Salina offers an awesome mix of big-city style amenities and small-town charm that creates an exclusive experience for visitors. With so many places to see, activities to do, and cuisine to experience all year round, your itinerary for Salina will be bursting with variety.
The History of Salina, Kansas
Salina, Kansas has a long history as a trading post for immigrants heading west, prospectors looking for Pikes Peak, and several historic events involving the area American Indian tribes. The local American Indian tribes and their need to trade goods are credited as the reason for Salina becoming a trading hub in the region.
As one the world’s largest wheat producers, Salina is a central hub for trade in the north-central Kansas area, that is also packed with numerous attractions, and other worthy destinations.
In 1943, the U.S. Army established Smoky Hill Army Airfield, which has since been acquired by the City of Salina and renamed Salina Municipal Airport. This airfield helped grow several industries in the area and led to a local population surge.
Salina is also the home where Lee Jeans founder, H.D. Lee, got his successful jeans company started. With the introduction of the railroad, industrial growth in Salina skyrocketed, and their regional trade continues today.
Things to Do
If you are looking for things to do in Salina, Kansas you won’t need to look very far. Salina hosts a unique blend of arts, culture, sports, parks, and other community events that make this city an incredible place to visit.
Rolling Hills Zoo
If you are searching for unique wild animals, look no farther than Salina’s Rolling Hills Zoo. Located in the Smoky Hills, this zoological park boasts 65 acres of activities. The zoo has more than 110 species and a first-class wildlife museum, which allows you to view the animals up close in their natural environments.
This zoo is also known for its zookeepers who are around to chat with visitors, answer questions, and enhance the quality of life for the animals. With this specialized attention from the zookeepers, the animals thrive and are more responsive when visitors come to say hello.
At the wildlife museum, you can stroll through over 64,000 square feet of exhibits in everything from humans, animals, and unique regions such as the Arctic and the rainforest. With one of the largest collections of mounted specimens in the world, you’ll be able to see over 200 species displayed in their natural habitats across seven ecosystems.
Live waterfalls, ambient sound effects, and state of the art technology make this museum a must see for people of all ages. If you have little ones, then be sure to check out the children’s exploration center where several interactive exhibits are on display.
Smoky Hill Museum
When looking for things to do in Salina, Kansas, the Smoky Hill Museum is an excellent option. Here you can learn about the region’s rich history, and experience an ever-changing array of exhibits that feature local people, artifacts, and explore topics like immigration, and agriculture.
The museum portrays the struggles and vision of the people in the area throughout history, and offers some insight into the changes the area has experienced over time.
Kenwood Cove Aquatic Park
The Kenwood Cove Aquatic Park is the area’s largest water park featuring exciting rides, thrilling slides, waves and more. Kenwood showcases over 1400 feet of slides and includes an area for younger children to play. With so many options, this park offers attractions fit for the whole family.
Kenwood Cove is located near the I-70 and I-35 interchange and is an affordable aquatic park with Caribbean inspired decor. Perfect for hosting a group or party, and the park also offers swim lessons and other exercise classes.
Stiefel Theatre for the Performing Arts
The Stiefel Theatre located in downtown Salina is a hot spot for entertainment, and unique shows. As the home of the Salina Symphony, the Stiefel Theatre also offers quality shows from a variety of genres including classical, blues, rock, comedy, dance, and alternative. There are a number of options for younger audiences, and free lectures and demos.
Opened in 1931, the theatre is an excellent example of Art Deco style, featuring shining chandeliers, mirror ceilings, and an impressive staircase. The theatre is now a major concert venue in the Midwest region and entertains over 30,000 individuals each year.
Best Places to Stay
Salina offers many lodging options for travelers and visitors looking to stay for any length of time. Whether you prefer a hotel, or a cozier house or apartment rental, Salina has many options for groups as well as individuals.
Holiday Inn Express & Suites Salina
With rave reviews online, the Holiday Inn offers the perfect economical choice for weary travelers wondering where to stay in Salina, Kansas. With free continental breakfast, free Wi-Fi, and a beautiful pool with a hot tub, the Holiday Inn has just the right mix for families and individuals alike.
Conveniently located near the highway, there are also Tesla charging stations in the parking lot, a gym, and a business center with free high-speed internet for guests. The breakfast served each morning is known for its extravagant selection, and in particular, the piping hot cinnamon rolls!
Kansas Beach House
If you’re looking for a large home to host a group, then the Kansas Beach House may be just what you need. The home is large, kid-friendly, and offers a host of amenities fit to accommodate up to ten individuals.
A full-service kitchen, four bedrooms, and three bathrooms create a wonderfully furnished space for your next group gathering in Salina. In the past, this property has hosted reunions, weddings, vacation get-togethers, and is conveniently located near the highway. When deciding where to stay in Salina, this spacious home is a welcoming choice.
On the opposite end of the spectrum is Trädhuset, a luxurious one bedroom apartment located in the nearby downtown Lindsborg. Suitable for up to four individuals, Trädhuset offers a fully-equipped kitchen, large bathroom, and high-efficiency laundry.
Trädhuset is Swedish for “the treehouse,” and in keeping with the community’s Swedish heritage, features beautiful Ikea furnishings and appliances.
Amazing Places to Eat
Many foodies out there are probably wondering where to eat while in Salina, Kansas. Fortunately, Salina is home to some stunning food, and interesting options to tease the taste buds!
Hickory Hut Barbeque
When deciding where to eat in Salina, Kansas you can’t go wrong with barbeque! The Hickory Hut offers excellent American barbecue and is located right off the highway. With amazing reviews online, this barbecue joint is known for its burnt ends, baked beans, and delicious ribs.
If you aren’t in the mood to go in and sit down, this place has a drive-thru so you don’t have to. However, if you do go in, you’ll be met with charming decor and a mom ‘n pop atmosphere with friendly staff.
Blue Skye Brewery and Eats
Although deciding where to eat in Salina can be hard with so many choices, Blue Skye Brewery and Eats has a little bit of something for everyone. Some classic favorites include fish and chips, wood-fired pizza, and burgers, but the brewery also boasts a full selection of beer as well.
Located midway between downtown and the Smoky Hill Museum, this is the perfect spot to take a break and enjoy a delicious meal.
Established in 1997, Tucson’s Steakhouse is a local favorite. Located near the highway, this establishment serves up delicious steaks, famous cheesy corn, and unforgettable salads.
Visitors say the service is excellent, and the portions are generous, which makes this the perfect place to stop after a long day out and about the town.
Located right off the highway Burger Theory is an excellent option when deciding where to eat in Salina. They are known for their friendly staff and unique menu items which include vegetarian options.
It is also worth noting that visitors rave about the lettuce wraps and salads as much as they do the burgers!
Other Fun Facts About Salina, Kansas
In the 2010 census, Salina boasts a population of 47,707, and the town is a long-time home to multiple colleges.
The elevation in Salina, Kansas is 1,224 feet (373 m), and is located in an area where July is the hottest month. The average relevant humidity here is 64%.
White House press secretary, Marlin Fitzwater, and astronaut Steven Hawley are both from Salina, as is the pro-football player Terence Newman.
The tallest point in the Salina area is Indian Rock, which also includes a large park and several different hiking trails.
The largest employer in Salina is Tony’s Pizza with around 2000 employees. Tony’s Pizza also has an event center in Salina that hosts numerous events such as sporting events, monster trucks, banquets, meetings, and expo’s.