Beyond nightlife: Places to visit in Aggieville during the day

Rally House in Aggieville recently opened in 2016 after replacing Varney's Bookstore. The sports boutique offers K-State apparel, home decor and pro team gear. (Madison Jahnke | Collegian Media Group)

Aggieville, aptly named for the Kansas State Agricultural College Aggies, initially served as a place for students to get their books or a haircut and spend time with friends.

The shopping district is the oldest in Kansas and growing, now housing over 100 businesses in the six-square block area, making “The Ville” a well-known area for K-State students, Manhattan residents and visitors.

While some may see it as “just a street with a bunch of bars,” this list of non-alcohol related attractions in Aggieville proves there’s much more than meets the eye.

Sisters of Sound

Whether you’re into new wave, indie rock, oldies classics or something completely different, you’ll be sure to find it here. This independent record store is the only one in Manhattan, selling new and used CD’s and vinyl worthy of spending hours crate-digging. The cozy shop frequently hosts live music of various genres and sells music and merchandise by local artists.

Pandora Rolled Ice Cream

If you have yet to witness the trendy method of rolling ice cream or just want a sweet treat, head to Pandora for rolled ice cream made fresh from real ingredients. The shop offers a list of suggested combinations or the option to make your own from their extensive selection of toppings and ice cream flavors.

Bluestem Bistro

This casual café and bakery features an extensive collection of coffee, hand-crafted desserts, homemade soups and more. In addition to these culinary specialties, Bluestem offers entertainment in the form of live music, sing-a-longs and a Sunday Jazz Brunch. During your trip here, you’ll inevitably find students studying, visiting families fueling up before fall football games and dogs hanging out on the patio with their coffee-drinking humans.

Straight Upp Creative Studio

For art enthusiasts and the not-so-artistic alike, Straight Upp features an open pottery studio, canvas-painting events and craft evenings for when you’re feeling creative. The full-service studio’s schedule can be found on its website at

Varsity Donuts/Food Truck

From the vintage Schwinn bikes sitting outside to the original countertops and mosaic tile floor, Varsity’s retro feel pairs perfectly with the fresh-baked donuts that give the shop its sweet smell. The colorful, creatively-decorated donut options include a maple bacon bar, a purple “K-Stater” donut and more. Take one of the rentable tandem bikes for a ride, play a few notes on the shop’s piano or grab one of the ever-popular “Donuts Make People Happy” T-shirts. Thursday through Sunday nights, check out the Varsity Food Truck in the alleyway behind the store to watch a movie projected on the wall while enjoying a mac-and-cheese grilled cheese.

Varsity Donuts opened in Aggieville in 2011. In addition to serving unique donuts, the old-timey shop offers tandem bikes to rent, T-shirts and other merchandise and an old piano for customers to play. (Madison Jahnke | Collegian Media Group)

Rally House

With the first K-State game day quickly approaching, Rally House provides all the gear you’ll need to show your Wildcat pride then and every day. In addition to K-State apparel, the sports boutique offers home décor and gift selections, as well as pro team gear. Make sure to keep your eye on the store’s marquee for special discounts, event announcements and a clever joke every now and then.

Acme Gift

If you’re looking for unique dorm adornments, birthday gifts or flower arrangements, Acme is the place to go. The shop is filled with cards and gifts for every occasion, and local Kansas-themed merch to rep your new (or home) town.

Acme Gift features an extensive card and gift selection, unique floral arrangements and Kansas-themed local goods. (Madison Jahnke | Collegian Media Group)

Lunch specials

Several restaurants throughout Aggieville offer lunch specials popular among students on food items such as burgers, tacos, sandwiches or wraps and more. Restaurants include Kite’s Bar and Grill, Taco Lucha, Tanner’s Bar and Grill, Keltic Star and Porter’s Bar and Deli.