5 Great Neighborhoods in Kansas City

Find out which urban and suburban communities are at the top of the list.
By: Lisa Waterman Gray
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River Market

With the Midwest’s largest Farmer’s Market and dozens of loft and condominium options nearby, this revitalized neighborhood is a favorite among young professionals and urban enthusiasts who can walk to almost anything they need for daily life. This neighborhood of under four square miles includes the historically Italian neighborhood of Columbus Park.

Married couples that live in the River Market neighborhood typically both work. The majority of mostly white, typically well-educated residents living here are in their late 20s and early 30s, although some empty-nesters also appreciate the excitement of living in the heart of the city. Among children that do live in this neighborhood, more than 11 percent attend private schools.

Westside

Cottage Living magazine named this area one of the country’s top 10 neighborhoods in 2008. In addition to the presence of many third- and fourth-generation Mexican-American families, the population has become increasingly multiracial and multicultural, resulting in one of the city’s most diverse neighborhoods. The architecture has become increasingly diverse too, as residents spruce up existing homes and build new, more modern residences.

The median age of Westside residents is late 20s to early 30s and many residents have their high school diplomas. Married couples comprise about 35 percent of the neighborhood and approximately 18 percent have children. Nearly one third of male residents and two thirds of women work in service or sales/office positions, and about one-half of married couples both work. 

Other urban core neighborhoods: Quality Hill, Union Hill, Valentine, Volker and Coleman Heights

The Country Club Plaza

One of the country’s oldest outdoor shopping and entertainment districts, the Country Club Plaza, is also a highly popular place to live. It resembles a Spanish village with fountains, hand-painted mosaic tiles and custom ironwork. Hundreds of condominiums and apartments, as well as some single-family homes, are available at the perimeters of the shopping/entertainment area, from refurbished 'antique' buildings to new construction designed in keeping with the Plaza’s Spanish architecture. About 70 percent of housing units carry a mortgage.

Thirty-somethings, singles and couples without children predominate in this densely packed urban neighborhood. This is also a highly educated group with college degrees. Close to 40 percent of Plaza dwellers work in service or sales/office jobs and both spouses work among two thirds of married couples.

Westport

Just north of the Country Club Plaza, Westport is one of Kansas City’s favorite and oldest dining, entertainment and shopping districts, as well as a popular place to live. Once an outpost along the historical Santa Fe Trail, its residential area is home to many longtime residents as well as young people who prefer tree-lined neighborhoods, older homes, and quiet condominium living.

The median age of Westport residents is approximately 34, and less than five percent are married with children. More than half have graduated from college. Approximately one quarter of men and 30 percent of female residents work in service occupations, and about half drive a car alone to work.

Brookside

Home to Kansas City, Missouri’s first 'suburban' shopping area and approximately 11,000 residents, this small town within a big city boasts mostly high school graduates and three quarters of adult residents have college degrees, with a median household income around $100,000.

Families and folks who love older homes and walking to the local shops and dining venues gravitate to Brookside. There is a full-service grocery store, two specialty markets, many restaurants, interesting shops and several coffeehouses. Special activities include the nationally recognized Brookside Art Fair, and an Annual St. Patrick's Day Warm-up Parade.

Also try: Waldo, West Plaza

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