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KANSAS CAPITOL: Ultimate Guide to the Statehouse of the Sunflower State

Updated: Jan 28, 2022

An iconic piece of architecture, the Kansas Capitol is a building built in the reflection of the pioneer spirit of our state.

kansas capitol building exterior
Kansas Capitol building in Topeka after Sunset in Autumn


Having lived in Topeka, the Capital city of Kansas, I can’t begin to count the number of times I’ve visited the Capitol. Even now I’m at the Statehouse multiple times of the year for events. And still, I’m continually noticing - new to me - details. The feeling of “awe” peering up at the inner dome inspires never gets old.

Rich with history and art, the Kansas Capitol is also the home to the state’s legislative body. Kansas’ Governor and Lieutenant Governor’s working and ceremonial offices are also located in the Statehouse. Not to be overlooked, the extraordinary State Library can be found on the third floor.


The land the Capitol stands on was originally donated by a founding member of the Free State Party, Mayor of Topeka, and railroad man - Cyrus Holliday. Construction on the Capitol began with the east wing in 1866. After 37 years, the Statehouse was completed.

Fun Fact: In 1869, while construction was in full progress, government offices were moved to the new Capitol building from the Old Constitution Hall - which can still be viewed at 427-429 Kansas Avenue.

Kansas architect John G. Haskell designed the Capitol in a classic-inspired architecture style. Other important elements included ensuring the building was fire resistant, using natural lighting, ventilation and air circulation.

The Capitol measures 399 feet north and south and 386 feet east and west. It stands 306 feet from the ground to the top of Ad Astra's bow, which is roughly 17 feet taller than the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C. While there is no ordinance for it, the Capitol is the tallest building in Topeka.


Guided history tours are once again available at the Statehouse. From January 10 through May 2022, tours are at 9, 10, and 11 am, 1, 2, and 3 pm -Monday through Friday. On Saturday, tours are offered at 10 and 11 am., 1 and 3 pm. There are no Dome Tours at this time.

If the times above don’t work with your schedule, or you prefer to tour on your own, self-guided tours are also allowed. You can pick up an information brochure at the Visitors Center desk.

During the Legislative season (January to May), some rooms may be in use during your visit.

At the time of this blog, masks are recommended in the Capitol.



museum exhibits gallery
Museum quality exhibit galleries on the ground level

Once you arrive at the Capitol, you’ll need to stop briefly at the security entrance. From there you can either stop at the Visitor Center welcome desk, or you can continue on into the Capitol. On this level, you’ll find galleries with museum-quality exhibits telling the story of the Statehouse. Artifacts from when it was built, photography from the construction period, and pieces of the Capitol dome from when it was renovated in the early 2000s. Remember when you’re done with the tour to stop at the Capitol gift shop by the exit.

Selfie Opportunity: There’s a giant Kansas county map etched into the floor, you can’t miss it. Many, including myself, have taken a photo of themselves (usually their feet) in their home county. Not from Kansas? Randomly pick one - or choose Shawnee Co because this is the county you’re in while at the Capitol.

There are two sets of stairs that lead to the first floor, as well as two elevators.