Hot Spots draw Manhattan citizens, students


In the grand scheme of things, Manhattan is definitely not the biggest, or the “most hip” city, in this country. The main draw for people to come to Manhattan is the university, so most of our city’s population is made up of college-aged individuals.

As a result of such a young population, Manhattan’s most popular places have sprung from the students’ need for something to do in a small city when they aren’t in class or studying. There are several hot spots littered around the city which any Manhattan citizen might employ for entertainment.

One of the largest hot spots in Manhattan is Aggieville, which is four blocks of bars, eateries, restaurants and shops located between 11th and 14th Streets, and between Bluemont Avenue and Laramie Street.

Aggieville is the oldest shopping district in the state, though it was not the first in Manhattan. The original shopping district where students had to buy their books was across town near Manhattan Town Center, at First Street and Poyntz Avenue.

According to, the first businesses were a bookstore and a dining facility which “became the foundation of Aggieville, drawing momentum toward business development.”

There are over 100 business in Aggieville now, and the shopping district has a “wide variety of businesses [making] it a family-friendly environment during the day and a college hot spot at night.”

There are over 40 bars and restaurants in Aggieville. Some of these businesses, like Kite’s Grille & Bar, Hibachi Hut and The Aggie Lounge, or “The Lou,” have been around since the 1950s. Auntie Mae’s Parlor was once a plumbing store in the 1930s, but was reopened in 1974 as a bar.

“Aggieville is a good place for live music sometimes,” said Daniel Smith, senior in digital media. “I’d say Kathouse Lounge is overall the best bar for live music, but if it’s nice out O’Malley’s back patio has an awesome atmosphere.”

Among the bars and restaurants are several different types of shops, including clothing stores, bookstores and the newly-opened bike shop, Big Poppi Bicycle Company. There are many clothing stores, some of which, like Ballard’s Sporting Goods and Varney’s Book Store, sell K-State clothing.

Varney’s was the first book store in Aggieville, and it is located at the heart of Aggieville in the old movie theater. The other book store in the district, The Dusty Bookshelf, sells used books and Varney’s carries both new and used school textbooks.

The shopping district also contains two head shop-type stores which sell a variety of goods including clothing, incense, tapestries, beads and hemp.

Though Aggieville is one of the more popular areas of Manhattan, there are several other locations around the city which also draw college students. There are several places around town where students can enjoy being outdoors.

Manhattan Hill is one of these spots, and is located just northwest of Manhattan’s Walmart store. This hill has the words “Manhattan” and “Kansas” spelled out in white concrete letters on both sides of the peak of the hill. There is a parking area just above the letters for use by citizens, and paths which lead to both words.

“It is really cool up there,” said Mitch Jurich, senior in horticulture. “From up there you have an awesome view of the city.”

There are a couple parks around town that are popular for students to visit with their dogs. Manhattan City Park is in the center of the city, between 11th and 14th Streets and Fremont Street and Poyntz Avenue.

A couple blocks of residences separate City Park from Aggieville.

A trail goes around City Park, and within the park there is a baseball diamond, the ice-skating rink, and a playground area. The city pool is also in City Park, and soon it will be reconstructed into a water park with various attractions.

Warner Park is another popular location for citizens, as it is a large park in a somewhat secluded location. This park is located west on Ft. Riley Boulevard, just past Stagg Hill Golf Course on Miller Parkway.

“I went out there and kind of wandered around a couple times,” said Adam Monroe, of Manhattan. “I know there’s some geocache boxes out there, and it is a really interesting place to explore.”

Geocaching is a treasure hunting game played throughout the world. Hikers and travelers try to locate various hidden containers, called geocaches, by using GPS devices. The Web site has the GPS locations of over a million geocaches within all different types of terrain.

There is also a cross country trail at Warner Park, and there are several roofed areas with benches and tables for people to sit and enjoy the scenery.

Tuttle Creek State Park is another outdoor location popular among Manhattan citizens. It is located next to Tuttle Creek Lake and Tuttle Creek Dam, and is made up of 1,200 acres of land. The park includes a swimming beach, boat ramps, courtesy docks and campgrounds.

There are also many nature trails, a mountain biking trail and an equestrian trail, along with volleyball courts, picnic areas, a golf course and the Fancy Creek Shooting Range.

“There is a cove out there that me and my friends go to every time we make the drive out there,” said Caitlyn Mason, senior in marketing. “It’s a great spot when it gets warm out. I take my dog out there.”

Mason said another great place to take dogs for an adventure is Pillsbury Crossing Wildlife Area. Pillsbury Crossing is about seven miles southeast of Manhattan, and its main attraction is the 60-foot long, 5-foot high waterfall. This area is a low water river crossing, and there is a stretch of about 100 feet where vehicles can cross the river in just a few inches of water.

Pillsbury Crossing is 59 acres located along Deep Creek, where there is good channel cat fishing. Within the wildlife area, there is only one short hiking trail and one larger cleared area for visitors.

“If no one’s shown it to you, you don’t know it’s there,” Mason said. “It’s private and secluded most times. It’s a great place to take your dog for the afternoon.”

There are several other popular locations around Manhattan, and not all of them are outdoors. Because the city of Manhattan is small, it gives students the opportunity to discover their own “favorite” spot.