Manhattan scored high on our list this year because of its housing affordability, which clocks in at 16% below the national average, a far cry from the unobtainable high rises in New York. Manhattan also got high marks for being a healthy city, thanks to fresh air from the nearby Flint Hills as well as many biking and walking trails around town that promote an overall healthy lifestyle.
Local Obsession: The Little Apple loves two things the most: Legendary former head coach Bill Snyder and their K-State Wildcats.
Climate Described in 6 Words Or Less: Be constantly prepared for all seasons
Top Employers: Fort Riley Military Base and Kansas State University
Local Dream Job: A Curator of Education at the Flint Hills Discovery Center, which works to preserve and educate about the Flint Hills — the last substantial area of tallgrass prairie in North America.
Quintessential Meal: The red velvet cake donut from Varsity Donuts, a charming donut shop housed in a former drug store
Favorite Weekend Activity: If it’s Saturday in fall, you can guarantee the whole town is heading for some tailgating and cheering at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.
After-Work Meetup Spot: Nothing will make you forget your work troubles quicker than a Nancy from the So Long Saloon — made with Old Milwaukee and pineapple juice. Just trust us on this one.
Best Brewery: Named the “Best Beer Bar in Kansas” by the Brewers Association, Tallgrass Tap House is a local favorite for some delicious craft beers.
Beloved Bookstore: Claflin Books is a destination store for readers who want to learn more about local and regional history, and specifically about the history of the beautiful Flint Hills.
Free Way to Have Fun: Stop and smell the roses (and the daylilies and peonies) in the Gardens at Kansas State University, which is an ever-evolving horticultural display that will eventually be a 19-acre garden.
Truly Hidden Gem: Take a trip back to the 19th century in the Wolf House, a former boarding house made of limestone. But beware — many in town say it’s haunted.
- Jamie Birdwell-Branson