A Local’s Guide to Delano District in Wichita

Welcome to Delano!

One of the hotspots in Wichita, Delano is known for its vintage feel and quirky stores. But, believe me when I say, there’s so much more than that.

Read on for this insider’s guide to the neighborhood, filled with cowboy drama, top-tier food & drink recommendations, and even some ideas for holiday presents!

What is the Delano District?

Delano is a historical business district in Wichita, Kansas. We’ll discuss its interesting history below, but most visitors today are wow’ed by the 200+ restaurants and retail stores in the neighborhood, most all of which are housed in beautiful historic brick buildings.

Where is Delano?

Delano is located across the Arkansas River at the end of the Chisholm Trail. If you’re more familiar with Wichita, it’s squished right against downtown.

A Brief History

Named after President Grant’s Secretary of the Interior, Delano used to be one heck of a wild ride.

After the Civil War, there was severe cattle excess in the South, so much so that farmers were desperate to get rid of them. Luckily, there was a shortage out West! Those Western folks told herders they’d pay $50 per head, which led to the creation of the Chisholm Trail.

Delano was a natural resting point on the Chisholm Trail. This old-timey rest stop was originally its own city; it wasn’t absorbed by Wichita until the 1880s. Because Delano was across the river, drinking, gambling, and canoodling were legal, hence its rampant popularity. Wichita law enforcement wasn’t allowed in, and Delano had none of their own! So, of course, it was going to be a hot spot for brothels, saloons, and all sorts of cowboy recreation.

However, the party couldn’t last forever. Sadly, the beautiful Delano is no stranger to hardship.  Once the cow trade moved to Dodge City instead of Delano, the town really suffered. Eventually, they were absorbed into Wichita, but still, hard times prevailed. Luckily, the aviation industry came into play after the turn of the 20th century and revitalized Delano for all to enjoy.

Strange Trivia – The Delano Shuffle

They may not be asking this in trivia matches around town, but you’ll still have the ultimate town fact from now on.

Here’s an example of one of the games the cowboys liked to play in Delano way back when. They would have women in Delano walk down to the riverbanks, and once there, the ladies would strip and race back to the saloons, with all the cowboys whooping and hollering as they streaked. Whoever got back first won a prize and everlasting glory, though I’m not sure that’d be worth it.

And there you have it! What a time in Cowtown…

Major Delano Attractions

Although it’s not a hotspot for cowboys anymore, Delano is still chock-full of fun activities to check out!

Exploration Place

This wonderful science museum is one of the best museums in Wichita and home to many of my own childhood memories, as well as most of Wichita’s! Here, you can learn about space, erosion, bees, airplanes, and so much more! Or, if you want, you could play in the full-size castle all day long. I know I did!

This is truly a place for unbridled exploration. Take the whole family for a day out, and rest easy knowing you’ll learn a thing or two along the way!

Riverfront Stadium

Formerly the Lawrence-Dumont Stadium, the Riverfront Stadium has a new look and a whole lot of dough backing it. Home of the Wichita Wind Surge, our Double-A Central League baseball team, this gorgeous stadium is on the west side of the Arkansas River. That’s right in Delano’s stomping grounds!

This art-filled stadium (those murals!) is absolutely worth a visit, plus it’s a great place to show your local pride.

Wichita Ice Center

This NHL regulation-size rink is large and in charge!

Here, they offer classes, both public and private, for you to enhance your skills and get more confident on the ice. Whether you’re a newbie or a pro, they’ve got something for you! Plus, we have hockey teams for adults and kiddos that you could try out for.

Restaurants, Breweries, & Bars in Delano

Ready to grab a bite to eat? No worries—Delano has got you covered!

Delano Barbecue Co – One of the best BBQ spots in town, Delano Barbecue Co uses hickory and pecan wood to ensure each cut is smoked to perfection. So good!

The Monarch – Y’all, they smoke their meats in-house and they have over 100 bourbon and whiskey craft varieties. This is a great place to grab a sandwich after a ball game or on a cozy fall day!

Vagabond Café – This spot is one of my favorite places in all of Kansas! Vagabond combines art, books, alcohol, and coffee for all to enjoy. We love to see it!

Shamrock Lounge – They’ve got pool, Jameson on tap, and BBQ in the back. What more do you need to know?

Ruben’s Mexican Grill – This local favorite may not be the most authentic, but the service is reliable and I always have a good time there.

Picasso’s Pizzeria – With giant slices and “art” pizzas, it’s hard not to love Picasso’s. I’ve certainly spent many a lunch here!

Yokohama –  This underrated ramen joint deserves more love! Sit in one of their booths and grab a steaming bowl of ramen to enjoy.

Coffee Shops & Bakeries

If you’re feeling something a little sweeter, these three options are sure to satisfy that craving.

Milkfloat – Milkfloat is not just a great date night idea. It’s a way of life. No, seriously, they take their desserts and coffee seriously here, all while serving up some cozy vibes.

La Galette – This French café and bakery is affordable and, best of all, truly delicious. Great place to stop for a break while shopping!

Leslie Coffee Company – Previously mentioned in our coffee shops guide, this cute café is full of plants and delicious drinks. It’s perfect for a coffee date or remote work!

Last But Not Least, SHOPPING!

What we all came here for! Keeping the cowboy theme alive and well, we’ll start with our beloved Hatman Jack’s.

Hatman Jack’s –  This is the third-largest hat shop in the nation, and it’s truly beloved by all, celebrities included. And if Jack makes you a custom hat, know you’re of the lucky few!

Well Garden Industries –  For urban farmers of all sizes (including those only owning two succulents), Well Garden is your new plant palace! You can buy both indoor and outdoor plants here, plus all the fixings you may need.

Bungalow 26 – This eclectic shop is full of homey treasures and body products made of natural ingredients. Fair warning: you won’t be walking out empty-handed.

What’s Brewin’ LLC – If you’re a homebrewer, this is the shop for you. This mom-and-daughter duo have homebrewing supplies for wine and beer, plus knowledgeable advice to boot.

Bicycle X-Change – One of the best bike shops in Wichita, Bicycle X-Change is the largest TREK dealer in the Midwest. With wonderful staff and a community-oriented mission, Bicycle X-Change has been around since 1973!

Sweet ‘n Saucy – This candy store has doled out more sugar highs than Halloween. Seriously! They’ve also got novelty sodas, hot sauces, and socks for those without a sweet tooth.

Vortex Souvenir – With a focus on local goods, Vortex is a great place to go shopping for presents or just to treat yourself!

Shop Risky – This vintage clothing boutique never fails to impress me with its fashionista finds. Plus, they love collaborating with local artists on upcycling projects and runways!

Chateau Stephen Gifts & Flower Preservation – Need a gift? Or some holiday décor? Or maybe you want to preserve your wedding bouquet—whatever the reason, Chateau Stephen has got you covered.

The Health Connection – As the first herbal medicine store in Wichita, Health Connection is bringing wellness to the forefront in Delano. They offer reiki sessions, art therapy, and painting classes too, aside from their many products.

All Things Barbecue – As you might imagine, they have all things barbecue here: grills, rubs, tongs, whatever you need.