10 Wichita Nicknames You Should Know

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A skyline full of lit-up tall and short buildings at dusk
There are many Wichita nicknames to know, including The Emerald City

Wichita, Kansas, started as a trading post in the 1860s before becoming incorporated as a city about a decade later. Since then, Wichita has emerged as the state's cultural, media, and economic center. Several universities are housed here, including Wichita State University.

The name Wichita itself is a tribute to the Native American Tribe. Several Wichita nicknames also arise from its varied historical and current contributions.

Did you know Wichita is referred to as Doo-dah? It has also been called the Air Capital of the World and Cowtown. Read on to discover more about the stories behind the nicknames.

10 Nicknames for Wichita

Air Capital of the World

Due to its contributions to the aircraft industry, Wichita is known as the Air Capital of the World. The city is considered a design and manufacturing hub, with Textron Aviation, Learjet, and Airbus facilities. Another interesting Kansas state fact is that the helicopter was invented here in 1909.

Several airports are also located within Wichita. The McConnell Air Force Base and Colonel James Jabara Airport are nearby. Wichita is also home to the Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport, renamed for the former president and Kansas native in 2014.


Another common nickname for Wichita is Cowtown. In the mid-1800s, Wichita was a popular stop for wranglers leading cattle drives north from Texas. Wichita's location on the Chisholm Trail allowed them to access the railroads leading to the markets in the eastern cities.

The Old Cowtown Museum is a Wichita landmark highlighting the city's significance during this era. Tour historic and recreated buildings, examine thousands of artifacts, and visit some Percheron horses living there. This site has even been featured in several movies, bringing Cowtown to the Hollywood scene.


Wichita is also known by the nickname Doo-Dah. While the origin of this nickname is unclear, many believe it refers to Wichita's friendly residents and laid-back culture. Several Wichita businesses have embraced this nickname, too.

The Doo-Dah Diner opened in 2012 with an emphasis on recreating this easygoing vibe. Doo-Dah was also used for the city's Riverfest poster in 2014. If you're in a creative mood, check out the Doodah Doodles coloring book, a scavenger hunt-style homage to Wichita.


ICT is a Wichita name with a straightforward origin. ICT serves as the call letters for the city's national airport. When Wichita's airport was developed, the FCC prohibited any airport codes starting with "W." So officials chose the following letter of the city's name and the most recognizable phonetic letters.

Since then, locals have often used ICT as a term of endearment for their city. It's also commonly thought to refer to the city's general prominence in the aircraft industry.

A gold-red statue on a tall rock, overlooking other rocks, water, and a dusk skyline
Wichita is known as The River City due to its location on the Arkansas River bank

The River City

Wichita is also known as The River City due to its geographic location. The city is on the banks of the Arkansas River, and Wichita's downtown river district is a popular location for shopping, dining, and perusing the Wichita Art Museum.

The Arkansas River, a tributary of the Mississippi River, has been designated a National Water Trail by the U.S. National Park Service. Residents take full advantage of their river city by hiking or biking the Arkansas River Trail, kayaking, paddleboarding, or rowing this historic river.

Ta Town

Ta Town is a Wichita nickname with a few possible origins. Some believe it arose in the early 2000s when an area artist referenced the city as Ta Town in his music. Others state that it arises from the name Wichita itself. Shortening the city name to "Ta" and adding Town is reminiscent of Chicago's Chi-Town moniker.

Either way, the city has continued its homage to this name. You'll find numerous businesses named after Ta Town, including boutiques and a local trolley serving the area.

The 316

Some residents fondly refer to Wichita as the 316. This nickname is a nod to Wichita's telephone area code for the city and surrounding communities. The area code 316 was initially assigned to all phone numbers throughout southern Kansas.

In 2000, the Kansas Corporation Commission requested an additional code due to the growing number of cell phones and pagers. Most of south Kansas was provided with a new area code, and Wichita was allowed to keep 316.

Another one of the local Wichita nicknames is The Dub
The Dub appears in several Wichita business names, such as a Halloween event

The Dub

The Dub nickname is another play on the city name of Wichita. "Dub" is often short for double-u, referencing the first letter of the city. Wichita has also been known as Dub-K. In this case, "dub" stands for "Dubya," a common nickname of former President George W. Bush, with the final K referring to Kansas.

Despite these murky origins, references to the Dub appear in several Wichita businesses, including clubs and barbershops. If you're in town, you might also want to participate in the annual Dawn of the Dub Hallowehaen Celebration.

The Emerald City

While Seattle is also called The Emerald City, the nickname references a popular children's book series when used in conjunction with Wichita. L. Frank Baum wrote the Oz books starting in the early 1900s when a girl from Kansas was caught up in a magical land.

Although the Emerald Series is located in the magical realm of the novels, the girl ultimately wants to head home to Kansas. Thus, the Emerald City as a final destination is an apt tribute to Wichita and its prominence in the state as a cultural and economic center.

The books also led to the renowned movie of the same name. If you'd like to learn more about the movie's significance, head to the Kansas landmark Oz Museum in Wamego.

The Magic City

The Magic City may be one of Wichita's lesser-known nicknames. In 1889, H. Craig Miner published "Wichita: The Magic City, An Illustrated History."

In this publication, Miner chronicles Wichita's transformation from a simple trading post on Chisholm Creek to an energetic and bustling city. You'll see street scenes, business buildings, and early residences. Since then, Wichita's continued growth and establishment in the state allude to this magical transformation.

In Summary

The Wichita nicknames above range from the historically significant Cowtown to the economically relevant Air Capital of the World. Residents of Wichita also refer to their city through its standalone area code 316 and the airport of ICT.

No matter which nickname you use for Wichita, there's no denying the city's cultural, historical, and economic importance. The only question is, which nickname do you feel rings the most true?

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Written by Jodi K Monroe

jodikmonroe FORMER WRITER Jodi is based in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, within easy reach of the beaches, mountains, and airport. Journal in hand, she has explored North America and parts of Europe so far.

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