Nestled in the middle of the iconic Texas plains, Wichita Falls lies neatly between Dallas in Texas and Oklahoma City in Oklahoma, and is famous for being the stomping ground of cattle ranchers as far back as the 1800s.
Best known in days gone by as an agricultural heartland, Wichita Falls has now grown into a lively city that has much to offer visitors including lush parks, interesting museums, and quaint attractions such as the World’s Littlest Skyscraper.
Add in attractions that hark back to this agricultural powerhouse such as farmer’s markets and historical trails and this is a great place to begin a tour of the panhandle area of the United States.
Let’s explore the best things to do in Wichita Falls:
1. Lucy Park
Nestled in a bend along the mighty Wichita River, Lucy Park is one of the best places to come to take in the natural majesty of this part of the United States.
Within the park you will find a large duck pond that features not only the resident ducks but also geese, and picnicking is popular in the area.
You can pack a picnic and dine in the middle of one of the best green spaces in Wichita, and when you have finished al-fresco dining then you can you can take advantage of all the other outdoor activities that Lucy Park has to offer, including disc golf, a large swimming pool, and playgrounds that will delight younger visitors.
2. River Bend Nature Center
If you are interested in learning all about the diverse indigenous flora and fauna of the Wichita Falls region then you can’t miss a trip to River Bend Nature Centre.
The environmental education center is spread over an impressive 18 acres of lush landscape and has a whole host of ecological attractions such as a butterfly conservatory and a dedicated children’s garden for youngsters.
There are nature trails spread all over the center and you can take a picnic and explore the grounds at your leisure.
3. The World’s Littlest Skyscraper
The World’s Littlest Skyscraper is actually named the Newby-McMahon Building and is known for its iconic red brick structure and cast iron detail.
The building is 40 feet tall and was first built in 1919. The building came about after a confidence trickster promised to build a skyscraper in Wichita Falls, and it has been referred to as the World’s Littlest Skyscraper since its completion as a running joke, although it caused great embarrassment when it was first unveiled many years ago.
4. Castaway Cove Waterpark
The Castaway Cove Waterpark is a great place for both adults and children as there is something for everyone to enjoy here, especially if you are looking to cool off on a hot day.
If you are feeling adventurous and don’t mind making a splash then there are flume slides to try here, or you can stick to something a little more serene such as the Lazy River ride.
There is also a rhythmic wave pool that mimics the tides of the sea and there are areas where you can have fun on dry land in the form of volleyball courts and playgrounds.
Also see: Water parks in Texas
5. Wildcats Hockey Stadium
Hockey lovers must not miss this fun attraction in Wichita Falls, and even if you are not a fan of the sport, a game here is definitely a sight to behold if you have not had the chance to witness one before.
The minor league team here is named the Wichita Falls Wildcats and you will find a cheerfully competitive atmosphere as they play their regional rivals on their home ground.
There are also fun theme nights here for you to enjoy and perhaps one of the best things about the location is that you are allowed to take to the rink yourself after the game.
This means that you can skate on the same ground as the Wildcats, and it is worth coming here just for the chance to go for a twirl on the ice alone.
6. Lake Kickapoo
29 miles outside of Wichita Falls will bring you to the mighty Lake Kickapoo which is the place to come if you want to do some fishing in the area.
Anglers will be delighted with the range of species here and the fish stocks are plentiful all season round.
If you prefer not to fish then boating on the lake is a fantastic way to take in some of the verdant surrounding scenery from the water.
The reservoir was created in the 1940s and is named after the Kickapoo tribe who are indigenous to this area.
7. Kemp Center for Arts
If you love art then Wichita Falls won’t disappoint, as this region has a well developed arts scene and many visitors plan trips here just to take in these cultural delights.
The Kemp Center for Arts is just one of these, being dedicated to regional and national art, but the jewel in its crown is the Art on the Green exhibit which has eight permanent sculptures for visitors to enjoy in this idyllic outdoor setting as well as exhibits that rotate annually in the lush gardens.
8. Kell House Museum
If you prefer history to art then a trip to the Kell House Museum is not to be missed.
Built in 1896, the house belonged to one of the founding fathers of the Wichita Falls area, Frank Kell, and is a prime heritage site that is now a museum.
The house is much as it was during the time of the Kell family and you can see period artifacts, antique furniture, and even costumes that date from days gone by and will let you imagine a different world in the house.
There is also information about the cultural and historical significance of the house and the wider area general.
If you are interested in how Wichita Falls developed, then this is also part of the heritage tour here and is a great stop if you love history.
9. Depot Square Historic District
Run by the Wichita Falls Historical Society, Depot Square is known for being the heritage heartland of Wichita Falls and cover six blocks from Eight Street to Ohio Street.
Many of the city’s most significant cultural sites can be found here and there are also a wealth of antique shops in the area where you can buy some period souvenirs.
This is also the location for the local farmer’s market and famous landmarks such as the World’s Littlest Skyscraper, so come here for a walk around and explore the area to your heart’s content on foot.
10. Wichita Falls Winery
Those who love wine can’t miss a trip to the Wichita Falls Vineyards and Winery which is a family owned and run winery that takes advantage of the agricultural history of this area to produce some delicious tipples that visitors are sure to enjoy.
The winery has a tasting room which can be visited by appointment where friendly staff will tell you all about how the wines are blended and produced, and you can sample the local products fresh from the barrels.
There is also a gift shop if you want to treat yourself to a bottle to take home.
11. Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum
If you are looking for something out of the ordinary to do in Wichita Falls then the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum is a unique attraction that is definitely worth a visit.
The museum aims to educate about the history of wrestling and promote the sport to others, and the Hall of Fame section features inductees who have helped to make wrestling famous.
12. Museum of North Texas History
Anyone interested in the history of the wider Northern Texas region should definitely pay a visit to the Museum of North Texas History.
Spread over 14 rooms, the museum is staffed by helpful volunteers who have a passion for educating visitors on the historical significance of this part of the United States and to that end there are dynamic collections of period artifacts for you to enjoy.
These include antique pieces that date from the Second World War as well as artifacts from the Wild West and Native American collections.
13. Lake Arrowhead State Park
The Lake Arrowhead State Park’s claim to fame is that it has over two miles of walking trails that bisect it, so if you want to explore the great outdoors in Wichita Falls then this is certainly the place to do it.
Aside from the actual trails which lend themselves to hiking or jogging, there are other outdoor attractions such as swimming in the lake that is nestled in the park or camping.
There are camp grounds in the park for visitors to enjoy and birth watching is a common past time here as there is a abundance of Texas flora and fauna to enjoy.
14. Wichita Falls Waterfall
The Wichita Falls Waterfall sits in Lucy Park and is an artificial waterfall that spills over 54 feet.
Don’t let the fact that this isn’t a natural wonder put you off however, as this is truly stunning and makes for a wonderful photo opportunity especially if you happen to visit around sunset.
There are a number of picnic spots, benches and trails close to the falls that let you take in all their beauty up close.
15. Holliday Creek Trails
For avid walkers, the Wichita Falls Holliday Creek Trails start at the top end of Lake Wichita and sprawl in several directions across the region before making a loop back to the beginning.
The Holliday Creek Trails are considered one of the best ways to take in the local flora and fauna of the region and move past a plethora of interesting scenery include such curiosities as a man-made mountain.
Certainly if you want to get outdoors here then these trails are not to be missed.