Whenever Kansas City is mentioned in one of those “top” lists, it can be a cause for celebration or frustration. There was reason for rejoice when KC was #17 among the top 20 on The Daily Beast’s “Smartest Cities” list. The site noted KC’s strong “postsecondary institutions and degrees per capita scores.” We cheered when other media in recent years choose Kansas City-area cities to be top places for living or for relocating families.
So there was a considerable amount of frustration when KC showed up last week as #13 out of 20 “Most Miserable Cities” on Forbes.com. Forbes’ miserable explanation: “High taxes and crime rates hurt Kansas City’s standing, but what moved them up our misery list were its two awful pro sports teams.”
Yes, our crime rate is criminal. But taxes are relative; they’re only high if you don’t think you’re getting value for what you pay. But the phrase that moved the frustration level up was the one about our “awful sports teams.” Sure, KC Chiefs’ and Royals’ fans haven’t been a happy lot for many years, but many of us don’t view the city primarily through blue- or red/gold-colored lenses. People in KC are generally too active to sit around lamenting losing seasons.
It’s a shame Forbes didn’t consider everything beyond Arrowhead and Kauffman stadiums when putting its list together. What boosts the happiness factor in KC, in addition to our strong postsecondary institutions, is that the city boasts a truly vibrant:
- Visual arts panorama with talented local artists, inspiring galleries and world-class art museums
- Performing arts scene, with a there’s-something-for-everyone spectrum of dance, theater, film and concerts – with excellent dancers, actors and musicians
- Mix of delicious dining establishments – some featuring award-winning chefs
- Family friendly vibe with places and activities galore
- Business community that continually invests in KC
- Array of not-for-profit organizations that enhance the quality of life in the city
- Literary environment – from libraries to book stores to authors
- Range of amateur sports leagues – so not everyone is just a spectator
There’s so much going for Kansas City that this list is surely incomplete. So tell me, what makes you happy about living in Kansas City?
I just remembered one other thing that makes me happy – we in KC are such an eternally optimistic bunch. After all, 2010 will be the year for the Royals and the Chiefs.