PopulationMetro: 2,128,912
The Paris of the Plains is growing into an affordable, arty Silicon Prairie with a taste for barbecue.

In Kansas city, you can get a job that takes no time at all to get to; feel rich because you can afford a house; see a calibre of art in museums that you wouldn’t expect to find out here on the plains; listen to the best live jazz for hundreds, maybe thousands of miles; and eat ‘cue that’s the envy of the planet.

Whether you refer to it as “The City of Fountains” or “The Paris of the Plains,” one thing is clear: Kansas City is a great place to be.

Affordable, yet packed with culture, sports, and plenty of delectable food (if you haven’t had KC barbecue, you haven’t quite lived), it’s a perfect balance of big city amenities like great jobs and a healthy economy combined with an easygoing Midwestern vibe that locals and visitors love.

Place 42
Product 27
Programming 15
People 48
Prosperity 31
Promotion 8

If you absolutely must work, then Kansas City isn’t a bad place to do it. Routinely ranked as one of the best cities for working women, KC’s top industries are health care and government, but it also has a burgeoning tech scene, which is in large part thanks to it being the first home of Google Fiber network.

It’s likely you won’t be bored in Kansas City—whether you love cheering on the Chiefs or the Royals or you prefer perusing the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art or the American Jazz Museum. And if you don’t feel like doing any of those, you could always visit any or all of the 48 publicly-operated fountains throughout the city.

Besides the good weather (where KC ranks at #16), Kansas City makes a perfect nesting spot for young professionals and families of all shapes and sizes due to its affordability (#10 on our subcategory of Neighborhoods), its increasingly diverse population, plus world-class universities like Kansas City Art Institute and UMKC.