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Kansas City
  • $550   =  non-traditional average 1
  • $749   =  average 2BR ÷ 2, or traditional roommate rent 2
  • $1174   =  average 1BR, rented solo 3
  • (traditional vs. non-traditional roommates)
  • (the rest of the  midwest US)

69% live within a 10-minute walk of a park. 4
Most errands require a car. 5
tornadoes
dog friendly, local professional sports, symphonies, BBQ, live music 6
poor grandmas, burnt hair smell, spooky rednecks, overpriced bars, our beloved beer factory, vinyl hipsters, liberal arts students, best hood BBQ, the blues, wedding pictures, expensive homes, and BBQ for whites that are scared of blacks are the largest hoodmap tags 7

SO, roomiematch.com's Kansas City roommate rundown:

Kansas City is right in the middle of everything American. At least the lower 48.

It is America's heartland, especially in the sense that it is the geographic center.

Kansas City spreads across the border of Missouri and Kansas and splits, with Kansas City, Missouri on the east side of the Missouri River, and Kansas City, Kansas on the west. While the Missouri River is not the only separation, most people treat Kansas City as just one metropolis most of the time.

That's a metro that's a major meeting point for several very busy freeways. Four major interstate highways pass right on through.

And all of that is completely surrounded by suburbs.

And all those suburbs are completely surrounded by farmland.

And this whole region is famous for both barbeque and the blues . . . often known as jazz.

Kansas City is so famous for BBQ it hosts the American Royal BBQ Contest. That's the largest BBQ contest in the entire world.

Kansas Citians tend to feel Kansas City has the best BBQ, of course. Their sauce is distinctively sweetened with more molasses and more tomato than thinner sauces. They also celebrate their own "burnt ends," usually the charred edges of beef brisket. But there's even passionate debate over who has the best KC BBQ. With about 100 BBQ restaurants in the KC area, that's quite the contest.

Kansas City has its own large jazz scene with its own jazz style, bluesy and swinging. Dozens of restaurants and clubs feature their own live entertainment, some even nightly.

They also benefit from a diversified economy, and a low unemployment rate coupled with a low cost of living.

So with all that blues and BBQ, what could be bad?

It's unfortunately fair to say Kansas City has suffered significant damage from both storms and sprawl.

Yes, Kansas City is also famous for being in the middle of "Tornado Alley," the area from northern Texas up through the Dakotas where tornadoes are most frequent.

The weather can occasionally be as dramatic as you've been led to believe in the Wizard of Oz. You and your roommates and your little dogs too will need to beware of both tornadoes and ice storms.

Kansas City can be severely windy due to no large body of water nearby. Since there's next to nothing topographic to obstruct air currents, it's a continental climate. That means big swings and extreme changes. Their summers are hot and humid and often over 90F, while snow in winter can exceed a foot. Ice storms can also knock out your power.

Tornado sirens will warn you when a twister is nearby. Make sure you and your roommates have an emergency plan that includes an emergency bag with first aid supplies.

As for sprawl, remember all that highway? Their extensive freeway network has more highway lane miles than most metro areas, including much larger. The upside is less congestion, plus it's great for the local logistics industry.

The downside is the contribution to Kansas City's sprawl, which has been bad historically for areas near downtown.

But Kansas City locals still say all that lonesome highway is still upside, just not completely unqualified. Growth must be handled correctly to avoid asphyxiating downtown, but there's increasing civic motivation plus money behind doing better.

In last decade or so, downtown revitalization efforts have accelerated, with many once abandoned buildings downtown now being rehabbed into condos and lofts. They're also right near all the stuff in the middle you'd probably like them to be near, like downtown restaurants, clubs, performing arts and sports venues.

The rest of the Kansas City roommate lowdown:

  • large city on the Missouri River, most populous in Missouri and largest by area - about 500,000 inside the city, about 2 million in the larger metro
  • Many once abandoned buildings downtown now being rehabbed into condos and lofts, like the Power & Light Building, the Commerce Bank Tower, near the T-Mobile center (sports complex with almost 20,000 seats), and the Midland Theatre
  • major league teams include the NFL Kansas City Chiefs (NFL), the MLB Kansas City Royals, MLS Sporting Kansas City. They don't have NBA, but they do have WNBA, the KC Crossover, and a team in the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL), the Kansas City Current.
  • home to Cleveland Chiropractic College, Kansas City Art Institute, William Jewel College, Avila College, Baker University, Mid-America Nazarene College, Ottawa University (Kansas City Branch), Park College, Rockhurst College, Saint Mary College, U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, University of Kansas, University of Kansas Medical Center, and the University of Missouri
  • A few densely populated neighborhoods are also walkable, but if you're in one that's not or leaving yours, you can ride a bus between tourist destinations in the metro core, which also connects downtown, and with limited service to the suburbs. Anything else you're car dependent.
  • Kansas City is easily navigable, with east-west streets numbered from Main Street, and north-south from St. John Ave in the River Market area.
  • diversified economy, good job market, low unemployment
  • The federal government is the largest employer in the area, including the Internal Revenue Service, Department of Defense, Social Services Administration, and the Department of Veterans Affairs.
  • metro area hosts six casinos, plus riverboat casino gaming on the Missouri River



After you're settled down, you and your roommates should experience Kansas City's:

  • River Market: Restaurants, bars, a farmers' market every Saturday, even in winter
  • Crossroads Arts District: 7-9 p.m. on the first Friday of each month is free entry to most galleries, who sometimes have free crackers, cheese, and wine. Often a whole crowd walking around, visiting food trucks, especially in summertime. Also former industrial spaces, some have now become home design or clothing stores.
  • Country Club Plaza: Covered in fountains, from traditional to modern, some including synchronized jet displays - in large part why one of Kansas City's nicknames is "City of Fountains"
  • Central Business District: Many art deco buildings
  • Sea Life Kansas City Aquarium: Known for their sharks, starfish, and stingrays
  • College Basketball Experience and College Basketball Hall of Fame: Over 40,000 square feet showcasing various college basketball claims to fame, including interactive basketball exhibits.
  • Community Christian Church: Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright
  • Kansas City Irish Fest: Kiss them, they're Irish! Or drink the free-flowing whiskey. Or one then the other, maybe whiskey first?
  • Charlie Parker Memorial at the Jazz Museum: Enjoy the 18-foot tall brass green head of Charlie Parker paying tribute to Kansas City, the Jazz Museum, and even jazz itself. "Bird Lives!


Here's Kansas City's official .gov, with all their departments, from health and housing to parks and recreation.





Notes

1.   The non-traditional roommate rent average for this city we've experienced over the last 3 years. We can't predict future rental availability, because we're neither in control of any rental market nor psychic, sorry!

But in most cities most of the time, the recent and relatively recent past are the best predictors.


2.   This idea came from smartasset.com's ranking of what a roommate saves you in 50 cities. They ranked where roommates will save you the most money, based on the average cost of a 1BR as opposed to a 2BR ÷ 2. Unsurprisingly, the more expensive the city, the more you can save, but the savings are significant in all larger metros. So we got the data for the rest of our cities from Zumper too.

This is really the minimum you could save, as you could live with more than one roommate, split more services, share food or other supplies, etc. More sharing tends to lead to more savings too, as per our roommate roadmap.

As per the rest of the description at the top of this page, we're calling this "traditional" roommate rent.


3.   From zumper.com.


4.   Directly quoted from the Trust for Public Land's parkland rating system.

"The ParkScore index awards each city up to 100 points for acreage based on the average of two equally weighted measures: median park size and parkland as a percentage of city area. Factoring park acreage into each city’s ParkScore rating helps account for the importance of larger “destination parks” that serve many users who live farther than ten minutes’ walking distance."

While each city's rundown already includes their individual ParkScore, nature lovers might like to see all roommate cities ranked for parkland.


5.   Directly quoted from Walk Score's Cities and Neighborhoods Ranking. They've ranked "more than 2,800 cities and over 10,000 neighborhoods so you can find a walkable home or apartment."

While each city's rundown already includes their individual Walk Score, dedicated pedestrians might like to see all roommate cities ranked for walkability.


6.   From various lists here on our own best roommate cities.


7.   From hoodmaps.com: a collaborative map where residents use tags describing social situations you're likely to find. Other users can thumb up or down, so the largest tags have been thumbed up the most.