Wichita, with a population of 382,368, is the largest city in Kansas. Linked to Kansas City, Oklahoma City and Dallas by Interstate 35, Wichita is a regional hub for over 1 million residents within a 100 mile radius. Voted an All-American City four times, Wichita has been ranked in the top ten “Best Big Cities” by CNN Money magazine. Residents enjoy affordable housing, short commutes, a low crime rate and many cultural, recreational and educational opportunities. In its earliest days, Wichita became a destination for cattle drives from Texas, and by 1886 was established as the region’s principal city.
During the 1890’s, the grain produced from farms in the region more than equaled the wealth formerly generated by the cattle trade, and Wichita became a milling and trade center. In 1914, the discovery of oil broadened the economic base, drawing numerous services, distributive enterprises and metal-working industries. In the 20th century, aircraft pioneers such as Clyde Cessna, Walter Beech and Bill Lear began projects that would lead to Wichita's establishment as the “Air Capital of the World.” Since growth of the aircraft industry, beginning in the inter-war years, Wichita has been a leading producer of general aviation and commercial aircraft. Cessna and Hawker Beechcraft remain based in Wichita today, along with Learjet and Spirit AeroSystems. Airbus also maintains a workforce in Wichita. In addition, McConnell Air Force Base was activated in 1951 and remains an important asset to the community.
Several universities are located in Wichita, including Wichita State University, Friends University and Newman University. Wichita offers a high quality of life through a variety of attractions and events. The downtown district offers nightclubs, restaurants, retail shops, museums and parks. Intrust Bank Arena features suites, loge boxes and more than 300 premium seats, with a total potential seating capacity of over 15,000. The Sedgwick County Zoo is one of the top zoos in the U.S. The City operates five municipal golf courses, and supports two major festivals annually: the Wichita River Festival in June; and the Aviation Festival in August. Two large reservoirs within 30 miles of Wichita provide recreational opportunities.