(UPDATED APRIL 2022) Through my professional travel career, I’ve had the opportunity to visit many places and meet lots of people, but few have left a mark on my heart like Goodland, Kansas. A chance encounter led me to check out Goodland, shortly across the Colorado border, twice last year. First was to cover the Big Kansas Road Trip, an annual four-day event that showcases rural counties in the state and invites anyone and everyone to see what these areas offer. The second was to finish up a 16-day-long Kansas I-70 trip.
On both occasions, I fell a little more in love with the community, the town, and especially the people I met along the way that reside in Goodland, Kansas. Here is what you should do on a day trip to this special area.
What to See Around Goodland
The most well-known attraction in Goodland is the Giant Van Gogh Painting on Cherry and 19th. Artist Cameron Cross is the talent behind the enormous painting (24×32 ft.) that is a reproduction of Vincent Van Gogh’s sunflower painting. Entitled Three Sunflowers in a Vase, the Instagram-worthy easel gem sits on an 80-foot easel.
The Sherman County Courthouse is an art-deco accented 1931 blond brick building with great curb appeal. Another architectural gem to look for is the Telephone Building (1003 Main), lavishly adorned with vivid-colored Aztec tiles.
Take a step back in time as you tour the Ennis-Handy House (202 West 13th). This stately two-story Queen Anne home, with charming gingerbread trim, offers a guided tour and education visit. The Goodland Cemetery is another great place to step back in time and pay respects to those buried there. The cemetery is located at 434 N. Main Avenue, across from the Sherman County Fairgrounds.
Where to Eat
Start your day with a coffee and pastry from Good Grounds Coffee & Bistro. Or, dive into a fantastic breakfast from my favorite Goodland restaurant, The Bricks By Maria. Omelets, biscuit & gravy, and pancakes are offered on the breakfast menu, and the lunch and dinner are chock full of palate-pleasing options. I love the fresh and healthy salads with delicious dressings. You can also have a plate of comfort food favorites paired with mashed potatoes and green beans. Yum!
Another tasty option for lunch and dinner is Crazy R’s Bar & Grill in an eclectic setting with lots of fun things to check out. Steaks, burgers, and dishes your mom would have made make up the menu, with plenty of options for picky eaters. Crazy R’s steaks are super juicy and full of flavor. You can also have Dorothy Lynch salad dressing here, a Midwestern tomato-based condiment that is absolutely delicious.
Goodland is on Kansas I-70, which has delicious dining options. Here is a list we’ve compiled in case you need suggestions on where to go.
What to Do in Goodland
I always love a good, classic theater, and the one in downtown Goodland is a must. The Sherman Theatre, dating back to 1926, offers affordable current run movies and tasty concession snacks and drinks. Take in the 1928 panels of peacocks that decorate the theatre wall of this perfectly maintained theater that has kept its original charm.
The High Plains Museum (open Thursday through Sunday) houses a full-sized replica of America’s first-patented helicopter, invented in Goodland. It’s a small museum, but has interesting things to browse and see.
A hidden gem for visiting is the National Weather Service, which is a gold mine for learning something new and important. I was shocked to know they (a forecasting office) offer tours, so call to schedule one if this sounds interesting. On my visit, I learned a lot about weather formations and how predictions are made. It is certainly not as easy as it would seem and you can watch the staff in action.
A free attraction that often gets overlooked is the public library in most cities. Goodland’s library has a friendly staff, special events, plenty of books and magazines to peruse, and art sculptures on the lawn outside. There is also a particular 1911 stained-glass window depicting a steam engine that is a locals’ favorite and even a box of take home seeds for planting vegetables and flowers.
The whole family will love the Goodland Swimming Pool (1622 Arcade Street) with affordable rates, splash pool, and a killer twisty slide. There are even diving boards, for those who actually remember them.
I recommend to taste the goods and learn about Olde Westport Spice & Trading Company and Terra Bona Hawai’ian Shaved Ice when visiting Goodland, Kansas. At Olde Westport, try the delicious spice blends this family-owned business created from scratch and ships worldwide. My favorites are the Old World Spaghetti Sauce and Three Rivers Chili Verde mixes.
Then, enjoy a delicious ice delicacy that comes in several flavor combos (guava and tiger blood are my top picks) at Terra Bona, using in-house made syrups and pure cane sugar. Teas and lemonades are also available. Bring the family to enjoy the selection of games and puzzles while you hang out, maybe munching on gourmet spiced popcorn.
Another local place to check out in Goodland is the Carnegie Arts Center. Under one roof, you’ll see works from a modern visual arts gallery of local and regional artists, temporary exhibitions, and in the basement, classroom space for learning the arts. You can also purchase nice gifts and town souvenirs here. The Carnegie Arts Center was originally the building that housed the Goodland Public Library, and is also on the National Register of Historic Places.
If you can make it to Goodland for the 4th of July Freedom Festival at the Sherman County Fairgrounds, it will be well worth it. The whole town comes together for a wonderful day of celebration including carnival-style rides, live music, contests, fireworks, and plenty of great food. Pencil this one in and celebrate the freedoms of our country Midwest-style.
What to See in Goodland
Share Insta-stories of the historic White Eagle Station, a 1928 restored gas station surrounded by petroleum-brand billboards. It makes for fantastic photo-ops. Around the corner and down the street is another picturesque setting that looks like something from the Pixar Cars movie. Murray’s Kustoms is home to the very talented car guru Matt Murray who creates custom cars from often rusted heaps. This guy has serious talent, and his shop is a photographer’s gold mine.
Yet a third Instagram-worthy find is the Grasshopper Sculpture, a super-sized metal grasshopper fashioned from salvaged John Deere farm equipment.
I’m a sucker for historical or famous roads, and Goodland has one of the best. The lovely 226-mile Land and Sky Scenic Byway, golden-tasseled corn or sunflower-lined part of the highway in Goodland, offers beautiful dashboard views as you travel the country’s first agriculture designated byway. Goodland, Kansas, is just full of surprises.
Need more day nearby trips? Consider Oakley, Colby, or Sharon Springs, each have some pretty cool offerings.
Some of our travel expenses were paid for by Goodland, KS. All opinions and reviews are 100% mine and unbiased.
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