Quality of Life

Whether it’s the Lawrence Arts Center, the Community Theatre or our Final Fridays arts walk, the arts are a vital part of the Lawrence culture.

Lawrence. Topeka. Manhattan. Great Living.

Located in the heart of the Heartland, the vitality of the Kansas Research Nexus Region can be seen on rich display in our vibrant arts communities, on our many university campuses teeming with an abundance of knowledge, and our downtown business districts hustling with activity.

Choose a city to learn more:

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Lawrence possesses the charm of a small town with all the sophistication and services of a larger city. In addition to enjoying the many amenities to be found in Lawrence, residents enjoy a cost of living that is approximately 9% lower than the U.S. average. Housing is affordable too, with a median price of about $155,000.

  • Top-ranked “best city for recent college graduates” (Richard Florida)
  • Home to one of the Top 10 best streets in the entire nation (American Planning Association)
  • Top College Town (Parents & College Magazine)
  • Top 25 Best Place to Retire (Money Magazine, 2011)
  • One of the Top 10 “Best Places to Retire” (US News and World Report)
  • Bronze medal Bicycle Friendly Town, since 2004, (League of American Bicyclists)
  • Home to Mass Street, one of the “brightest urban streetscapes” in the country (MSN, 2011)
  • Sixth best city in the U.S. for per capital bachelor degree attainment (U.S. Census)
  • In the top 12 cities with the largest percentage of professional artists in the workforce (National Endowment for the Arts)

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Topeka is one of the most “liveable” cities in the U.S. Recent national surveys rank Topeka high for quality of life attributes including:

  • Topeka was rated 30th among all cities ranked in the Gallup-Heathway’s study of health and well-being. The Topeka MSA jumped up to the impressive ranking of 30 from 178 in 2009. And, Topeka was ranked number five on the list of Top 10 Small Cities when all cities were divided by population.
  • The Topeka MSA was ranked #17 of the Top 25 Best Cities for the Next Decade by percentage of Workforce in the Creative Class.
  • The United Way of Greater Topeka reports that per capita Topekans give 50% more than the average Kansan and 250% more than the average American.
  • Topeka ranks 7th among 75 mid-size cities for volunteers.
  • Kiplinger Finance Top 10 City for the Next Decade (2010)

In addition to a cost of living that’s 8% to 10% below average, in Topeka, you’ll also find quality neighborhood schools, housing of all types and price ranges, a regional medical center that serves all of northeast Kansas, historic, educational and fun attractions, easy access to parks and trails, civic organizations for every interest and myriad arts and culture activities.

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Manhattan is as “American as apple pie and baseball,” as the saying goes, the City of Manhattan is inspired by its past and is excitedly anticipating its future. Overall lifestyle is geared toward offering and accepting a broad array of life choices.

  • Number One Nationally - Best Small Place (under 245,000 pop.) for Business and Careers (Forbes, 2011)
  • Number Five “High Tech Hub” Metro (Business Facilities, 2011)
  • Top Ten Best Cities for Job Growth in 2011 (
  • One of “Seven Underrated Retirement Havens” (, 2011)
  • Number Two Metro For Economic Growth Potential (Business Facilities, 2010)
  • Top 1% Nationally for fastest personal income growth (Bureau of Economic Analysis, 2010)
  • One of 10 Great Places to Launch a Second Career in Retirement (U.S. News & World Report, 2010)
  • “Riley County – Least Economically Stressed County in the United States – over 25,000 population" (Associated Press, 2009)
  • One of the “100 Best Places to Live” (RelocateAmerica, May 2009)
  • “Top 10 Best Places to Retire Young” (, 2007)

Manhattan’s quality of life is intertwined with lifelong learning, keeping the community a vital center of activity. With a cost of living below the national average, and the excellent quality of life, citizens and employees find the pace of life rewarding and productive.