Delightful Indoor Spaces to Enjoy on your Next Visit

Avatar photo Posted on Jan 16, 2024 by Visit Emporia

It’s January–Auld Lang Syne time–when we reflect back on the year that was. We’d like to treat you to some of our favorite moments from 2023, which would also make excellent intentions for your travel plans in this new year of 2024!

The weather outside is truly frightful (after all, it is Kansas…), so we visited some of Emporia’s favorite indoor spaces. There’s always something going on at the PAROC (Prophet Aquatic Research & Outreach Center, 601 E. 18th Ave.) to engage us with the natural world, even in the midst of winter! Choose from a wide array of hands-on opportunities to experience just how much we all depend on the cycles of Mother Nature, the importance of sustainability, and what each of us can do to help. 

The Loretto Langley Exploratorium in the Lyon County History Center, 711 Commercial St.

The beautifully restored Lyon County History Center, at 711 Commercial St. in downtown Emporia, structures its exhibits around eight core themes: natural history, Native Americans, immigration, transportation, farming, ranching, business and industry, and military and Veterans Day. Don’t miss the hugely popular kids’ area on the second floor of the museum, complete with interactive play spaces. The History Center presents its annual Kansas Day Birthday Bash on Saturday, Jan. 27. Join the party and celebrate 163 years of Kansas statehood! 

Everyone will enjoy a stop at the Emporia Arts Center (815 Commercial St.), from the art exhibitions in the Trusler Gallery to browsing unique hand-crafted gift items in the Glaser Art & Gift Store. The EAC maintains a full schedule of art classes and performances–check the website to plan your visit around a special art experience. Almost next door, evening entertainment abounds at the historic Emporia Granada Theatre (807 Commercial St.), featuring concerts in a variety of genres, live theatre performances, and more! Check upcoming shows on their website.

Barrel #2 of Straight Bourbon Whiskey at Trolley House Distillery, 502 S. Commercial St.

Find your winter spirit in Emporia–the sipping kind, that is! First stop:  Emporia’s own distillery, the Trolley House Distillery at 502 S. Commercial St., — yes, the building really was the old trolley house! Try a tasting flight at the beautifully renovated bar –– and, if you’re lucky, you might still find a bottle of Straight Bourbon Whiskey from Barrel #2 to take home. 

Radius Brewing Company in downtown Emporia is the town’s first brewery since the Prohibition days of the 1920s. Radius channels the spirit of Emporia with favorites like William Allen Wheat Ale and a revolving selection of craft beers from Brewmaster Jeremy “JJ” Johns that are brewed right in the middle of the dining room! In addition to mouthwatering wood-fired pizza (watch it being baked in the open kitchen’s traditional stone pizza oven), you will be tempted by Chef Gus Bays’ inventive offerings for Taco Tuesdays, Burger Thursdays, and Sunday Brunch.

If your spirit trends toward a touch of speakeasy glam, get yourself over to Union Street Social. This irreverently swanky bistro, outfitted in the style of your grandma’s weird basement, is the latest love child of the folks who magicked up the beloved but bygone Surly Mermaid Food Truck and Ad Astra Food & Drink. Lucky for all of us, Amanda and Ben are back at it with the Social! USS, at 225 E. Sixth Ave., is located in the building that most recently housed the archives of the local history museum, and further back was home to one of Emporia’s favorite bars. Time your visit right and you’ll also enjoy live jazz, funky movie screenings, Weird Wine Wednesdays, or Sunday Brunch.

Hand carved doors and El Patio mural by local artisan Andy Coffman hang at Casa Ramos, 402 Merchant St.

You’ll never be bored when visiting our fair town, with activities from biking and hiking to concerts, unique dining and cultural experiences–and don’t forget the shopping! On top of all that, we are justifiably proud of our Community Arts Alliance–a group of local volunteers who came together to enrich and promote Emporia through the arts. Thanks to their hard work, you can now experience Emporia’s Art Trail, with loads of perfectly perfect selfie photo ops, while following the map to explore our burgeoning public art scene.

A visit to Emporia just wouldn’t be complete without experiencing the legacy of our town’s most famous resident: William Allen White. The first Saturday in October celebrates William Allen White Legacy Day–but you can visit Red Rocks, the White family’s historic home, from mid-April through mid-October. Plan a visit to the White family home at 927 Exchange St. and tour the beautiful house, gardens, and adjacent visitor center. The home has hosted famous guests from President Theodore Roosevelt to author Edna Ferber. White, who earned two Pulitzer Prizes, bought The Emporia Gazette at the turn of the twentieth century, earning the nickname “The Sage of Emporia.” His fiery editorial, “What’s the Matter With Kansas?”, and his touching tribute to his teenage daughter Mary upon her untimely death at the tender age of 16, are his best known writings.

While you’re visiting us, we hope you’ll also take time to learn more about our Visit Emporia Pledge, which encourages everyone to be good stewards of our community and environment during your time here with us. 

  1. Stay golden
  2. Leave no trace
  3. Respect the land and its people

Find out how YOU can take the Visit Emporia Pledge here.

Visit Emporia is the official Visitor Information Center for Emporia offering brochures and maps of Emporia, surrounding areas, and the state of Kansas. Drop in to visit us at 719 Commercial St. in downtown Emporia. We’re open Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. See the Visit Emporia website for more information or check us out on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter for more activities and events.

# # #

Avatar photo

Visit Emporia

Visit Emporia welcomes travelers and meeting planners, and serves as the visitor information center for Emporia, Kansas and surrounding area.



Want to stay up date on things to do in Emporia? Enter your email and get weekly updates delivered to your inbox!

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.