Hays Travel Guide

  • Guardhouse, Fort Hays State Historic Site
    Guardhouse, Fort Hays State Historic...
    by Basaic
  • Fort Hays, Kansas
    Fort Hays, Kansas
    by atufft
  • Downtown Hays, KS
    Downtown Hays, KS
    by atufft

Hays Things to Do

  • Fort Hays State University

    Hays has a population of only 20,000, but the university is a substantial enrollment of 9,000 student. Thus, the university figures very large in the town's culture, even if it is not reflected in a lively downtown area. The liberal arts college has many locally quarried limestone buildings of substantial architectural interest, which was the focus...

  • Residential Neighborhoods of Hays, KS

    The wealthier neighborhoods of town appear to cluster mostly on the west side, particularly off Hall Street, but these are newer homes of lesser architectural interest. Uptown, particularly along Fort Street leading toward Boot Hill, are only a few homes of architectural interest, while there are a few more of interest along 7th and 8th streets...

  • First United Methodist Church of Hays

    At 305 West 7th Street, only a few blocks from the university but still in downtown, the First United Methodist Church has a venerable old structure of considerable architectural interest. The church doesn't have a website, so I wasn't able to determine the providence of this massive structure. At the time I walked by, members, a couple had their...

  • Volga German Haus

    Next to the authentic and old Presbyterian church is a deceptively old appearing Volga German Haus. This and the variety of other out buildings in this pioneer field museum, are replicas of the structures built by the Volga German immigrants. Included among the images here is a unidentified stone structure and staircase from the area that is...

  • Oldest Church in Western Kansas

    In 1873, toward the end of the lawless period, a group of Presbyterians under the leadership of "Grandma" Annie Wilson formed a congregation to reform their brethren in town, and by 1879, the limestone church shown here was built at 100 West 7th Street. This structure, one of the few dating to this period in Hays history, remains also one of the...

  • Library and Buffalo Bill Memorial

    Hays has a relatively new public library [2004] located on Main street which has a limestone bust of Buffalo Bill, sculpted by, guess who, local favorite, Pete Felten. Nearby is a replica of the Statue of Liberty, donated if I recall correctly, by the Boys Scouts. The library building has a memorial brick wall.

  • Civic Buildings

    Hays is the Ellis County seat, the limestone faced Ellis County Courthouse [1942] of some architectural interest. Also, note the Hays City Hall, which is located in the same building as the Hays Fire Department's Station #1. In front of the city hall is a Felten limestone statue of Wild Bill Hickok.

  • St. Joseph's Church, images 2

    After seeing the magnificient St. Fidelis Church in nearby Victoria, St. Joseph's is a bit of a let-down, particularly on the inside. However there are a few religious wood carvings and significant stained glass windows. In the garden, where perhaps an earlier church building once stood, is a memorial and lawn where squirrels like to play.

  • St. Joseph's Church, images 1

    On 13th street in downtown Hays is the venerable St. Joseph's Church. See the website for details about the history of the limestone church building, as well as the imposing limestone block "service" building across the street. Bear in mind that this is the center of rural America, where a majority of voters believe in creationism, so it seems by...

  • Chestnut District, images 2

    The brick and limestone buildings of Hays' Chestnut District were built after the heyday of gunslingers, Wild Bill, and Buffalo Bill. Most are early 20th century relics.

  • Chestnut District, images 1

    The original or traditional downtown of Hays is known as the Chestnut District. Although the district is loaded with old brick and limestone commerical buildings, as well as brick paved streets, downtown Hays is surprisingly quiet and lacking in the sort of vitality it deserves, especially considering this is a university town. Nevertheless, the...

  • Boot Hill

    Between August of 1867 and December of 1873 there were over 30 homicides in and around Hays. Although other Kansas wild west towns have equal claim for having had "boot hill" cemetaries, that of Hays is the original and most authentic. The name "boot hill" has it's origins in the western duel where gun fighters died, not as old men in bed, but in...

  • Downtown Hays: The Historic Block, Part...

    These brass plaques are located along this one block area, marking the original location of these saloons, courthouses, grocery's, barbershops, etc. The original buildings were probably wood structures of hasty construction. Nearly all who were murdered were buried in mass at Boot Hill.

  • Downtown Hays: The Historic Block, Part...

    These stories are unbelievable, aren't they? Keep reading, the stories get stranger and stranger. Note the large number of saloons in a town that had at most a few thousand residents.

  • Downtown Hays: The Historic Block, Part...

    Parallel with the railroad is a block of particular historic interest. Most, if not all, of the original historic buildings are long gone and replaced by nearer commercial buildings, but the places have been preserved for all eternity. Read the stories on these plaques and understand the violence history of Hays away from the fort. These true tales...

  • Fort Hays: Remaining Buildings

    Fort Hays had the mission of protecting from Indian marauders the stage lines and freight traveling along the Smokey Hill trail that led to Denver. But, the original location wasn't near enough to the railroad, and so in 1867 it was moved to the current location near Big Creek. The fort changed its name in honor of Civil War General Alexander Hays,...

  • Fort Hays: Museum and Blockhouse

    I arrived on a Sunday when the museum was closed, but the grounds are open and easy to enter anytime. In fact, the fort has no defensive wall. The oldest building is the blockhouse, which was a defense structure from which a few soldiers could with their repeating rifles hold off an entire tribe of Indian warriors. Eventually, this building was...

  • Fort Hays: Buffalo Memorial

    Most visitors would want to take the Hwy 183 south exit off of I-70 to get to the historic Fort Hays site. This is also the easiest way to get to the Fort Hays State University. But, in my case, I simply continued on Hwy 40 from Victoria, until I turned north onto Hwy 183. In any case, the grounds of the historic frontier fort are outside of town...

  • Fort Hays State University

    I began my college career at Fort Hays State College, and still have special feelings for that college and community. The campus itself boasts some very attractive buildings, and seems to be an oasis from the somewhat desolate countryside surrounding the town and university.

  • Dinosaurs in Kansas!

    The Sternberg Museum is the long-awaited museum in Hays, KS. Formerly located on the Fort Hays State University campus, the museum was relocated and reopened in its new location, viewable from the Interstate.The museum includes a "dinorama" dinosaur display, complete with a mechanical Tyrannosaurus Rex (motion-activated). The museum also has a...

  • Lending to the wild west image.

    A proper requirement of any "wild west town," is that it must have had a military fort nearby. Take a bunch of men far from women and away from civilization, give them guns and of COURSE it's going to be 'rough and ready.'Fort Hays was established in 1865 in order to protect the railroads that for a time terminated in Hays. This was before the line...

  • To die hungry would be horrible

    If you are going to stop in Hays for one reason - this should be it. Kids will enjoy the dinosaurs, adults will soak in the history.The Sternberg Museum of Natural History in Hays is run by the Fort Hays State University. The fossil hunter George Stenberg was named the curator of this museum in 1933.This is one of the more famous items at the...

  • Visit Old Fort Hays

    This small army outpost on the high plains of Kansas was home to the (in)famous 7th Cavalry and General George Custer. Several buildings are opened to visitors.

  • Hays was founded by Wild Bill...

    Hays was founded by Wild Bill Hickok and the town is full of interesting history. It's hard to choose just one thing. Old Fort Hays on the 183 by-pass is cool but the last time I was there they were doing some major renovations and the best sites were closed. Check before you go. Across the street from the fort is the Buffalo Herd which you have to...


Hays Hotels

See all 15 Hotels in Hays
  • Best Western Butterfield Inn

    1010 East 41st Street, Hays, Kansas, 67601, United States

    Satisfaction: Excellent

    Good for: Solo

  • Hampton Inn Hays-North of I-70

    4002 General Hays Road, Hays, Kansas, 67601, United States

    Satisfaction: Excellent

    Good for: Families

  • Econo Lodge Hays

    3503 Vine Street, Hays, Kansas, 67601, United States

    Satisfaction: Very Good

    Good for: Business

Hays Restaurants

  • Nice Dress-Up (or Down) Restaurant

    So the Mexican food is slightly Americanized - but that is the way I like it. The atmosphere is very nice for a nice, more formal dinner, but it is not so formal that you cannot come in with jeans and a t shirt. It's become a tradition to go every year on my birthday - birthdays call for getting a picture taken wearing the sombrero and free fried...

  • Hungry?

    If you're hungry, best hit Montana Mike's Steakhouse, 3216 Vine. The best steakhouse in the city, or in the area, period. Mike's offers up huge portions of steak, ribs, kabobs, chicken, hamburgers, salads, even shrimp. One of the most popular dishes is the steak and shrimp. With each entree, you get your choice of potato, a salad and a dinner roll...

  • China Garden on Vine St. is...

    China Garden on Vine St. is the best with some of the best Chinese food I've ever had. Even better than what I've had in San Francisco or Los Angeles. It is run by a super nice Chinese family that have lived here for a long time. The Schezhuan Pork is my favorite. I've ordered it so many times the waitress already knows what I want before I order!...


Hays Local Customs

  • Oktoberfest

    In conjunction with Fort Hays State University's Homecoming celebration, the 2005 Oktoberfest will take place Friday, Sept. 30. Things kick off at Frontier Park at 11:30 a.m. with the annual keg tapping and will conclude at 7 p.m. The theme this year is "OZ-toberfest: There's no place like homecoming." There are many booths at Oktoberfest,...

  • VolgaGerman

    This area of the world was settled by the VogaGermans that came from the Volga River in Russia. The area has a wonderful german heritage with festivals and attrictions. One of the main events that is a must is OctubreFest or OctoberFest for the English. The festival is a bunch of old VolgaGermans and yound college students drinking German beer,...

  • Hays Hotels

    15 Hotels in Hays

Hays Warnings and Dangers


    FT HAYS STATE UNIVERSITY is well known around the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference as having poor sportsmanship demonstrated at basketball games. Don't know why, thats just the way they are. Perhaps they are trying to be the Kansas version of the University of Colorado.


    BY THE TIME A HAYS BASKETBALL GAME IS OVER THERE WILL BE millions of pieces of newspaper all over the gym. What a mess it must be to clean up. But more importantly, these shreds cover the concrete steps, making them very slippery. It looks like a lawsuit waiting to happen.The public address announcer is one of the more unprofessional ones we have...

  • Don't Forget Insurance

    If your current health insurance doesn't cover you while your abroad, you should consider getting international travel insurance just in case something should go wrong.

Hays Off The Beaten Path

  • Nothing beats the original

    When citizens of "rough and ready" Hays picked up and moved East to Dodge City - they took the name "Boot Hill," with them.Hays City was the original "lawless" town in the area. This was for a time the western terminus of the Kansas and Pacific Railroad.Here on the corner of 18th and Fort (within city limits) is what is known as Boot Hill. It is...

  • The Stone Gallery at 107 1/2...

    The Stone Gallery at 107 1/2 W. 6th St. is the most interesting place in Hays. It is owned by local sculptor Pete Felten (if you've driven through Hays you've seen his limestone sculptures all over town). Not only does he have a vast collection of his own works, he also showcases local artists as well. His place is open when he's around so it's...

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