I love you to pieces, Kansas City, because I moved away and you took me back with open arms. I took a job in Nashville (loved the job, hated the city) and came groveling back to my sweet KC, which tasted even sweeter knowing I almost lost her.
Join me this Valentine’s Day falling in love with Kansas City all over again. Whether you live here or want reasons to visit Kansas City, read on.
For those who say you can’t come home, hogwash.
I’ll Be Right There
In Kansas City, you can get from point A to point B in around 30 minutes or less without the need to take Xanax. If you’ve ever driven in Nashville, St. Louis, Chicago, Washington D.C., or any other large city, you probably have nine lives, or else you’d be dead.
Big cities often mean long commutes, limited parking, and the need to drive a vehicle with a roll bar to get to your destination alive. None of which are true in Kansas City.
Kansas City is easy to get around if you own a car. Traffic in KC only gets congested on game day, during road construction, or major performances at the Kauffman Center for Performing Arts.
With 40,000 downtown parking places, you can park for around $2 an hour near your destination. Better yet, you can park free in specific lots and take the streetcar to a drop-off point near your destination.
I’ve been warned not to broadcast how affordable Kansas City is, and I’m throwing caution to the wind by revealing that my 1400 square feet home valued at $240,000 would cost $800,000 in Nashville. Granted, Kansas City didn’t make Forbes Best and Cheapest Cities to Live List 25 list like Des Moines, IA, did, but Missouri is listed as the 5th most affordable state. With a household income of $50,000, a home purchase is definitely in reach in one of these 21 affordable suburbs in KC.
Most Kansas Citians live like country music stars in big houses with big yards. Prepare to live like the humble beginnings of Loretta Lynn when you move outside Kansas City or Missouri as a whole. Housing prices (and cost of living ratios) are as misrepresented online as Match.com profiles.
While KC’s homeless population has grown during the pandemic, KC is not one of the top 32 cities with high homeless rates. Topeka, KS, and St. Joseph, Mo, have a higher homeless population than Kansas City.
A Little Bit Country…
Like Marie and Donnie Osmond, KC is a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll. KC’s wide-open spaces make my heart go pitter-patter. It’s rare for a city to have the perfect mix of a strong urban core and vast countryside just minutes away. While New Yorkers drive thousands of miles to escape to the beach, Kansas Citians drive minutes to enjoy lakes ranging in size from Smithville Lake (7,200 acres) or a couple of hours to Lake of the Ozarks (61,000 acres).
Kansas City ranks second in the nation for the most green space per capita, according to the National Recreation and Park Association.
Check out this aerial view of Loose Park (KC’s equivalent to Manhattan’s Central Park).
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KC Sports, S.O.Bs, and Sunsets
Kansas City has had teams in all five of the major professional sports leagues. Four major league teams remain today — The Kansas City Chiefs football team, The Kansas City Royals baseball team, Sporting KC’s men’s soccer, and FC Kansas City women’s soccer.
For people who prefer arts over sports, Kansas City has the trifecta: a symphony, opera, and professional ballet company (in economic development terms this is referred to as S.O.B).
Personally, I enjoy the dramatic sunsets, and I’ve only seen one that compares, and that was in Key West. I know photographers flock to the Grand Canyon, the California coastline, and Colorado to capture what they believe is the best sunset. Midwest sunsets over a field or the Country Club Plaza like photographer Duane Hallock captured below make my heart throb.
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The Only Elephant in the Room
Let’s talk about the weather. Kansas City is famous for BBQ, not its weather.
Summers are humid and winters drive families indoors for months of cabin fever. Because of its less than mild weather, KC gets a pass for fires, mudslides, earthquakes, and floods.
Kansas Citians do contend with tornados like the treacherous one that hit Joplin, MO, in 2011. Fortunately, most KC homes have basements, unlike the homes in Texas. Basement provides pretty safe refuge from tornados and storms.
With more than 3,200 area restaurants serving any genre of food and Kansas City’s award-winning BBQ, I raise my glass to Kansas City’s food scene. Though we’ve lost more than 100 restaurants during the pandemic, new kitchens and concepts continue to open every month to fill the space of the restaurants we’ve lost.
However, no establishments can take the place of my favorite Kansas City dive bars. I have been visiting the Quaff Buffet & Grill on Broadway for three decades and it’s been serving the Quality Hill community for six decades.
Finally, one of the best reasons to fall in love with Kansas City, is she’ll take you back if you leave her. Driving back from Nashville last year I kept humming John Denver’s song.
“Country roads take me home, to the place I belong, Kansas City.”
Thinking about moving to Kansas City? Get your bearings first.
- 8 Kansas City Venues & Restaurants Serving Turkey and All the Fixins - November 23, 2022
- This KC Neighborhood Bar Will Steal Your Heart - March 8, 2022
- 10 Beloved KC Restaurants Still Cooking 8-10 Decades Later - February 20, 2022