Wichita's Delano Neighborhood
Just west of downtown Wichita lies an eclectic business district full of shops and restaurants begging to be explored. The Delano neighborhood runs mainly along Douglas Street from McLean Blvd to just past Seneca, but some attractions are as far south as Maple Street. It’s an area where you can park your car and spend an evening or a Saturday afternoon walking from store to store, taking in all the historic area has to offer.
Although the Delano district may look inviting and family-friendly today, that wasn’t always the case. It was originally a cowtown, named for President Ulysses S. Grant’s Secretary of the Interior, Columbus Delano.
Located at the end of the famous Chisholm Trail, Delano was a major cattle shipping center. Thousands, of herds were brought through the area and across the river to the railroad yards in Wichita, where they were sent off to other parts of the country. The area where Kellogg is now used to be filled with cattle pens big enough for 2,500 cattle.
Many of the cowboys who drove these herds chose to take a break from the trail in Delano, where there was no law enforcement but plenty of brothels and saloons, instead of going across the river to Wichita where prostitution and gambling were prohibited. It wasn’t unusual for gunfights to break out, and so many cowboys chose to wash off the trail dust in the river that an ordinance had to be put in place in 1872 which prohibited bathing in the nude… but only during the day.
By 1880, the bulk of the cattle trade had shifted to Dodge City, about 150 miles west of Wichita, so Delano became part of the city of Wichita. Fortunately, the area was experiencing a housing boom at the time, so Delano’s streets were paved and brick buildings were built.
Over the years, Delano’s wild past has faded, but a reminder stands in the form of the clock tower that stands on the roundabout at Sycamore and Douglas. It was designed by Kansas artist Kiv Yankey to commemorate the area’s colorful history. Today, Delano is home to a variety of stores, restaurants and attractions that offer something for everyone.
The mix of stores in the area includes Skeletons Out of the Closet (“A curiously odd boutique”), All Things Barbecue, Dress Gallery, Bicycle X-Change, Antique Gallery in Delano, and more. You can find just about anything there: formalwear, homebrewing supplies, indoor gardening supplies, quilting products, luggage, and gifts. You can even pick up a custom hat from Hatman Jack's!
If shopping’s not your thing, you can take a dance class at Care to Dance or Amira’s Dance Productions, try yoga at Ganesh Yoga Studio, or relax with a massage from Meadowlark Massage Therapy or Muscle Mechanix. If you’re searching for a new look, there are several salons in the area, such as House of Hair Salon, Brownie’s Barber Shop, and Salon 535 at The Perfect Touch. And, if you’re feeling the need for some new ink, there’s Sailor’s World Famous Tattoos. There’s even the Delano Bed and Breakfast, where you can enjoy a staycation if you’re a local, or stay close to shopping and entertainment if you’re visiting from out of town.
Lawrence-Dumont Stadium, home of the Wichita Wingnuts, is a great place to take in a baseball game, and it’s located on Sycamore, just south of the roundabout. If you prefer to be in on the action or want a great place to wear out the kids, try ice skating at The Wichita Ice Center. Wichita’s Museums on the River are also located nearby: Botanica, Exploration Place, the Mid-America All-Indian Center, and Cowtown.
Hungry? Try a burger at Ty’s Diner or Wimpy’s Burgers, or a sandwich at Delano Barbeque Company. Tahini Mediterranean Eatery, Mexico Café, La Galette French Bakery and Deli, and Ruben’s Mexican Grill offer more exotic fare. Shamrock Lounge and The Monarch both offer food and drinks, plus live music several nights a week. If you’re a pizza fan, make sure to stop in for a slice at Picasso’s.
Each spring, Delano hosts Wichita’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade. During October, tour some spooky spots around the neighborhood and hear chilling tales from actors in period costumes at the annual Ghost Stories of Historic Delano event. In 2017, the Delano Fall Fair will commemorate the Chisholm Trail’s 150th anniversary. There are also events that run throughout the year, such as the Final Friday Art Crawl and Thursday Night Pub Pedal.
What's Your Favorite Event or Store in Delano?
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