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Topeka, KS (Population: 122,377)

Topeka is the capital of Kansas and has a population of 122,377 (2000). The name Topeka comes from a Native American tribal name meaning “a good place to dig potatoes.” In this case, the potato in question is actually a member of the pea family and is native to prairies and plains in central North America. This prairie potato contained a starchy root that was a stable in Native American diets.

There are many cultural and historical points of interest in Topeka. Some of these include the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site; Reinisch Rose Garden and Doran Rock Garden; the Kansas Museum of History, which has a train inside and a 1950s McDonald’s restaurant; the Topeka Zoo, which is world-renowned as the site of the birth of the Golden Eagle chick hatched in captivity; Heartland Park Topeka, a major drag and road racing course; Ward-Meade Park Botanical Gardens; the Topeka Civic Theatre, the award-winning home of improv comedy troupe Laughing Matters; Gizmo Pictures CGI Animation & Film Production Studio; and the state capitol building, where visitors can tour the building and its dome.

Topeka features a number of art galleries, unique specialty shops, and delectable dining. The best place to embark on any of these activities is downtown, on and around Kansas Avenue. Downtown Topeka is a vibrant area centering around the city’s most popular attraction, the Kansas State Capitol. From shopping to dining to nightlife to visiting one of the cities 20 + attractions, there is no shortage of things to do for visitors and residents of Topeka.