At Junction City, you can step into a timeless landscape where the echoes of frontier days resonate through the historic Fort Riley. At the same time, the serene beauty of the Flint Hills whispers tales of untouched wilderness.
Therefore, prepare to embark on a captivating journey where past and present converge in an enchanting dance of discovery with a list full of fun things to do in Junction City, KS.
Junction City, Kansas, has a rich history dating back to its establishment in 1858. Originally founded as a trading post along the Kansas River, it quickly grew as a vital transportation hub due to its strategic location at the confluence of the Smoky Hill and Republican Rivers.
This convergence of waterways led to its name, “Junction City.” During the late 19th century, Junction City played a significant role in the westward expansion of the United States.
It served as a military outpost, with Fort Riley being established nearby in 1853. The fort’s presence attracted settlers and businesses, contributing to the town’s growth.
Junction City’s fame in tourism can be attributed to several factors. Fort Riley remains an active military installation and draws history enthusiasts interested in its role during the Indian Wars and both World Wars.
Additionally, the city’s rich cultural heritage is showcased through annual events like the Sundown Salute, a patriotic celebration. The surrounding Flint Hills region, known for its scenic beauty, provides outdoor enthusiasts with opportunities for hiking, wildlife viewing, and exploration.
Junction City experiences a continental climate with hot summers and cold winters. The best time to visit is during the mild spring (April to June) and early fall (September to October), when the weather is pleasant for outdoor activities and sightseeing. Summers can be hot, while winters bring cold temperatures and occasional snow.
In recent years, Junction City has continued to evolve as a tourist destination, offering a blend of historical significance and natural beauty that appeals to a wide range of visitors.
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1) Geary County Historical Society and Museum
The Geary County Historical Society and Museum, located in Junction City, Kansas, was founded in 1961. This institution is dedicated to preserving and showcasing the rich history of Geary County and its residents.
The museum’s collections encompass a wide array of artifacts, documents, and exhibits that chronicle the region’s past, including its military history and the impact of Fort Riley. Visitors can explore the county’s diverse heritage, from Native American cultures to the development of agriculture and transportation.
The Geary County Historical Society and Museum serves as a vital resource for education and research, fostering an appreciation for the area’s history.
You’ll find well-curated exhibits showcasing the region’s history, including military artifacts, Native American culture, and early settlement life. The museum boasts interactive displays, making it engaging for all ages with many fun things to do in Junction City, KS.
Additionally, there’s a research library for history enthusiasts, and they are also wheelchair accessible, ensuring inclusivity for all visitors. Outside, you can explore beautifully maintained gardens and picnic areas, perfect for a leisurely afternoon.
Moreover, the museum often hosts special events, workshops, and lectures, providing an opportunity to dive deeper into local history. So come here and take advantage of this educational and entertaining destination!
530 North Adams Street, Junction City, KS 66441, United States
2) Hildebrand Farms Dairy
Hildebrand Farms Dairy, established in 1930, is a family-owned dairy farm located in Junction City, Kansas. Initially, it began as a small operation, but it has since grown into a renowned supplier of dairy products in the region.
The farm is committed to sustainable and humane practices, prioritizing the well-being of its cows. They produce a wide range of dairy products, including milk, cheese, and ice cream, all known for their quality and freshness.
Hildebrand Farms Dairy has a strong community presence, supporting local initiatives and emphasizing the importance of locally sourced dairy. Hence, it remains a symbol of tradition and quality in the dairy industry.
Hildebrand Farms Dairy offers a delightful array of facilities and top things to do in Junction City, KS, for visitors of all ages. Their modern dairy farm provides educational tours, allowing guests to witness the entire milk production process, from milking to packaging.
The on-site creamery offers a taste of freshly churned ice cream and artisanal cheese to satisfy your sweet tooth cravings. Families can enjoy picnicking in scenic areas, while a charming petting zoo keeps children entertained to their fullest.
The farm’s cozy cafe serves farm-to-table treats and refreshments, and you can take advantage of the gift shop for dairy-themed souvenirs.
With its educational, recreational, and delectable offerings, Hildebrand Farms Dairy promises a memorable and enjoyable experience for everyone.
5210 Rucker Road, Junction City, KS 66441, United States
3) Milford State Park
Milford State Park, located in Kansas, boasts a rich history and natural beauty. Established in 1963, it surrounds the 5,000-acre Milford Reservoir, the largest in the state. The park offers a range of recreational activities and things to do in Junction City, KS, including camping, fishing, boating, and hiking, making it a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts.
It’s diverse wildlife and serene landscapes attract nature lovers year-round sparkling beauty. Additionally, the park features historical sites, such as the Native American Council Grove and remnants of the historic Beecher Bible and Rifle Church, adding cultural significance to its natural charm.
Milford State Park is a haven for both history buffs and outdoor adventurers that offers well-maintained campgrounds equipped with RV hookups, showers, and picnic areas. Anglers can cast their lines into the bountiful Milford Reservoir, known for excellent fishing, while boaters can enjoy the marina and boat ramps.
Hikers and nature enthusiasts will relish the miles of scenic trails that wind through woodlands and along the water’s edge. Birdwatchers can spot a variety of avian species, adding to the park’s allure.
Additionally, the park hosts interpretive programs, making it an educational experience that provides adventure and relaxation in equal measure.
3612 State Park Road, Milford, KS 66514, United States
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4) C.L. Hoover Opera House
The C.L. Hoover Opera House has a rich history dating back to its construction in 1882. Originally known as the City Opera House, it hosted various cultural events, from operas to plays, and underwent renovations in the 1980s, preserving its Victorian-era charm.
Today, it serves as a cultural hub for the community, offering a diverse range of performances, including concerts, theater productions, and community events. With its ornate architecture and a seating capacity of around 500, the C.L. Hoover Opera House continues to be a cherished venue, blending history and the arts for over a century.
The C.L. Hoover Opera House offers an array of fun things to do in Junction City, KS, that cater to diverse interests. Its historic charm sets the stage for memorable experiences, featuring a 500-seat auditorium with exceptional acoustics for concerts and theatrical performances.
The venue provides modern amenities like comfortable seating, excellent lighting, and sound systems for optimal enjoyment.
Beyond its performances, the Opera House is a hub for cultural enrichment, hosting art exhibitions, workshops, and lectures. Visitors can indulge in the rich history of Junction City through its captivating architecture and historical displays.
Additionally, it’s a popular choice for private events and weddings, offering a unique and elegant backdrop. For those seeking entertainment, the Opera House often hosts movie nights, comedy shows, and special events.
Its central location in the heart of Junction City makes it convenient to explore the town’s restaurants, shops, and parks before or after an event.
Whether you’re a music enthusiast, a history buff, or simply looking for an enjoyable night out, the C.L. Hoover Opera House provides a diverse range of experiences to suit all tastes.
135 West 7th Street, Junction City, KS 66441, United States
5) Bella’s Italian Restaurant
Bella’s Italian Restaurant, established in 1995 in the heart of KS, has been a culinary landmark for nearly three decades. Founded by Chef Marco Bellini, it embodies authentic Italian cuisine, with a menu showcasing classic dishes like handmade pasta, wood-fired pizzas, and exquisite seafood.
The restaurant’s warm, rustic ambiance and extensive wine list create an inviting atmosphere for diners. Over the years, Bella’s has garnered critical acclaim, earning multiple Michelin stars and becoming a local favorite.
Its commitment to tradition and quality continues to make it a cherished destination for lovers of Italian fare and fine dining. Bella’s Italian Restaurant offers a range of fun things to do in Junction City, KS, to enhance your dining experience.
The elegant dining area is perfect for romantic evenings or special occasions, while a cozy bar area welcomes guests for pre-dinner drinks. Their attentive staff provides top-notch service, ensuring your visit is memorable.
Moreover, Bella’s boasts an impressive wine cellar stocked with a diverse selection of Italian and international wines to complement your meal. For those seeking entertainment, live music nights and occasional wine tastings are a delightful treat.
The restaurant also hosts cooking classes, allowing patrons to learn the secrets of Italian cuisine from their skilled chefs.
Bella’s Italian Restaurant is not just a place to eat; it’s an immersive culinary destination where you can savor delicious food, fine wines, and engaging activities.
605 North Washington Street, Junction City, KS 66441, United States
6) Geary State Fishing Lake and Wildlife Area
Geary State Fishing Lake and Wildlife Area, located in Kansas, has a rich history and serves as a popular recreational spot. It was constructed in the 1950s and was primarily built for flood control, providing vital protection to nearby communities.
The lake spans 120 acres and is stocked with various fish species, making it a favorite among anglers. Additionally, the surrounding wildlife area covers over 300 acres, offering opportunities for hiking, bird-watching, and wildlife photography.
Its serene landscapes and diverse ecosystem make it a cherished destination for both outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers, contributing to the region’s natural heritage.
The site offers well-maintained camping grounds equipped with picnic tables, fire pits, and restroom facilities, and fun things to do in Junction City, KS, making it an ideal spot for a scenic outdoor getaway.
Anglers can cast their lines into the 120-acre lake stocked with catfish, bass, and more, while boating and kayaking enthusiasts can explore its calm waters. Bird watchers will be delighted by the diverse avian population, including eagles and waterfowl.
Hiking trails meander through the 300-acre wildlife area, providing excellent opportunities for nature lovers to explore and photograph the area’s natural beauty.
Whether you’re seeking relaxation or outdoor adventure, Geary State Fishing Lake and Wildlife Area offers an enticing blend of amenities and activities.
U.S. 77, Junction City, KS 66441, United States
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7) El Patron Dos
“El Patrón Dos” refers to a popular and iconic tequila brand known for its premium quality and rich history. Founded in KS in the late 20th century, it quickly gained recognition for its artisanal production methods and dedication to using 100% blue agave.
Over the years, it expanded its product range, offering various tequila expressions, including Blanco, reposado, and añejo. El Patrón Dos has earned numerous awards for its exceptional taste and craftsmanship.
Its success has made it a symbol of Mexican tequila culture, enjoyed worldwide in cocktails and as a sipping tequila, embodying the spirit of Mexican heritage and tradition.
The facilities and fun things to do in Junction City, KS, at this destination are designed to offer a memorable experience. Visitors can indulge in luxurious accommodations, including well-appointed rooms and suites with breathtaking views.
The resort boasts world-class dining options, serving gourmet cuisine from around the globe. For relaxation, there’s a spa offering rejuvenating treatments and a state-of-the-art fitness center for the health-conscious traveler.
The sprawling pool area provides a refreshing escape, complete with cabanas and a swim-up bar.
Adventure enthusiasts can partake in a range of activities, from water sports like snorkeling and jet-skiing to guided nature hikes. Golf lovers will appreciate the championship golf course on-site.
Evenings come alive with live entertainment, including cultural performances and themed parties. Whether you seek relaxation or excitement, this destination promises an unforgettable vacation for all.
836 South Washington Street, Junction City, KS 66441, United States
8) Freedom Park – Atomic Cannon
Freedom Park’s Atomic Cannon, an iconic Cold War relic, is a 43-foot-long artillery piece built in the 1950s by the U.S. Army. It was designed to fire atomic artillery shells and played a significant role during the era’s nuclear arms race.
However, it was never used in combat. This cannon, with a range of 20 miles, symbolizes the tension of the Cold War. It now stands as a historical artifact in Freedom Park, serving as a reminder of a tumultuous period in history when the world teetered on the brink of nuclear conflict.
Freedom Park offers a wide range of things to do in Junction City, KS, to ensure an enjoyable visit. Visitors can explore its expansive green spaces, perfect for picnics and outdoor activities, boasting well-maintained walking trails for strolls or jogging.
For history enthusiasts, the Atomic Cannon, a unique Cold War relic, stands as a fascinating attraction. There’s also a visitor center providing detailed insights into the park’s history and significance.
Children can have a blast at the playgrounds, while sports enthusiasts can utilize the sports fields and courts for various games. So go ahead and take advantage of this historical place whenever you feel like it.
Kennel Drive, Junction City, KS 66441, United States
9) JC’s BBQ & Grill
JC’s BBQ & Grill in Junction City, established in 2005, is a beloved local eatery that is known for its mouthwatering barbecue cuisine and has become a community staple for years. The restaurant offers a diverse menu featuring smoked meats, signature sauces, and flavorful sides.
With a cozy, rustic ambiance, it caters to both dine-in and takeout customers. Over the years, JC’s BBQ has garnered praise for its commitment to quality and service. It remains a gathering place for residents and visitors, celebrating the rich tradition of barbecue in Junction City, Kansas.
Inside, you’ll find a welcoming atmosphere with comfortable seating, perfect for families and friends to enjoy a delicious meal together. The restaurant provides free Wi-Fi for those who wish to stay connected and have many fun things to do in Junction City, KS.
As for amenities, they have a well-stocked bar with a selection of craft beers, wines, and cocktails to compliment your BBQ feast. Live music events are a regular feature, adding a vibrant and entertaining dimension to your visit.
For fun activities, patrons can participate in trivia nights, karaoke, or even join in on friendly BBQ cook-off competitions. Kids can enjoy a designated play area, ensuring a family-friendly environment.
Whether you’re looking for a laid-back evening with friends, family bonding time, or simply a delicious BBQ meal, JC’s BBQ & Grill Junction City provides a dynamic and enjoyable experience for all.
812 East Chestnut Street, Junction City, KS 66441, United States
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10) Konza Prairie Biological Station (Manhattan, KS, nearby attraction)
The Konza Prairie Biological Station, located in Kansas, USA, was established in 1971 by Kansas State University and The Nature Conservancy. It spans 8,600 acres of native tallgrass prairie, serving as a critical research site for ecological studies.
Konza Prairie’s long-term experiments have contributed valuable insights into fire ecology, biodiversity, and ecosystem dynamics. Researchers study its diverse plant and animal species, examining the impacts of prescribed burns on the ecosystem.
This unique site remains a hub for scientific research, education, and conservation efforts, showcasing the significance of preserving and understanding the North American prairie ecosystem.
The Konza Prairie Biological Station has many top-notch things to do in Junction City, KS, for visitors and researchers. The state-of-the-art research center provides laboratories and field equipment for scientific investigations.
For nature enthusiasts, there are well-maintained hiking trails that wind through the pristine tallgrass prairie, providing opportunities to observe diverse flora and fauna, including bison, deer, and unique bird species.
Picnic areas offer a scenic spot for outdoor dining, and the visitor center provides educational exhibits on prairie ecology. Birdwatching and photography are popular activities, with breathtaking sunset vistas that make for unforgettable experiences.
Whether you’re a scientist or a nature lover, Konza Prairie offers something for everyone to relish, enjoy or bask in.
100 Konza Prairie Lane, Manhattan, KS 66502, United States
11) Junction City Bowl
The Junction City Bowl, located in Junction City, Kansas, has a football history dating back to its inception in 1971. This annual college football bowl game traditionally features matchups between teams from the Big 12 Conference and the Big Ten Conference.
Played at the Cramton Bowl, the game provides an exciting postseason opportunity for teams, often showcasing emerging talents. Over the years, it has become a regional highlight, drawing passionate fans.
The Junction City Bowl also contributes to the local economy and fosters community spirit. While its specifics may evolve, this enduring bowl game remains a beloved part of collegiate football traditions.
The city boasts well-maintained parks such as Heritage Park, perfect for picnics and outdoor activities, and the Milford Nature Center and Fish Hatchery, a haven for nature enthusiasts.
Sports enthusiasts can utilize the state-of-the-art Junction City Sports Complex for various athletic pursuits. Moreover, the city’s Geary County Historical Museum provides captivating insights into its past.
Junction City’s dining scene offers diverse cuisine options, satisfying all palates, while its vibrant downtown area showcases unique shops and boutiques.
Junction City Bowl offers a blend of recreational, cultural, and culinary experiences, making it an appealing destination for travelers seeking a well-rounded and enjoyable visit.
835 South Washington Street, Junction City, KS 66441, United States
12) Longshots Sports Bar
Longshots Sports Bar is a popular sports-themed establishment, founded in 1995 in downtown Springfield, known for its vibrant atmosphere and dedication to sports enthusiasts.
With over two decades of history, it has become a local institution, offering a wide range of sporting events on large screens, a diverse menu featuring classic pub fare, and a vast selection of drinks.
Its loyal clientele often gathers for major sporting events, creating an electric atmosphere. Over the years, Longshots has hosted numerous memorable game nights and has been a hub for fans to come together and celebrate their favorite teams.
While featuring multiple large high-definition screens, it’s the ultimate destination to catch all the big games, from football to basketball. The expansive menu satisfies every palate with mouthwatering pub classics like burgers, wings, and nachos, accompanied by an extensive drink menu, including craft beers and cocktails.
Patrons can engage in lively billiards and darts competitions or try their luck on video game machines. Weekly trivia nights and themed parties add to the fun things to do in Junction City, KS, making Longshots the ideal spot for sports, food, and camaraderie.
835 South Washington Street, Junction City, KS 66441, United States
13) Rathert Stadium
Rathert Stadium, located in Junction City, Kansas, has a rich history in baseball. It was constructed in 1939 and has been a hub for sports and community events ever since. The stadium is home to the Junction City Brigade, a collegiate summer baseball team.
With a seating capacity of around 2,000, it offers an intimate atmosphere for spectators. Over the years, Rathert Stadium has undergone renovations and improvements to enhance the fan experience.
It remains a cherished venue for baseball enthusiasts and a symbol of Junction City’s passion for the sport, hosting games, tournaments, and community gatherings.
The stadium boasts comfortable seating, including bleachers and box seats, accommodating around 2,000 fans, while the concession stands provide a variety of delicious snacks and refreshments.
Aside from baseball games, Rathert Stadium hosts events like concerts and festivals, making it a versatile entertainment hub having fun things to do in Junction City, KS.
Its central location in Junction City allows easy access to nearby attractions, such as Milford Lake for boating and fishing, and the Geary County Historical Museum for a glimpse into local history.
For sports enthusiasts and families alike, Rathert Stadium provides a welcoming environment for fun and relaxation in Junction City.
900 West 13th Street, Junction City, KS 66441, United States
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Best Hotels To Stay In Junction City, KS
- Courtyard by Marriott Junction City
- Quality Inn Junction City
- Candlewood Suites Junction City/Ft. Riley
- Hampton Inn Junction City
- Junction City Inn & Suites
- Great Western Inn
- Best Western J. C. Inn