The city of Wichita is a prime example of how great things can come from humble beginnings. Originally a simple trading post, Wichita has grown into a major metropolitan area — in fact the largest in Kansas. Much of this boom is attributed to a thriving job market, particularly in the aviation, oil and farming industries. Its status as the best kept secret in the Midwest has much to do with the low cost of living, reflected in affordable housing prices. Wichita homes for sale are currently listed at a median price of $145,000. Homes for sale in Wichita can be found in popular neighborhoods like Oakview, which boasts an excellent school system, and low-crime Delano Township.

Wichita embraces the future while recognizing that those who came before made the city what it is today. Area residents celebrate Wild West roots at festivals, but nowhere more than at the Old Cowtown Museum, which features historic structures, vintage clothing and virtually every other authentic aspect of 1860s Wichita. The Mid-America All-Indian Center is another glimpse into the past, thanks to exhibits and events that recognize and commemorate the indelible influence Native Americans have had on the area. The Kansas Aviation Museum, located in a historic converted airport, celebrates the impact of aviation industry pioneers, like Learjet and Cessna, on the local economy.

But enough of the serious stuff — there’s also a lot of straight-up fun to be had in Wichita. Charter a helicopter for a wild ride complete with stunning views of our nation’s heartland. Hit a local casino and try your luck on the slot machines (responsibly, please). Take in a concert at the local arena, or cheer on the Wichita Wingnuts (baseball), FC Wichita (soccer), ICT Roller Girls (roller derby) or Wichita Force (indoor football).

Once you’re partied out, take some time to commune with nature at any of the area’s more than 125 parks. The Great Plains Nature Center, Chisolm Creek Park and Botanica Wichita are a couple of great options for those looking to delve even deeper into the area’s flora and fauna.