This travel blog acts as a travel guide that helps you to discover the best things to do in Salina, KS. You will find the most popular and best places to visit in Salina, KS. Also you will read the best time to visit in Salina, KS, shopping spots, best cheap restaurants, best hotels in Salina, KS and also our travelling tips.
If you are a person who enjoys nightlife, then read the places marked as “Things to do in Salina, KS at night”. In case, if you are travelling with kids, then make sure that you read places marked as “Things to do with kids in Salina, KS”
You don’t need to search for “tourist destinations near me” in google once you land at Salina, KS, because you can find the nearby tourist attractions/places in this post itself.
So let’s get into it.
Table of Contents
- Video On “Things To Do In Salina, KS”
- Things to do in Salina, Kansas
- Best tourist spots in Salina
- Best time to visit Salina
- Flights, accommodation, and transportation
- Events in Salina,KS
- Conclusion To “Things To Do In Salina, KS”
Video On “Things To Do In Salina, KS”
Things to do in Salina, Kansas
Salina is a medium city located in Kansas, United States lying on the Smokey Hill River. It was named after the Saline River which intersects with the Smokey Hill River and Salina lies in between.
Salina is a trading center and one of the most important wheat-production areas not only in America but in the whole world.
There are many things to see in Salina, it is actually a peaceful town with lots of recreation outdoor sites and cultural places to visit, besides a wide selection of local restaurants and bars for dining in.
Downtown Salina has vital vibes with nearly everything you need around that you won’t need to spend too much time on transportation.
Parks and museums are the top sights in Salina, KS. Rolling Hills Zoo is also one of the best tourist destinations in Salina.
If you are planning a trip or just a day trip to Salina, we invite you to check this out and explore what is there to do in Salina. You will never regret a moment there.
Best tourist spots in Salina
Rolling Hills Zoo is a nice place to visit with your family, it is also a kid-friendly thing to do in Salina. Even your pooch or cat can come with you on this trip.
The zoo is in rural Salina County, not far from the city. It opens from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. all year round except for just four vacation days in the year.
Lots of animals are living there, actually, over 100 different kinds of animals making this medium-sized zoo a natural exhibit of wildlife.
It has a museum where you can see human robots telling stories of these animals and show the early life between humans and nature. You will probably head out some nuggets of information told by these animatronics to amaze your friends on your next outing.
The museum also hosts Helen L Graves Hideaway Hollow education center which educates people about animals living with us on our planet.
Besides the education center, there is Earl Bane Gallery which features travelling exhibits that changes from time to time, so every time you visit the zoo you will find something new to see.
When you have seen much, it is time to break and have a drink or a snack. The zoo has a nice small restaurant to power things up and fuel for the rest of the visit.
Wondering about your pooch? They have a dog-kennel service where you can leave your dog if he is tired now and can’t make it to the end of the visit.
The zoo is not only about animals and the museum, you have something to do yourself. Check their calendar of the events they host from time to time like the return of dinosaur and back to school blast for children and participate in one of these.
If you need more details about events or want to contact someone there, you can go to their Facebook page and message them.
Entrance fees to the zoo are 13.95$ for adults and 7$ for children, a considerable amount of money you will pay for such a field trip.
Didn’t get enough from wildlife information, how about historical info?
Yesteryear museum tells the story of Kansas, you will know about the history of Salina at this museum. It exhibits everything related to the agricultural history of Kansas.
School students have a very special day in the Yesteryear museum every year on the Exploring Yesterday for Youth event. The event allows students to participate in agricultural activities that were done by early people of Kansas like cow milking, grinding sorghum, and making ropes.
If you are not a student, you can still participate in other events like the Wheat Harvest Day in June, you will have the chance to take part in threshing as early farmers.
And if it happens and you visited Salina in December, don’t miss Santa Claus in the museum, take your kids there because Santa has many gifts and stories for them.
Don’t like the feel of spinning your own wheel and need to see your impact? Volunteer with them, you will surely find the appropriate volunteering opportunity for you there.
Yesteryear Museum is located in the northwest of Salina, on the other side, you will find Salina KOA Holiday, a nice campground with a private pond where you can enjoy camping, fishing, and swimming.
Both hotels don’t have restaurants on-site, so for the nearest restaurant, you have IHOP, a good place to have some pancakes for breakfast, or Popeyes, a fast food restaurant but a little bit expensive.
Want to figure out free things to do in Salina? We encourage you to visit the Smokey Hill Museum.
First of all, you have to know that this is much of an educational trip. Yet, offering engaging and interactive activities and displays.
The museum is suitable for all ages, they have a kids section with fun games teaching your kid about Salina without having to stuff his mind with information in a boring way.
Anytime you visit this museum, you will find an exhibit or a gallery.
Every six months they build a custom exhibit displaying unique artifacts designed by people of Salina. Galleries are always running down all year round to make sure that every visitor is enjoying his time there.
Having no entrance fees, the museum will happily accept donations from visitors or anyone who hopes to help keep this edifice working.
There is also a gift shop where you can buy handmade souvenirs for your friends and for yourself too, to remind you of the nice moments you had at Salina.
Smokey Hill museum is well-known for the events it holds at different times of the year.
For example, Kansas’s birthday is celebrated at the museum where students from across the city participate in demonstrations and activities related to Salina’s history. Other family members can join them in other activities similar to the ones done at the Yesteryear Museum. Cakes and delicious snacks are offered during the event.
The most notable event is the Street Fair which takes place at the end of September. Kids in particular like this event because it is full of interactive games and activities for them.
The working hours of the museum are from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. except for the first Thursday for each month, it stays open late joining other cultural venues.
Not to forget that Smokey Hill museum will give your kid or any kid of your family the opportunity to celebrate his birthday at their site at 75$ for 8 children.
If you feel like you want to join the admins and organizers of these events, you can become a friend of the museum.
Simply apply for it on their website, and enjoy some benefits as attending member-only events and discounts at their gift shop.
Now, it is time for some fun and entertainment. Stiefel Theatre for the Performing Arts has the best concerts, acts, and even classics in Salina.
It is a beautiful place with welcoming staff and plenty of seats for everyone to find his place attending one of its performances.
The parking is just 5 minutes walk from the theater. But the best distinctive thing about this place as a theatre is that it has a bar inside where you can buy soft or hard drinks and water to refresh and treat yourself during the performance.
Stiefel Theatre is a few minute’s drive from Salina downtown with lots of restaurants and cafes around as Martinelli’s Little Italy, The Cozy Inn, and Blue Skye Brewery and Eats.
One of the best places to visit in Salina. It is a large aquatic park with so much fun to do there.
Typically, an aquatic park has a pool or more and other water games, but Salina’s Cove Aquatic Park has many water activities and sports to do.
If you are a one-day visitor, you can get in there for just 6$ from the moment the park opens till you get enough of it (you won’t probably).
For these 6$, you can play games like pool basketball and enjoy the different slides and tubes which led to the lazy river.
Speaking of the lazy river, it revolves around the whole park and you can travel across the river in a tube without getting your hair wet.
The park has a wonderful toddler area that you would wish you are accompanied by a toddler to enter this area.
If you are a resident or staying at Salina for some time, you can enroll in one of their programs as the water walking program for 16+ participants.
You can also enroll your kids at swimming programs even if they know nothing about swimming. They will learn from level zero until they master the sport.
Not only water activities is what you can enjoy at Cove Aquatic Park, but they also offer renting part of the park for birthdays and they have packages for that.
For safety, the park has set some rules and regulations for each kind of activity. Visitors are asked to follow the regulations strictly for their own safety.
In bad weather and thunderstorm, they close the pools, so it is a better idea to check their Facebook page before going to know if there is a plan to close the pool on this particular day.
Cove Aquatic Park is an affordable outing at Salina with special rates for groups. You can also opt for membership if applicable to you.
The park is just one mile away from Stiefel Theatre in a vital place in the city. If you want to stay near there, Homewood Suites by Hilton is the nearest hotel located between the park and the theatre, just 3 minutes driving from the park.
This is a luxurious hotel offering an onsite restaurant and fitness center at a costly price starting from 146$ per night in seasons.
Another park very near to Kenwood Park but with less excitement and thrilling.
For people wishing to unwind and relax enticing their eyes with colorful flowers and their noses with fresh air while enjoying the sounds of tweeting birds.
The park is a large one named after the huge oak trees filling the whole place. It features flower gardens, a pond, and some shelters.
The botanic garden is a great place for photo sessions. Some people have their engagement or wedding parties there too.
You can do some exercise in this wide open-air place, you can ride a bike for example, and there are also tennis courts and playgrounds for children to enjoy their time there.
The park hosts the Smokey Hill River Festival every year where performances and acts take place on the stage. It is a perfect place for such an event as it can hold a large number of people without becoming overcrowded.
The best time to visit this park is in spring or summer seasons when the flowers are blooming. It is real peace of mind
Located in the northeast of Salina, Lakewood Park represents natural wildlife in Salina.
When you visit the park, you can see different kinds of birds as well as small animals like raccoons, squirrels, and snakes.
Plant lovers will also find amusement here, there are over 35 types of plants to discover.
The park can stand on its own as the best place in Salina to go for a hike. This is because of the natural trails found there which are suitable for new hikers.
Don’t forget your dog on this trip, dogs are allowed to hike and heel with you, but you must use a dog’s leash because you won’t be able to catch your dog if it decided to chase after any of the tiny animals living in the park.
If you want to go for a picnic, go ahead to Lakewood Park. They have grills, shelters, and restrooms. What else will you ask for a picnic?
You can also rent a shelter to ensure you will find it empty when you come, there is one rent shelter in the park but 13 more first come first serve shelters.
Other activities you can do at the park are fishing and disc golf. You won’t pay for any of these, entrance is free.
Adding to the wildlife waiting for you to explore, Lakewood discovery center is here inside the park providing programs for adults and kids to teach them all about nature and animals.
The center is free to enter just like the park itself, you will see creatures like snakes and owls there and learn about them to satisfy your curiosity and end up with interesting information and appreciation of the nature.
If you want to know more about the programs dedicated to adults and kids, follow their Facebook page and stay up-to-date to catch up a nice educational and informative program.
Places to eat in Salina
Dinner time? All kinds of cuisines are available at Salina, Italian, Mexican, and local foods are offered in more than one restaurant. You can try a new restaurant each time you visit Salina and still there are much more to try.
So, let’s see what the dining scene in Salina has to offer.
Just on the other side opposite to Stiefel Theatre, you will find this Italian cozy restaurant.
When we say Italian, we mean it. The restaurant has the best Italian Cuisine in town with insane portions of food that will fill your stomach and there is still something remaining to go with you home.
Pasta can’t get better than this! If you’re a pasta-holic, you don’t want to miss their Fettuccini & broccoli pasta with their signature homemade creamy Alfredo sauce. You can get a medium size of this plate at around 12.3$, you have the option to add shrimps or chicken too.
Try their pesto sauce pasta and Lasagna too, and don’t forget to finish your meal with one of their irresistible desserts like tiramisu or molten chocolate cake.
We recommend you make a reservation before going because the restaurant is always fully housed.
Four minutes away from Martinelli’s, you will find another cozy restaurant with a mouthwatering menu you will like to give it a try.
Pizza, pizza, pizza! This is what you will enjoy most here at Blue Skye. You will see your pizza baked in a wood-fired oven, and with the first bite, you will delight in the thin crunchy crust with your favorite topping and delicious cheese.
Chicken Bacon Ranch, Sausages, Pepperoni, and even Gluten-free pizza. Combine this with one of their house-made beers and you have the best dining experience ever.
Craving for something tasty but not pizza? Don’t worry, their menu still has much more to offer. Burgers, Salads, and sandwiches. Pick your favorite and count on it, everything here is really indulgent.
Probably this street has the best eatery in the city.
One of the cheap restaurants in Salina, The Cozy Inn, a street away from Blue Skye. The restaurant excels in burgers, the best slider burgers with onion you will eat at Salina are from The Cozy Inn.
They are not only delicious, but they are also one of the cheapest, you can get one small burger at around 1.19$, can you believe it?
The restaurant has a small indoor area and outdoors. You can also order a takeaway. Just count how many slider burgers will you need for a night?
This is a kind of quick and simple sapid meal you should give it a try when in ant of the tourist destinations near downtown Salina.
They pride themselves of being the top barbeque restaurant in Salina.
The restaurant was first a drive-thru in the same place serving mainly travelers and passer-by. But before even being a drive-thru, the owner of the restaurant Dale Blake was making his barbeque sandwiches and traveling across Kansas selling them early in 1981.
The restaurant gained its reputation when Blake introduced his sandwiches to people attending the Smoky Hill River Festival, this was in 1983.
After 22 years, Hickory Hut has its dinning in place with people from all over the USA coming to try this Salina tradition.
Hickory Hut is definitely a must-stop, you should try their tender out of the world ribs, a whole slab is 24$, while a half slab is for 14$.
Sausages either spicy or mild are also worth a try, they sell it for 6$ only.
Best time to visit Salina
The climate in Salina, KS is typical hot weather in summer and cold weather in winter.
June is the most time of the year when tourists come to Salina, while December and January are the coldest months with the least number of tourists.
So the best time to visit Salina is usually the summer season although it is also the most expensive time in terms of accommodation and flights, you will enjoy your trip to the max in the summertime.
Flights, accommodation, and transportation
Visitors come to Salina from different parts of the world through Salina Regional Airport (KSLN) located three miles southwest of Salina.
For countries where there are no direct trips to Salina, you may land in Denver International Airport or Chicago O’Hare International Airport and take another internal flight to Salina as there are daily flights between Salina’s airport and the other two airports provided by United Airlines.
The best hotels in Salina are the ones located in downtown, the center of the city.
You can find famous hotel branches like Hilton, Holiday inn and, they are somehow costly with a price per night ranging from 90$ to 115$ in seasons.
If you have a tight budget, you can choose other 1, 2, or 3 stars hotels with prices as low as 40$ per night.
Accommodation prices are directly related to the tourism season in the city. Since June is the month of the most number of tourists, you will find yourself paying from 50$ to 115$ per night if you visited Salina in June.
During other summer times, prices can go a little bit lower, while in winter you can pay from 40$ to 100$ per night.
To get your best accommodation, you should search and compare hotels, motels, and inns. Besides the location, there are other things to consider like the price, offered features, and amenities. Check this compiled list of most hotels and motels in Salina with their offered services.
Transportation is not a hassle at Salina at all, for cheap and easy transportation all around the city, you can use CityGo buses. This is the local public transport bus service in Salina, KS. The fare for one trip is just 1$.
CityGO has 5 routes rotating Salina with 200 bus stops. The service hours are from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. all week except for Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m, noting that the service is not available on Sunday.
For a detailed timetable and map of the 5 bus routes, you can check their official website to know where you need to stop.
Events in Salina,KS
Your visit to Salina will probably coincide with one of the public events that take place throughout the year.
Smoky Hill River Festival is a well-known event that lasts for three days and a half in June, the festive celebrations take place in Oakdale Park where you can enjoy concerts, shows, and other art and music activities.
In July there is the Independence Day celebrated all over America. In Salina, celebrations take place in parks especially Oakdale park where children are welcomed to play and participate in games and shows.
September has The Smokey Hill Museum Street Fair including a parade from Elm to Masonic Temple. Galleries, stores and food stores open in front of visitors, and a Chili Cook-off tournament take place. Other entertainment activities also take place in the old West performance area in the museum.
In November, Christmas festivals occur in downtown Salina which includes group runs and walks as a 5k run and a mile walk.
Other sporting events and car shows occur in December, in addition to other celebrations. So, the whole year is full of festivals and occasions. To check what is going on in Salina today, visit the events’ calendar which has all the everyday events and festivals in every place in Salina.
Conclusion To “Things To Do In Salina, KS”
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