While many might think “ten” is too ambitious a number to assign to a list of the most exciting places in Kansas, The Movoto Blog, an online newsletter from nationwide real-estate company Movoto, recently enthusiastically chose Kansas’ top-10 most exciting places.
Most of the Movoto’s choices are college towns, including the top three places, Manhattan, Lawrence and Hays, home to the University of Kansas, Kansas State University and Fort Hays State University, respectively. But two of the top-10 places—Prairie Village and Leawood—are suburbs of Kansas City, Mo.
As Movota points out, Kansas, as compared to places like New York, Colorado, or California, usually doesn’t come to mind in a list of “most exciting states” in the United States—especially considering the Wheat State’s most famous roadside attractions include being home of a ball of twine weighing nearly 20,000 pounds, the windiest U.S. city (Dodge City), and where at one point it was once illegal to serve ice cream on top of cherry pie. But, as Movoto points out, every state in the nation has hidden gems.
Movoto used a formula to rate cities with more than 10,000 people, and took into consideration the following information: live music venues per capital; active life options per capita (parks, outdoor activities, etc.); arts and entertainment per capita (movie theaters, festivals, galleries, theaters, etc.); fast-food restaurants per capita (the fewer the better); percentage of restaurants that are not fast food (the higher the better); percentage of young residents ages 18 to 34 (the higher the better).
1. City of Manhattan
2. City of Lawrence
3. City of Hays
4. City of Leawood
5. City of Garden City
6. City of Pittsburg (tie)
6. City of Prairie Village (tie)
8. City of Wichita
9. City of Emporia
10. City of Leavenworth (tie)
10. City of Salina (tie)
Unlike the three college towns ranked before it, Leawood’s excitement has little to do with a young population, and everything to do with its overall healthy lifestyle. It ranked No. 2 for its number of active life options per capita, plus No. 3 for both its lack of fast food restaurants, and for its variety of actual (meaning non-fast food) restaurants. Places like Rye, Mestizo, and North Italia.
Prairie Village, which tied for No. 6 with college-town Pittsburg, scored its points for places to get healthy, ranking sixth overall for its active life options, and first for both its number of restaurants per capita and its lack of fast food. Movota especially recommends the restaurant Story. “The German chocolate cake at this restaurant is reason enough to move to Prairie Village. Plus, with all of the active lifestyle options here, you’ve got to be able to treat yourself somehow.”