#1. Overland Park
Highly rated schools, pristine parks, affordable neighborhoods and great support networks make Overland Park, Kan., our No. 1 pick for Best Cities for Families. Located 15 minutes from downtown Kansas City, Overland Park provides children with an environment to thrive. City leaders, top employers, and most residents put children first when it comes to spending and programming. It’s easy to see why Overland Park is a best place to live.
The city’s dedication to keeping children healthy and active is perhaps best represented by the $36 million Overland Park Soccer Complex, which includes 12 lit fields and a cooling system that keeps the synthetic turf at comfortable temperatures during hot afternoons. The complex helped Overland Park earn the top spot on our list of the Best Soccer Cities. This is the second time Overland Park’s family-friendly atmosphere has been recognized on Livability.com. See where the city ranked on our Best Cities for Kids 2014 list.
Overland Park maintains more than 83 parks and open spaces, including four small lakes where families can fish. During summer months, children can take a dip in six outdoor pools owned by the city, and the indoor pool at Matt Ross Community Center is open year round.
Attractions in Overland Park appeal to all ages. Children are able to explore agriculture and history at the Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead, and wander through the colorful grounds at Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens. The Museum at Prairiefire, an outpost of the American Museum of Natural History, a bowling alley, American Girl Doll Store and climbing center provide even more things for kids to do in Overland Park.
Parents can rest easy knowing Overland Park’s crime rate is well below the national average. Air and water quality in Overland Park is excellent, and the city’s health-care providers receive high praise. Schools in Overland Park earn high praise from parents and former students. While the cost of living in Overland Park is slightly higher than the national average, the city includes many affordable neighborhoods with a variety of housing options. All these factors helped Overland Park rank for two consecutive years as one of the Top 100 Best Places to Live.