Urban or suburban living: Both have appeal in Kansas City

Logic tells us those who want to save money should make their homes in the suburbs and that living downtown is more expensive. While that may be true in major cities along the coasts, making your home in the Heartland does have its perks.

Living in downtown Kansas City is comparable financially to living in some of the city’s most popular suburbs. When looking for apartments in Kansas City, the decision about whether to live in an urban or suburban location usually depends more on your lifestyle and preferences than cost.



There are multiple benefits to living in the city’s center, especially if you work downtown. The average commute time in Kansas City is just under 21 minutes, according to the quarterly publication, “Marketing KC.” If you live within walking distance of your job, you could save 40 minutes of car time a day – not to mention a lot of gas money. If you do have a car, though, you should expect to pay for parking at any downtown apartment.

Downtown living also keeps you within the vicinity of popular nightspots, like the Kansas City Power & Light District, a sprawling one-stop entertainment center.



Downtown Kansas City may be where the excitement thrives, but the city’s suburbs have their own claims to fame. Both Overland Park and Olathe have been named one of the 100 best places to live by CNN’s Money magazine, with Overland Park coming in at number 9 in 2012. While these are technically different cities, they are part of the greater metropolitan Kansas City area.

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Coldwell Banker Real Estate ranks Mission Hills as the city’s best suburb, and also named Leawood, Fairway and Prairie Village as some of the top suburbs.


A portion of the downtown Kansas City skyline
A portion of the downtown Kansas City skyline (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Decisions, decisions

When Kansas City’s downtown and Kansas City’s suburbs have so much to offer, how do you decide where to rent your apartment?

If you have kids, of course, the suburbs may hold appeal because you’re likely to find larger open areas and playgrounds, along with better school districts. In 2012, of the state’s 10 top-ranked high schools, three were in suburbs Overland Park and nearby Shawnee Mission.

Singles, couples or families with no children might prefer to live downtown, closer to the action.

In some cities, your budget determines whether you live downtown or make your home in the suburbs, but Kansas City is an equal-opportunity town. As one of the top 10 metro areas with affordable rents, according to MSN Real Estate, Kansas City had an average rent price of $701. The same year, Overland Park had an average rent price of $876, according to City-data.

Cost is just one factor in deciding where to live. Living in the suburbs may be a bit more expensive, but it has advantages – like being closer to shopping centers. If you live downtown, you may have to travel to the suburbs anyway to stock-up on household goods. But downtown living puts you close to a lot of arts, culture and entertainment options. Think about what matters to you most, and let that guide your decision about where to live.

Author: Casandra Lynne – Follow her on Google+.
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