to do in Topeka, but it’s worth checking if your visit coincides with any of the regular events that take place in the city throughout the year, as you may be coming just at the right time to see something you’ll really love. Washburn University plays host to a number of enriching events. As mentioned on our page on Topeka’s cultural attractions they have a wonderful museum of art that you should drop in on, but in addition, they also put on a couple of arts festivals. There’s the Kansas Silent Film Festival which takes place at the end of February, where you can see classics of the genre accompanied by a soundtrack provided by a live orchestra in the White Concert Hall on campus. In the first half of June that same venue sees The Sunflower Music Festival get underway. This consists of a series of chamber music evenings, concerts, talks, events and other educational activities. It attracts some world class musicians too, so whether you’re a classical aficionado or would simply enjoy seeing some beautiful pieces expertly performed, this is worth looking into. It runs for two weeks and all concerts are free to view. Finally, Washburn campus is home to the Mulvane Mountains/Plains Art Fair. This also falls in June, usually the first week of the month. It features pieces by a wide range of artists and there are also a number of hands on activities you can get involved with, as well as live music. If you want more in the way of music then The Spirit of Kansas Blues Festival, which takes place at the lovely Lake Shawnee (see our page on Topeka’s natural attractions for more on this location) could be the one for you. There are live performances from musician’s from all over the country as well as food and crafts to enjoy. The date should be easy enough to remember too, as the event takes place on the 4th of July. If you want to experience some of the different influences on Topeka’s culture then you might look at paying a visit to the Fiesta Mexicana, which celebrates Mexican food, music, dancing and traditions. It takes place in the Oakland neighbourhood in July. Alternatively there is the Inter Tribal Pow Wow which is hosted every year at lake Shawnee. Again, there is food, dancing and all sorts of traditional activities to look into – a must if you’re interested in the region’s Native American history. There’s even more history on offer in October in the form of the Apple Festival. This takes place in the first weekend in...

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