Is there somewhere near Kansas City which is inexpensive, fairly hip, and not moncultural?
January 8, 2004 1:59 PM   Subscribe

Looks like we might be moving to Kansas City. We've already read lots of tourist guides, local media, and real estate web sites, but now I need some actual advice. The company I'll work for is in Overland Park, and we want to live someplace a) relatively inexpensive, b) with a good racial and class mixture, and c) moderately hip. Is there such a neighborhood?

I'm not interested in an hour-long commute and we have three dogs so a yard is a necessity. We don't know a soul in the area, but that's another problem for another day. Anyone here from that area, or know anything about it?
posted by pomegranate to Travel & Transportation around Kansas City, MO (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Not sure I can help, but - Missouri side or Kansas side?
posted by vers at 5:43 PM on January 8, 2004

OP is my hometown. Born'n'raised. I'll email you.
posted by gramcracker at 6:10 PM on January 8, 2004

Best answer: I don't know Overland Park well, but my impression of it is that it's mainly suburban -- lots of nondescript, large houses (most built in the '70s or later) and malls, major streets lined with chain stores. I might have missed some cool areas, though.

I think your best bet for diversity -- in terms of both your neighbors and things to do -- is the area on the Missouri side close to Westport, the Plaza, the Nelson-Atkins museum, the KC Art Institute, etc. That has some interesting, older houses (with lawns for your dogs!) and many more independent businesses. From what I remember, it's also unusual in that you'll have some lovely ivy-covered blocks with sprawling, art-deco mansions just a few blocks away from neighborhoods that are obviously much poorer. But there's lots of middle ground. I felt pretty safe when I lived in that area, in '92, and I was within walking distance of restaurants and coffeeshops and indie record stores (my priorities at the time).

Another area that's gotten more developed in the past five years is the area just south of the river, called the West Bottoms. There's a great farmers' market by there, too. However, it's a bit more urban -- it used to be a heavy industrial area, and now lots of those old brick warehouses are being converted into lofts or apartment buildings or galleries. (Very south Williamsburg, except at K.C. prices.)

I doubt your commute would be more than 30 minutes from either of those areas.

Have fun in K.C. -- it has some interesting things going on.
posted by lisa g at 6:34 PM on January 8, 2004

Also: The area a bit north of Westport, south of downtown, sort of along Southwest Trafficway, also has some character-filled houses -- I think it's called the Valentine neighborhood. There are lots of moderately hip shops and restaurants in that area on 39th Street, from Southwest Trafficway/Waddell Ave. to State Line Road (the crossing of which will find you in Kansas).

(Bear in mind that I haven't lived in K.C. in many years, but from a recent visit it seems like things are similar to the early '90s.)
posted by lisa g at 10:08 AM on January 9, 2004

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