A Complete Lack of Traffic Congestion
Okay, there's not a 100% complete lack of traffic, but rush hour isn't a guarantee stop-and-go situation like a lot of cities. Most days you can get anywhere in town in less than 20 minutes, rarely ever going under the speed limit. Kellogg is so clear that Wichita Police actually hand out speeding tickets to drivers going over the posted 60 mph... sometimes well over.
A 2015 traffic study showed that a typical Washington D.C. area commuter spent more than 82 hours in traffic delays each year. Ponder that next time you hit that really long light at Central and Rock. Tolerable traffic is one of those things you don't really appreciate day-to-day, but we have it pretty good. Now if we could just teach everyone how to use turn signals. (Signal BEFORE you brake.)
Intrust Bank Arena
Despite all of the politics behind it, a heated vote to build it, and some grumpy commenters on the news websites, we really should give thanks for this venue that's now five years old. It's a beautiful building that filled in a whole lot of nothing in the middle of downtown. It's great to see people wandering Old Town on show nights. And you have to admit, a lot of the shows that have played IBA have been top-notch. For example: Elton John and Billy Joel, Fleetwood Mac, Foo Fighters, Dave Matthews Band and Ariana Grande to name a few. If you're a country music fan you should really give thanks. Just about every big country concert has played the arena, and the next few months look good too with Garth Brooks and Brad Paisley on the calendar.
Our Beloved Keeper Of The Plains
It's easy to take this landmark for granted when you see it so often. It's been on shirts, TV commercials, bumper stickers, and in the background of senior portraits and engagement photos for decades. But the Keeper is an awesome statue. It has an actual ring of fire, which grants you instant awesome status. The Keeper is also a nice reminder of our history, and a unique symbol of Wichita. Not every city has such a memorable icon. Des Moines, what do you have? Tulsa (is it that oil thing?)? Topeka? When you see the Keeper, you think Wichita.
AKA the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center. Yes, it's in Hutchinson, but this is a world-class museum right in our backyard. There are things in this building that have been to space! There are also things that made it possible to go to space, and things that came from space. It's pretty amazing when you think about it. Kansas doesn't get a whole lot of world-class anything, so be thankful for the ones we do have. If you haven't been to The Cosmosphere since your third grade field trip, check it out again, you'll be even more impressed this time.
Wichita State Basketball
Even if you hate sports, WSU basketball is something you should be thankful for. With big success the past few years, the city has benefited from the national exposure, some enrollment increases at Wichita State and an excitement that has brought the city together with a common interest. Uncomfortable elevator rides with strangers used to consist of small talk about the weather, now they are all about the Shocker hoops. WSU has been a rallying point for the city, with kids, parents, grandparents and great grandparents putting on black and yellow gear and cheering for the Shockers. It has been a lot of fun to see some success from a local team, even if grandma only cheers for Ron Baker. Grandmas love Ron Baker.
The Donut Whole
There are a lot of good doughnut shops in town, and it's easy to argue this isn't even the best one. But the Donut Whole set the pace for doughnuts in Wichita. This is the first place in the city you could get a doughnut with breakfast cereal or bacon on top. It has a quirky atmosphere, nice staff and good coffee.
But why should you give thanks? Well, obviously "doughnuts" are a given, everyone must give thanks for doughnuts. In fact, stop what you are doing right now and give thanks for doughnuts. Also, we should be thankful that Wichita is still the kind of place where people can decide to start a business, do it, and be successful. No matter how silly it is. The Donut Whole kind of created a new scene in Wichita. To quote a Donut Whole Yelp reviewer, "I am from Miami, and we have wannabe hipsters, but Wichita has real hipsters". Thanks dude.
People often say Wichita is a "city" with a "town" feel. Maybe that's it, maybe it's just good Midwest upbringing. Be thankful Wichitans are friendly though. A 'good morning', a door held, a thank you wave does a lot to brighten your day. Those are the norm in this town/city. Don't forget about those turn signals. (Signal BEFORE you brake.)