McPherson Opera House, Kansas. Image credit Rexjaymes via Shutterstock

11 Small Towns in Kansas Were Ranked Among US Favorites

Tourists often overlook the Midwestern state; however, Kansas, as the "Sunflower State," is the home of some of the country's best natural delight, painted with vast prairies, lush rolling hills, and extensive rivers that reach out for miles along the United State's Great Plains coated by inviting grasslands. The towns of Kansas provide a closer glimpse into the state's natural and cultural pleasantries, from the warmth of Midwestern hospitality to local festivals that celebrate the region's roots, in addition to being pampered by affordable prices accredited to the state's lower costs. The highest-ranked towns of Kansas have cemented their reputation via their diverse landscape, long rivers that surpass the horizon, and noteworthy tourist attractions sprinkled across that state's 105 counties.


Missouri River, a bridge at Leavenworth, Kansas.
Missouri River, a bridge at Leavenworth, Kansas.

Leavenworth, Kansas, is a favorite destination among locales and tourists, with the marvel of the Riverfront Park, where the mighty Missouri River caresses the town's borders. This natural setting provides opportunities for calming walks, evening strolls, and inspiring sunset views as towering cottonwood trees sway in the gentle breeze, creating a peaceful atmosphere that is perfect for picnics or quiet sessions for contemplation. Just a few footsteps away, the historic Carroll Mansion is a testament to the town's past, as it displays handcrafted woodwork, beautiful stained glass windows, and elegant antiques from the Victorian era to the early 20th century, giving visitors a surreal look into the regions social and agricultural history.


Veterans Day, Emporia, Kansas.
Veterans Day, Emporia, Kansas.

Emporia's lush expanse of Peter Pan Park seduces visitors with its calming ponds, verdant trails, and a profusion of jovial wildflowers, a haven for nature enthusiasts and an ideal retreat for evening strolls. In the heart of the town, the renowned Emporia Arts Center stands as a beacon of creativity, hosting a medley of art exhibitions, live performances, and interactive workshops that will surely spoil tourists for days.

Emporia's traditional side is swiftly embodied in the Historic Commercial District, where vintage brick facades evoke a nostalgic charm. The Granada Theatre, a majestic relic from the past, now showcases contemporary films and live events that seamlessly blend the old and new. For a deeper dive into history, the Lyon County History Center has a trove of artifacts and iconic displays that chronicle the town's evolutionary development. The town's signature event, the Flint Hills Rodeo, treats visitors and locals to exhilarating rodeo performances and parades that cast a Western atmosphere that epitomizes Emporia's personality.


Aerial view over downtown city center of Atchison Kansas in mid morning light
Downtown city center of Atchison, Kansas.

The bewitching Amelia Earhart Birthplace Museum of Atchison draws visitors from far and wide to pay homage to the legendary female aviator who flew solo across the Atlantic Ocean in the early 20th century and offers insight into her early life and trailblazing achievements. As you traverse the expansive hills and old-fashioned streets, the Forest Park lures you into its leafy embrace, a haven where foliage and meandering trails create a symphony of colors, especially during the autumn months.

The evocative beauty of Atchison's cultural sphere is further perpetuated by Mount St. Scholastica Convent, a timeless masterpiece that graces the skyline. The Annual Amelia Earhart Festival, a celebration of the aviator's legacy, paints the town with a kaleidoscope of festivities, including thrilling airshows and lively parades that dance along Atchison's streets, which stands as a riveting fusion of history and revelry.


Coffeyville, Kansas, United States - November 4, 2021: a large and colorful Victorian-era mansion in the fall.
Coffeyville, Kansas, a large and colorful Victorian-era mansion in the fall. Image credit Sabrina Janelle Gordon via Shutterstock

The verdant expanse of Coffeyville's Pfister Park offers a soothing retreat to visitors, where horizon-reaching pathways guide you through shaded groves and animated gardens. As you explore, the Dalton Defenders Museum is a poignant testament to the town's storied past, commemorating the infamous 1892 bank raid that unfolded within Coffeyville's very streets. The museum exhibits a vivid recreation of the dramatic event, allowing tourists to relive this gripping moment in American history.

Coffeyville's Historic Downtown, where stately Victorian buildings line the streets, exuding an old-world charm. The Brown Mansion, an architectural masterpiece, is a grand homage to the town's prosperous heritage, adorned with intricate woodwork, opulent furnishings, and captivating stained glass. Further enriching the town's cultural tapestry, the Coffeyville Cultural Center hosts many performances, art exhibitions, and workshops, fostering a vibrant arts scene that continues to thrive. As the sun sets, the Coffeyville Street Drags and the Inter-State Fair & Rodeo come alive, filling the air with the thrilling roar of engines and the jubilant cheers of spectators, embodying Coffeyville's colorful aurora. 


The original Farmers State Bank building in Lindsborg, Kansas.
The original Farmers State Bank building in Lindsborg, Kansas. Image credit Stephanie L Bishop via

Lindsborg's natural icon, "The Coronado Heights Park," is a memorable marvel atop a sandstone bluff that offers panoramic views that stretch over rolling hills and dazzling fields, a haven for zealots of nature, whether at the brisk of the day or during the hours of the wolf. Amidst the town's streets, the Red Barn Studio Museum stands as a testament to the creative spirit of local artist Lester Raymer, housing an exquisite collection of his whimsical sculptures, paintings, and intricate crafts that reflect the heart and soul of Lindsborg's artistic community.

Lindsborg's identity thrives within the Historic Downtown district, where Scandinavian heritage meets small-town charm. Meticulously crafted Dala horses dot the streets, paying homage to the town's Swedish roots. The charming Old Mill Museum offers a journey back in time, unraveling the town's history through exhibits that showcase its agricultural and industrial past. The annual Svensk Hyllningsfest, a jubilant celebration of Swedish culture, envelops Lindsborg in traditional music, folk dances, and delectable Nordic cuisine, a vivacious expression of the town's customs.


President Eisenhower's house in Abilene, Kansas.
President Eisenhower's house in Abilene, Kansas. Image credit spoonphol via

Born as a stagecoach stop in 1857, the charming town of Abilene flaunts its beauty at Eisenhower Park. At the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library, Museum, and Boyhood Home, history is revived as you delve into the life and legacy of the 34th President of the United States, showcasing his transformative leadership and impact on the nation.

The Victorian aesthetic of the Lebold Mansion transports visitors to a bygone era. The Seelye Mansion, a marvel of Queen Anne architecture, further displays the town's heritage with its opulent interiors and captivating stories of the Seelye family. In addition, just a brisk walk away, the Abilene and Smoky Valley Railroad presents itself, standing as a relic of the town's railroad history, that offers nostalgic train rides that whisk you through the gorgeous terrains along Kansas' countryside. Each September, the Abilene & Dickinson County Symphony Orchestra's annual outdoor performance under the stars, "Symphony at Sunset," sprinkles the town's air with rhythmic and electric notes.


Keoster House exterior, Marysville
Keoster House exterior, Marysville. Image credit WanderinNomadPhotography via

Marysville is home to the Koester House Museum and Gardens, a local beauty where colorful blossoms frame a historic Victorian mansion. Nearby, the Marshall County Historical Society Museum weaves an extraordinary and intriguing insight into the town's past, showcasing artifacts and stories that reflect the region's pioneer beginnings.

Marysville, a popular retirement destination, wields several pleasantries, such as the Pony Express Barn and Museum, which pays respect to the town's role in the legendary mail delivery service, while "The Black Squirrel City Park" tips the hat to the town's beloved mascot with whimsical sculptures and shaded trails. Each year, the Big Blue River Arts Festival transforms the city into a creative sanctuary, featuring local and regional artists, musicians, and performers who converge to celebrate the arts in all their forms. 


McPherson Opera House.
McPherson Opera House. Image credit Rexjaymes via Shutterstock

McPherson encourages newcomers to embrace its natural beauty at its local Lakeside Park, an oasis categorized by its calming waters that reflect the magical hues of the sunset, while tree-lined paths and idyllic picnic spots provide an ideal setting for leisurely escapes. The McPherson Museum and Arts Foundation immerses visitors in the town's history and creative legacy through exhibitions that showcase local artists' masterpieces and the town's historical narrative.

McPherson's Historic District's charm evokes nostalgia, with meticulously preserved architectural gems such as the McPherson Opera House and the Masonic Temple. The McPherson County Old Mill Museum offers a captivating journey through time, shedding light on the town's pioneering past and its pivotal role in the region's evolution. Embodying the town's warm spirit, the McPherson Scottish Festival brings a lively Highland flair to the heart of Kansas, featuring bagpipe music, traditional games, and a celebration of Scottish heritage, which illustrates the town's appreciation for diverse cultures.

Cottonwood Falls

The banks of the Cottonwood River, Cottonwood Falls
The banks of the Cottonwood River, Cottonwood Falls. Image credit Hank Shiffman via Shutterstock. 

Cottonwood Falls' Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve sprawls across an expansive canvas, where rolling grasslands create a mesmerizing green panorama interspersed with bursts of lively wildflowers. The distinguished limestone courthouse, a proud emblem of the town, oversees the charming streets, emanating a timeless sophistication that mirrors Cottonwood Falls' historical charisma.

The Symphony in the Flint Hills, an annual musical extravaganza, makes Cottonwood Falls a hot spot to visit, intertwining melodies and the town's picturesque landscapes in a symphony of exquisite beauty. Adding to this cultural mosaic, the Emma Chase Friday Art Walk brings together artists and enthusiasts to revel in creative expression. 

Council Grove

Downtown street in Council Grove in Kansas
Downtown Council Grove in Kansas.

Only about 20 miles north of Cottonwood Falls sits one of the friendliest towns in the state, Council Grove. The awe-inspiring Post Office Oak, a living witness to history, beckons with its massive branches, a historic site where pioneers once shared their messages on the Santa Fe Trails. The historic Hays House, a testament to the town's frontier legacy, invites people to savor its iconic cuisine.

Council Grove's Kaw Mission State Historic Site commemorates the stories of the Kaw (Kansa) people and their interactions with European settlers. The Council Grove Historic District, a treasure trove of 19th-century architecture, transports travelers back in time as they stroll past well-preserved buildings, each narrating a unique chapter in the town's dynamic past. The Washunga Days Festival, a spirited celebration of Native American heritage and local traditions, captures Council Grove's spirit and invites you to join in the local festivities, forging a harmonious connection between the town's several eras.


A Windmill in Wamego City Park
Windmill in Wamego City Park.

The picturesque town of Wamego, home to Wamego City Park, is a perfect spot for leisurely picnics, social gatherings, and moments of personal reflection. The streets behold the Wamego Historical Society and Museum, a guardian of the town's heritage, that displays artifacts that illuminate stories of pioneers who carved their legacy into the heart of the Midwest.

Wamego's cultural staples come to life in its bustling downtown, where the highly acclaimed Oz Museum enchants with the world of L. Frank Baum's "The Wizard of Oz." A captivating journey through history awaits at the Columbian Theatre Museum, a graceful monument where art and culture flourish through live performances and exhibitions. Each year, the Wamego Tulip Festival transforms the town into a kaleidoscope of colors as tulips dance along the streets, celebrating the commencement of the spring season.

Kansas' towns earn its favourability among Americans across the country due to its local warmth, affordability, inviting natural playgrounds, and top-tier visual illustration of its history dating back to the country's establishment. Whether the artistic prowess of Lindsborg, the vast array of Abilene's noteworthy historical exhibitions, Emporia's lush plains of natural wonders, or Cottonwood Falls' melodic flare, these towns of the Sunflower state have plenty to offer across all fields of leisure, granting visitors from across the globe a proper understanding and appreciation for the rural life. Several of these upstanding towns are applauded highly by the Attractions of America for their consistent determination to capture the natural and historical heart of the country.

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