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There is always something to do around Topeka


The arts are alive and well in Topeka!

Topeka’s First Friday event coordinated by ArtsConnect attracts hundreds of people to the multitude of art galleries throughout the city. Watch for details in the local paper each “First Friday” or pick up a copy of “City Arts” a brochure about arts in Topeka at the Chamber or galleries throughout the city.

The excitement of live theater can be experienced nearly every night at the Topeka Performing Arts Center, the Topeka Civic Theatre, the Helen Hocker Performing Arts Center in Gage Park or Washburn University.

The Kansas Expocentre provides the stage for performers such as Kenny Rogers, Oak Ridge Boys, Chicago, Aerosmith, REO Speedwagon and George Strait. The circus comes to town annually along with rodeos and shows such as Sesame Street Live.

The Topeka Performing Arts Center has many different performances every year including well-known singers and Broadway shows that appeal to audiences of all ages.

The Topeka Civic Theatre and Academy offers award winning dinner theatre performances (and non-dinner, too!), studio productions and a children’s academy.

The Topeka Symphony Orchestra, an 80-member professional orchestra, presents classical music and world-renowed guest artists in their annual concert series. The Topeka Community Concert Association, the Topeka Opera Society, the Fine Arts Society, and the Topeka Jazz Workshop also offer a variety of entertainment by local, regional, and national performers. The Sunflower Music Festival brings professional musicians from across the country to Washburn University each June and the city and county parks and recreation departments feature local musical groups in area parks and at Brown Bag lunches downtown during the summer months.

Topeka has over 20 art galleries devoted to furthering artistic expression and appreciation. The Mulvane Art Museum at Washburn University and the Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library maintain permanent collections and present exhibits monthly. Community events such as the Mulvane Mountain Plains Art Far, Kaw River Valley Art Festival and Cider Days offer area artists opportunity for display and sale of their works.


The Topeka Roadrunners, a member of the North American Hockey League, offer exciting play at the Kansas Expocentre.

Washburn University Athletics span from track and field to football and everything between. Check out the schedule for upcoming events at

The Capital City Crushers is Topeka’s female roller derby team.

Hummer Sports Park hosts a variety of sporting events from baseball and soccer to indoor swimming.

There are multiple recreational leagues organized by the city of Topeka and Shawnee County as well.

Festivals and Special Events

January: Kansas Day CelebrationSummer

February: Kansas Silent Film Festival

March: St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Street Fair

April: ERC Designer Showhouse; Tulip Time; Great Plains Rowing Championship

May: Cinco de Mayo Celebration

June: NHRA Summer Nationals; Mountain Plains Art Fair at Washburn University; Topeka Tinman Triathlon; Sunflower Music Festival; Juneteenth

July: Spirit of Kansas Celebration; Sunflower State Games; Fiesta Mexicana; Shawnee County 4-H Fair

August: Railroad Festival

September: Inter-Tribal Pow Wow; Huff ‘n Puff Balloon Rally; Cider Days; Sertoma Great Topeka Duck Race; Aaron Douglas Art Fair

October: Apple Festival

November: Winter Wonderland

December: Winter Wonderland; Festival of Trees; Holiday Happenings; Miracle On Kansas Avenue.

Lakes and Recreation

Lake Shawnee is located immediately adjacent to the city limits. This 400-acre lake is a picturesque setting for sailing, boating, camping, swimming, fishing and provides recreational facilities for amateur sporting activities.

Lake Shawnee Ensley Garden 2If you enjoy water sports, hunting and camping, you’ll love the Topeka/Shawnee County area. Just 15 miles to the northeast is Lake Perry covering more than 11,000 acres with two marinas, a yacht club, and many camping areas. This beautiful tree lined lake is a local favorite.

Twenty miles east of Topeka is Lake Clinton. Clinton is a major fishing lake with many of the same amenities as Lake Perry, including boating, swimming and skiing.

Lake Pomona is just 35 miles south of Topeka. This 4,000-acre lake offers the same wide variety of activities, including project areas for hunting in season.

Milford Lake provides some of the best fishing in Kansas. Several state records have come from the lake. Largemouth, smallmouth, striped and white bass, along with channel catfish, walleye and crappie are favorites with the anglers. Milford Lake is 65 miles west of Topeka.

Another major lake, Melvern Lake is thirty-nine miles southwest of Topeka with more than 6,900 acres of water surface. Melvern has all the usual amenities and boasts of six park areas for recreation.

Tuttle Creek Lake, approximately 60 miles west of Topeka, is Kansas’ largest lake covering more than 13,350 acres with 104 miles of shoreline. Tuttle Creek lies in the Flint Hills Region and offers a unique combination of woodland and grassland for recreational activities.

Visiting Topeka

Whether you plan to stay one night or several nights, there is lots to see and do in Topeka. Check out the local attractions, shop at the mall or in one of the many specialty shops, pause for a cup of coffee or a meal.

You’ll find a current Visitor’s Guide in all of our hotels, motels and bed and breakfast properties, or through Visit Topeka Inc., located at 1275 S Topeka Blvd.

The Visit Topeka website lists attractions and overnight accommodations.

Volunteering in Topeka

Topekans are known for caring about one another. People from all walks of life volunteer their time and talents for a multitude of organizations and agencies always reaching out to help others and to promote our high quality of life.

From delivering Meals on Wheels to helping with the Race Against Breast Cancer to serving as a reader to an elementary school student there’s opportunity to get involved!

Several resources are available:

  1. Civic Organization List: Available through the Chamber of Commerce office, this list gives a contact person and number for over 200 civic groups from the Topeka Audubon Society to the Washburn Walkers. E-mail the Topeka Chamber or drop by the Chamber office, 120 SE 6, Suite 110. Or, you can find the full list elsewhere on this website: Civic Organizations
  2. Volunteer Center of Topeka: The Volunteer Center at the United Way acts as a referral service for individuals wishing to volunteer in the community. Call 785.272.8890.

More to Do

seveneightfive, a lifestyle magazine focusing on area entertainment venues with reviews, commentary and the entertainment industry, keeps readers up-to-date on events happening around town. The magazine provides a list of great local options for things to do in Topeka.

Also, check out these helpful community calendars: