If you are considering a move to Wichita, Kansas here are 20 things you will need to know.
1. It’s not too big.
Although it is the largest city in Kansas and has all the amenities you need, it still has a small hometown feel, where the six degrees of separation feels more like two or three.
2. Direct flights are hard to come by.
The new airport which opened in 2016 houses all the major airlines, has only 12 gates and security is a breeze! With that being said, direct flights are limited so plan on at least one connection to get to wherever you are going.
3. You’ll have to pick a side.
After moving here I kept getting asked if I lived on the east or west side, so be prepared for that question. It took me awhile to figure this out so let me explain. Evidently, not so long ago it was not quite as easy to get from one side to the other but now with some new major highways it is quite easy. Still the natives are stuck on east vs west and hardly ever leave their side of town. I would not say one side is better than the other so base your move on the location of your job and or schools you want your children to attend.
4. What traffic?
For those coming from some major cities you find that there is basically no traffic. You may find an occasional slow down at rush hour for various exits, as well as some construction here and there is about it.
5. It’s hard to get lost.
Wichita is an easy city to navigate and you can get to about anywhere you want in the city in about 25 minutes or less. Even if you are driving from east to west!
6. Housing is super-affordable…
The cost of living is quite good and you certainly get more house for the money as compared to larger cities.
7. But there is a “special” catch.
While housing costs are lower than other cities you have to pay specials, which are not so special, so let me explain. Instead of the developer of the housing addition paying for putting in the streets and utilities and wrapping that into the cost of the home, the city pays for it. That means you pay the city so much per month with interest over the course of 10, 15 or even 20 years.
8. Find your local liquor store.
If you are coming from a state where the liquor store isle in the grocery store has basically become its own department, you will need to know that is not the case in Wichita. Although alcohol is readily available, you will have to go to a separate liquor store. Luckily there are plenty to choose from.
9. Country club culture is big.
I am not sure if this has to do with liquor laws from years ago where you had to join a club to drink but there are quite a few country clubs around. Many of these clubs such as Wichita Country Club which was established in 1900, offer fine dining, golf, swimming, tennis, pickleball, fitness facilities and activities. If you are a golf enthusiast you can enjoy the many golf courses around and the web.com golf tour that is hosted in Wichita every year.
10. Shop local.
Most of the big box stores now have a presence in Wichita, but it has taken them awhile to get there which means there are quite a few areas that offer locally owned, quaint and unique shops.
11. There is actually a lot of fun things to do.
With over 30 museums, art galleries, baseball games, botanical gardens, theaters, world class zoo and more there is always something to do. Independent film buffs will appreciate the Tallgrass Film Festival that Wichita hosts every year.
12. Spend a day at the Tanganyika.
— Tanganyika Wildlife (@TanganyikaPark) August 15, 2017
I know your saying Tanga what? Tanganyika is an interactive zoo that is fun for all ages that lets you get up close and personal with the animals. If petting a kangaroo or feeding a giraffe has been on your bucket list you can do it at Tanganyika
13. You are in the “Air Capital” now.
The city’s nickname is the Air Capital of the Wold. Wichita is very centered economically on the aerospace industry and is the headquarters of Spirit, Textron and Learjet. There are plenty of small airports around if flying private is your gig. Thrill seekers can catch a ride in a WWII Bi-Plane at Stearman Field.
14. Koch Industries is based here.
Much of the economic growth power from Wichita comes from Koch Industries. You’ve probably heard of its key leaders, brothers Charlie and David Koch, who are well known as major financial backers for conservative candidates and causes. Other big companies in Wichita include Cargill, Coleman and Via Christi.
15. Take a day trip.
In some major cities like Los Angeles, Houston or Chicago it can take over two hours to get across town. From Wichita, you can get to Kansas City or Oklahoma City in about that same amount of time, which makes for an easy day trip or weekend getaway.
16. The Wichita Flag is one you’ll be proud to fly.
Wichita’s official city flag design, which was created back in 1937, claimed sixth place in 2004 when the North American Vexillological Association invited its members and the general public to rank 150 assorted state, district, and city flags. Symbolically, the blue sun represents happiness, the white circle home, the red stripes honor, and the white stripes courage. Taken together, they inform the viewer that people are free to come and go as they wish. The flag is quite prevalent around the city. Not only will you see it flying all over town, it is painted on the sides of many buildings, screen printed on t-shirts and other swag, available as a temporary tattoo and even wrapped around a MINI Cooper you will see driving around town.
17. You are going to need a car.
There is no subway, street car or train system simply because there is no need for it. But if you dislike driving there are plenty of bus routes around the city.
18. It’s fun to climb, workout, swim and play at the YMCA
Many of the YMCA’s in Wichita are bigger than most you will find across the county and feature climbing walls, state of the art equipment, outdoor water areas with pools, slides, play areas and more.
19. WSU is a slam dunk.
WSU: Wichita State University which is mostly noted for the men’s basketball team and participation in the 2013 Final Four also houses the Center for Entrepreneurship. Wichita has a very entrepreneurial spirit as some major companies such as Pizza Hut, Freddy’s Frozen Custard and White Castle were started there.
20. We have a tasty food truck scene.
Although most major chains have a presence you will find many local places and food trucks offering a variety of tasty cuisine. There is a strong Lebanese presence in Wichita so you can find some hummus around every corner.