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Old 03-02-2013, 10:27 PM
 
Location: Minneapolis, MN
11 posts, read 9,914 times
Reputation: 15

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I am interviewing for a new position in Kansas City and expect to receive an offer early next week. If everything goes well things should move fairly quickly and I would be relocating in the next month or so. I've been a fan of City-Data for many years but this is my first posting.

I've read a lot of the threads about KC on the site, and they are very helpful. I've never been to the city except for the job interviews, and spent half a day checking out downtown, but did not have the opportunity to see any of the rest of the city.

I'm trying to get a sense of how KC would compare to Minneapolis for anyone who has lived or visited both cities. I also would like any suggestions on areas to live in the city, as it's all new to me, other than my own brief observations and talking to some friends who have visited there.

A little bit about myself:

I'm a single gay man in my mid 50's, have lived in Minneapolis for 15 years, and prior to that in upstate New York (Buffalo/Rochester). I would be working in downtown KC, and definitely prefer living in the city to the suburbs. Schools are not an issue since I have grown sons who don't live with me any longer. Budget for housing would be around $1,500 in rent for an apartment or up to $250,000 - $300,000 for a house or condo. I own my house in Minneapolis but would consider renting for a while until I'm more familiar with the city.

From searching online, it looks like the areas I'd be interested in would be downtown, Westport, the Plaza area, or Brookside, but since I just started searching I'm sure I'm missing some areas. I'm interested in art, theater, architecture, and biking, and enjoy nightlife. A "gay" neighborhood is not a requirement if they even exist in KC, but I would want to be in an area that's generally accepting and progressive. I also realize that no area is crime free, but one that is relatively safe and fairly quiet would be my preference.

I appreciate any input that members can provide. Thanks very much!
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Old 03-03-2013, 07:19 AM
 
1,830 posts, read 3,109,783 times
Reputation: 532
You could probably quickly tell downtown KC is hardly up to par with downtown Minneapolis (one of my favorite cities BTW). I'm sure many will post how much greater MSP is, and it is.

If you want loft living, KC has 3 warehouse loft districts - River Market on N side (farmers/world marets), Crossroads (a lot of galleries, large monthly street parts and good range of eats but very scattered). West Bottoms is a cool old warehouse district with a few 'raw shell' lofts/freight elevator thing but is very disconnected from downtown. Downtown also has about a dozen bike stations, not near what MSP has but it will be expanding to midtown this summer. KC is behind in bike lanes in city but the are quickly adding them - I bike the city often with no issues once figuring out the best roads to take. Streetcar is coming downtown by 2015 or 16.

Sounds like you'll want pretty much the downtown to Brookside stretch. KC has a few fairly concentrated gay hoods (Valentine near Westport, Hyde Park, others) but pretty much that whole stretch has more gay concentration relative to rest of metro. Also check Volker/Roanoke on W side of Midtown. Check out the Plaza area, you'll find very quickly if it's your thing or not. It has the most pedestrian traffic but is also more than half upscale chain stores/eats, which some don't go for. w39th in Volker and Westport have a lot of ethnic/locatarian eats/shops. Generally Westport/Plaza area has more day to day activity. Downtown can be dead pretty often unless there are events going on, and it can be really hopping with events at times.

MSP area is considered top 5 for theatre but KC is often considered top 10 or so. There are nearly a hundred pro/union stage companies and nearly that many community/academic. If you want to get involved, volunteer for the Fringe Fest - is one of larger in country. (kcfringe.org and kcstage.com) Also maybe volunteer for a First Friday in Xroads or Nelson Museum to get hooked up in those circles. West Bottoms has become a nicely concentrated antique district with a monthly first Saturday crawl.

You might want to live along this bus line as it runs the most often from downtown to Brookside/Waldo. Even if with car, it's nice to not depend on it and can be done along this line...
http://dl.dropbox.com/u/1238514/pics/bus/maxmwk.gif

Here's a list of downtown lofts and stats...
http://www.downtownkc.org/wp-content...ing-Report.pdf
http://www.downtownkc.org/wp-content...g-Report-1.pdf

Last edited by xenokc; 03-03-2013 at 08:04 AM.. Reason: link fix
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Old 03-03-2013, 09:51 AM
 
2,195 posts, read 2,145,372 times
Reputation: 1916
KC is about halfway between Minneapolis and Buffalo in terms of urbanity, ammenities, nightlife, built environment and both "big C" and "little c" culture.

Your price range puts all of KC's best urban neighborhoods well within reach, though there will obviously be some small amount of higher end houses and condos above that range.

KC doesn't have a gayborhood, per say, though there are some areas that are noticeably more popular with the stereotypical younger, scene-y segment of the gay population: Crossroads, Westside, Volker/Valentine, generally the west side of Midtown, to some degree Hyde Park and some "edgier" neighborhoods in KC's Old Northeast like Pendleton Heights and Scarritt Point.

Downtown and River Market is not as lively as DT Minneapolis by any stretch, but has excellent condo and some apartment options, as well as the city's only rowhouse neighborhood, Quality Hill. Columbus Park is also worth a hard look, in my opinion, one of the most slept on neighborhoods in KC, right now.

Coincidentally, these are usually the neighborhoods I recommend to newcomers who like living in urban areas and are not concerned about public school options, regardless of their sexual orientation. For more family-oriented newcomers (straight or gay) I often include Brookside, Waldo, and Northeast Johnson County inner-ring suburbs.
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Old 03-03-2013, 10:22 AM
 
1,830 posts, read 3,109,783 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by s.davis View Post
KC is about halfway between Minneapolis and Buffalo in terms of urbanity, ammenities, nightlife, built environment and both "big C" and "little c" culture.
Yeah, would set expectations that MSP area is a 2nd tier metro, KC metro is better than avg 3rd tier with many bigger city amenities - pro sports, above avg arts, solid retail, etc. Downtown moving forward but not as fast as higher profile/hot cities. And obviously KC winters are more tolerable than rest of midwest.
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Old 03-03-2013, 11:31 AM
 
18 posts, read 29,940 times
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OP, MSP is a far, far superior city to the dump that is called Kansas City. Stay right where you are unless you enjoy being around fat conservative ugly people.
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Old 03-03-2013, 12:22 PM
 
Location: Washington, DC area
10,705 posts, read 18,493,517 times
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While I think KC is quite a bit below Minneapolis, I think the city is closer to MSP than Buffalo. Have you guys been to Buffalo?
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Old 03-03-2013, 12:41 PM
 
1,830 posts, read 3,109,783 times
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And MSP is considered the gay capital of Midwest, so obviously shouldn't have high expectations in KC. KC, MO did crack top 25 for % of registered same sex partners (out of about 75 cities over 250K, so upper 1/3rd). Most are concentrated in downtown to Brookside stretch. KC North also has quite a few.

KC doesn't really need a dedicated gayborhood. And btw, KC is often said to be more of a 'bi' town that isn't necessarily into gay culture. The bottom line is that it doesn't really matter in most areas of KC.


Last edited by xenokc; 03-03-2013 at 02:10 PM..
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Old 03-03-2013, 12:43 PM
 
2,195 posts, read 2,145,372 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kcmo View Post
While I think KC is quite a bit below Minneapolis, I think the city is closer to MSP than Buffalo. Have you guys been to Buffalo?
Yes...and yes. I just meant that it is on the spectrum between the 2. Since the OP has lived in MPLS and Buffalo, it seemed like a pretty good way to frame the city's relative perks and peccadillos, in broad, general terms.

Plus all three cities share some of the same architectural vernacular/built environment.
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Old 03-03-2013, 01:11 PM
 
Location: Cleverly concealed
889 posts, read 1,428,099 times
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I lived in MSP (early 2000s)as well. Rents, and the general cost of living, are cheaper in KC. The winter is more tolerable, but the summer (July/August) will be hotter and more stagnant than you're accustomed to experiencing.

Kansas City ranks highly in art and theater, considering our location within the nation. I think you'll like our new Kauffman Performing Arts Center for the big events. The Crossroads district, on the south side of downtown, is a highly artistic neighborhood with galleries and monthly events. Westport, the Plaza and Brookside all have their own annual art fairs.

Kansas City is not so good for bicycling, but they are working on it. Nightlife is mostly bars. If you like dancing, you'll probably have to search a little harder. The bar I frequent in the inner suburbs is mostly pool players and sports watchers, with a karaoke machine in the corner.

I can't really speak to gay culture. I have plenty of gay co-workers, which seems to be the norm in television. But they aren't interested in going to gay-specific bars or events. Kansas City is more accepting than people realize.

Downtown living: lofts, high rise apartments, some row houses (includes Quality Hill, Crossroads and River Market). Nightlife is bars, concerts, some dancing. Downtown gained a grocery store in the last couple of years, which makes downtown living more appealing than it used to be.

Westport living (39th to 43rd st. area): apartments, older homes. This is 20-30 blocks from downtown. Nightlife is numerous bars, some historic to the area.

Plaza living (43rd to 51st and points south): high rise apartments, more expensive than most. Nightlife is bars and fine dining. You're close to most of the major museums, which share the area with the Kansas City Art Institute.

Brookside living (63rd St. area): older homes, more families. There is a small commercial area with boutiques and a few bars.

Waldo (75th St. area): similar to Brookside.
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Old 03-03-2013, 01:26 PM
 
Location: Washington, DC area
10,705 posts, read 18,493,517 times
Reputation: 5414
Quote:
Originally Posted by s.davis View Post
Yes...and yes. I just meant that it is on the spectrum between the 2. Since the OP has lived in MPLS and Buffalo, it seemed like a pretty good way to frame the city's relative perks and peccadillos, in broad, general terms.

Plus all three cities share some of the same architectural vernacular/built environment.
True. Buffalo is alright, but feels very minor league and small compared to KC even though at one time, Buffalo was a very large city. I don't think KC feels minor league or small compared to MSP, but it's definitely on a different tier. Minneapolis is about 15-20 years ahead of KC when it comes to re-discovering its urban core(s) and regional cooperation there is just not in the same universe as KCís fragmented and competitive way of doing business regionally which has essentially kept KC from keeping up with places like Minneapolis.

The best thing about Buffalo is that itís near Toronto.

While KC doesnít have a gay area I suppose, I have always thought that KC was one of the better gay cities, especially in the Midwest.

To the OP, I would look at River Market or Union Hill myself, but you have lots to choose from in Downtown, Westport, Plaza etc.
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