Kansas City Metropolitan Area is a fifteen-county
metropolitan area straddling the
border between the states of Missouri and Kansas that is
anchored by Kansas City, Missouri.
In 2008, it was estimated to have a
population numbering just over 2 million. The metro is the second
largest metropolitan area in Missouri and largest with territory in
Kansas, though the Wichita
is the largest metro anchored in Kansas.
Satellite cities over 100,000 population in
the metropolitan area include Independence,
Missouri; Kansas City,
Kansas; Olathe, Kansas; and
Overland Park, Kansas.
In 2007, Worldwide ERC and Primary Relocation recognized Kansas
City third overall as one of the "Best Cities for Relocating
Families" in the United States. Also in May 2008, Money rated Overland Park, Kansas, 9th best
city to live in the United States. Neighboring city
Kansas, was rated
11th and Shawnee,
Kansas City is one of 2 metro areas to have 2 cities
in the top fifteen.
See Also: The Districts
The core of the Kansas City Metropolitan Area
can be visualized
roughly by the following divisions:
Northland is locally referred to as "north of the
river" (Missouri River) or "Kansas
City North". (Often confused with Northtown, a nickname
for North Kansas City) Contained wholly within Missouri, it encompasses
portions of Clay County and Platte
County including the northern half of Kansas City, Missouri, and the cities of Liberty, North Kansas
City and Gladstone.
The sharpest part of the river bend forms a
containing the Charles B.
Kansas City Downtown Airport.
is the core of the metro area just
directly to the south of downtown (south of 31st Street) and is
mostly urban terrain. Contained within Kansas City, Missouri, it is
broken up into the historical neighborhoods of Westport, Ivanhoe
The Country Club Plaza, Hyde Park, Ward Parkway, Brookside, West Plaza,
Southmoreland, Valentine, Coleman Highlands and Rockhill.
contains the majority of the metro area's businesses, visitor
attractions, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of
Art and the University of Missouri-Kansas
South KC or "South Kansas
City" is the southern half of Kansas City, Missouri as well as the
suburbs of Lee's Summit, Grandview, Harrisonville, Belton,
It is sometimes called "the
Eastside is an area of the metro that contains the
eastern urban side of Kansas City, Missouri as well as the suburbs
of Independence, Blue
Springs and Raytown. This part of town is best known for the
Truman Sports Complex where the Royals
and Chiefs play.
Johnson County (the
southwest portion of the metro) indicates all of Johnson County, Kansas, which
includes the cities of Overland
and De Soto.
through Johnson County from the southwest toward the northeast and
downtown Kansas City, Missouri.
or the western side of the metro
contains Wyandotte County
Kansas. Wyandotte County, sometimes referred to as
just 'Wyandotte' or 'The Dot', contains Kansas City, Kansas, Bonner
Springs and Edwardsville, and it is governed by a single unified government
similar to a consolidated
Often the Wyandotte government is referred
to simply as 'The Unified Government'. This area is best
known for NASCAR's Kansas
CommunityAmerica Ballpark, home to the T-Bones and the Wizards. Another bend in the
Missouri River forms the
county line between Wyandotte and Platte counties to the north and
In all, just less than 2 million people live in the metropolitan
area. It is difficult to state exactly the size of the population
because there are few natural boundaries and suburban expansion (or
) is ongoing.
100,000 or more inhabitants
10,000 to 100,000 inhabitants
- Blue Springs,
- Lee's Summit,
- Prairie Village,
Fewer than 10,000 inhabitants
- Bonner Springs,
- De Soto,
- Grain Valley,
- Houston Lake,
- Lake Lotawana,
- Lake Quivira,
- Lake Tapawingo,
- Lake Waukomis,
- Lake Winnebago,
- Lone Jack,
- Mission Hills,
- Mission Woods,
- Missouri City,
- North Kansas
- Oak Grove, Missouri
- Oakwood Park,
- Platte City,
- Platte Woods,
- Pleasant Valley,
- Pleasant Hill,
- River Bend,
- Roeland Park,
- Spring Hill,
- Sugar Creek,
- Unity Village,
- Weatherby Lake,
- Westwood Hills,
The metropolitan area is experiencing continued growth. Between
July 2000 and July 2007, the population in the Kansas City MSA grew
from 1,842,965 to an estimated 2,037,357, an increase of 10
The Kansas City metropolitan area includes all or part of the
As of 2008, the Office
of Management and Budget
included the following outlying
counties as part of Kansas City's metropolitan statistical
The MSA covers a total area of 7,952 sq. mi. 7,855 sq. mi. is land
and 97 sq. mi. is water.
associated with Kansas City, the cities of Lawrence,
Kansas and St. Joseph, Missouri are
identified as separate Metropolitan Statistical Areas.
Kansas City-Overland Park-Kansas City, MO-KS Combined Statistical Area
encompasses the Kansas City MO-KS MSA, the Warrensburg, MO µSA, and
the Atchison, KS µSA, covers a total area of 9,220 sq. mi. 9,117
sq. mi. is land and 103 sq. mi. is water.
Kansas City metropolitan area has by far more freeway lane-miles
per capita than any other large metropolitan area in the United
States, over 27% more than the second-place Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex,
over 50% more than the average American metro area and nearly 75%
more than the large metro area with the least, Las Vegas.
Some of Kansas City's interstates include:
- I-29 - To Saint Joseph, Missouri and Omaha,
Nebraska, to the
- I-35 - To Des Moines,
Iowa, to the
North and Wichita,
Kansas, to the South.
- I-70 - To St. Louis, Missouri, to the East and Topeka,
Colorado, to the
- I-435 - Bi-State Loop through Missouri and
Kansas suburbs. 2nd longest in U.S., 4th longest single numbered
beltway in the world.
- I-470 - Connects South
Kansas City with Lee's Summit and Independence.
- I-635 - Connecting the
Kansas suburbs with Kansas
City, Kansas, and Kansas City International
- I-670 - A
southern bypass of I-70 and Southern portion of the downtown loop.
Signed as East I-70 when exiting from I-35 while traveling
Other major highways:
- US 24-40 - Combination of the US
24 and US 40 highways that pass
through Kansas City.
- US 50 -
Follows I-435 from the west to I-470 then spurs off in Lee's Summit and becomes
just U.S. 50.
- US 69 -
Springs, Missouri, in the north and serves as a freeway in
Johnson County suburbs.
- US 71 - In
the north, concurrent with I-29 to Amazonia, Missouri, and serves as a freeway (Bruce R.
Watkins Drive) South from downtown.
- US 169 -
Connects Smithville, Missouri, in the north.
- K-5 - A minor freeway
bypassing the north of Kansas City, Kansas, connecting the GM Fairfax plant with I-635.
continues as Leavenworth Road west to I-435 then on to Leavenworth, Kansas.
- K-7 - A freeway linking
Kansas, Wyandotte County,
Kansas, and Johnson County,
- K-10 - A freeway linking
Johnson County, Kansas, and
Douglas County, Kansas.
- K-32 - A highway that
links Leavenworth County,
Kansas, and Wyandotte
- MO 9 - A minor
freeway northwest of North Kansas
City, and serves as a commercial backbone to North
Kansas City, Riverside, Platte
Woods, and Parkville.
150 - A highway linking southern Lee's Summit and Grandview to the Kansas suburbs at State Line Road.
- MO 152 - A freeway contained entirely
in Kansas City's Northland, stretching from Liberty in Clay County
west to its intersection with I-435 near Parkville, MO.
210 - A minor freeway east of North Kansas City that, as a
two-lane road, stretches to Richmond, Missouri.
- Route 291 - Formerly an
eastern bypass route of US 71, the minor freeway connects
Harrisonville and Lee's Summit to Independence, Sugar Creek,
Liberty and Kansas City North. It is signed along with I-470 north
of Lee's Summit.
350 - Crosses through Raytown as Blue Parkway.
Other notable roads:
- Ward Parkway -
A scenic parkway in Kansas City,
Missouri near the Kansas-Missouri state line where many
large historic mansions and fountains are located.
- Broadway - A Street where in the middle of downtown contains
various bars, live jazz outlets and restaurants. It is also the
eastern border of Quality Hill, one of
the oldest neighborhoods in Kansas City
Local navigation tips
See related article: WikiTravel entry on Kansas City, Missouri
The Missouri side of the Metropolitan Area shares a grid system
with Johnson County on the Kansas Side. Most east-west streets are
numbered and most north-south streets named. Addresses on east-west
streets are numbered from Main Street in Kansas City, Missouri, and
on north-south streets from St. John Avenue (or the Missouri River,
in the River Market area). The direction 'South' in street and address
numbers is generally implied if 'North' is not specified, except
for numbered 'avenues' in North Kansas
In most of Wyandotte County, Kansas the
north-south streets are numbered and the address numbers are
measured from Riverview Avenue. A few suburbs use completely
independent numbering schemes.
- Kansas Citians tend to express US and Missouri highway
designations with the number before the word "highway," (e.g., 40
highway, 71 highway). This colloquialism tends not to apply to
interstates or Kansas route numbers (e.g., "I-70", "K-10").
- 69 Highway "The Overland Parkway": Southbound
on I-35 from Kansas City, Missouri towards Johnson County there are
two exits marked South 69. The first or northern one (Metcalf
Ave/I-635) is a
left lane exit and leads to Metcalf, an at-grade trafficway, before
turning west along Shawnee Mission Parkway, to rejoin I-35. The
southern US-69 exit is a two lane right lane exit between the 75th
and 87th street exits and begins a four lane highway known as the
- Bruce R. Watkins Drive is the name of the new
section of U.S.
Route 71 in Kansas City, Missouri. The old US 71 ran mostly on
traveling north on I-35 from Johnson County the first signs that
say I-70 east actually guide the driver through the southern
portion of I-670 which takes motorists into the southern part of
the Downtown Freeway Loop and goes underneath the Bartle Hall Convention
Center and some downtown overpasses. This is
sometimes referred to as "going under downtown".
shaped television and radio tower can be seen from many parts of
the city and is well lit at night. It is next to the
KCPT studios at
the corner of 31st and Main.
- The twin red brick towers of American Century Investments
are oriented north and south along Main at 45th street.
just north of the Country Club
Plaza. The Kemper Museum of Contemporary
Art is slightly east. The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art is east and slightly south.
- Kansas City Community Christian Church at 4601 Main has a group
of lights that shoot a beam straight up at night. Designed by Frank
Lloyd Wright in the 1950s, it is slightly south of and across the
street from the American Century Investment Towers. The Nelson
Atkins is to the east and the Kemper Museum is to the north and
Hall has a section that looks somewhat like a
north-south suspension bridge crossing over I-670 at the southwest
corner of the downtown loop. It has four towers with metal
sculptures on top of each tower.
- The Veterans Affairs Medical Center has a large "VA" emblem. It
is near the intersection of I-70, Linwood and Van Brunt.
Areas of the metro
See Also: The Districts
- Downtown Kansas
City refers to the downtown area of Kansas City, MO,
where a large concentration of the area's employees work, and where
much of the entertainment is located. It has been going through a
massive revitalization since 2000, and gained over 7,000 people
from 2000 to 2005. The area houses the Power and Light District and the Sprint
- "The Northland" refers to
the area of the metro area that is north of the Missouri River,
comprising Clay and Platte counties in Missouri. This area includes the
northern half of Kansas City, Missouri, which is referred to as
"Kansas City, North" to distinguish it from the
rest of the Northland and North Kansas City.
Market refers to the area north of downtown,
south of the river, and west of highway 9. It is home to a
large farmer's market.
- "North Kansas City" is a separate city that is completely
surrounded by Kansas City, Missouri (abbreviated NKC). It is
also called Northtown.
Mission, Kansas, is an area recognized by the United States Postal Service
that includes many towns in Johnson County, Kansas.
- Waldo refers to the Waldo Residential District in Kansas
City, Missouri, near 75th Street and Wornall Road.
- Country Club
Plaza (or simply "the Plaza") is an upscale
shopping district built by the J.C. Nichols Company in 1923. It was the
first suburban shopping district in the United States.
- Country Club
District is the name for the associated group of
neighborhoods built along Ward Parkway
by J.C. Nichols just south of the Country Club Plaza,
and includes Sunset Hill, Brookside, Crestwood, and Mission Hills,
- 39th Street usually refers to the small
section of West 39th Street between State Line Road and Southwest
Trafficway in Kansas City, Missouri. It has many
restaurants, bars and shops, and is just across the state line from
the University of Kansas
Medical Center. The area is also referred to as the
Volker neighborhood or "Restaurant Row".
- University of
Kansas Hospital (KUMED) is the corporate name of the
hospital on the KU Medical Center campus.
- Benton Curve, a curve located where Interstate 70 crosses Benton Avenue
in Kansas City, Missouri, is a site of many accidents.
Heights is a historic neighborhood in the
Northeast, home to the city's largest concentration of Victorian
homes. It is bordered to the north by Cliff Drive, the east
by Chestnut Trafficway, the south by Independence Avenue and to the
west by the Paseo Trafficway. It is Kansas City's oldest surviving
Triangle is the intersection of three major highways:
Interstate 435, Interstate 470, and U.S. Route 71 (Bruce R. Watkins Drive). Notorious for fatal
accidents, as of February 2005, improvements and upgrades on the
Triangle have mostly been completed.
- Emanuel Cleaver
II Boulevard, named for former mayor and current
Congressman Emanuel Cleaver,
comprises recently renamed portions of 47th Street and Brush Creek
Boulevard in Kansas City, Missouri.
- 18th and Vine refers to the 18th and Vine Historic
District that contains the Negro Leagues Baseball
Museum and the American
- The Library District
is a recently defined district around the new Central Library at 14
West 10th Street in Kansas City, Missouri.
- Strawberry Hill
is a historical area in Kansas City, Kansas that was home to many
eastern European immigrants. Later, the neighborhood became
home to many Latino/Chicano families. However, with recent
immigration from Eastern Europe, Strawberry Hill is currently
seeing immigration once again from Eastern Europe.
- Hospital Hill
is the area near 23rd and Holmes in Kansas City, Missouri, and
consists of two major hospitals (Truman Medical Center, The
Children's Mercy Hospital) and the University of Missouri, Kansas
City's School of Medicine, School of Dentistry, School of Pharmacy
and School of Nursing.
- Argentine is a part of Kansas City, Kansas, near
30th and Argentine. It is one of the oldest Mexican/Chicano
neighborhoods in Kansas City with Mexican immigration to that area
dating to the 1800s.
Crossroads Arts District is a Downtown neighborhood between the
Central Business District and Union Station, centered around the intersection of 19th Street
and Baltimore in Kansas City, Missouri. It contains dozens
of art galleries and is considered by many to be the center of the
arts culture in the metropolitan area. Local artists sponsor
exhibits there on the first Friday of each month.
Hill is a residential and commercial neighborhood on
top of a western hill in the Central Business District Downtown Kansas City, across the river
from the Charles
- Washington-Wheatley is a
historically Black neighborhood
southeast of the 18th and Vine
- The Westside is a
historically African American and Chicano/Latino neighborhood near
Southwest Blvd. and Interstate 35.
- Westport is a historic district offering much of
the metro area's entertainment and nightlife.
- Squier Park
- Union Hill
- Armordale, in Kansas
City, KS, is one of the historically Chicano(a) neighborhoods of
the Kansas City metro.
- East Bottoms
- Northeast, refers to the Historic Old
Northeast District, a working-class immigrant collection of
neighorhoods. It is between downtown Kansas City and the smaller
city of Independence. It was originally one of the more fashionable
areas in the city, and the oldest residential neighborhoods. It is
also home to peoples from dozens of nations, representing cultures
from Africa, Central and South America, Europe and Asia. Though a
vital part of the KCMA and unique, it is often overlooked by
non-Kansas Citians for political and economic reasons.
- Truman Sports
Complex, located at the corner of I-70 and I-435
east of downtown Kansas City, MO, is the sports center of the
KCMA. It features Arrowhead
Stadium, home of the NFL Kansas City Chiefs; and Kauffman Stadium,
home of the MLB Kansas City Royals.
- Ivanhoe, located in the
core of the city of Kansas City, MO. 64130 zip code. Running from
Benton BLVD on the east, Paseo BLVD on the west, 39th street on the
north and 47th street on the south. This area is known for its high
The Kansas City
Star. is the region's major daily newspaper.
The McClatchy Company
owner of The Star
, also owns the suburban weeklies
Lee's Summit Journal
and Olathe Journal
The five-day daily Kansas City
serves Wyandotte County. Additional weekly papers
in the metropolitan include the Liberty Tribune
of Johnson County and the Northland, The Examiner
Independence and Eastern Jackson County, and The Pitch
. Two newspapers serve the
area's faith communities: "The Metro Voice Christian Newspaper" and
the "Jewish Chronicle". "Dos Mundos" is the area's primary
newspaper that serves the Spanish speaking community with articles
printed in Spanish and English.
According to Arbitron
, about 1.5 million
people over the age of 12 are part of the Kansas City DMA, making
it the 30th largest market for radio and 31st for television
Kansas City metro television stations, with all major network
affiliates represented, include:
Over 30 FM and 20 AM stations broadcast in the Kansas City area,
with stations from Topeka, St. Joseph, and Carrollton also reaching
into the metropolitan. The highest rated radio stations according
Public and community radio
- KANU-FM and
college radio stations, are also NPR affiliates
- KKFI-FM Locally-owned not-for-profit
Specialty TV and Radio
Hispanics account for five percent of the
market and are served by three AM radio stations (KCZZ, KDTD, and
KKHK) and a Univision
The Kansas City Metropolitan Area's largest private employer is
Sprint Nextel Corporation
The international telecommunications company maintains its world
headquarters at its campus facility in south Overland Park. During
2005, the company employed nearly 18,500 people in the five-county
metropolitan area, with wages of more than $1.16 billion generating
$58 million in local and state income taxes. Sprint spent more than
$21 million on property taxes and $1.74 billion for goods and
services from area businesses. Sprint's headquarters was
temporarily moved to Reston Virginia in 2003 after it merged with
Nextel. Since then, the world headquarters has been reconsolidated
in Overland Park.
Other major employers are AT&T
, Farmers Insurance Group
, Hallmark Cards
, General Motors
, and Ford
. Kansas City also has a large pharmaceutical
industry, with companies such as Bayer
having large presences.
The following companies and organizations are headquartered in the
- American Century
Investments, an investment firm
- AMC Theatres, a movie theater
- Andrews McMeel
Universal, a syndication and publication company which
represents features such as Dear Abby,
Garfield, Calvin and Hobbes and Doonesbury
- Applebee's restaurant chain
- Aquila, Inc., a major energy
- Black & Veatch
Corporation, major engineering firm
- Burns &
McDonnell Engineering, an engineering and architectural
- Cerner, leading supplier of healthcare
information technology solutions.
- Church of the Nazarene
Bancshares, bank serving Kansas, Missouri, and
- Community of Christ church
- DST Systems, Inc., global
provider of sophisticated information processing and computer
software services and products
- Embarq Corporation, large
- Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA)
- Ferrellgas, the nation's largest
retailer and distributor of natural
- Fort Dodge Animal
Health, a major animal health pharmaceutical and vaccine
manufacturer and a division of Wyeth
- Garmin, largest maker of GPS-based
- Hallmark Cards, largest maker of
greeting cards in the US
- HNTB Corporation, large architecture and
- H&R Block, financial
corporation and former parent company of CompuServe
- Inergy, LP, one of the nation's
largest retailers and distributors of natural gas
- Interstate Bakeries
Corporation, makers of Twinkies and
- International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Ironship Builders,
Blacksmiths, Forgers & Helpers,
/*world headquarters*/Brotherhood Block, Downtown Kansas City,
- J. E. Dunn Construction Group, major
- Kansas City
Power and Light Company, a leading regulated provider of
electricity and energy-related products
- Kansas City Southern
Industries, operators of a Class I
- Lockton Companies, the largest
privately held insurance brokerage in the nation
- National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics.
- People to People
International, a voluntary organization founded by President
- Peterson Manufacturing, a
leading manufacturer of vehicle safety lighting
- Populous (formerly HOK
Sport + Venue + Event), world leader in sports architecture
- Premium Standard Farms,
provider of pork products, producing pork products for the retail,
wholesale, foodservice, further processor and export markets
- Russell Stover
- Sprint Nextel
Corporation, one of the world's largest telecommunication
- Perceptive Software, makers
of "Image NOW" software.
- Unity Church
- Veterans of Foreign Wars
- Walton Construction, a major
- Wolferman's bakery
- YRC Worldwide Inc., one of
the largest transportation service providers in the world.
Kansas City has a Federal Reserve
Best Places to Live 2006 - Money
- County Population Estimates-U.S. Census Bureau
- Country Club Plaza: Official web site of the Country Club
- About - Kansas City Public Library
Community College, Kansas City