Think Lawrence is just a college town? Think again. While the University of Kansas does play a huge role in this city, there’s so much more to Lawrence. It’s got a friendly, Midwestern vibe and plenty of room for your family to stretch their wings. Plus, the economy is robust and jobs are plentiful, ranging from manufacturing to publishing to data services. Lawrence is an affordable place to live, so you’ll have money to enjoy all the arts, entertainment, cultural and culinary wonders this city has to offer.
Top Industries and Employers: The University of Kansas, Hallmark, General Dynamics Information Technology and LMH Health are some of Lawrence’s largest employers.
Best Coffee Shop: 1900 Barker Bakery and Cafe, a cozy spot inside a renovated laundromat in East Lawrence. They make delicious breads and pastries here, too.
Best Local Beer/Brewery: Though there are lots to choose from, Free State Brewery takes the cake since it was the first legal brewery to open in Kansas since Prohibition.
Must-Have Meal: The “Mac and Cheesemonger” with a side of “Famous Brussels Sprouts” from Merchants Pub & Plate. The mac and cheese consists of baked cavatelli pasta drenched in a sauce made of cheddar, Parmesan and Gruyere (plus, you can add bacon for no extra charge). The Brussels sprouts are prepared with dried apricots, garlic chili mustard and cashews.
Best Co-Working Space: Cider Gallery, where you can be immersed in fine art as you work.
Best Meetup Spot (When Meeting Up Is a Thing Again): RPG (Restaurant Pub & Games), a board game restaurant and bar where you can play more than 1,000 board games with your friends.
Creative Hub: The Warehouse Arts District is a collection of galleries, shops, entertainment venues and maker spaces in East Lawrence.
Favorite Weekend Activity: Anything involving University of Kansas athletics, men’s basketball in particular. If that’s not an option, hitting up the Lawrence Farmers Market followed by a performance at Lawrence Arts Center or Lied Center of Kansas.
Free Way to Have Fun: Exploring the Prairie Park Nature Center, a 100-acre preserve where you can spot wildlife and birds, go fishing and walk the trails.
Local Dream Job: Tour guide for The Jayhawk Experience, so you can show off the University of Kansas’ athletics venues like the Booth Family Hall of Athletics, a 19,335-square-foot museum that tells the story of KU’s history and traditions.
- Sarah Kuta