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Wichita
  • $360   =  non-traditional average 1
  • $495   =  average 2BR ÷ 2, or traditional roommate rent 2
  • $811   =  average 1BR, rented solo 3
  • (traditional vs. non-traditional roommates)
  • (the rest of the  midwest US)

52% live within a 10-minute walk of a park. 4
Most errands require a car. 5
wind, tree and grass pollen
cheapest rent, railroads 6

SO, roomiematch.com's Wichita roommate rundown:

Wichita is the heartland . . . the heart of the Great Plains of Central Kansas, about 3 hours drive from both Kansas City and OKC. It kicked off as a trading post serving cowboys on cattle drives from Texas north to the railroads. While it remains popular with cattlemen and the oil industry . . .

. . . lately you'll also find aircraft manufacturers out on Wichita's plains. (They need the space.) Wichita's Western spirit lives on as "The Air Capital of the World," because local enthusiasm for aircraft isn't limited to making them. McConnell Air Force Base is southeast, and the whole town collectively sponsors several large regional fly-ins and air shows.

That "everybody all together" with "small town feeling" is characteristic of Wichita. It's extra noticeable in a city that's actually more substantial than small. The cost of living is still well below the national average. Wichitans invented "small town" favorites like White Castle (1921) and Pizza Hut (1958). It's also the headquarters of Dean & Deluca.

There are special stipulations for survival where it's always this windy. Wichita's sunsets are gorgeous but again, WINDY. Enjoy them while wearing multiple layers.

And Wichita always ranks one of the worst for tree and grass pollen. All that wind sweeping down the plain apparently gathers up allergens from pasturelands. If your roommates are allergic, tell them to bring their pills. If it's asthma or anything requiring an inhaler (especially if they live in a less airborne allergenic area now), tell them to consult a doctor before visiting.

A multitude of social organizations parade through town on major holidays, including Juneteenth and River Festival. Several larger car shows are locally and nationally well-attended too.

In fact, with transportation such an overall focus, you might wonder if it's "ironic" that while Wichita still proudly hosts 4 major railroads, none of them pick up human passengers any longer?

And if you'd like life experience likely to inspire art on the topic of urban ambiguity and the folly of human nature, go wait for one of Wichita's buses.

Wichita's newer bike lanes go far to make the city more bike-friendly, but it's still a struggle to make your bike your main transport if you're leaving your neighborhood / going very far / and/or biking in hot or cold weather.

Because Wichita's spread out, it's fundamentally more difficult for many to bike the whole thing. No matter how many lovely protected lanes there are, a longer route might still be too far. Too far for some at all, possibly too long for others during less than ideal weather.

So mostly: You will need a car to get around Wichita. If you don't already own, you might need to rent, and probably right away until you can pick up something up.

But happy day for drivers: Wichita's streets are laid out in an easygoing grid.

Parking is zero hassle to find, and delightfully free for everyone!

The rest of the Wichita roommate lowdown:

  • in south central Kansas, at the junction of Interstate 35 and U.S. Route 54 - along the Arkansas River, which roughly bisects the city
  • Wichita is home to about 400,000 residents in town, greater metro about 650,000. It's surrounded by suburbs.
  • technically the largest city in Kansas, because Kansas City's split with Missouri
  • Wichita sports a wide range of weather year round, with hot humid summers, and cold dry winters with several inches of snow over the whole season. Great Plains means periodic severe weather, including thunderstorms with large hail and frequent lightning, watch out (go inside during lightning storms).
  • After aircraft and rail, healthcare is Wichita's second industry. Oil is still happening too, but it's clearly no longer the boom period.
  • Wichita's professional sports teams hosted include Wichita Thunder (ECHL), Wichita Wind Surge (Double-A Central), and Wichita Wings (MASL2). Wichita State University sports are also popular.
  • home of Wichita State University, Friends University, Newman University, and WSU Tech
  • 4 major railroads run through the city



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

  • Ballet Wichita: Watch them tour multiple productions . . . or take ballet classes, volunteer to help staff during performances, or take sewing classes for ballet costumes, then do that too.
  • Great Plains Transportation Museum: Do you love locomotives?
  • Museum of World Treasures: Did you know that prehistoric sea creatures once called this city their home? Gigantic fishes all over these Great Plains. Check out the Xiphactinus.
  • Wichita Art Museum: Largest art museum in Kansas; free for everyone.
  • Old Cowtown Museum: One of the oldest open-air history museums. This means a collection of historical homes outside on 23 acres of land, telling the story of Wichita's transformation from the frontier.
  • Mid-America All-Indian Center: The museum for history and culture of Native Americans in Kansas.
  • Starlite Drive-In: It's the only drive-in theater in Wichita. Would you like to see a movie in a convertible under the summer stars near a snack bar? It's priced per car not person, so if you go with more than 2 it's cheaper than other theaters, probably. But you have to supply the convertible.


Here's the city of Wichita's official .gov, the "How Do I . . . " page for residents.





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.