Sited on the banks of the Arkansas River, Wichita is the largest city in Kansas, situated towards the south of the state. The city is named after the Native American people who lived there. It operated as a trading post in the mid-19th Century, before growing into an important industrial hub known for aircraft production in the 20th Century. Nowadays, Wichita is also a regional center of industry, culture and media, boasting job and educational opportunities as well as a host of recreational activities.

1. How big is Wichita?

The city of Wichita covers an area of slightly more than 160 square miles and has a population of around 400K. This makes it not only twice the size of Kansas’s next-biggest city, Overland Park, but also the 49th-largest metropolis in the US. It is located entirely within Sedgwick County, where it is the county seat.

The wider metropolitan area, which takes in many small towns such as Derby and Newton, counts over 600K inhabitants and also spreads into Butler, Harvey and Sumner counties. The area also includes the McConnell Air Force Base, sited a few miles southeast of Wichita’s central business district and another of the city’s top employers.

2. What is the weather like in Wichita?

With its Great Plains location in the center of the country, Wichita has a climate classed as humid subtropical, with hot summers and cold winters. Most of the city’s rain falls during the warmer seasons — January is the driest month — with an average of 87 days experiencing some precipitation, while there is an average of 12.7 inches of snowfall annually.

One particular feature of Wichita weather is the frequency of tornadoes and thunderstorms. As well as the high winds, the large hailstones they sometimes bring can be particularly hazardous. To protect cars and large recreational vehicles from this, they can be kept at a storage facility, either outside under a roof or, even better, in an indoor unit that secures them against all the elements.

3. Wichita’s airplane manufacturing and pizzas

Wichita’s fascination with aircraft began when local farmer Clyde Cessna tried building planes here during the first world war. By 1929, the city had earned the title “Air Capital of the World” and it remains a global hub for aircraft design and manufacturing, having also hosted plane makers such as Learjet, Beechcraft and Stearman. Any budding Mr. Cessnas who don’t have a farm might make good use of a large storage unit to keep tools, parts and even finished prototypes in!

Wichita Kansas Map with Toy Airplane
Wichita Kansas Is a Hub for Airplane Manufacturing

In the 19th century, the city acquired the nickname “Cowtown” due to the cattle drives arriving on the Chisholm Trail, and the connection with beef continued when the city became the birthplace of several fast food chains. The White Castle hamburger restaurants began here in 1921 and now have outlets across the Midwest. Pizza Hut started in Wichita in 1958 and now spans the world. A start-up restaurant with limited resources could rent a Wichita self storage unit to keep its outdoor furniture in out of season.

4. Universities and college life in Wichita

There are several higher education options in Wichita. The largest such institution is Wichita State University (WSU), a public research university that is the third largest in Kansas, anchored in the northeast of town but having campuses elsewhere in the metropolitan area. Friends University opened its doors in Wichita at the end of the 19th century and offers degrees including in unusual subjects such as Ballet and Zoo Science.

In addition, the private Roman Catholic Newman University was founded in 1933 for women but is now fully coeducational, and the University of Kansas Medical Center also runs a Wichita campus. Students from out of town who don’t want to take all their belongings home during summer break, and then back again, could benefit from keeping them temporarily in a local self storage unit.

Wichita State University Wichita Kansas
Wichita State University, Wichita, Kansas

5. Outdoor recreation in Wichita

There are plenty of ways to enjoy the great outdoors around Wichita. Cheney State Park, 20 miles west of the city and covering almost 2,000 acres, has hiking trails and well-provisioned sites for RVs plus more rustic camping areas. Cyclists in Wichita now enjoy a large increase in lanes dedicated to them thanks to the Priority Bicycle Network, which began in 2013 and now extends for 115 miles in the city. They could keep their trusty bicycles in a small Wichita self storage unit.

Local anglers and sailing enthusiasts can get out on Cheney Reservoir, perhaps keeping their boat at one of the Wichita self storage facilities that has large units, and letting it into the water using one of the many ramps and launching lanes provided. Options are also possible on the Arkansas River, which flows through the city, and other bodies of water in the area. A smaller storage unit would be sufficient for kayaks and some fishing gear.

6. Moving to Wichita made easy with self storage

As a thriving cultural and financial hub of Kansas, there are many great reasons people choose to relocate to Wichita. Hiring a professional moving company is often recommended, especially for long-distance moves, as the process will go much more smoothly. Taking care of the moving process yourself can save money, but this can be more stressful and time-consuming, and you will still probably need assistance from friends or family.

Renting a storage unit in Wichita can be an excellent idea for anyone relocating to the city. In doing so, you have a lot more flexibility when moving into your new home — you can send your belongings to storage rather than directly to your new home, and then move them in at your own pace. Plus, if you plan to renovate, your storage unit can be an invaluable space for items like furniture that stand the risk of getting damaged.

7. Housing options in Wichita

Wichita’s housing market tends to be dominated by detached single-family homes, though there are smaller apartment blocks and townhouses in the downtown area and elsewhere. Prices here may very well please people moving from other parts of the country.

Single family living

Single family homes can be found throughout the city. Styles vary and include Tudor revival houses found in older districts such as College Hill, east of the city center, which also features the very scenic College Hill Park. Riverside is another historic neighborhood and includes a botanical garden plus a mansion designed like a Scottish castle. Houses designed in the Queen Anne and Prairie styles, plus of course in more modern styles, can be found around town.

Apartment living

Downtown Wichita has its share of apartment blocks and condominiums, providing economical living possibilities in spaces in a range of sizes. There are also options for multifamily living near Wichita State University’s main campus, for example, which is not only convenient for students but also a pleasant area in its own right with many nearby parks. In addition, low-rise multifamily options can be found in neighborhoods such as Chisholm Creek to the northeast of the center.

Wichita Kansas Downtown Skyline
Wichita Kansas Downtown Skyline

8. Is Wichita a good place to live?

The quieter pace of life Wichita offers would be a draw for many people around the country. But in spite of this, the city in fact has its own art gallery, opera company and symphony orchestra, along with numerous venues where music can be enjoyed. Events in town include The Wichita River Festival, air shows, film festivals and annual Renaissance fairs.

Moving to Wichita from Kansas City

Together, Kansas City, Missouri, and the Kansas City that is within the state of Kansas, have a similar number of residents as Wichita. However, the population density in somewhat less in Wichita, which can give a greater feeling of space. In addition, the average temperatures in Wichita are slightly higher and, with its strong manufacturing sector, the unemployment rate tends to be slightly lower.

Moving to Wichita from Chicago

Wichita might certainly represent a big change from The Windy City, especially for anyone looking for a small-town vibe. While transportation in the Kansas city might not quite match the “El” and the bus services provided by the Chicago Transit Authority — or indeed by O’Hare Airport — getting around is easy by car and Interstate 35 passes through town.

Wichita Kansas and Arkansas River Skyline
Wichita Kansas and Arkansas River Skyline

9. What are the storage options in Wichita?

The Wichita self storage sector comprises dozens of facilities scattered throughout the city, including near the center of town. Students at Wichita State University could rent a small 5’x5’ storage unit in one of the facilities nearby, either over summer or long term to stop their rooms from getting too cluttered. Kayaking enthusiasts could keep their craft in a 5’x10’ storage unit, or a 10’x15’ storage unit for longer models.

The 10’x10’ storage unit is the most common size and can be very useful as an overflow space for keeping things that are not used every day but get in the way around the home. A 10’x20’ storage unit is the size of a regular garage, and keeping a car in one ensures it doesn’t get damaged by being left outside. To store a boat for getting out on Cheney Reservoir, a 10’x30’ storage unit could be big enough, and this will keep it secure and in good condition off-season.

Maybe you are now thinking about moving to Kansas! Then what about the question “What city should I move to?” Perhaps you have now found out that Wichita can supply all your needs. Check out StorageCafe’s search portal to see the wide range of Wichita self storage listings. Whether you are moving to Wichita and living in a small downtown apartment where you need to keep your space clear, or you enjoy sports that require a lot of gear, you will be sure to find the ideal unit for you there.


Francis Chantree is a writer and editor for Yardi, focusing on real estate and lifestyle content. He is a former programmer and researcher who exchanged computer language for his greatest passion, human language! When not writing and proofreading text, he can be found gardening and reading.

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