If you love Kansas City
, but aren’t so sure you always want to play where you work, this list is for you. We’ve compiled a list of the 10 best Kansas City suburbs for young professionals, because you do enough work already.
Whether you’re looking for a suburban oasis with room for your family to grow, or a hip, lively suburb with plenty of shopping, dining, and nightlife to keep you entertained after work, Kansas City has a perfect match for you.
Let’s take a look at our 10 winners.
1. Mission, KS
Source: City of Mission, KS – Government via Facebook
- Residents age 22-29: 20.1 percent
- Residents with a bachelor’s degree: 33.4 percent
With the highest number of residents age 22-29, young professionals in Mission will be among their peers. Mission has a wide range of housing options, from modern condos to historic single-family homes.
Grab local produce in Mission’s historic downtown at the Mission Farm & Flower Market, or grab a drink after work at favorite neighborhood bar The Keyhole Tavern. Explore shops and restaurants along pedestrian friendly Johnson Drive on a sunny weekend day.
Mission is just 15 minutes from downtown Kansas City, making it a great suburb for commuters or nightlife enthusiasts who still want a suburban oasis to come home to at night.
2. Lenexa, KS
Source: City of Lenexa, Kansas Government
- Median earnings of bachelor’s degree holders: $56,336
- Total amenities: 2333
Lenexa is full of amenities for young professionals and is conveniently located a little over 20 minutes from downtown Kansas City. This suburb has a wide variety of modern condos and townhouses, perfect for first time home buyers.
Grab dinner at Holy Land Cafe, a quaint spot serving up delicious Middle Eastern fare, or get a drink after work and watch the game at Wallaby’s sports bar.
Active young professionals will love boating, fishing, swimming, and hiking at sprawling Shawnee Mission Park. Nearby Oak Park Mall gives residents access to convenient dining and shopping at big name retailers.
3. Platte City, MO
Source: Platte City Area Chamber of Commerce/EDC via Facebook
- Residents age 22-29: 11.9 percent
- Unemployment rate: 5.7 percent
If you’re the kind of young professional who likes things kind of quiet and prefers rural living to an urban environment, Platte City is for you. This community of nearly 5,000 has a small town feel, but when you want to go out for the night in KC, it’s still under a half hour drive to downtown.
Plus, if you’re going to be doing a lot of traveling for work, Platte City is only about a 10 minute drive from the Kansas City International Airport.
4. North Kansas City, MO
Source: Cinder Block Brewery via Facebook
- Residents age 22-29: 14.8 percent
- Cost of living: 94, compared to the Kansas City average of 95
Just a few miles north of Kansas City is a small suburban oasis perfect for young professionals. North Kansas City has a wide variety of housing, from quaint Bungalows to new construction homes on large lots.
Residents are just a few minutes away from shopping, nightlife, and entertainment in Kansas City, but North Kansas City has unique amenities too.
Grab a drink after work at Cinder Block Brewery, and hop on the food truck bandwagon at Back Rack BBQ. See a flick at local movie theater and bar, Screenland Armour.
Outdoor enthusiasts will love walking down the Missouri River, or strolling through North Kansas City’s well maintained public parks.
5. Riverside, MO
Source: City of Riverside, Missouri Government via Facebook
- Residents age 22-29: 12.4 percent
- Median earnings of bachelor’s degree holders: $43,553
Bordered to the south by the Missouri River, Riverside is a scenic suburb perfect for young professionals. New construction single-family homes with plenty of room to grow are common in this Kansas City suburb.
Grab breakfast before work at Corner Cafe, a local diner that opens before the sun rises, or relax after work with drinks at Runaway Lounge, a good old-fashioned neighborhood bar.
Riverside is just a 10 to 15 minute drive to downtown Kansas City, so young professional commuters and nightlife enthusiasts are just a quick trip away.
6. Overland Park, KS
Source: Visit Overland Park via Facebook
- Residents with professional occupations: 53.4 percent
- Total amenities: 4,496
Next on our list of best Kansas City suburbs for young professionals is Overland Park. This suburb is full of great housing options for young professionals ranging from quaint cottages to modern condos with brand new amenities.
Local Movoto agent Chris Collins
recommends Overland Park for its progressive city government, low taxes, and amazing public parks.
Overland Park is also full of shopping, dining, and nightlife, making it a perfect suburb for young professionals who play as hard as they work. Grab dinner with friends at Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbecue, Korma Sutra, ABC Cafe, or another of Overland Park’s dozens of local restaurants.
7. Bonner Springs, KS
Source: Bonner Springs Family YMCA via Facebook
- Residents with a bachelor’s degree: 16 percent
- Unemployment rate: 6.8 percent
Rolling hills and tree-lined streets make Bonner Springs a perfect suburban oasis for young professionals. Nestled along the Kansas River, this suburb has a variety of housing, from historic Bungalows and cottages to new construction single-family homes.
See a live show at Cricket Wireless Amphitheater, or grab a bite to eat and a drink after work at Kobi’s Bar & Grill. Local boutiques and specialty stores like Pink Zebra Boutique are perfect places to do some local weekend shopping.
Bonner Springs is about 25-30 minutes from downtown Kansas City, so this suburb is a reasonable pick for young professional commuters.
8. Liberty, MO
Source: City of Liberty, MO Government via Facebook
- Residents with professional occupations: 43.5 percent
- Median earnings of bachelor’s degree holders: $53,257
Liberty offers plenty of newer construction homes in a range of prices. Houses here tend to be more affordable than in other suburbs like Leawood or Lakewood.
The commute is relatively short at between 25 and 35 minutes from Liberty to downtown KC. Downtown Liberty is usually bustling with a bunch of restaurants, shops, and boutiques to check out in your off time.
Smithville Lake is also only about a half hour away for those who enjoy outdoor recreation like hiking, biking, fishing, boating, camping, and horseback riding.
9. Prairie Village, KS
- Unemployment rate: 4.1 percent
- Residents with a bachelor’s degree:: 39.8 percent
- Residents with professional occupations: 59.6 percent
Local Movoto agent Chris Collins recommends Prairie Village for its convenient shopping, parks, and entertainment, and housing options in affordable price ranges. If you’re looking to buy a home, you can find a variety of option here, from split-levels and ranch-styles to new construction or older homes.
On the whole, Prairie Village is very walkable, with many parks, shops, and restaurants to spend time at.
10. Merriam, KS
Source: Flickr user averagejane
- Residents age 22-29: 15.9 percent
- Unemployment rate: 5.7 percent
Home to a number of thriving local businesses and a close-knit community of residents, Merriam is a great place for young professionals to start their careers.
Home buyers will find a variety of housing, from new construction condos and starter homes, to stately Colonial style homes with room to grow, which you can decorate with access to Merriam’s IKEA store.
Grab a quick bite to eat at Bochi, a favorite local food truck serving up Asian fusion chicken wings, or relax after work with some Saturday night karaoke and drinks at Bilski’s Bar & Grill.
There are also several city parks in Merriam, perfect for outdoor recreation. Hit the links at nearby Milburn Golf & Country Club for some after work relaxation or networking.
All of the Kansas City suburbs we ranked had a population over 5,000, were within about 25 miles of Kansas City, and had at least 100 business listings. We also eliminated any place that was missing data.
To create this list of Kansas City suburbs, we looked at the following criteria of importance to young professionals:
- Percent of residents age 22-29
- Professional opportunities (unemployment rate, percent of residents who attained a bachelor’s degree, median earnings for residents who attained a bachelor’s degree, percent of residents who work in management, business, financial, or other professional fields)
- Cost of living
- Amenities per capita
Then, because some things are just a little more important to young professionals than others, we weighted the percent of residents age 22-29 and amenities per capita to make up 35 percent of our score. Professional opportunity made up 20 percent, and cost of living made up 10 percent.
We then averaged those weighted scores into one overall score, and the 10 lowest scores made up our list of the 10 best Kansas City suburbs for young professionals.
Want to see how the rest of the suburbs we ranked measured up? Take a look at the table below:
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