2022 Emporia Kansas Visitors Guide

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INSIDE ON THE COVER The crew from Dynamic Discs celebrates after playing a round at Jones Park East, just one of Emporia’s 15 disc golf courses. With four other 18-hole courses within a short drive, you can see why Emporia was named as the number one small town to play disc golf in the U.S. Above: Disc golfers from all over the country visit Emporia to practice for tournaments or challenge their buddies in a friendly round.

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Sample Emporia’s Trifecta of local spirits, paired with chocolates, meats & cheeses.


The best places to grab a bite, including the area’s best food trucks.

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If you’re traveling with little ones, get the inside scoop on kid approved fun!


Emporia’s story is founded in teaching and serving.


Visit downtown’s vintage, artsy, fun, & funky shops on Commercial Street!

DISCLAIMER: The Emporia Area Chamber of Commerce, a Not for Profit 501 (c)(6) association, and Visit Emporia, a tax supported government entity, provides this information as a service for Emporia. We have made every effort to make sure that the information is accurate and current. However, we cannot and do not warrant that the information furnished to us is correct nor completely without errors. No part of the publication may be reproduced in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including a photocopy, recording, or any information retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Emporia Area Chamber of Commerce and Visit Emporia. © COPYRIGHT VISIT EMPORIA 2022


Creative Services & Photography by IM Design Group Emporia, Kansas imdesigngroup.com


Experience the soul of Emporia with grassroots music and art.


Emporia celebrates our thriving Latino culture and deep rooted patriotism.


Try one the fastest growing sports in the #1 disc golf small town in the U.S.


Load up your bike and experience the gravel grinding capital of the world.

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Get outdoors and enjoy one of Kansas’s most beautiful natural wonders.


Home of Emporia State University and Flint Hills Technical College.


City maps, lodging and dining listings.


The right time to visit Emporia is anytime.


Kids need a break as much as parents do. See page 32 for some of our favorite kid friendly activities. Emporia’s zoo, disc golf courses, splash pad, parks, and cycling routes are 100% free to use. Whether you need a weekend away or just a break from the car, bring the family and play a while.

They’re sure to approve!

HELLO! It’s been said that Emporia lives bigger than its population. We certainly agree! Emporia is home to an unusually high amount of world-class events. From cultural celebrations and music festivals, to gravel cycling and disc golf, Emporia has something happening at all times throughout the year.

In fact, this year we are thrilled to once again be hosting the PDGA Professional Disc Golf World Championships. Emporia has held some form of PDGA Championship on five previous occasions, whether it be Pro, Juniors, or Amateur. With 15 (and counting) 18 and 9-hole courses, it’s no wonder Emporia was named the #1 DISC GOLF SMALL TOWN IN THE U.S. Whether you are a seasoned veteran, or newly disccurious, it will take you multiple trips to Emporia to play all of the available courses! It should come as no surprise that outdoor activities come easily here in Emporia. After all, we are the front porch to the Flint Hills. Gravel cycling enthusiasts also come from all over to enjoy our open vistas and an unparalleled welcoming community. While the world’s most prestigious gravel cycling event, UNBOUND Gravel, put us on the map, Emporia gravel is open and ready all year long to give adventure seekers an experience unlike any other. No matter the reason, we are glad that you have found your way to Emporia. We are certain you will find what you are looking for and so much more. Be sure to connect with us on social media and don’t hesitate to reach out to the team at VISIT EMPORIA should you have any questions or need additional information.

Bonus Content We’ve put together a few interesting tidbits about Emporia just for you, including fun facts, insider tips, history, stories, videos and more! Look for the QR codes throughout the guide and scan with the camera on your smart phone. Get started with a quick video to get a feel for Emporia’s vibe.

Sincerely, LeLan Dains Director, Visit Emporia visitemporia.com

Watch: Emporia in 30 seconds > >




It’s a little ironic that Emporia is the only town in Kansas with a winery, brewery, and distillery. After all, Emporia was the first prohibition town in the U.S., outlawing liquor in 1857, sixty-two years before national prohibition. Today, visitors can experience locally produced artisan wines, brews, and spirits without running afoul of the law. To truly indulge in Emporia, make it a weekend road trip and pair your Trifecta tastings with local chocolates, meats and cheeses!

The Trifecta

Enjoy handcrafted wines produced on-site at TWIN RIVERS WINERY (627 Commercial St). With a robust gift shop and second floor open for meetings and groups, this is a must stop for any visit to town. Sample a flight of wine and grab a bottle to go. RADIUS BREWING COMPANY (610 Merchant St) offers craft beers on tap or in growlers and cans to go. Also one of the best restaurants in town, their Sunday brunch is not to be missed! The newest addition to form the Trifecta, TROLLEY HOUSE DISTILLERY (502 S Commercial St), is one of only 6 microdistilleries in the state. Their tasting room is the perfect place to sip some ’shine or offerings from their full bar including seasonal cocktails. And of course, pick up a bottle of hand-crafted spirits to take home.

Sweet and Savory Treats

Sweet vs. Savory. It can be as divisive as Team Edward vs. Team Jacob. Fortunately, here in Emporia we have it all covered and you can keep your personal relationships intact. For those with a sweet-tooth, THE SWEET GRANADA (803 Commercial St) cannot be missed. This specialty chocolate shop uses premium ingredients to make gourmet fudge, truffles and candies daily. If you find yourself on the savory end of the spectrum, visit VAULT MEATS AND CHEESES (509 Commercial St). Vault offers a wide selection of cured meats and cheeses from around the world. Fresh baked bread and input from the knowledgeable staff will help you round out the perfect charcuterie board.

Pro Tip - Book a Room

If you plan on indulging in all Emporia has to offer, book an overnight stay. The GUFLER MANSION (612 W 12th Ave) is the perfect destination to relax or enjoy a romantic getaway.






A sweet liquor that’s great for cocktails or sipping. Pair it with a cheesecake truffle from The Sweet Granada.

This semi-dry red is a bold blend of Chambourcin and Norton grapes. Pair it with the Murcia Al Vinot cheese from Vault Meats and Cheeses.

RADIUS BREWING CO. LOW 5 PALE ALE A lightly hopped ale with a hint of citrus from Cascade and Apollo hops. Pairs well with a 5-year-old cheddar from Vault Meats and Cheeses.






There’s plenty to love about Emporia’s food scene. With a diverse population, our locals cook up authentic cuisine ranging from American to Vietnamese and nearly everything in between.

Good Eats

UNION STREET SOCIAL (225 E 6th Ave) is described as half speakeasy and half grandma’s basement. This eclectic new eatery features upscale cocktails and hip American bistro cuisine. You can’t come to Emporia without immersing yourself in our Latino culture. CASA RAMOS (707 Commercial St) delivers authentic Mexican dishes and a full bar. For brick oven pizza and other great meals by Chef Gus, a visit to RADIUS BREWING CO. (610 Merchant St) will surely satisfy. Your foodie Emporia world tour won’t be complete without a stop at CHI EM EATS (11 E Sixth Ave) for authentic Vietnamese, including spring rolls, noodles, skewers and dumplings. If you’re in the mood for a classic, mouth-watering burger joint, look no further than DO-B’S (704 E 12th Ave). Visitors come from all around to try their famous burgers, phillys, and poboys!



Food Trucks

Everyone loves a food truck! In between traveling, many trucks here in Emporia are planting roots to create hybrid dining opportunities that shouldn’t be missed. THE DAILY STATION (312 W South Ave) offers authentic Mexican and El Salvadoran cuisine. The atmosphere at night on a beautiful evening is magical! Experience the fusion of American and Mediterranean cuisine at GUSTOSO (1520 W 6th Ave). Fresh ingredients, weekly specials, and a comfortable environment makes this one a must. For something a little farther from the fields, visit MIZUMI’S HIBACHI AND SUSHI (804 W 6th Ave). The newest addition to our exquisite food truck scene offers a taste of the sea right here in Kansas! Be sure to try fan favorite sushi rolls such as the Mizumi Roll and the Emporia Roll. If sushi isn’t your thing, try one of their hot grilled hibachi entrees.


FOOD & DRINK Night Life For a selection of bars all within walking distance, head downtown. MULREADY’S PUB (717 Commercial St) serves 23 beers on tap, 70+ bottles of beer, and over 140 combined bourbons, scotches, and whiskies from around the world. Cyclists and craft beer fans will feel right at home in Mulready’s. The pub also features rotating displays from local artists. Stop by and end your day relaxing on their back patio with a cold drink in hand. Right down the street is BOURBON COWBOY (605 Commercial St). This 6,000 square foot, two-level country dance bar and pool hall is a hit amongst visitors and locals alike. THE STATION (402 Merchant St) is a fun stop for nightly drink specials, a full food menu, and a variety of games. The Station also features a large patio and private event spaces for parties big or small! On the northwest side of town, near Emporia’s hotel zone, BRUFF’S BAR & GRILL is the place to be. With a full food menu, pool tables, darts, and bar, Bruff’s is the perfect place to end the night before hitting the hay at your hotel.


FUN FACT The Trolley House Distillery building was originally the storage and repair facility for Emporia’s trolley system. The photo above was taken October 26th, 1911 on the opening day of the Emporia Street Car Line.

Caffeine Kicks

In order to fully indulge yourself in Emporia, you will need to enjoy the fresh brew and unique atmosphere in one of Emporia’s independently owned coffee shops. GRAVEL CITY ROASTERS (715 Commercial St) hand roasts their own beans and crafts signature drinks. Located under the same roof as Trox Gallery and Gifts, this is one space you will want to lose yourself in. Located in the Granada District, GRANADA COFFEE COMPANY (809 Commercial St), has been voted the best coffee in the Flint Hills for 18 straight years. Snuggle up in an oversized chair and enjoy the local vibe in this unique shop. GRANADA COFFEE COMPANY



UNIQUE FINDS Commercial Street in Downtown Emporia is a favorite place to stroll and shop. With an eclectic mix of stores, food, drink, and historic architecture, Commercial Street’s atmosphere is one-of-a-kind.

Gifts & Home Decor TROX GALLERY AND GIFTS (715 Commercial St) is filled with affordable creations from local artists to spruce up your life, including blown glass, prints, paintings, hand-crafted jewelry,


pottery, and art-themed gifts. While you’re there, grab a coffee from Gravel City Roasters (in the same building) and browse the rotating gallery exhibits on display at Trox. Up the street at THE DUSTY TRAIL GIFT SHOPPE (1107B Commercial St), you’ll find quirky items with an attitude, including Kansas/ Midwest gifts, vintage decor, T-shirts, candles, and jewelry. JACK’S LAWN & POOL (829 Commercial St), is more than just outdoor toys. You’ll find an entire room of home décor, clothing, signs, metal art, BBQ and fire pit necessities, pellet grills, local honey and, of course, pool supplies.

Antiques & Crafts Age matters at POEHLER MERCANTILE ANTIQUE MALL (301 Commercial St). You’ll find a collection of true antiques, including depression glass, Victorian and oak furniture, jewelry, art, books, clothing, and much more in this 14,000 square-foot store. Poehler is owned by legendary Emporia State University basketball coach, Ron Slaymaker. Check out the ESU sports museum inside and say hello to Coach! The largest selection of beads in the Midwest can be found at PLUM BAZAAR (615 Commercial St). Plum Bazaar is an eclectic mix of beads, rocks, hand-crafted jewelry, supplies, gifts and an in-store boutique. Plumtique includes one-of-a-kind hand-sewn clothing, bohemian skirts, wraps, leather purses and antiques.

Freshen Up Your Style A quirky mix of new, custom and crafty is the best way to describe the clothing, footwear, accessories, purses and more that you will find at SHELBYS’ SASSY DESIGNS (1115 Commercial St). Owners Shelby & Shelby can put together an entire outfit for your special occasion or take a custom order for matching T-shirts for the family. K.C. Chiefs fan? Get your hand-crafted Chiefs shirts here as well! You know those cute crafty signs everybody has on their front porch these days? You can make your own at TALLGRASS TRENDS BOUTIQUE (606 Commercial St) featuring Plaster Paint. Tallgrass Tends is a boutique for women and girls with trendy clothes, handbags, jewelry and more. Sign up for one of their paint classes or grab a bunch of girlfriends, and call Merry to schedule a custom date. Take a ride on the wild side at COOKIES LEATHER AND APPAREL (317 Commercial St). Cookies is the place to find motorcycling apparel, including leather jackets, vests and chaps. They also carry a variety of jeans, T-shirts and accessories.

Authentic Western Located one block west of Commercial Street, you’ll find unique vintage western fashions at PRAIRIE & PEARLS (628 Merchant St, Suite 4). The store carries a variety of merchandise for women as well as vests, all weather jackets, shirts, rain slickers, wild rags and belts for men. Have you ever wondered what 8,000 pairs of jeans looks like? Take a 5 minute drive from Downtown and find out at BLUESTEM FARM & RANCH SUPPLY (2611 W US Hwy 50). An Emporia Legend, this family-owned general store has been a visitor destination for 60 years, selling a large variety of items for the farm and home.



Emporians are passionate about the things we love, and it shows in our grassroots music & arts scene. Dedicated local citizens have started a film fest, music fest and downtown art walk – all free and open to the public.

Music Events Emporia is home to the HALFWAY TO EVERYWHERE MUSIC FESTIVAL (annually on Labor Day weekend). Organized by Kansas Free For Arts volunteers, the day is packed full of live music on multiple stages. Grab a bite at a food truck, purchase unique mementos from various vendors, and admire art displays during the day. In addition to H2E, Emporia also has a local symphony orchestra and municipal band. With four to five concerts a year, the EMPORIA SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA makes it easy to find time in any busy schedule to relax and listen to the best local musicians that Emporia has to offer. If you can’t catch the symphony, the EMPORIA MUNICIPAL BAND performs on select Thursdays in the summer months! They fill Fremont Park with traditional sounds for everyone in the family to enjoy. One of the best places to catch live music year-round is the historic GRANADA THEATRE (807 Commercial St). This 1929 Emporia gem has been fully restored to its original eye-dazzling opulence! Visit emporiagranada. com for show times and tickets. The theatre is also available for weddings, parties, and meetings.

Arts Events & Galleries On the first Friday of every month, enjoy a lively atmosphere while strolling downtown at the EMPORIA FIRST FRIDAY ART WALK (emporiafirstfriday.com). This free





HOMETOWN SOUL event showcases local artists and musicians at various downtown venues. THE EMPORIA ARTS CENTER (815 Commercial St), houses a gallery of rotating art exhibits, as well an art gift shop, and classes in pottery, painting, kids crafts and much more. The Arts Center also sponsors a performing arts series which brings theatre and musical acts to Emporia. Visit emporiaksarts.org for upcoming shows and tickets. For film lovers, NO COAST FILM FEST (nocoastfilmfest.com) celebrates the short film genre. Watch an array of award-winning, moving, funny, dramatic and animated shorts from both the international film circuit as well as discoveries from first-time filmmakers.

University Arts

EMPORIA STATE UNIVERSITY THEATRE is one of the oldest theater programs in the country, producing theater since 1913. Five performances are held each season. Visit emporia.edu/theatre for upcoming shows and tickets. The DEPARTMENT OF MUSIC AT ESU hosts concerts and recitals throughout the year. Visit emporia.edu/music for upcoming shows and tickets. The ESU ART DEPARTMENT (1301 Market St) houses the Norman R. Eppink and Gilson Memorial Galleries in King Hall. The galleries features 12-15 exhibitions each year and are free and open to the public during school hours.




Rooted Celebrations

Downtown Emporia comes to life in spring and fall with colorful celebrations of Latino culture and heritage. Local non-profit, Hispanics of Today & Tomorrow, hosts the CINCO DE MAYO BLOCK PARTY annually in May. The group also hosts the DIA DE LOS MUERTOS celebration and parade annually in October. Both events are held Downtown and are packed with food, music, dancing and fun for kids and families.




In 2021, Emporia held its first annual PRIDE CELEBRATION. This celebration consists of a parade, drag show, and food and drink specials throughout the day. In addition to the Pride Celebration, Emporia also holds an annual Juneteenth celebration. JUNETEENTH is a national holiday that celebrates the emancipation of all enslaved peoples in the United States. In Emporia, this celebration includes history discussions, live music, and a barbecue!

Honoring Heroes

Emporia is the official founding city of VETERANS DAY. In 1953, Emporia celebrated the first Veterans Day a year before congress made it a National Holiday in 1954. Today, Emporia is known for its two-week-long ALL VETERANS TRIBUTE CELEBRATION (annually in November). These two weeks include festivities such as the Veterans Day Parade, FreedomFest, Veteran Artist Exhibition, Quilts of Gratitude, and a Memorial Service to honor all veterans. Take a walk downtown in November to see the annual Veterans Banner display, a project led by the Emporia Main Street organization. Over 270 banners are displayed along Commercial Street and ESU Campus honoring veterans.

We celebrate our people, too. Scan the code to reveal some famous Emporians. A few may surprise you!




EMPORIA KNOWS Emporia is home to a top disc golf retailer, 15 professional courses, championship events, and more disc golf baskets in the ground per capita than anywhere in the world. Emporians are super fans of this sport and play year-round. We were named the #1 Disc Golf Small Town in the U.S. for a reason – we know disc golf.

Plan a Disc Golf Road Trip Founded in a basement in Emporia in 2005, DYNAMIC DISCS has grown to become one of the leading national brands in Disc Golf. Their flagship retail store, located downtown at 912 Commercial Street, should be your first stop. You’ll find the discs you need to excel at your game, as well as the apparel and accessories to look good doing it. Dynamic Discs has some of the coolest discs on the market, known for full color DyeMax graphics and hundreds of designs to choose from. Their expert retail staff can


recommend the perfect disc for any skill level, from beginner to advanced. True disc golf fanatics should also schedule a visit to DYNAMIC DISTRIBUTION at 840 Overlander Road. This 82,000 square-foot facility is the backbone of Dynamic Discs global shipping operation. Get a behind-the-scenes look at the massive warehouse, stamp your own commemorative disc, and check out the new disc golf museum. Call 620-208-6161 or visit dynamicdiscs.com to request a tour. When you’re ready to hit the chains, see our list of fan favorite courses on page 26. You can also pick-up a free DISC GOLF POCKET GUIDE at the Visit Emporia office (719 Commercial St) for detailed maps and information on area courses.

DYNAMIC DISCS OPEN TOURNAMENT Photo by Kevin Huver Photography


Emporia & Dynamic Discs will host the 2022 PDGA We are excited to bring the PDGA PROFESSIONAL DISC GOLF WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS (pdga.com) to Emporia August 27 to September 3, 2022. The top male and female players will compete for the ultimate prize. Emporia is proud to be the home of 3 previous world champs – Eric McCabe, Pro 2010; Paige (Bjerkaas) Shue, Pro 2018; and Isaiah Esquivel, Junior 2018.


The PDGA World Championships follows the DYNAMIC DISCS OPEN (dynamicdiscsopen.com), which was founded in Emporia and takes place annually in April. This Elite Series tournament began in 2003 with just 88 players and has grown to over, 1,600 competitors, topped off with an epic block party downtown. It is a qualifying event for the PDGA World Championships.



Emporia has 15 disc golf courses in town, and an additional four 18-hole courses in nearby communities. To help you play them all, we’ve put together a free DISC GOLF POCKET GUIDE. Pick up your copy at the Visit Emporia office at 719 Commercial St.

Photo by Tim Mohn



With some of the best disc golf courses in the country and a culture that welcomes players, Emporia is a mecca for disc golfers.

Jones Park West*

Peter Pan Park

2006 Jones Dr - First hole near Prairie St entrance

515 S Congress St

This course offers a variety of holes, from short to long. Gently rolling hills and light woods are fun for golfers of any skill level. There’s not much heavy rough, but many protected pins will challenge golfers. Water is in play on 5 holes.

The holes in this beautiful, historic park are short and technical. Peter Pan Park’s course is great for casual golfers and beginners, but with fun and unusual features, it can challenge more experienced golfers. Water is in play on up to 8 holes and hole 11 is a peninsula shot. Feel free to explore the memorials, stone structures, and natural amphitheater as you play through this historic park. Peter Pan is the place in town where you can get the most birdies.

Jones Park East* 2006 Jones Dr - First hole near Lincoln St entrance

With long fairways, 3 water shots and many trees, this course is a great challenge. Golfers will have to test their skills on the technical holes. With longer holes than Jones Park West, this course allows golfers to open up on their drives.

Jones Gold* 2006 Jones Dr - First hole near Prairie St entrance

What do you get when you combine Jones East and Jones West? Jones Gold! Nearly 11,000 feet long with a par of 70, this is the longest, toughest course in Emporia. If you’re looking for a challenge, Jones Gold should be your first choice.



Hammond Park Merchant St & 18th Ave

Hammond Park is a fun, 9-hole recreational level course set in a small park near Downtown and Emporia State University. Moderately wooded with no water features, this is a great course for beginners to hone their skills. *A new championship level course called the Supreme 18 at Jones Park is being built for the 2022 PDGA Pro World Championships. The installation of this course may impact the regular Jones Park courses throughout 2022.






With thousands of miles of gavel roads winding through the Flint Hills, a close-knit cycling community, and the planet’s most epic bike race, Emporia is the Gravel Cycling Capital of the World. Emporia sits in the heart of the Flint Hills, with waves of rolling tallgrass prairie stretching to the north, south, and west. Gravel roads snake out from Emporia into sparsely populated countryside. These remote unpaved stretches of the Flint Hills provide the perfect backdrop for cyclists wanting to experience something quite literally, “off the beaten path.” Whether you come for our epic events, such as UNBOUND Gravel, to connect with our community of fellow cyclists, or simply to explore in solitude, it’s easy to see why Emporia is the epicenter of the gravel grinding universe.



Famous Finish

UNBOUND GRAVEL has become known as the “Super Bowl” of gravel and is the world’s most recognizable gravel cycling event. Held the first weekend after Memorial Day, this multi-day event contains rides and races of various distances ranging from 25-miles to 350-miles. Over 10,000 riders, family, friends, and spectators converge in Emporia over the course of the weekend to celebrate. All of downtown Emporia becomes a street party with food, drink and plenty of cowbell. You don’t have to be a rider to come down and be energized by the electricity of this world class event.

Gear Up

With three bike shops, there is no lack of support in the gravel cycling capital. ECLECTIC BIKES (823 Commercial St.) is a specialty bike shop where you can rent or buy new or vintage bikes. GRAVEL CITY ADVENTURE & SUPPLY CO. (716 Commercial St.) is your adventure headquarters. From your first gravel ride to overnight bikepacking adventures, they will help you find the right bike and gear to tackle the Flint Hills. At HIGH GEAR CYCLERY (520 Commercial St.) you will find small town service with a big city selection. With a passion for cycling, they will help you find the bike of your dreams.

Group Rides

If you’re in Emporia with your bike, then consider joining in on a local group ride. Locals such as Mulready’s Pub, Gravel City Adventure, High Gear, Eclectic Bikes and Babes on Bikes host weekly group rides to encourage new cyclists, push each other to the next level, or to just simply have fun with other cyclists. There is sure to be a ride to fit your skill level. Scan QR code for group ride information.




SIDE STORY The Rocky Ford Bridge was the setting for the 1987 movie Murder Ordained, a true-life crime drama based on an Emporia preacher’s plot to murder his wife and his mistress’ husband.

Photo by Tim Mohn

Here’s the inside scoop on the best places to ride in the Flint Hills. The Iconic Routes Series, created by the folks at Gravel City Adventure, features 11 expertly planned routes for all skill levels. We’ve listed a few of our favorites below. Scan the code for maps and additional routes, or pick up a POCKET CYCLING GUIDE at the Visit Emporia office, 719 Commercial Street.

Murder Ordained

Despite its ominous name, ‘Murder Ordained’ is a very tame, beginner-friendly route. It is nearly pancake flat with only 249 ft. of climbing over the 13.8 miles.

County Seat Run

This beginner friendly route takes riders to the town of Americus, which at one time rivaled Emporia for the position of county seat. Because the route stays close to the Neosho River, you won’t encounter a lot of climbing, making this a great exploratory ride for gravel enthusiasts of all abilities.

Teapot Mound

This is what you travel to the gravel capital for – open range and wide open vistas! This loop takes riders over Minimum Maintenance Roads (which can be muddy if wet) and into the open cattle grazing range that makes this area so special.

Flint Hills Nature Trail

Explore the Flint Hills Nature Trail by horseback, bike, or hiking. This 94-mile trail stretches between Osawatomie and Council Grove. It is the seventh longest rail-trail in America, and the longest trail in Kansas. Trail heads are in Admire, Allen, Bushong and Council Grove.



Emporia has more than gravel. For mountain bike lovers, The COTTONWOOD RIVER TRAIL, starting from the All Veterans Memorial, and ESU campus trails provide additional opportunities for trail riding. Our longest set of trails can be found at CAMP ALEXANDER (Road P5 east of Emporia). 4.3 miles of singletrack trails with a wide variety of terrains including a pump track. Always check trail conditions and closures before riding.

Photo by Isaac Cushenbery


KID APPROVED Outdoor Adventure

Nestled at the south end of town on the Cottonwood River are two of Emporia’s best hidden gems, DAVID TRAYLOR ZOO (75 Soden Rd) and the SERTOMA MINI TRAIN (S Commercial & Soden Rd). Emporia’s beautiful zoo is free to the public and includes a variety of mammals, birds, and reptiles, as well as lush botanical gardens and a small play area. With it’s compact size, the zoo is an easy stroll for little ones. Be sure to stop and watch the prairie dogs – their antics will give you a good laugh. During the summer, look for the Sertoma Mini Train just south of the zoo in Soden’s Grove Park. For just 50 cents, the kiddos can hop on and enjoy a ride around the park on a 1/3 mile track. Directly across the highway from the zoo and train, check out the old arched bridge over the Cottonwood River. Near the river dam, you’ll find the entrance to the COTTONWOOD RIVER TRAIL. If you hike the full 1-mile length, you’ll come out at another hidden gem, PETER PAN PARK (515 S Congress St). With a dash of whimsy and over 50 acres to explore, Peter Pan Park will bring joy to anyone who doesn’t want to grow up. The park features two play grounds, a splash pad, 18-hole disc golf course, and several historic limestone structures. For more outdoor adventure, head five miles east of Emporia to CAMP ALEXANDER (1785 Rd P5). Here you’ll enjoy nearly five miles of hiking and biking trails through the woods and meadows with plenty of twists and turns. At 96 years old, Peter Pan Park has an interesting past. Hear the story of its ties to William Allen White and learn why the locals keep referring to a stone structure as “Monkey Island.”

Photo by Corky Heller

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Friendly Family Competition

Is your family competitive? Emporia is a great place to put those friendly rivalries to the test. We’ve rounded up a few ideas to bond (or earn bragging rights) with your family! FLINT HILLS LANES – 1519 W 6th Ave Battle for the lowest score in bowling or the highest score in the arcade. EMPORIA FAMILY FUN CENTER – 1004 E 12th Ave Crush it on the mini golf course and batting cages, or race on the go-kart track. MUNICIPAL GOLF COURSE – 1133 S Hwy 99 Rack up those birdies! ROLLER’S SKATING RINK – 701 Graham St Whomever can stay upright on skates is clearly WINNING!

PETER PAN PARK SPLASH PAD ©Thomas Felts Photography

Community Hubs These community amenities are kid-approved and a great place to hang out: EMPORIA PUBLIC LIBRARY – 110 E 6th Ave 65,000 reading materials, plus kids story times and crafts. JONES AQUATIC CENTER – 4202 W 18th Ave Waterslides, lazy river, zero-depth entry pool, diving boards, and splash playground.


LEE BERAN RECREATION CENTER – 313 W 4th Ave Indoor pool and day passes to play racquetball, table tennis, pickleball, and more.





Located next to Emporia State University’s One Room Schoolhouse, NATIONAL MEMORIAL TO FALLEN EDUCATORS (12 W 18th Ave, ESU Campus) was the first national memorial in Kansas. This memorial commemorates educators who lost their lives while performing their professional duties. As the founding city of Veterans Day, our military memorials carry special significance. At the ALL VETERANS MEMORIAL (933 S Commercial St), take a walk amongst the Tablets of Honor, a World War II Sherman tank, a Huey helicopter, and USS Oliver Hazard Perry anchor. Also located at the All Veterans Memorial is the Vietnam Veteran Memorial and Purple Heart Memorial. Emporia has a number of other smaller monuments and memorials around the city to honor military heroes including Civil War Veterans Monuments at both Fremont Park (4th Ave & Union St) and Maplewood & Memorial Lawn Cemeteries (2000 Prairie St). Latino Veterans are recognized with monuments at St. Catherine’s Church (205 S Lawrence St) and Peter Pan Park (S Neosho St & Kansas Ave).



Historic Downtown DOWNTOWN EMPORIA was designated a Federal and State Historic District in 2012. It encompasses a total of 18 blocks centered around Commercial Street and 6th Avenue. Within this area you will find 17 architectural styles including Gothic Revival style churches and a number of Italianate-style buildings from the 1860s, built soon after Emporia was founded. One of Emporia’s crown jewels is the Granada Theatre. This 1929 Spanish Colonial Revival theatre has been fully restored and is truly eye-dazzling. Enjoy the surroundings as you shop and eat downtown!

Museums & Historic Homes The LYON COUNTY HISTORY CENTER (711 Commercial St) presents the story of our region from its earliest inhabitants to today. Explore exhibits on the Flint Hills, area Native Americans, the everyday life of early immigrants, and our history as a railroad hub and the founding city of Veterans Day. The Kid’s Zone and model train makes the Center fun for all ages. HOWE HOUSE AND WELSH FARMSTEAD (315 E Logan Ave) is one of the oldest homes in Emporia, built in 1867 by one of the first Welsh settlers to the area. The home is a rare example of an early settlement structure that has survived in near original condition, including 18-inch thick limestone walls, original black walnut woodwork, native oak floors and furniture. The surrounding 15 acres of land showcase antique farm tools and masonry equipment. Tours are available by appointment (620-340-6310). The RED ROCKS STATE HISTORIC SITE (927 Exchange St) is the home of William Allen White, editor of the Emporia Gazette from 1899 to 1944. White wrote many beloved short stories and novels, and rose to prominence on the world stage after penning his fiery editorial, “What’s the Matter with Kansas.” As a star author, journalist, and public figure in his day, Mr. White hosted five U.S. Presidents at his home here in Emporia. White’s gorgeous Tudor Revival style home features a staircase designed by famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright, furnishings and personal items of the White family, as well as a lily pond and gardens on the grounds. The site is open for tours Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays from April to October.

With many buildings over 100 years old, several downtown locations have gained a reputation of being haunted. Watch a local ghost team investigate here! visitemporia.com




Voted one of the Eight Wonders of Kansas, the Flint Hills are a special, magical place. The region is one the last remaining tallgrass prairie ecosystems in the world, with rolling vistas that have endured largely unchanged for thousands of years. Traveling over the hills and valleys on a quiet country roadway in the Flint Hills will challenge your idea that Kansas is flat. After the annual pasture burnings in springtime, the hills are renewed, bringing forth sweeping carpets of native grasses and wildflowers. With a population of less than 12.7 people per square mile, your only company may be the hawks, songbirds, deer, and coyotes commonly spotted throughout the region. Evenings in the Flint Hills often put on a show of breathtaking sunsets and brilliant stars, perfect for gazing in quiet stillness. The Flint Hills are truly one of America’s unique places, harboring a wealth of adventure, beauty, and history. The area is best experienced up close by bike, jeep, car, kayak, or on foot. Emporia is the perfect place to begin and end your daily adventures.



Far away from man made structures and modern life, sunset watching and stargazing are popular activities for flint hills explorers. Our Jeep & SUV Routes on page 38 can help you navigate to the best views.

Fishing and Kayaking

This region provides some excellent fishing and boating opportunities. Anglers can check out resevoirs such as Council Grove, Melvern, John Redman, and Pomona or choose the smaller county fishing lakes in Lyon, Chase, and Osage counties. The most common fish caught in this area are bass, crappie, catfish, bluegill, trout and walleye. Kayaking, canoeing, and paddle boarding are a great way to enjoy the area lakes. Find permit information and more about where to fish at ksoutdoors.com.



EXPLORE BY JEEP, CAR OR FOOT If you’re not a local, it can be difficult to know where to start exploring the vast area of the Flint Hills, especially when some of the best views and sights are off the beaten path. Scan the codes below for maps and exclusive routes that will allow you to experience the best that the Flint Hills has to offer.

By Jeep One of the best ways to enjoy the Flint Hills is to go jeeping. It’s fun for the whole family and the Flint Hills has hundreds of miles of beautiful minimum maintenance roads to explore. We’ve put together a few routes that are specially designed for Jeeps or SUVs. The routes we’ve created will take you through some of the Flint Hills’ most picturesque areas and little-known hidden gems. Choose from 5 route options that interconnect to create shorter or longer drives.

On Foot At one time, there were over 150 million acres of tallgrass prairie that stretched from Texas to Canada. Today only 4% remains, with much of it at TALLGRASS PRAIRIE NATIONAL PRESERVE. Hike the trails spanning nearly 11,000 acres of wide open spaces and beautiful vistas. The preserve includes a bison herd, one-room school house, historic limestone buildings, and visitors center. Bring your camera and capture the 150 species of birds, 35.species of reptiles and amphibians, 35 species of mammals, 400 species of wildflowers, and 70 species of native grasses as you hike. The FLINT HILLS TRAIL STATE PARK is a 94-mile multi-use trail through the heart of the Flint Hills. It stretches between Osawatomie and Council Grove and is the longest trail in Kansas. Trail heads closest to Emporia include Admire, Allen, Bushong, and Council Grove.


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The Bazaar Cattle Pens Scenic Overlook south of Emporia on the Kansas Turnpike allows you to view endless miles of the tallgrass prairie. Photo ©Corky Heller

By Car Though sparsely populated, the Flint Hills are dotted with small towns that showcase the rich history of the area. Go for a drive and visit some of our neighboring communities: OLPE is well known for its family-owned restaurant, Chicken House. Recognized nationally as a premier chicken restaurant, they are famous for their hand-breaded onion rings and homemade pies. (9 miles south of Emporia) CHASE COUNTY boasts the largest area of unspoiled tallgrass prairie remaining in the world, the oldest operating courthouse in Kansas, as well as the oldest consecutive rodeo in the state dating to 1937. (20 miles west of Emporia) MADISON is referred to as the Hidden Valley of the Flint Hills. The town relocated to its current site after the Kansas City, Emporia, and Southern Railway Company, a subsidiary of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad, built a depot away from the original town site on the Verdigris River. The fullyrestored depot is now on the National Register of Historic Places and serves as the Madison Historical Society Museum. (26 miles south of Emporia) COUNCIL GROVE is an authentic old trail town at the crossroads of the Santa Fe Trail and the Flint Hills Scenic Byway. Beneath the Council Oak tree on August 10, 1825, U.S. Commissioners and Chiefs of the Great and Little Osage tribes signed a treaty to establish the rightof-way for the Santa Fe Trail across Osage lands. The town has 25 historic sites to learn about and explore. (35 miles northwest of Emporia)


Flint Hills Scenic Byway

Running from Council Grove to Cassoday, the FLINT HILLS SCENIC BYWAY offers incredible views of the native grasses and flowers of the tallgrass prairie. Much of the land along the Byway looks as it did thousands of years ago when the Kaw, Osage and other native tribes lived there.

Historic Bridge Tour

If you dig history or photography or just need a good cruise in the country, Lyon County has interesting and photogenic bridges. Two routes have been created for you to explore with the family.


COLLEGE LIFE Stingers up! EMPORIA STATE UNIVERSITY (1 Kellogg Circle) is home of the Hornets! Take a stroll around this beautiful campus founded in 1861 to see Welch Stadium, fountains, public art, and several small museums. ESU’s newest addition is the DALE GRIENER NATURE TRAIL, perfect for walking, jogging, or bike riding with scenic views along the Neosho River.

ESU Traditions HOMECOMING – Tailgating is a tradition that Emporians take seriously. Wear your black & gold and cheer on the Hornets. Make it a full weekend with tickets to the Homecoming musical. WOOSTER LAKE – Legend has it that if you kiss your partner at midnight on Wooster Bridge, you will marry that person. SILENT JOE BELL TOWER – The 1400 pound bell is rung to announce a Hornet football victory. The bell tower became known as “Silent Joe” in 1939 after a losing streak.


Get tickets for ESU sports & theatre here!

Flint Hills Technical College If you have a great meal in Emporia, it was likely created by a graduate of FLINT HILLS TECHNICAL COLLEGE (3301 W 18th Ave). One of the most popular programs at FHTC is Hospitality and Culinary Arts. This degree offers the only food truck curriculum in Kansas. During the FoodA-Palooza Food Truck Rally, FHTC students participate with the FUSION FOOD TRUCK. This opportunity allows FHTC to also teach entrepreneurship skills to students. Look for the Fusion Food Truck at the rally and other

events to sample what the students are cooking up. FHTC also hosts a culinary event called the THE CUT, which is similar to Chopped on the Food Network Channel. Four students participate in three rounds of cooking with select surprise food items. The event is live streamed thanks to the students in FHTC’s Multimedia Design program. Spectators can watch while enjoying refreshments from the Fusion Food Truck.

FHTC offers 20 programs of study along with a variety of short term training and continuing education courses. The FHTC campus also features a 9-hole disc golf course designed by local legend Eric McCabe.



Centrally located in Eastern Kansas, Emporia is only an hour and a half from both Kansas City and Wichita. Nestled at the crossroads of I-35, the Kansas Turnpike and US Highway 50, Emporia is easily accessible from anywhere. Or fly into the Emporia Municipal Airport, only 5 minutes from downtown.

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ATTRACTIONS 15 All Veterans Memorial 933 S Commercial St

16 David Traylor Zoo

S Commercial St & Soden Rd

17 Emporia Arts Center 815 Commercial St

18 Emporia Family Fun Center 1004 E 12th Ave

19 Emporia Public Library 110 E 6th Ave


20 Eppink & Gilson Art Galleries


1301 Market St, ESU King Hall


21 Granada Theatre

807 Commercial St

22 Howe House/Welsh Farmstead 315 E Logan Ave

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23 Lyon County Fair Grounds Industrial Rd & W Hwy 50

24 Lyon County History Center 711 Commercial St





25 Memorial to Fallen Educators 12 W 18th Ave, ESU campus

26 National Teachers Hall of Fame



1701 Morse Rd, ESU Visser Hall


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27 Prairie Passage

Industrial Rd & W Hwy 50



28 Sertoma Miniature Train S Commercial S

29 Red Rocks State Historic Site 927 Exchange St


30 White Auditorium 111 E 6th Ave

31 William Allen White Bust & Memorial

Peter Pan Park, Rural St & Randolph Ave

32 William Lindsay White Memorial 6th Ave & Merchant St



Alexander 33 Camp 1785 Rd P5 Country Club Disc Golf 34 Emporia Rural St & 18th Ave

35 Emporia Municipal Golf Course 1133 S Hwy 99


36 Jones Aquatic Center 4202 W 18th Ave


America’s Best Inn & Suites 3181 W US Hwy 50


Hampton Inn & Suites 2900 Eaglecrest Dr


Best Western Emporia Inn 2836 W 18th Ave


Holiday Inn Express & Suites 3007 W 18th Ave


Budget Host Inn 1830 E US Hwy 50

10 Knights Inn


Econolodge 2511 W 18th Ave


La Quinta Inn & Suites 2930 Eaglecrest Dr


Eleven Boutique Hotel 3021 US Hwy 50


Mainstay Suites 2602 Candlewood Dr


Emporia Inn 2630 W 18th Ave


Quality Inn & Suites 2921 W 18th Ave


Gufler Mansion Bed & Breakfast 612 W 12th Ave

14 Super 8

3183 US Hwy 50

2913 W US Hwy 50

37 Jones Park East Disc Golf Lincoln St & Jones Dr

38 Jones Park West Disc Golf Prairie St & Jones Dr

39 Lee Beran Recreation Center 313 W 4th Ave

40 Peter Pan Park Disc Golf

S Congress St & W Kansas Ave

41 Sodens Grove Ball Field S Commercial St

42 Southwest Santa Fe Skateboard Park South Ave & West St

43 Trusler Sports Complex West of Burlingame Rd

44 DeBauge Family Sports Complex W 18th Ave


Public Parking

45 Welch Stadium ESU Campus


ACCOMMODATIONS AMERICA’S BEST INN & SUITES 3181 W US Hwy 50 620-342-7820 BEST WESTERN EMPORIA INN 2836 W 18th Ave 620-342-9700 BUDGET HOST INN 1830 E US Hwy 50 620-343-6922 DILIGENT TRAILERS CAMPING 1521 Rd 175 620-342-6456 ECONOLODGE 2511 W 18th Ave 620-343-7750 ELEVEN BOUTIQUE HOTEL 3021 US Hwy 50 786-709-3415 EMPORIA INN 2630 W 18th Ave 620-343-1240 EMPORIA RV PARK & CAMPGROUND 4601 W Hwy 50 620-343-3422


GUFLER MANSION BED & BREAKFAST 612 W 12th Ave 970-582-0207 HAMPTON INN BY HILTON 2900 Eaglecrest Dr 620-412-9040 HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS & SUITES 3007 W 18th Ave 620-343-1111 KNIGHTS INN 3183 US Hwy 50 620-342-7822 LA QUINTA INN & SUITES 2930 Eaglecrest Dr 620-342-4445 MAINSTAY SUITES 2602 Candlewood Dr 620-343-7756 QUALITY INN & SUITES 2921 W 18th Ave 620-341-9393 SUPER 8 2913 US Hwy 50 620-342-7567

Getting Around BIRD SCOOTERS - Zip around on bird scooters, located downtown and on the Emporia State University campus. To use a scooter, download the Bird app on your mobile device. COMMUNITY BIKE SHARE - Located around town and FREE to rent. To find the nearest bike station, download the Movatic app on your mobile device. LCAT BUS - Lyon County Area Transportation (LCAT) buses run fixed routes Monday-Friday. You can also schedule an on-demand pick-up or transportation to or from Kansas City International Airport. Call 620-343-4207 or visit lyoncounty.org.


AMANDA’S BAKERY & CAFE 702 Commercial St BOBBY D’S MERCHANT STREET BBQ 607 Merchant St BRUFF’S BAR & GRILL 2640 W 18th Ave CASA RAMOS 707 Commercial St CHI EM EATS 11 E 6th Ave CHINA DRAGON 1113 Commercial St COMMERCIAL STREET DINER 614 Commercial St COWBOY CAFE 502 Albert St THE DAILY STATION 312 W South Ave DO-B’S PHILLYS & POBOYS 704 E 12th Ave THE INNER BEAN 1328 Exchange St EL LORITO 2144 W US Hwy 50 EL MARMOL 713 W South Ave GOLDEN WOK 2804 W US Hwy 50 GRAB ‘N’ GO HOT DOGS LLC (620) 366-2860

GRANADA COFFEE CO 809 Commercial St

SWEET GRANADA 803 Commercial St

BURGER KING 2725 W 18th Ave

PIZZA HUT 2920 W 18th Ave


TAQUERIA EL MARMOL 23 East 6th Avenue

DAIRY QUEEN 1710 W 6th Ave

PIZZA RANCH 3000 W 18th Ave

TORTAS EL TORO 602 E 6th Avenue

DAYLIGHT DONUTS 1028 Commercial St

TRACI’S SHAVED ICE 1608 W 6th ave

DOMINO’S PIZZA 2326 Industrial Rd

PLANET SUB 2715 Candlewood Dr, Suite B


DUNKIN’ DONUTS 2000 Industrial Road





GAMBINO’S PIZZA 1003 Industrial Rd

J’S CARRYOUT 27 Commercial St

CHICKEN HOUSE 8 East Hwy K-99, Olpe


HARRY & LLOYDS 608 Main Street, Americus

MIS ANTOJITOS 2023 ½ W 6th Ave

MIRACLE CAFE 103 Franklin St, Reading

MIZUMI’S 804 W 6th Ave

ROLLING HILLS BAR & GRILL 622 Main St, Americus

GRIFF’S DINER 20 Commercial St GUSTOSO FOOD TRUCK 1520 W 6th Ave HOUSE OF MA 1404 Industrial Rd


Chains APPLEBEE’S BAR & GRILL 2901 Eaglecrest Dr

GOODCENTS DELI FRESH SUBS 1004 E 12th Ave HARDEE’S FAMILY RESTAURANT 1126 E 12th Ave HUDDLE HOUSE 4215 W US Hwy 50 IHOP 2831 W 18th Ave JIMMY JOHNS 726 Commercial St KFC 2613 Candlewood Dr

ARBY’S 2711 W US Hwy 50

LITTLE CAESAR’S 1014 Commercial St


MCDONALD’S 1202 W 6th Ave

BRAUM’S ICE CREAM 1028 W 6th Ave

MCDONALD’S 2810 W 18th Ave

BRAUM’S ICE CREAM 2120 Industrial Rd

PANDA EXPRESS 2830 W 18th Ave

SAM’S SOUTHERN EATERY 1116 W 6th Ave SCOOTER’S COFFEE 1702 Industrial Rd SONIC DRIVE-IN 1101 W 6th Ave SPANGLES 2708 W 18th Ave STARBUCKS 2916 Eaglecrest Dr SUBWAY 1128-D Merchant St SUBWAY 935 Industrial Rd SUBWAY 2301 Industrial Rd TACO BELL 2807 Eaglecrest Dr TACO BELL 1407 W 6th Ave WENDY’S 1928 W 6th Ave




There is always something happening in Emporia. From block parties and parades to extreme sporting events, Emporia has something for everyone. For more information, go to visitemporia.com/events


Flint Hills League Basketball Tournament WL White Arena Lyon County League Basketball Tournament WL White Arena Glaciers Edge Basketball Tournament Emporia High School


Sunflower Gymnastics Winter Invitational WL White Arena Special Olympics Polar Plunge Mouse Lake


KSHSAA State Basketball WL White Arena St. Patrick’s Day Parade Downtown Dynamic Discs Monkey Island Open Disc Golf Tournament


Flint Hills Gravel Ride Americus, KS The Taste WL White Arena


Dynamic Discs Open Disc Golf Tournament Area Disc Golf Courses


La Grind Gravel Race Downtown Cinco De Mayo Downtown Flatland Cruisers Car Show Downtown



Lyon County Free Fair Lyon County Fairgrounds Flint Hills Beef Fest Lyon County Fairgrounds

SEPTEMBER Halfway to Everywhere Music Festival Downtown

Great American Market Downtown

ESU Homecoming Celebration Emporia State University Dia de Los Muertos Downtown KSHAA State Volleyball WL White Arena

NOVEMBER Kansas Miss Amazing Emporia High School Freedom Fest Soden’s Grove

Garmin Unbound Gravel Race Downtown

Wildlife Appreciation Days Bluestem Farm & Ranch Supply

Flint Hills Rodeo Strong City

Poetry on the Porch Red Rocks

KSHSAA State Football Welch Stadium

Symphony in the Flint Hills

No Coast Film Festival Granada Theatre

Christmas Parade Downtown



Emporia Friends of the Zoo Open House David Traylor Zoo United States Amateur Match Play Championships presented by Dynamic Discs Downtown Artists and Authors in the Garden Red Rocks


Lunar Kanza Gravel Ride Gravel City Adventure & Supply

William Allen White Children’s Book Awards Emporia State University Emporia Ladies Open presented by Dynamic Discs Disc Golf Tournament United States Amateur Match Play Championships (Singles) Haunted Tours Downtown

Veterans Day Parade Downtown

White Christmas Red Rocks USD 253 Seasonal Celebration WL White Auditorium