I have lived in Kansas City for little over 2 years, Chicago prior for 4 years. I wanted to add a review of KCMO because it seems most of the reviews here are several years old, and not entirely accurate. Below are my Pros and Cons, which are obviously a bit subjective:
- Cheap cost of living (rent, food, gas)
- Traffic is light to moderate, worse in the OP area (south, expensive suburbia)
- Downtown is clean, easy to navigate
- Quick drive to nature / 'the country'
- Job market isn't very competitive
- Moderately conservative
- Few large employers per industry
- Crime has increased dramatically since I have been here; it is abnormal if you don't know several people who've had cars or motorcycles stolen
- Independence meth problem
- Public transportation is not really a thing; the streetcar is a limited tourist attraction at best
- We are near St Louis (4hrs) and Omaha (2.5hrs), but expect an 8hr drive to any other major city that people care about
As a single guy who works in the technology field with a decent salary, living here is easy. Compared to Chicago, literally everything is cheaper. Making long-term friends, however, has been challenging. In my particular industry, there are a lot of 20-something-year-old transplants who stay for about a year or two and move elsewhere. Outside of work, it seems that many like to stay at home or spend time with family or childhood connections. Everyone here seems to know one another or have several mutual friends in common.
The weather is about average for this part of the Midwest. Summers are sticky and usually insufferably humid between late June and early September. Winters are moderately cold and somewhat short compared to Chicago, usually between late November and late February. Spring and Fall are usually the best times of year, not hot or cold, just cool/warm. There are fewer days of rain here than Chicago, and also more sunny days which helps with mental health.
I have not found anything in KCMO that stands out as special or significant. There are many places that feel like home to me, but this is not one of them. It feels like a very average city with an average (but slightly religious and conservative) population. Downtown and West Bottoms motorcycle culture is cool and trendy, but limited. I do not plan to be here for more than 1 - 2 years at most.
Dan | Kansas City, MO