Must-See Manhattan Spots

Photo by Meg Shearer

Moving away to college alone can be terrifying, but exploring your new city and engaging in local culture just might turn an overwhelming experience into a thrill. Manhattan has a multitude of attractions to visit. Travel time for each destination is added after the description, as estimated from halfway between the two main dorm complexes: Derby and Kramer (parking time not included).



Manhattan’s proximity to the Flint Hills and maintenance of natural land gives K-State students many options for outdoor recreation. The most popular destinations are…


Konza Prairie – To the south, K-State owns and operates a biological station in the Flint Hills that offers three trails to the public. The area is rich in plant life, wildlife and scenic views, but camping, swimming, dogs, horses, and bikes are not allowed. Travel time: 21 minutes by car


Tuttle Creek Lake – To the north, the state park boasts a handful of trails. It also allows dogs, ATVs and horses, and includes opportunities for boating, swimming, camping, shooting, fishing, disc golf and volleyball. Travel time: 14 minutes by car


Manhattan Hill – It’s hard to miss the enormous letters spelling out the town’s name on a hill to the north. However, it takes climbing (or driving) to the top to find the entirely unique view and twisting, narrow trails that wind all the way to the bottom. Travel time: 6 minutes by car, 27 minutes by foot


Photo by Meg Shearer


Manhattan features many bars, buffets, coffee shops and fast food joints, but a few are musts for new students to try such as…


Breakfast at Varsity Donuts – Varsity Truck has plenty of late-night snack options as well, but nothing kicks the day off quite like the quirky charm of the Varsity donut shop in the morning. Travel time: 6 minutes by car, 15 minutes by foot


Lunch at Taco Lucha – Self-described as a “sit-down, cocktail-driven, funky Aggieville Taqueria,” Taco Lucha provides a quirky and colorful atmosphere and intensely flavorful food. Travel time: 6 minutes by car, 11 minutes by foot


Dinner at Keltic Star – Aggieville has a number of acclaimed restaurants and it’s hard to go wrong when stopping for a bite to eat, but Keltic Star, a British-themed bar and restaurant, is perhaps the most engaging of the bunch, and a unique place to begin a night out. Travel time: 7 minutes by car, 16 minutes by foot


Dessert from Insomnia Cookies – Students don’t even have to leave their dorm rooms to order from Insomnia because they deliver as late as 3 a.m. every nighta handy resource for late nights studying. Travel time: 0 minutes (delivery service)


Photo by Meg Shearer


Manhattan has all the usual attractions: two movie theaters, a bowling alley (right in the Union basement, no less), Sunset Zoo and even an ice-skating rink in City Park during the winter months. There are a few more unusual destinations as well, like…


K-State Insect Zoo – Tucked away amidst the lively K-State gardens, the Insect Zoo is a quaint, peculiar attraction with an enormous collection of bugs and other small (or not so small) critters. Admission is a relatively low $3. Travel time: 1 minute by car, 7 minutes by foot


Beach Museum of Art – The architecturally exceptional Beach Museum occupies the southeast corner of campus, just across the street from Aggieville. It hosts a variety of permanent and temporary art exhibits and many interactive events throughout the year. It is free and open to the public. Travel time: 6 minutes by car, 12 minutes by foot


Locked Manhattan – Manhattan’s first escape room adventure is one of the priciest attractions in town, with tickets starting at $21 per person, but it offers a thrilling and engaging experience unparalleled by other attractions. Participants have an hour to follow clues and solve a series of puzzles to escape a locked room within an immersive storyline. Travel time: 9 minutes by car, 39 minutes by foot

Manhappenin' Magazine is Kansas State University's student-created lifestyle magazine.


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