Several cities earn high marks for livability in The Bluebonnet State, including the following communities with great qualities of life.
A suburb of Kansas City, the upscale community of Overland Park has a median family income of $100,000, and more than 40 companies have their corporate headquarters here. Strong economic sectors include finance, healthcare, insurance and retail, and Overland Park has four public school districts and several college campuses.
One of the fastest-growing cities in the nation is Olathe, an upscale community with attractions like open green spaces and top healthcare. The Federal Aviation Administration has a major base of operations, and Olathe is home to MidAmerica Nazarene University and the Kansas State School for the Deaf.
As the capital of Kansas, Topeka’s economy is paced by state government jobs that employ about 8,400 people. Washburn University is here, and Topeka has major hospitals like Stormont-Vail and St. Francis Hospital. The city also features an excellent transportation system with I-70, I-470 and I-335 all going through Topeka.
Along the banks of the Kansas and Wakarusa rivers is Lawrence, primarily a college town thanks to the University of Kansas and Haskell Indian Nations University. A diverse economy features sectors like agriculture, finance, government, manufacturing and research, and the city has a thriving music and art scene.
Shawnee is among the most bicycle friendly communities in America, with 18 miles of on-street bike lanes and 27 miles of off-street recreational trails. The city also features a highly regarded public school system, and the parks department includes a popular Shawnee Town 1929 Museum currently undergoing expansion.
Best known as home to Kansas State University, Manhattan has a distinct college atmosphere, and one part of town called Aggieville serves as the hub of Manhattan’s nightlife. Community amenities include Manhattan Regional Airport and an annual Country Stampede Music Festival that is the largest music get-together in Kansas.
Lenexa features a median family income of $100,000, and residents can enjoy top recreational amenities along with abundant natural scenery. The city maintains 30 parks and 26 miles of trails, and annual community events include a Great Lenexa Barbecue Battle in July and a Lenexa Chili Challenge every October.
Nicknamed “Cowboy Capital of the World,” Dodge City is a tourism destination based on its history as a wild Old West frontier town. Meatpacking and cattle ranching are primary industries, and conveniences include 20 parks, Western Plains Medical Complex, Dodge City Regional Airport and a casino resort.
In the central part of Kansas, McPherson is home to McPherson College and Central Christian College. An annual Scottish Festival & Highland Games is held each September, and residents have access to many walking trails, parks, bike routes and a water park. A historic McPherson Opera House first opened in 1889.
Only minutes from Kansas City, Mission has a small town atmosphere while offering close proximity to the big city. Mission features several parks and trails along with a large community center and a family aquatic complex, and the city is ranked among the safest in America.