An outdoor enthusiast and family adventurist, Scott Stebner frequents visits to Topeka for it's coffee, trail systems, and family friendly activities. Don't take our word for it, take his "Top City Take" on Topeka and his recommendations and favorite places to visit.
Q: If you could describe Topeka in three words, what would they be?
A: Community, kindness, open space.
Q: What does a perfect day in Topeka look like for you and/or your family?
A: My family’s perfect day definitely starts with a visit to one of our incredible, independent coffee companies. Whether it’s Judee’s, PT’s, Milk and Honey, Dialogue, or any of the others, we’re excited to grab a latte together and a pastry for the boys. From there, it has to include some solid family bonding time mountain biking on one of Topeka’s trail systems.
Q: What’s your favorite place to eat in the capital city? What’s your favorite thing on the menu?
A: The brisket tacos at Iron Rail. I don’t want to use the term “life changing”, but …
Q: If you live in Topeka, where do you like to take friends and family when they’re in town? If you don’t live in Topeka, what’s your favorite place to visit when you’re in town?
A: Most of our friends and family are outdoors loving people, so we go hiking at Iliff Commons or to Governor’s Mansion. They always talk bout how beautiful it is under the tree canopy. If they have kids, we definitely take them to the zoo.
Q: If someone approached you on the street and asked why you like living Topeka — what’s your “why”?
A: I grew up in California. Everything was so busy there, all the time. Topeka is the perfect mix of a smaller town that still has great culture and plenty of things to do.
Q: What’s Topeka’s best-kept secret?
A: I’ve lived in Southern California, the Central Coast, the Bay Area, and in the Rockies, and I can’t believe that it took me moving to Topeka to learn to love mountain biking. When you think of Kansas, you think flat and boring. But I’ve come to absolutely love the trail system here and all the other outdoor activities there are. You can gravel bike, go for a run on the Shunga trail, hike with your dog at Illif, or go kayaking at the lakes or on the river. It definitely has an outdoor community.
Q: Where in Topeka do you like to relax or let loose?
A: I’ve been a professional photographer for 20 years, so I head out to a lot of areas you can access on a dirt road to take some photographs. Those rolling hills, and the people who live on them, have been a huge part of my photography career. But, my main source of letting loose is mountain biking on the dirt trails. There are usually quite a few group bike rides in the community. It’s a great way to get exercise and fellowship at the same time.
Q: What annual event brings you to Topeka each year? OR What annual event is a must-see for visitors?
A: The Christmas lights at the zoo and the Christmas light show at Topeka Bible Church.
Q: What are your top three things to do in Topeka?
A: Sit down at a local coffee shop and read with a latte, mountain bike one of the trails, take my kids to the zoo