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Old 01-16-2010, 07:07 PM
Location: Golden, CO
2,108 posts, read 2,425,615 times
Reputation: 1013


As a relatively new Topeka resident (8 months), but long-time visitor from nearby Lawrence, I sometimes get disappointed by the many posts on this forum that put down Topeka. An objective look at the city's shortcomings can be useful, but describing the town as a hole, etc, just isn't accurate and unfairly prejudices readers against the city.

So, in response to the negativity, I offer my overview of the city with many links to sites I found useful as I was getting to know my new hometown. I have spent much of my free time visiting different neighborhoods and driving around the countryside getting a feel for the place, and I have to say that I like Topeka and Shawnee County on the whole. It probably helps that I live in a nice place (Villa West Apartments) in a nice part of the city (West Topeka near 29th and Wanamaker).

There have been two main considerations that have guided my exploration of the city. One is that I planned to buy a house somewhere around here in the spring so I have really wanted to learn all that I could about the school districts and the feel of each region of the city and surrounding countryside. (Now, I may be moving to Lee's Summit, MO, to follow a job). Second, I have two young children under 4, and I wanted to discover all the places I could take them for fun.

Best real estate website for the area is: Topeka Area Homes It permits you do a search by school district, etc. It is also the most up to date as it is the website of the local realtors. It has a calculator that includes property taxes.

The local newspaper is the Topeka Capital-Journal

Seaman School District
Auburn-Washburn School District
Shawnee Heights School District
Jefferson West School District
Topeka Public School District

The city has only one public library, but it is a very big and nice one. Many activities happen here. Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library

If you are looking for more scholarly books, Washburn University has the Mabee Library and a Law Library.


Brown V. Board of Education
Combat Air Museum
Great Overland Station
Kansas Center for the Book (http://skyways.lib.ks.us/orgs/kcfb/ - broken link)
Kansas State Historical Society
Mulvane Art Museum at Washburn (http://www.washburn.edu/reference/mulvane/ - broken link)
Old Prairie Town at Ward Meade Historic Site (http://www.topeka.org/parksrec/ward_meade.shtml - broken link)
Topeka Art Guild
Washburn University Crane Observatory (http://www.washburn.edu/cas/physics/crane.html - broken link)


West Ridge 8 Movie Theater (at the mall)
Hollywood 14 Movie Theater (very nice, new theater at Wanamaker and 6th)
Arts Council of Topeka (ACT)
Helen Hocker Center for the Performing Arts (http://www.topeka.org/parksrec/hocker.shtml - broken link)
Kansas Expocentre
The Collective Art Gallery
Topeka Civic Theatre
Topeka Festival Singers (http://www.wuacc.edu/cas/music/festsing.html - broken link)
Topeka Performing Arts Center
Nature Trails and Areas (http://www.topeka.org/parksrec/trails_and_nature_areas.shtml - broken link)

The Kansas Governor's Residence, Cedar Crest, is the smallest occupied governor's residence in the United States; however, it sits on the largest piece of property at 244 acres. There are public trails across the property west of the mansion and it has a beautiful view of a forested hill.

Corporate headquarters for Hill's Pet Nutrition are in Topeka.

Topeka's Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. plant is the world's largest producer of earthmover tires and the corporation's sole North American manufacturer of earthmover tires for mining and construction operations.

Topeka Photo Gallery
Topeka Video Tour
Visit Topeka
Topeka's Official Website
Shawnee County's Website

Mom's group and list of things to do with kids in Topeka

Capital City Moms
Topeka Kids Rock
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Old 01-18-2010, 10:26 PM
161 posts, read 540,154 times
Reputation: 96
I don't live in Topeka, but am considering it. I appreciate your positive opinion and the helpful information you have provided.

I have been looking at Topeka for a while, and yes, there are so many negative remarks on the forum, a lot from people who don't even live there now. I think Topeka has a lot to offer, and has potential if people would just give it a chance and be positive.

If I relocate there, I plan to get an apartment on the west side too. Unfortuantely, I likely will not be able to live where you do. I think I saw the rents at Villa West start around $600. Even though I know I can afford it, most places require you to make 3 times the rent, which I don't. I did find several complexes on the west side for less. With the 3X rule, I would qualify for something up to about $525. I saw several that have one bedrooms in my range, so hopefully they are half-decent. I don't need any frills, just a laundary room or connections and air conditioning.

If you know anything about the other apartments in the area that might work, let me know.

Once again, thanks for the positive outlook and helpful links.
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Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

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