15 Best Places to Live in Kansas

Written by Darren Griffiths
Updated on
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Name the film ‘there’s no place like home’. You’ve guessed it! The Wizard of Oz! Now, where is Dorothy’s home? Why it’s Kansas!

This almost perfectly regular state can be called home by 2.9million people, and no, they don’t just click their heels and magic their way back here! Being the Midwest, Kansas State is well connected to the rest of the country by Route 70 and Route 135.

So we know that it is a well-connected state but what about other factors that potential new residents look for in an American State? What about access to public schooling, cost of living and population diversity?

With fifty states to choose from it can be bewildering to start the process of looking for a new place to live in the United States of America. Each state has its own merits and as a collection of settlements, they are incredibly diverse.

We have scoured the jumbled array of information out there about Kansas, eliminated the unnecessary and highlighted the useful, in this comprehensive guide of best places to live in Kansas, meaning you can focus on the fun part of the process, finding your new home!

1. Leawood

LeawoodSource: kcplumberpro.com

Leawood is what could be referred to as a triple threat, in the right kind of way. Not only ranked as the best place to live in Kansas but also the best suburb in the state and the best place to raise a family too, according to niche.com.

Having listened to what local residents say, it is the tight-knit community that really makes Leawood a special place to live, on top of that, the charming style of houses, and pride that people take in their properties all adds to the appeal.

The median household income is six figures, which would explain, perhaps, the high median property value. Sitting above the national average, this area is rather exclusive some would say. Median rent is over $1,000 and with 93% of residents living in owned homes tenants are pushed for choice.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Leawood are:

  • Town Center Plaza
  • Park Place
  • Museum of Prairiefire
  • Johnson County Museum
  • Leawood City Park
  • Indian Creek Trail
  • Leawood Aquatic Center
  • Ironhorse Golf Club

2. Prairie Village

Prairie VillageSource: A.D. Modlin / Flickr
Prairie Village

Prairie Village is Situated in Johnson County, one of Kansas’s best places to live. Prairie Village has around three thousand residents and gets its name from the prairies you’ll find all over town. 

While living in Prairie Village, you’ll be able to take advantage of various outdoor activities, such as spending the day golfing at The Falcon Valley Golf Club or shopping at the Village shopping center.

Prairie Village is known for its diverse economy, entertainment options, and attractive downtown area. If you’re moving to Prairie Village for job opportunities, the economy thrives. 

The unemployment rate in Prairie Village sits at 3.1%, well below the national average. In contrast, the cost of living is 8.6% higher than the national average. Even with its cost of living, it’s still more affordable than most areas in the United States today.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Prairie Village are:

  • Johnson County Museum
  • Harmon Park
  • VillageFest
  • The Shops of Prairie Village
  • Meadowbrook Park
  • Art Walk
  • Franklin Park
  • Overland Park Farmers Market

3. Westwood

Westwood, Kansas CitySource: Quint2724 / Wikimedia
Westwood, Kansas City

While living in Westwood, you’ll experience that small-town feel while still having the luxury of big city amenities. With a population of around two thousand residents, staying connected to your neighbors in this community is easy. While venturing around the community, you’ll get to explore it’s various parks and outdoor activities.

Westwood is also one of the most desirable locations for families as they have an excellent public school system for children. In addition to its great schools, Westwood has its own area for dining, shopping, and other recreational activities.

In addition, the unemployment rate in Westwood is 3.1%, placing it below the national average. While the cost of living is 4.9% higher than the national average. If you’re considering moving your family to Westwood, you won’t be disappointed, especially when it comes to their education!

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in or near Westwood are:

  • Overland Park Botanical Garden
  • Mill Creek
  • River Market
  • Westwood Park
  • Legoland
  • Sealife
  • Great Wolf Lodge
  • Kansas City Zoo

4. Fairway

Shawnee Methodist Mission, North Building, National Historic Landmark, Fairway, KansasSource: User:Charvex / Wikimedia
Shawnee Methodist Mission, Fairway, Kansas

Located in Johnson County is the city of Fairway, one of the best places to live in Kansas. With a population of around then thousand residents, the community in Fairway is warm and welcoming to all its current and new residents.

Located only minutes away from Kansas City, you won’t need to travel far for big city amenities or commute for work. Fairway gives you everything that you need while still maintaining its quiet and cozy atmosphere. Not far is the Missouri River, a great location to spend the day participating in outdoor activities such as walking, biking, and fishing.

In addition, residents living in Fairway bring in around six figures, so the housing price tag of $500,000 is more realistic while living here. If you’re looking for a place with great weather, excellent school system, and quiet community, Fairway is one of the best places to call home!

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Fairway are:

  • Kansas City Zoo
  • Country Club Plaza
  • Science City Science Museum
  • American Jazz Museum
  • Kaufmann Stadium
  • Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art

5. Overland Park

Source: Mike Kalasnik from Fort Mill, USA / Wikimedia
Overland Park

Situated just outside of Kansas City, you’ll find Overland Park, one of the best places to live in Kansas. Residents living in Overland Park love taking advantage of its outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, and shopping at its various boutiques. 

While living in Overland Park, you’ll also enjoy its many attractions such as movie theaters, art galleries, museums, and nature parks. While Overland Park is known for its diverse economy, entertainment options, and attractive downtown setting, it’s also a great place to spend the night out with friends.

In addition, the unemployment rate in Overland Park is 3%, well below the national average. While the cost of living hovers around 7.9% higher than the national average. If you love living in a location that is still close to the big city, Overland Park is an excellent place to call home.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Overland Park are:

  • Museum at Prairiefire
  • Oak Park Mall
  • Topgolf
  • The White Theater at the J
  • Tick Tock Escape Room

6. Lenexa

LenexaSource: OrthoArchitectDU / Wikimedia

Known as a small city in Kansas, Lenexa has many natural family attractions for people of all ages. From its large open parks like Black Hoof Park and historical sites like Legler Barn, Lenexa has just about any type of attraction that comes to mind.

While living in Lenexa, you’ll explore the community and experience its recreational areas, lakefront hiking trails, and numerous dining options. In addition, the unemployment rate in Lenexa sits at 3.2%, well below the national average, while the cost of living is 5.7% higher than the national average.

If you’re looking for a city where there’s always something to do, rain or shine, Lenexa is the perfect place to call home!

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Lenexa are:

  • Lenexa Public Market
  • Black Hoof Park
  • Shawnee Mission Park
  • Spinach Festival
  • Mill Creek Streamway Park
  • Indian Trails Aquatic Center
  • Black Dog Coffeehouse
  • Limitless Brewing
  • Kansas City Automotive Museum

7. Olathe

Johnson County Courthouse In Olathe, KansasSource: Ichabod / Wikimedia
Johnson County Courthouse In Olathe, Kansas

Located in the east park of Kansas is the city of Olathe. Olathe is a city that continues to see tremendous growth, with a population of around one hundred and forty-thousand residents, growing 11% since 2020.

Olathe has plenty to do such as spending the day in its downtown area or hitting up its annual festivals. Olathe is also a great place to raise a family, as it has an excellent public school system for children.

In addition, Olathe’s economy continues to thrive, with its unemployment rate sitting at only 2.9%. Homes in Olathe are averaging around $350,000 which is considerably cheap when compared to the rest of the country.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Olathe are:

  • Kansas City Automotive Museum
  • Olathe Farmers Market
  • Lake Olathe
  • Ernie Miller Park & Nature Center
  • Heritage Park
  • Ensor Park & Museum
  • Kill Creek Park
  • Coffee Creek Trail

8. Roeland Park

Roeland ParkSource: www.roelandpark.net
Roeland Park

If you’re looking for a loving community where everyone knows everyone, you’ll find just what you’re looking for in Roeland Park. In Roeland Park, there are any nature parks, walking trails, and recreational activities all year long.

Many families moving to Roeland Park have chosen this location due to its excellent educational system for the children. Roeland Park is also close to Kansas City, so you’ll have additional job opportunities available

Renting property in Roeland Park is one of the more affordable and desirable areas of Kansas City to do so. On average monthly rent in the suburb is $992, far more affordable than Prairie Village for example. With 29% of people living in rented accommodation, there is a good range of homes for tenants to choose from.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Roeland Park are:

  • Oak Park Mall
  • 9/11 Memorial
  • Legends Outlets Kansas City
  • American Jazz Museum
  • Glenwood Arts Theater

9. Mission Hills

Mission HillsSource: davedehetre / Flickr
Mission Hills

Adjacent to Fairway and directly north of Prairie Village is the suburb of Mission Hills. You may recall the name from when we discussed Fairway for Mission Hills is home to Mission Hills Golf Club.

There are dozens of quaint coffee shops and family run burger joints here in Mission Hills; First Watch – Fairway is a popular spot for brunch.

With a small population of just thirty-five hundred, Mission Hills is rather a sociable place. Residents are keen to keep the community atmosphere thriving so there are many opportunities throughout the year to do your bit for the neighbourhood.

Mission Hills is a very affluent neighbourhood, average house prices are around a million, and sadly there is little change from the price in this area.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Mission Hills are:

  • Country Club Plaza Shopping Mall
  • The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
  • Jacob L. Loose Park
  • Woodside Gym
  • Overland Park Farmers Market
  • The Primrose Cocktail
  • Arbor Villa Park
  • Rio Theater

10. Shawnee

ShawneeSource: sevenMaps7 / shutterstock

Looking back through our list of 15 best places to live in Kansas it is safe to say that our selection features not only great places to live in Kansas but great places to live in America as a whole. Shawnee is no exception.

Those looking to rent a property in Kansas can hit the jackpot in Shawnee. With median rent over $1,000 a month, this is a greatly affordable area for tenants in this state.

Local people describe the area as well balanced, in all respects; there is a diverse population of sixty-four thousand residents who earn almost $90,000 a year.

Situated on the banks of the Kansas River, close to Lake Quivira, there are ample opportunities to get outdoors and explore.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Shawnee are:

  • Aztec Shawnee Theater
  • Shawnee Town 1929 Museum
  • Shawnee Mission Park
  • Super Kidz Club Indoor Playground
  • Park Lanes Family Fun Center
  • Pioneer Crossing Park

11. Lawrence

Lawrence, KansasSource: Jeff Zehnder / shutterstock

Lawrence is the sixth largest city in Kansas. On the banks of Clinton Lake much like with Shawnee, there are plenty of opportunities to get outdoors here in Lawrence.

The city in Douglas County is home to ninety-one thousand; there is a solid market here for rental properties with nearly half of residents leasing their homes.

With median rent around $1,000, it is easy to see why many residents opt to rent. That said, investing in property in Lawrence is a smart move. Great value for money in a pleasant neighbourhood. On 21st Street a 4-bedroom, 2-bathroom family home costs way below the national average.

Given the great selection of public schools in the area, young families can create a happy and homely base in Lawrence.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Lawrence are:

  • Massachusetts Street
  • University of Kansas
  • Spencer Museum of Art
  • Allen Fieldhouse
  • Clinton State Park
  • Lawrence Rotary Arboretum

12. Mission

Mission, Kansas CitySource: www.kansastravel.org

Mission is another suburb of Kansas City. With job opportunities aplenty in the central business district, situating yourself a half an hour drive away from the business hub could prove a sensible move.

Mission has a vast selection of fast food joints and formal restaurants too. Should you wish you’d never have to cook again!

From a home base in Mission, parents have access to top end schools in Shawnee too for the school district here spans over both neighbourhoods. Residents of Mission are a diverse bunch who on average earn around $60,000 per year.

It is sad to see that a spate of thefts in the area have cast Mission down in the crime statistics, but local people claim they feel safe and protected living here.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Mission are:

  • Shawnee Mission Park
  • Moonlight Markets
  • Splash Cove
  • Clear Creek Trail
  • Kansas City Ice Center and Pavilion

13. Manhattan

Manhattan, KansasSource: SilverEdge / shutterstock

No, not the suburb of New York City, this Manhattan is very much in Kansas, in Riley County. In all honesty, there is very little to find fault with in this suburb and has it been in any other state it may well have ranked more favourably.

Median rent here in Manhattan is far lower than the national average, at $859 the cost of living here is a big draw. In fact, more of the 55,700 people who reside here live in rented accommodation, rather than owned properties.

This is a rather transient neighbourhood due to its college town status. Students bring with them a vibrancy and thirst for socialising that benefits the whole community.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Manhattan are:

  • Flint Hills Discovery Center
  • Aggieville
  • Bill Snyder Family Stadium
  • Sunset Zoo
  • Linear Trail
  • Tuttle Creek State Park
  • Manhattan Town Center
  • Kansas State University Insect Zoo

14. North Newton

North NewtonSource: Weldon Schloneger / shutterstock
North Newton

North Newton is considered to be the safest suburb in Kansas. The cost of living is ideal and the availability of quality housing plentiful. This area has an aging population largely due to the schools in the area.

Although all are performing on par with government expectations compared to other schooling districts in Kansas State, North Newton is underperforming.

Nevertheless, if public schooling has no impact on your decision-making process then there are no issues to report from North Newton.

Just thirty-minutes drive away from Wichita, there are ample provisions in North Newton for most people. Should mega stores or a taste of big city life be in order it’s just a short drive away.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in North Newton are:

  • Kauffman Museum
  • Blue Sky Sculpture
  • Carriage Factory Art Gallery
  • The Breadbasket
  • Sand Creek Station Golf Course
  • Sand Creek Bike Path

15. Derby

DerbySource: sevenMaps7 / shutterstock

Derby is an all round good place to live. Easily affordable for a working family and with a huge variety of family homes on the market you’ll surely find a suitable match.

Investors would gain great value for money should they choose Derby as a place to play. A stately 2-storey family home with four bedrooms and 4 bathrooms to match currently fetches $179,000.

There is a good range of public schools in Derby too, with 23% of the 23,000 residents being of school age there is a thriving community of young people in the area.

As a suburb of Wichita, the city provides youngsters with all their entertainment needs; movie theatres and Exploration Place are popular weekend hangouts.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Derby are:

  • Madison Avenue Central Park
  • Derby Historical Museum
  • High Park
  • Warren Riverview Park
  • Derby Farmers Market
  • Rock River Rapids Aquatic Park
  • Derby Bowl
  • Derby Sports Zone
  • Derby Skate Park


15 Best Places to Live in Kansas:

  • Leawood
  • Prairie Village
  • Westwood
  • Fairway
  • Overland Park
  • Lenexa
  • Olathe
  • Roeland Park
  • Mission Hills
  • Shawnee
  • Lawrence
  • Mission
  • Manhattan
  • North Newton
  • Derby