Things to do in Lindsborg, Kan., abound in this Swedish Capital of the USA. Whether you’re a lover of the arts, interested in Swedish culture, or need a relaxing getaway with welcoming locals, Lindsborg is an ideal Midwest destination.
We are an active, empty-nest couple who visited Lindsborg on a hosted whirlwind two-day trip in 2023. While this is a sponsored post, the opinions (and excitement for this small town and its people) are our own. Read on for some of our favorite things to do in Lindsborg, Kan. and start planning your trip to Visit Lindsborg today.
First things first: What is Lindsborg, Kan., known for?
Lindsborg, Kansas, is a charming town nestled in the Smoky Hills of central Kansas. It is known as “Little Sweden USA” for its rich Swedish heritage and culture. It’s also known for its abundance of art.
Whether you are interested in the arts, history, Swedish food, or outdoor activities, you are sure to find something to enjoy during your time in Lindsborg. Here are just a few of the many things you can do in this unique and vibrant community:
The arts scene in Lindsborg, Kan.
We were so fascinated and impressed by the arts community in Lindsborg, Kan., population 3,500. In two short days, we visited several art galleries, met a world-renowned National Geographic photographer, and visited with local silversmiths, jewelry makers, and painters. We found all of this in a small, rural town in the middle of Kansas! Who knew?
PIN FOR LATER
Art-rich places you should visit when you travel to Lindsborg
Small World Galley is a must-see in Lindsborg
Centrally located on Main Street in downtown Lindsborg, Small World Gallery is an absolutely delightful place. The walls are adorned with National Geographic Photographer, Jim Richardson’s, breathtaking fine art prints and posters.
The shop also offers a wide variety of unique, local and area art, including jewelry, paintings, textiles, and more. They also have art-related gifts, children’s books, and art supplies like the water color paints and books below.
But what we loved most about the Small World Gallery were the hospitable people.
Owners Jim and Kathy Richardson, along with local artist Briana Zimerling, welcomed us into their gallery and a corner of their lives. They engaged in authentic conversations that enlighted our world view and made us feel appreciated and seen.
Kathy and Briana both work in the back of the shop making hand-crafted jewelry. Be sure to look for Kathy’s unique beaded jewelry and Briana’s tiny silversmith work. We especially loved the tornado and sunflower earrings Briana designed and created.
Take a guided tour of artist Lester Raymer’s home and studio
The Red Barn Studio Museum was famed artist Lester Raymer’s home and is now a unique gallery of his multifaceted works. Most well known for his paintings, Raymer worked in a variety of mediums including prints, fiber art, metal work, mosaics, ceramics, wood carving, jewelry, cast concrete, sculptures, tin ornaments, furniture, toys, and more.
When you visit the Red Barn Studio Museum in its quaint Lindsborg neighborhood, you’ll see hundreds of pieces of his work, interestingly displayed throughout the home that he and his wife shared. The knowledgeable docents provide a plethora of information and are delighted to answer your questions about Raymer and his art.
You may also see a visiting artist there. In a large bright room at the back of the home is a space for artists in residence. They day we were there, we met artist Rodger Gerberding, who was painting in the sunlit room.
PRO TIP: When you go, be sure to take notice of the unfinished painting on an easel pictured below. It is the piece Raymer was working on in his home when he passed away in 1991.
Visit the Birger Sandzén Memorial Gallery
The Birger Sandzén Memorial Gallery is a museum dedicated to the work of Birger Sandzén, a Swedish-American artist, educator, and art advocate who lived and worked in Lindsborg. The museum houses a collection of more than 1,000 of Sandzén’s paintings, drawings, and prints.
Watch artists make and paint Dala horses at Hemslöjd
Hemslöjd (Swedish for handicraft) is the perfect starting place for your exploration of Swedish customs while in Lindsborg. The gift shop is full of traditional Swedish gifts, crafts and housewares. Just behind the gift shop is the workshop where they carve, paint, and personalize traditional wooden Dala Horses. These horses range in size from Christmas ornament to large horses that can stand in front of a business.
Hemslöjd has been making personalized Dala Horse signs for homes and businesses all over the world since 1984. As you drive around town, you’ll see the brightly colored Dala Horses hanging from most front porches and retail shops.
Hemslöjd offers visitors tours of the workshop and encourages guests to visit with the craftsman and folk artists as they work. We loved that you can have a Dala Horse personalized while you’re there. We often purchase Christmas tree ornaments when we travel and will treasure the Dala Horse ornament personalized with our family name and the year.
PRO TIP: When you visit Hemslöjd, be sure to look up at the ceiling to see the signatures of guests who have visited–including some pretty famous folks. And, don’t forget to sign your name to a ceiling tile. (Don’t worry, it’s on an easel so you don’t have to climb a ladder!)
Other artsy things to do in Lindsborg, Kan.
Indulge in music, dance, and performing arts
Make plans to attend one of the many festivals or performances in Lindsborg. For more than 140 years, generations of local singers have gathered to perform Handel’s Messiah on Easter Sunday. Each summer, Broadway RFD presents several performances of a live onstage musical under the stars in the Swensson Park Band Shell. Biannually, Lindsborg celebrates Svensk Hyllningsfest, honoring the Swedish immigrants who settled in the Smoky Valley in 1869. The festival features art, crafts, special foods, ethnic music, folk dancing, parades, smörgåsbord and special entertainment. For even more festivals and special events, click here.
Appreciate even more local art
Once the Plaza Theatre, The Courtyard Gallery is now home to an art gallery featuring unique works displayed and available for purchase by local artists.
Visit the Smoky Valley Arts & Folklife Center
SVAFC is a venue for present and future artists, craftsmen, scholars, and performers, to introduce and exhibit their work to the Smoky Valley community and inspire creativity in all ages. You can visit the downtown gallery Friday, Saturday, and Sunday afternoons from 1 to 5 pm.
Take a self-guided tour of the public art
Walking around town to view public art is a fantastic thing to do in Lindsborg, Kan. Click HERE for an art walk map and guide.
Where (and what) to eat and drink in Lindsborg, Kan.
You can find a variety of foods and restarants in Lindsborg, including Swedish meals as well as Mexican, Chinese, Italian, and traditional American fare. Here are a few of our favorites:
Try Crown & Rye Restaurant for a taste of Sweden
Crown & Rye Restaurant serves up both traditional and new Swedish and American fare, handcrafted cocktails, and homemade desserts! We started our meal there with cocktails and the tomato bruschetta. Ann really enjoyed the Lingonberry Cosmopolitan.
Steve had a traditional Swedish meal called Köttbullar. It is Swedish meatballs with a beef cream sauce over noodles. Other Swedish favorites include Värmlandskorv (potato sausage pan seared with potatoes, bacon, and onions in butter garnished with braised cabbage and a browned butter beef broth), Ärtsoppa (yellow pea soup) and Färskpotatis (creamy dill potatoes).
Ann opted for a lighter American dish – the harvest chicken wrap with spinach, grilled chicken, brussels and broccoli slaw, red pepper, garbanzo beans, tomato and sunflower seeds. Both of our meals were delicious and the service at Crown & Rye was fantastic.
For a sweet treat, head to Indigo Moo’d Ice Cream
After dinner, we moseyed next door to Indigo Moo’d Ice Cream. This adorable little ice cream shop scoops up traditional and seasonal flavors like Lingonberry Swirl, Mango sorbet, Snickerdoodle, Blacksmith Cold Brew, and Death by Chocolate. They make the ice cream in house using fresh local ingredients including Hildebrand Farms Dairy products.
Grab a bite (and caffeinate) at Blacksmith Coffee
Centrally located downtown, Blacksmith Coffee is one of our favorite coffee shops in the Midwest. The roasted in-house coffee is fantastic and the service is outstanding.
Located in what was historically the town’s blacksmith shop, Blacksmith Coffee also serves light breakfast items and baked goods like pecan rolls and scones. At lunchtime, they have sandwiches and salads that are freshly made and tasty. While there, see if you can spot where the forge originally sat.
PRO TIP: Grab a few bags of beans (whole or ground) to enjoy Blacksmith Coffee back home or pick up a few bags for gifts. Your friends and family will thank you!
The White Peacock Coffee Shop
Another local favorite is The White Peacock Coffee Shop which serves 100% fair trade and organic coffee, as well as light breakfast and lunch fare.
The White Peacock is a great place to grab breakfast or lunch, get some work done on your laptop, or visit with friends and family. The shop is community oriented and often displays (and sells) the works of local artists. (Yes, this town is FULL of art!)
Pick up some Swedish groceries at White’s Foodliner
Open seven days a week, White’s Foodliner is the place to go for all of your Swedish food (and regular grocery) needs. Not only does the store have an impressive selection of traditional Swedish foods in its Lindsborg retail store, you can also order many of your Swedish favorites online at its Cook Swedish website.
The staff at White’s Foodliner is super helpful and guided us through selecting some traditional Swedish foods that we could easily prepare back at our our vacation rental. We purchased fresh rye bread, a blueberry soup mix, deli meats, and of course, a jar of lingonberries.
Paired with some garden-fresh cucumbers and tomatoes with dill graciously given to us by friendly locals we met over morning coffee, this made a quick and easy light dinner.
Another local treat: Swedish pancakes
While visiting Lindsborg, we were also treated to a traditional Swedish breakfast, prepared for us by long time resident and former Mayor Becky Anderson in her beautiful home.
Becky shared stories of her love of Swedish cooking with us as she made traditional thin Swedish pancakes that we topped with lingonberries and maple syrup. She served these alongside deli meats and fruit. Her warm hospitality and the delicious foods made for a special start to our day!
Other things to eat and drink in Lindsborg, Kansas
- Have a vodka cranberry at Öl Stuga – Öl Stuga is a popular local bar that also serves delicious deli sandwiches. We suggest kicking back with a vodka cranberry cocktail there. Why? Well, we heard it’s what former Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev drank when he visited the Öl Stuga in Lindsborg in 2005. Gorbachev came to town to visit the home of the Karpov Chess School and launch a worldwide campaign of promoting peace through chess. (Yes, Lindsborg also has a world-renowned chess school because why wouldn’t they? It’s just one more way this special town of 3,500 will astound you.)
- Indulge in baked goods at 350 degrees – Stop by the 350 Degrees Bakery for freshly-baked favorites like cinnamon rolls, cardamon pull-apart bread and lingonberry bars.
- Take a picnic to Coronado Heights – For a meal with a view, pack a picnic basket and head to Coronado Heights. Our thoughtful hosts packed us a yummy breakfast that we enjoyed outdoors. Just a 10-minute drive outside of Lindsborg, Coronado Heights offers a spectacular view and lots of cement picnic tables available for public use. In addition, the site boasts a stone shelter built in 1936 by the Works Progress Administration that resembles a castle. The park is open to the public free of charge. See the view HERE.
Things to do in Lindsborg: Shop local
Downtown Lindsborg is chock-full of retail stores offering something for everyone. Ann especially liked Sister Bojangles Boutique. She found several clothing items there that were both stylish and reasonably priced. The cheerful owners are great at helping you pull together a few new looks for your wardrobe.
PRO TIP: When you shop at Sister Bojangles Boutique, pick up a bottle of the Tyler laundry soap. A small capful added to unscented detergent makes your laundry smell amazing! Our favorite scents are Diva and High Maintenance. They come in sizes ranging from 4 oz to a gallon.
Take home some Swedish gifts
You’ll find all kinds of Swedish gifts at Hemslöjd downtown. They also have a huge selection of postcards which we love to send to friends, family, and ourselves. (We collect postcards from all our travels and display them in a large postcard jar in our entryway.)
While shopping, take a moment and step into The Ivory Thimble downtown. There, you’ll find traditional Swedish clothing and complimentary sewing patterns as well as a few gift items.
A few more things to do in Lindsborg
Visit the Lindsborg Old Mill & Swedish Heritage Museum as it celebrates and preserves the pioneering spirit of the Smoky Valley. The facility offers a museum and a really nice little gift shop.
While there, take a tour of the Old Mill and learn how they ground wheat into flour. What’s really cool is that this mill still works. Once a year, the machinery of the historic mill comes to life during Millfest, held the first weekend in May.
When you visit the mill, be sure to also stop by the Swedish Pavilion located at the north end of the square. It was brought over from Sweden in parts and assembled for the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis. From there it was disassembled, brought to Lindsborg and reassembled. So, nearly four decades before the founding of IKEA, the Swedes were disassembling and reassembling entire buildings. Maybe your end table wasn’t so bad, after all.
Find treasures at the T.A.C.O.L. Thrift Store
The Associated Churches of Lindsborg operates one of the nicest thrift stores we’ve ever seen. Locals told us about it and we’re so glad they did. Stop by to hunt for used treasures, including clothing, furniture, glassware, and seasonal decor. It’s honestly the nicest thrift store we’ve seen anywhere.
Things to do in Lindsborg: Ride a bike
Lindsborg’s Bikeshare program promotes health and wellbeing, active transportation, bike tourism, and Swedish heritage (be sure to check out those license plates). Three stations with a total of 15 bikes for rent are located within the city at strategic points. Bikes can be rented by the hour or you can purchase an annual pass.
More outdoor things to do in Lindsborg
In addition to riding bikes, there are lots of other outdoor things to do in Lindsborg. There’s a golf course, swimming pool, and sand volleyball court in Lindsborg. There are also several parks and trails to get your steps in around town. For even more outdoor activities in Lindsborg, check out this blog post from our friend and fellow travel writer, Vanessa, at One Delightful Life.
Where to stay in Lindsborg, Kansas
There are so many things to do in Lindsborg, that you’ll probably want to spend a night or two (or more!) when you visit. Thankfully, this charming town has many choices for lodging.
Lindsborg Vacation Rentals is a local small business offering a number of options that allow visitors to feel like they’re a part of the community. You can come “home” to one of four well-appointed downtown studio apartments. If you’d like more space, you might be interested in one of their whole-house rentals that are also convenient to the town’s center.
The owners paid careful attention to every little detail and spared no expense in the restoration of these historic homes. These vacation rental properties are not like most. With their well-chosen, quality finishes, they are a real step-above and are a destination in and of themselves.
During our visit, we stayed in Åkerhuset, a carefully restored, five-bedroom, five-bathroom historic farmhouse with a gorgeous chef’s kitchen. We loved that we could make our own dinner at home with Swedish foods we’d picked up at White’s Foodliner. Guests in Åkerhuset rent the whole house and have access to the number of bedrooms and bathrooms needed. Located about a block from downtown, it is convenient to everything in Lindsborg.
In addition to the Lindsborg Vacation Rentals properties, the town offers several other options like The Rosberg House, Dröm Sött/Sweet Dreams Inn, the Viking Motel, and the Coronado Motel. Check out the Visit Lindsborg page for a complete listing.
How to plan your visit to Lindsborg, Kansas
Lindsborg has a fantastic visitor’s center and friendly folks who are able to help you plan your trip to central Kansas. Stop by when you get to town, or plan ahead with a variety of online resources at VisitLindsborg.com. Lindsborg is located in central Kansas just a few miles off I-135. It is less than a three-hour drive from Kansas City and just a little more than a three hour’s drive from Lincoln, Neb.
Have you already been to Lindsborg? What did you enjoy most there?
We’d like to give a special thank you to Holly Lofton from the Lindsborg CVB. She and Diane organized an excellent trip and showed us authentic hospitality. They’re among the best in the business!