A view of the Manhattan, Kansas skyline overlooing the Kansas River.

#1. Manhattan

Dubbed “the Little Apple,” thanks to its shared name with one of New York City’s boroughs and a high concentration of cultural amenities, Manhattan, KS delivers a crisp slice of life to college students and residents. Home to Kansas State University, which has a student population of more than 24,000, Manhattan’s dynamic downtown, affordable housing choices and education-based economy make it one of the Top 10 Best College Towns in the country. Manhattan’s size makes it the perfect place to find great entertainment options, jobs and new friends while retaining a small town feel.

See where Manhattan ranks on our list of the Top 100 Best Places to Live 2015. 

The university’s impact on the economy, culture and overall morale of Manhattan is evident throughout the year. Thousands of fans descend on Manhattan during football and basketball season. With a collection of bars, shops and restaurants, Aggieville, Manhattan’s entertainment district, draws college students and many young professionals who want to grab a drink, listen to live music and drop some dough. Restaurants in Manhattan range from international to laid-back and provide diners with many options. Many of the bars in Aggieville participate in what has become one of the city’s biggest events, Fake Patty’s Day, which is held a week or so before St. Patrick’s Day. 

The campus and the city are surrounded by natural attractions and outdoor recreation which include trails, 28 public parks, and Tuttle Creek State Park, a favorite spot for camping, fishing and swimming. The Manhattan Linear Trail runs for more than 15 miles inside the city. Walkers and joggers can enter the trail at several trailhead locations throughout the city and take routes that offer various degrees of difficulty. Sunset Zoo Loop, for example, is a more challenging trail that winds past the zoo’s chimp house and pops up at the water tower. The Sunset Zoological Park features everything from cute chinchillas to spiky hedgehogs, as well as grizzlies, wallabies, flamingos and many more animals, over 150 species that run the gamut from familiar too exotic.

In addition to KSU, Manhattan is also home to Manhattan Christian College, Manhattan Area Technical College and the American Institute of Baking.

Fun Fact: The Kicker Country Stampede turns Tuttle Creek State Park into a concert venue each summer, bringing in stars like Blake Shelton, Florida Georgia Line and Sara Evans.

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