When anything is going to happen in this country, it happens first in Kansas
-William Allen White
The Best Thing About Overland Park?
Yes, You Are In Kansas
Sure, sure it’s wonderful and important that Overland Park often rates #1 for cities for families in the entire U.S. of A. Great schools, great homes, great parks, etc. etc. etc. and sure that should be top of your list of considerations.
But throw on top of that the fact that it’s also a music and creative hub with beautiful artwork spread throughout the city and you’ve really got a place to get excited about. Artists and musicians often take to the streets to perform, and create art, and a solid mix of museums and festivals provide locals a more organized way to experience the art scene of the area as well. The BBQ scene is also an artform, rivaling (besting?) the south in terms of quality.
Here's a transplant on what it's like to live in Overland Park:
I'm 44 and transplanted to the KC metro from New York City back in 1997. I can relate to your situation here, though I am not from the south. First thing you're going to notice is how relaxed this area is compared to Houston. Traffic exists but it's not insane all the time. You'll feel like you're on vacation all the time up here.
Next thing you'll notice is that while there are good restaurants, they're not every six feet like in a larger city. When I first moved here, I found good places to eat (love the BBQ) but you can't walk 10 feet and run into two good pizza joints. If you try, you'll find the diamonds in the rough but mostly there is a lot of mediocre food. I DISAGREE about the Asian and Mexican food. There are good Mexican restaurants around here, just not in the quantity you're used to. Third, things are cheaper. It's just a lower cost of living around here.
For more reviews of Orlando from locals check out: The Buzz
The Worst Thing About Overland Park
More of a dense Kansas City suburb than a major city itself, Overland Park suffers from the main criticism that comes with many midwest suburbs: a lack of diversity. Somewhat related to that, it can be hard to find a community in Overland Park if you don’t already know families in the area, and people from coastal cities in particular often cite it as difficult to feel at home here. Overland Park is a great place to be a part of, but for some that's mainly for those who already feel they’re a part of it.
Here's a local with a pov on diversity (and walkability) in the area and Overland Park:
If you’re looking for walk ability, Brookside, but it really isn’t diverse at all. Overland Park / Leawood is “walkable” in a sense that they have nice sidewalks and neighborhoods that back up to shopping centers. Don’t let people tell you it isn’t diverse, there is a huge Indian and Chinese population in OP. The Northland is booming, lots of growth, you might look into Parkville. Lee’s summit is nice, walkable etc.
Lifestyle of Overland Park
Those knocks on the Overland Park community will likely swing your experience one way or the other. It’s a tight knit/midwestern-friendly community where locals support each other and their thriving local businesses. It provides an oasis from the traffic, crowds and long lines of big cities like KC, but also a severance from the nightlife and variety of social amenities of those cities as well. Its variety of upscale restaurants, storefronts, and outdoor recreation opportunities may give it a leg up on most suburbs, but still may be underwhelming for young professionals coming from bigger cities.
If you want to see what's happening here check out the calendar of events: https://www.visitoverlandpark.com/events/
Workstyle of Overland Park
Outside of working for those wide variety of local businesses, many Overland Park residents commute into Kansas City. Only a twenty minute drive to downtown KC from most parts of the area, residents tend to take advantage of the bigger city’s rich employment opportunities in the healthcare, tech, manufacturing, and transportation industries. It's also easy to imagine plenty of full-time WFH'ers moving to cities like Overland Park so their families get the best possible opportunities and the local economy is less important.
Why Move Here Now?
For an impressive and highly regarded suburb, with amazing public schools and a 20 minute drive to a major city, the cost of living in Overland Park will pleasantly surprise you. If you’re an established family looking for a place to move in the Kansas City area, Overland Park should be at the top of your list.