Things to love about Topeka

Connor England, [email protected], is a senior economics major.

One of the beautiful things about a university is its universal draw. People from all over the world can find themselves in a place they’d never expect in the name of higher education.

With each trite restatement of “I’m so bored, there’s nothing to do,” it only challenges students to find new and better things to make Topeka a home for not only others, but even more so for themselves. Taking a second look around, there’s a lot to love in our quaint little capitol.

When students need a study spot with a bit of food and drink, the coffee shops and cafes are plenty and ready. The town supports PT’s Coffee, winner of Roaster Magazine’s Roaster of the Year award in 2009, abuzz with indie music and IPAs that can sooth the longest of days.

World Cup Espresso is also a warm and welcoming local spot with authentic French crepes that make people feel like they’re sitting under the shade of the Eiffel Tower. Add to the list Blackbird Cafe, the Classic Bean and a Wanamaker Starbucks, which all offer a meet-and-greet or a drink-and-think for all types of students.

For the idyllic adventurer looking for a pretty sight to see, or for those looking for something for everyone on “family days,” one doesn’t have to look any further than Gage Park or Lake Shawnee. Gage yields a cornucopia of community offerings, such as the Bark Park, which is a place where Topekans bring their furry friends out to romp and meet other animal lovers.

The Topeka Zoo at Gage has many exhibits that have become the envy of zoos throughout the Midwest. Lake Shawnee and Gage Park both have beautiful rose gardens, extensive walkways, playgrounds and shelterhouses for a wide variety of events.

Entertainment is never in short supply for the watchful eye. The Expocentre hosts everything from carnivals to musicians, football and hockey matches to archaeological exhibits.

In the winter months, it opens to the public as an affordable ice skating rink. When the ice has melted, Skate-a-Way and Starlite Skate offer ‘60s-style roller rinks (white leather bell-bottoms sold separately).

Hollywood Theatres helps keep everyone up-to-date with all the Ryan Gosling-gawking needs and if Sunday isn’t filled with church, one can catch the occasional drag or Indy-car race down at Heartland Park.

If falling in love with the capitol is intriguing, take a tour of the Capitol Building, one of the most ornate and history-rich buildings in the entire country. Then follow up at the Kansas History Museum and see how vibrant Topeka’s locale has been throughout the past 153 years. Even back then, there was something for everyone.

After giving it a second look, Topeka can become the solace and staging ground students have always wished for. To release the feeling of restlessness, do a bit of Kansas-esque exploring with a frontier heart and an open mind. With this guide, and a Topekan at hand, students will find a home in Topeka.