Nestled in the heart of Kansas, Hays is a charming city that offers a unique blend of history, culture, and outdoor adventures. Whether you’re a history buff, nature enthusiast, or foodie, Hays has something to offer for everyone. In this guide, we’ll explore the top things to do in Hays, Kansas, ensuring you make the most of your visit to this hidden gem in the Midwest.
- Fort Hays State Historic Site: A Step Back in Time Begin your journey with a visit to the Fort Hays State Historic Site, where history comes alive. Explore the well-preserved buildings, barracks, and officer quarters from the frontier days. The site offers guided tours, providing insight into the role Fort Hays played in the Indian Wars and as a home for the Buffalo Soldiers.
- Sternberg Museum of Natural History: Unearth the Past Dive into the world of paleontology at the Sternberg Museum of Natural History. Marvel at the exhibits featuring ancient fossils, including the famous fish-within-a-fish fossil, and learn about the rich natural history of the region. The museum’s interactive displays make it a great destination for families and curious minds alike.
- Hays Aquatic Park: Cool Off and Have Fun Beat the Kansas heat at the Hays Aquatic Park. This family-friendly destination offers water slides, lazy rivers, and splash pads for kids. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing day by the pool or an adrenaline-pumping water slide adventure, the Aquatic Park has it all.
- Downtown Hays: Shop and Stroll Take a leisurely stroll through Downtown Hays and discover a variety of shops, boutiques, and local eateries. From unique souvenirs to handcrafted goods, the downtown area is a haven for those seeking one-of-a-kind finds. Don’t forget to grab a cup of coffee at a local cafe and immerse yourself in the city’s vibrant atmosphere.
- Hays Arts Council: Embrace the Arts Experience the thriving arts scene at the Hays Arts Council. The center hosts a range of cultural events, including art exhibitions, live performances, and workshops. Check the event calendar to catch a play, concert, or art show during your visit.
- Walking and Biking Trails: Connect with Nature Hays boasts an extensive network of walking and biking trails, perfect for outdoor enthusiasts. The Frontier Park Trail and the Hike and Bike Trail provide scenic routes through parks and natural landscapes. Whether you prefer a brisk walk or a leisurely bike ride, these trails offer a refreshing escape into nature.
- Gella’s Diner & Lb. Brewing Co.: Culinary Delights Conclude your day of exploration with a visit to Gella’s Diner & Lb. Brewing Co. Indulge in a diverse menu featuring locally sourced ingredients and a selection of craft beers brewed on-site. The cozy atmosphere and delicious fare make it the ideal spot to unwind and reflect on your Hays adventure.
- FHSU Sternberg Planetarium: Explore the Cosmos Venture into the cosmos at the FHSU Sternberg Planetarium, located on the Fort Hays State University campus. Enjoy mesmerizing star shows, educational programs, and astronomy presentations. It’s an enlightening experience for both astronomy enthusiasts and families looking for an educational outing.
- Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area: Birdwatcher’s Paradise For nature lovers and birdwatchers, a visit to Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area is a must. This sprawling wetland is a crucial migratory stop for birds, offering a chance to spot various species. Bring your binoculars and camera to capture the beauty of the diverse bird population that calls this area home.
- Hays Public Library: Literary Haven If you’re a bookworm or simply appreciate quiet spaces, spend some time at the Hays Public Library. Browse through an extensive collection of books, attend literary events, or find a cozy corner to lose yourself in a good book. The library often hosts community programs and activities for all ages.
- Historic Chestnut Street District: Architectural Delights Take a leisurely stroll through the Historic Chestnut Street District, where you’ll encounter well-preserved historic homes and buildings. The architecture reflects the city’s rich history, and it’s a great opportunity for photography enthusiasts to capture the charm of Hays.
- Bickle-Schmidt Sports Complex: Play and Watch Sports Sports enthusiasts can catch a game at the Bickle-Schmidt Sports Complex, home to various local sports events. Whether it’s baseball, softball, or soccer, the complex provides an energetic atmosphere to cheer for local teams. Check the schedule to see if there’s a game happening during your visit.
- Chestnut Street District Art Walk: Public Art Exploration Immerse yourself in the local art scene with the Chestnut Street District Art Walk. Admire murals, sculptures, and other public art installations that contribute to the city’s vibrant cultural landscape. The Art Walk is a dynamic way to appreciate creativity while exploring the streets of Hays.
- Vineyards and Wineries: Toast to Local Flavors Discover the burgeoning wine scene in Hays by visiting local vineyards and wineries. Enjoy wine tastings, tours, and picturesque vineyard views. It’s a delightful way to unwind and savor the flavors of Kansas in a relaxing and scenic setting.
- Hays Dog Park: Pet-Friendly Fun If you’re traveling with furry friends, head to the Hays Dog Park. Let your pets roam off-leash in a secure environment, and connect with fellow pet owners. It’s a great way for both dogs and their owners to socialize and enjoy the outdoors.
Conclusion: Hays, Kansas, may be a small city, but it packs a punch when it comes to unique experiences. From delving into the region’s history to embracing outdoor adventures and savoring local flavors, Hays has it all. So, pack your bags, hit the road, and discover the charm of this Midwest gem.