How to Sound Like a Local in Wichita

If you find yourself a new resident in the town of Wichita, Kansas, there a few things you are going to need to know how to pronounce to communicate with the locals. In addition, there will be a few things you are going to need to understand when they communicate to you.

Neighboring towns

Wichita has a fairly small metro compared to other cities but some of those towns have funny pronunciations or nicknames.

Kechi:  (Key-chai) Like the tea. The E and I are both long vowels.This is a little town on the outskirts of Wichita and is home to Elderslie Farm, where you can pick your own blackberries, have an amazing farm to table dinner or get something custom made from its on-site sawmill.

Salina: (Sa-line-a) Both A’s are short vowels while the I is long. Although, this town is about an hour away, it is good to know the pronunciation as you will see on a few freeway exit signs around Wichita.

Hutchinson: This town is pronounced as it is spelled but often referred to just as Hutch.  It is about a 50 minute drive out of town and is home to the Kansas Cosmosphere and Salt Mine.

Manhattan: Manhattan, Kansas is a couple hours away and is home to Kansas State University, where many students from Wichita attend college. Although, it is pronounced just like The Big Apple in New York City, it is referred to or known as The Little Apple throughout the state of Kansas.

City streets

Wichita is a really easy town to navigate but when you ask where something is, the locals identify where it is by what intersection it is at or close to. They also drop street or road off the end. So, if you ask where Whole Foods Market is they will tell you 13th and Webb or Chipotle would be at 29th and Rock with Target being at 21st and Greenwhich, which is pronounced Green-witch. You will also need to know that Highway 54 and Kellogg are the same street and there is usually construction on it somewhere!

City nicknames

The airpot code for Wichita is ICT but it is also a big nickname for the city. You will see I Love ICT printed on swag and used as a hashtag. It is also at the end of many Wichita businesses websites. Air Capitol of the World is another due to its heavy aeronautical industry.

Doo-Dah is another nickname for the city but is not heard quite as much these days. It is not exactly clear on how the name got started. One theory is, it was used to counter the hype of the Air Capitol. Others say it was started by some college students back in 1920. The owners of the Doo-Dah Diner, where you can get some amazing banana bread french toast, grew up in the time period when it was a popular name for the city so that is where the diners name comes from.

The state of Kansas itself is sometimes referred to as the Wheat State.

Tallgrass and Flint Hills

You will see quite a few business with the name Tallgrass or Flint Hills. Some examples would be the Tallgrass Brewing Company or the Flint Hills Golf National Golf Club.

The Flint Hills, which are not even hills, refer to the vast open prairie that can be found in the rural parts of Kansas. Tallgrass refers to the wildflowers and grasses that grows in that vast open prairie. If you want to see the most breathtaking sunset of your life, just take a drive through the Flint Hills of Kansas.


A few other slogans or words you will hear are Shocker, which refers to the WSU (Wichita State University) basketball team. Wu Shock is the Wichita State University mascot, who is supposed to look like a shock of wheat.

The Keeper is short for the The Keeper of the Plains which is an iconic statue by the river. You will also see replicas of this statue around town on display at local businesses who have been recognized by the city of Wichita.

Squinter #wichita #kansas #thewaterboss #landscapeartist #ict

A post shared by Jason Steele (@steelesland) on

Squinters refer to the people that live on the West side of town because the sun always seems to be in their eyes.

Sharmin Meadows