Living up to its name, the city of Olathe is named after the Shawnee and Algonquian word for beautiful, and it has built a reputation as one of the best places in Kansas to make a home.
Spanning 60.42 square miles, Olathe is home to 137,618 residents, making it the fourth-most populous city in Kansas. Olathe functions as the county seat of Johnson County, and is bordered by the cities of Lenexa to the north, Overland Park to the east, De Soto to the northwest, and Gardner to the southwest.
A mid-sized city, residents in Olathe enjoy a relaxed suburban lifestyle, beautiful homes, top-performing schools, and great accessibility to other cities. The city is famous for its cultural attractions, fantastic food scene, and community activities, all of which help to make the city a highly desirable location for those looking for a more relaxed and easygoing yet vibrant lifestyle.
Looking to make this beautiful city your new home? Here’s a list of our top recommendations of things to do in Olathe, Kansas:
At a glance:
- Enjoy Mouthwatering Food in Olathe, Kansas
- Visit Olathe’s best restaurants
- Enjoy wine tours and great bars
- Savor great coffee and pastries
- Immerse Yourself in Olathe, Kansas History
- Kansas City Automotive Museum
- Ensor Park and Museum
- Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop & Farm Historic Site
- Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead
- Enjoy The Great Outdoors in Olathe, Kansas
- Go for a swim in Olathe’s many lakes
- Go on a hike at Olathe’s outdoor spaces and parks
- Art and Music in Olathe, Kansas
- Visit Olathe’s galleries and exhibits
- Attend a show (or two!) in Olathe’s performance spaces
- Embrace Local Culture in Olathe, Kansas
- Shop for fresh produce, food, and crafts at the Olathe Farmers’ Market
- Enjoy community activities during Fourth Fridays
- Enjoy good food at Food Truck Fridays
- Work with the #1 Real Estate Team in Olathe, Kansas
Enjoy Mouthwatering Food in Olathe, Kansas
The Midwest has a rich food history, with Olathe serving as home to several restaurants that offer exquisite gastronomic delights to visitors and locals alike.
It is recommended that residents and visitors include making food crawls part of their list of things to do in Olathe, Kansas.
Visit Olathe’s best restaurants
One famous dining establishment in Olathe is The Rub Bar-B-Que & Catering, which serves mouthwatering barbecues, burritos, and other Midwestern and Tex-Mex delights.
Want to enjoy classic Kansas cooking? Drop by The 180 Room, a dining and events space where you can feast on Kansas favorites like delectable pulled pork, smoked turkey and ham, beef brisket, and lip-smacking baby back ribs.
If casual dining is your thing, stop over at Ginger Sue’s! A family owned establishment, Ginger Sue’s is popular not just for serving delicious classic dishes like West Coast Omelets and Country Fried Steaks for breakfast and lunch, but also for providing consistently great service to diners.
A fresh, chef-driven take on American cuisine can be had at The J Bar, a popular hotspot famous for using only the freshest local produce.
Visit K-Macho’s Mexican Grill and Cantina, a local dining spot which specializes in fresh, authentic Mexican food such as chimichangas, quesadillas, and burritos.
Enjoy wine tours and great bars
Residents who want to get a behind the scenes look at wine production can simply drop by places like the Stone Pillar Vineyard and Winery and KC Wine Co. A family-owned business, Stone Pillar Vineyard and Winery sits on a 160-year-old property, and is dedicated to offering a friendly environment where visitors can learn about grape cultivation and the ins and outs of traditional winemaking.
KC Wine Co, on the other hand, is a boutique winery that produces some of the most palate-pleasing wines and ciders in the Midwest, as well as modern takes on classic drinks like seltzers and slushes.
If you’re in the mood for beer, try local craft brews at Red Crow Brewing Company, which serves a solid selection of local beers in addition to delicious food truck fare.
Want to unwind after a stressful week at work? Head over to Old Chicago, which has an impressive slate of craft beers for patrons to enjoy.
Savor great coffee and pastries
If you want to grab a strong brew, pay a visit to POUR Coffeehouse and Sweet Tee’s Coffee Shop in Olathe! Both local favorites, these cafés use only the best local ingredients, giving their brews a distinct farm to table touch.
Do you have a sweet tooth? Try Sylas and Maddy’s Homemade Ice Cream! Olathe’s very own dessert wonderland, Sylas and Maddy’s Homemade Ice Cream is famous for its extensive selection of delectable flavors. Don’t just stick to tried and tested favorites, try them all.
Immerse Yourself in Olathe, Kansas History
Given its long and colorful history, it’s not surprising that Olathe and its surrounding areas have several must-visit cultural attractions.
One particular attraction that stands out is the Kansas City Automotive Museum. A tribute to Kansas’ auto industry and motoring heritage, the Kansas City Automotive Museum is the city’s only public automotive museum, and is famous for its impressive collection of over 40 classic vehicles, as well as its lineup of 65 curated exhibits.
Another thing you can do in Olathe, Kansas is visit Ensor Park and Museum, a National Historic Site that contains exhibits about the fascinating life and times of the craftsman, industrial arts teacher and amateur radio operator Marshall Ensor, who lived from 1899 to 1970. The museum is built on Ensor’s original property, and includes a two-story farmhouse, its adjacent peg barn, and the 90-foot radio tower that Marshall built.
Those looking for a more interactive experience can pay a visit to Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop & Farm Historic Site. Originally a stop along the Westport Route of the Santa Fe, Oregon, and California Trails, Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop & Farm Historic Site now functions as a museum, and features American Civil War reenactments, alongside other interactive exhibits.
For something the kids will love, head over to Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead. Located in nearby Overland Park, Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead is a farm-themed family-oriented attraction with farm animals, show gardens, a Kanza Native American display, a full-scale reproduction of a turn-of-the-century schoolhouse, and even an exhibit featuring birds of prey.
Enjoy The Great Outdoors in Olathe, Kansas
Given the city’s abundance of lakes, trails, and other green spaces, one of the best things to do in Olathe, Kansas is enjoy the great outdoors. Here are some of the places you should visit for fun outdoor activities in Olathe:
Go for a swim in Olathe’s many lakes
Visit Lake Olathe. Situated within a 258-acre park, Lake Olathe lies on the city’s western edge, and is a prime spot for outdoor recreation and entertainment especially during the summer. Spanning 170 acres, Lake Olathe is a great place for kayaking, canoeing, paddle boarding, and pedal boating, ideal for those who want to engage in watersports and similar activities.
Lake Olathe also has other amenities such as a swim beach, a disc golf course, a nature playground, several trails, and even a 1,500-seater amphitheater.
Other lakes you can visit include Frisco Lake, a 24-acre lake and a great location for fishing. Also visit Cedar Lake, which spans 67 acres and is considered one of Olathe’s prime recreational destinations.
Go on a hike at Olathe’s outdoor spaces and parks
Olathe has no shortage of outdoor spaces, trails, and parks, one of which is Ernie Miller Park, a 116-acre nature preserve located near the heart of the city. Opened to the public in 1985, this park gives visitors and residents a clear snapshot of the area’s natural habitats, with its main features being pristine bottomland forest, three miles of hiking trails, and a Nature Center, which has interactive displays and live animal exhibits.
Another park you can enjoy in Olathe is the 1,200-acre Heritage Park, which boasts several impressive amenities for active living, such as a 40-acre lake with a marina, a 30-acre off-leash dog area, a golf course, baseball and softball fields, and a soccer field.
Other community parks you can enjoy in Olathe include the following:
Oregon Trail Park – Located on the intersection of W. Dennis Avenue and S. Robinson Drive, this 18-acre community park has several interesting features that make it perfect for those with active lifestyles, such as a 1.25-mile walking trail, playgrounds, and various sporting facilities.
Kill Creek Park – Another popular destination for outdoor activities is the 897-acre Kill Creek Park, which is best known for its four picnic shelters, swimming beach and marina, as well as over 12 miles of hiking, mountain bike, and equestrian trails.
Black Bob Park – An 80-acre facility named after the late great Shawnee Chief Black Bob, this park is popular among Olathe residents for its water park, baseball fields, basketball court, and 1.94-mile walking trail.
Coffee Creek Trail – Cyclists and pedestrians will find themselves at home in Coffee Creek Trail. First opened to the public in 2017, this trail makes its way across open fields and through shaded woodlands filled with oak, hickory, and sycamore trees, making each ride a picturesque adventure.
Bask in Art and Music in Olathe, Kansas
There’s an impressive art scene in Olathe, with the city and its surrounding areas serving as home to a list of galleries, art installations, and performance spaces.
Visit Olathe’s galleries and exhibits
One major art attraction in the city is the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art. The largest contemporary art museum in the four-state region, the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art was unveiled in 2007 by the Johnson County Community College as part of a drive to create a campus geared toward the arts.
Designed by esteemed South Korean architect Kyu Sung Woo, the museum has two levels, and houses ten galleries which exhibit selections from the museum’s rich collection of contemporary art.
If you want to learn more about the visual arts — and maybe even have a go at making your very own masterpiece — try signing up for classes at First Art Gallery of Olathe. An artists’ cooperative, First Art Gallery of Olathe provides space for local artists to showcase and sell their work, as well as give them a space where they can conduct art classes. Some of the First Art Gallery of Olathe’s upcoming events include a slew of drawing and sculpting summer classes, as well as glass etching, collage, and fine art painting workshops.
Public art is big in Olathe, with the city serving as home to two public art installations: the Permanent Sculpture Exhibit, which has 23 sculptures scattered throughout Olathe; and the juried Rotating Downtown Outdoor Sculpture Exhibit, which displays works — loaned directly from artists via a stipend — for a period of up to two years throughout the city before being exchanged for other artworks.
Attend a show (or two!) in Olathe’s performance spaces
If you’re looking to get a feel of the local theater scene, put “visiting the Chestnut Fine Arts Center” on your list of things to do in Olathe, Kansas. Set in a converted residence, this performing arts center has been in operation since 1998, and hosts a season of six plays or musicals each year. Aside from that, the Chestnut Fine Arts Center also hosts talent shows, children’s workshops, concerts and special holiday performances from local groups like Olathe’s Dickens Carolers.
A love for music runs deep in Kansas, and it certainly shows in Olathe, which hosts the live music series aptly named Olathe Live! Celebrated for over two decades now, Olathe Live! shows run for about five weekends each year at Stagecoach Park, and bring performances from local, regional and national artists to the city. Olathe Live! shows, which count artists like Ruthie Foster, Laith Al-Saadi, and Sam Bush in their roster of past performers, are staged throughout June and July, and cover every musical genre from blues to soul to classic pop.
Other live music venues located near Olathe, Kansas include the following:
Starlight Theatre – Located just a half-hour away from Olathe by car, and capable of seating up to 8,000 guests, the Starlight Theatre is one of the best places to enjoy live music in Kansas City. Some of the artists who have performed in this major entertainment landmark include HAIM, Bon Iver, REO Speedwagon, and Brandi Carlile.
CrossroadsKC – An outdoor music venue, CrossroadsKC is located in the very heart of Kansas City’s Crossroads Arts District, and is known for hosting artists and musicians from different genres, including bluegrass, reggae, jazz, and blues.
Green Lady Lounge – If you want to enjoy live jazz, head over to the Green Lady Lounge. Located in Kansas City, the Green Lady Lounge is a beloved speakeasy-inspired bar that serves as a haven for some of the best jazz musicians in the country.
Knuckleheads Saloon – A popular live music joint and bar in nearby Kansas City, Knuckleheads Saloon boasts a winning combination of great food, stellar music, and top-shelf drinks. In operation for over two decades now, Knuckleheads Saloon counts esteemed artists such as 1,000 Maniacs, Tower of Power, JJ Grey, Leon Russell, and many others in its roster of performers.
Embrace Local Culture in Olathe, Kansas
Olathe residents can partake in an impressive roster of year-round events and festivities in the city and its surrounding neighborhoods.
Here are some of the things to do in Olathe, Kansas as a resident:
Shop for fresh produce, food, and crafts at the Olathe Farmers’ Market
Held every Saturday morning from May until October and every Wednesday morning from May through September, the Farmers’ Market at Olathe is the perfect place to get fresh produce, farm-raised meat, honey, snacks, and baked goods, all of which are sourced from local producers within 250 miles of the Kansas City area.
Held at Stagecoach Park and Black Bob Park, the Olathe Farmers’ Market is also a good place to get house plants, clothing, pet treats, organic cosmetics and a variety of handicrafts.
Enjoy community activities during Fourth Fridays
If you’re looking for an event that can be enjoyed by the whole family, look no further than Olathe’s Fourth Fridays celebrations.
Held every summer in the city’s downtown district, Olathe’s Fourth Fridays celebrations feature a wide variety of activities for all ages, such as face painting, balloon sculptures, glitter tattoos, easy science experiments, and petting zoos for kids. Adults can enjoy car shows, performances, and the mobile bars.
Enjoy good food at Food Truck Fridays
If you enjoy street food and quick bites, Food Truck Fridays is the event for you.The brainchild of Olathe’s KC Wine Co. Vineyard and Winery, this year’s Food Truck Fridays will be held in April, and will feature four different local food businesses, each one focusing on a particular cuisine.
Work with the #1 Real Estate Team in Olathe, Kansas
If you’re looking to find your dream home in beautiful Olathe, Kansas, it’s best to work with a real estate team that bucks convention and embraces innovation — the Shanan Steere Group.
Led by esteemed real estate professional Shanan Steere, the Shanan Steere Group specializes in properties in Kansas, and have a no limits attitude when providing the utmost quality service to their clients.