Members of the Local 4 H club ride their horses during the Washunga Days Parade in Council Grove, Kansas. Editorial credit: mark reinstein /

9 Of The Friendliest Towns In Kansas

America's Heartland is as famous for its vast fields of corn and soybeans—as it is for its friendly, open-hearted, and down-to-earth residents. Kansas, particularly, often receives mentions for being among the friendliest states in the country. And it is not just about conversations over a meal with a tablemate. It is often about complete strangers walking up to a visitor and striking up a conversation like some long-lost friends. It is also about a car that breaks down in the middle of the road—and the complete stranger who comes along and fixes it. To experience these seemingly fairytale experiences, lace up for the towns in Kansas we highlight in this article.


The original Farmers State Bank building in Lindsborg, Kansas, is now home to City Hall and sports a bright red coat of paint.
The original Farmers State Bank building in Lindsborg, Kansas, is now home to City Hall and sports a bright red coat of paint. Editorial credit: Stephanie L Bishop /

This Kansas charmer is known as Litte Sweden because of its Swedish heritage. The story of its Swedish heritage goes back to how Olof Olson, an intrepid Christian missionary, left his country of birth to cast his lot with the sturdy settlers in the wilds of the Midwest. While Swedes are cool, reserved, and not known to be among the friendliest in the world — ironically — the settlement they helped establish is today regarded as the friendliest in Kansas. The town is secreted in the rolling hills of the agriculturally fertile Smoky Valley, less than half an hour's drive south of Salina. Here is where one will find one of the most genuine towns in the US — and a haven where visitors experience an amazing sense of belonging. Lindsborg is modeled as a provincial Swedish town with brick buildings, cobble-stoned streets, an almost European atmosphere, and a downtown that is both walkable and bikeable.


The house where President Eisenhower used to live as a young boy in Abilene, Kansas.

Even for those who did not like him, such as British war general Benard Montgomery, "Ike," as Dwight Eisenhower was affectionately called, was an infectiously friendly person who did his best— to keep the Allies allied and overcome one of the most brazen assaults on Western Civilization. Well, it is said that Esseinhower's lopsided grin was often worth twenty divisions. Those wondering where Esseinhower learned to smile should book a flight to Abilene for an adventure that will be laden with smiles and grins at practically every step of the way. And this is not just some bar talk. Readers of TravelAwaits, for instance, voted Abilene the Friendliest Small Town In The U.S. in 2022. Be sure to check out Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library & Museum and touch the actual table where the D-Day invasion was planned.

Valley Center

The Fall Festival at Valley Center, Kansas. Image credit: EricLeeker/Flickr.

Home to about 7,500 residents, Valley Center is another sweet, little Kansas town that is among the friendliest in the state. Tucked away nine miles north of downtown Wichita in the Little Arkansas River Valley — hence its name — Valley Center is technically a suburb of Wichita. The town boasts a wonderful small-town feel and an intimate sense of community that a first-time visitor will easily notice and fall in love with. Valley Center is peaceful and quiet and will appeal to those who want to wind down in a serene but friendly environment. That means those looking for a busy nightlife scene — or Paris-like shopping, should have a more subdued expectation. Still, that is not to say Valley Center is without a decent collection of shops that will fulfil the needs of any average shopper. But for a great hometown feeling, few Kansas towns can hold a candle. A famous town highlight is the supposedly haunted Theorosa's Bridge, a nearby place to go at night for a spine-chilling paranormal experience. Then again, Valley Center, according to Safewise, is the safest town in Kansas.


Children picking up candy at a County Fair Parade in Hoxie, Kansas.
Children picking up candy at a County Fair Parade in Hoxie, Kansas.

Tucked away at the crossroads of U.S. Hwy 24 and U.S. Hwy 23, Hoxie is a small Kansas charmer that is home to just about 1,200 residents. Since the town is curled up in a relatively secluded rural setting, the tight sense of community often famous in rural, small-town communities is one of the town's most defining features. It is easy to feel welcome here and feel part of the closely-knit family. While the town may not have much in the way of attractions, several people drive for up to 90 miles to the Elephant Bistro and Bar to sample such mouthwatering delicacies as "Big Eye Tuna Tacos" and dry-aged steaks. This dining facility is so popular that weekends are booked at least a week in advance.

Scott City

A flock of Snow Geese sit on the frozen part of Lake Scott and rest before coninuing their migration, located in Scott City, Kansas
A flock of Snow Geese sit on the frozen part of Lake Scott  in Scott City, Kansas, and rest before coninuing their migration.

No list of the friendliest towns in Kansas can be complete without a mention of Scott City. Secreted in southwest Kansas, Scott City is just about 62 miles from the Colorado border. Apart from the town's congenial residents who are often eager to warm up to visitors, Scott City is also safe, vibrant, and artsy. The city boasts a decent dining and shopping scene and has a downtown that oozes charm and collegiality. One of Scott City's top attractions, however, is the Lake Scott State Park, a kaleidoscope of natural marvels which National Geographic lists among the country's must-see state parks. Tucked away in a flat part of western Kansas, first-time visitors will find it refreshing to be in a beautiful park that features a lake, trees, rolling hills, and intriguing rock outcroppings.


South Main Street in the Doniphan County Courthouse Square Historic District in downtown Troy, Kansas, United States.
South Main Street in the Doniphan County Courthouse Square Historic District in downtown Troy, Kansas. Image credit: Tim Kiser via Wikimedia Commons.

The name "Troy" conjures up memories of the Classical Greek epic poem where intrigue, conspiracy, and scandal played out amid the bloody clash of arms. But while "Troy" may evoke such a mental picture, Troy, Kansas is a homely charmer where first-time visitors experience — not the clash of arms — but broad grins and kind gestures. Nestled on US Hwy 36, about 13 miles west of the Missouri River in the Northeast corner of the state, Troy is that town that will effortlessly steal the affection of a first-time visitor. For history buffs, the opportunity to visit what was the first stop on the Pony Express out of St. Joseph will be too good to pass up. Be sure to check out the 27-foot Whispering Giant sculpture, a marvel of art chiselled out entirely out of a burr oak log.


A shot of the Garden of Eden in Lucas Kansas
A view of the Garden of Eden in Lucas, Kansas.

Lucas is both a secret worth discovering and hands-down one of the most underrated cities in the Sunflower State. The town is located about 151 miles northwest of Wichita in the upland portion of the Great Plains, where Wolf Creek meanders through. Home to less than 400 residents, this Kansas charmer is small in numbers — but big in attitude. Its few residents are disarmingly warm and friendly and will quickly make first-time visitors feel part of their small, creative community. For art lovers, setting foot in a town regarded as the "Grassroots Art Capital of Kansas" should be on the bucket list. First-time visitors will even get the chance to use Bowl Plaza, one of the most famous restrooms in the world— which features several creative elements.

Council Grove

Float celebrating the 200th year of the Santa Fe Trail and the Happy Washunga Days Parade
Float celebrating the 200th year of the Santa Fe Trail and the Happy Washunga Days Parade. Editorial credit: mark reinstein /

Nestled on the Neosho River in the Flint Hills of Kansas, Council Grove is named in memory of a safe-passage treaty that was signed under a grove of trees. Today, while the tree has fallen victim to time and tide — and to the elements — its brown stump lives on. However, the movement remains a legacy theme of this town as it provides access to the longest biking trail in Kansas. Home to about 2,100 residents, Council Grove is another Kansas destination filled with big hearts and open arms. Be sure to savor some delicious rib sandwich with mashed potatoes, or any other delicacy, at Hay House, the oldest restaurant west of the Mississippi. After this, wander through the greenery of Council Grove City Lake Park and indulge in a world of adrenaline-producing adventure.


Downtown Winfield, Kansas. Image credit: 

Bluegrass music. Small town charm. Rural environment. Those are some of the boxes that Winfield checks. This Kansas allurer is home to about 11,700 residents— who are among the friendliest in the state. Nestled on the Walnut River in South Central Kansas, Winfield is another unique destination where a first-time visitor will feel like he is attending a reunion event with former neighbors and collegemates. Aside from the immediate welcome and the hearty conversations with complete strangers, Winfield is incredibly beautiful. First-time visitors will want to look up the Walnut Valley Festival, a Winfield star highlight that takes place every third weekend of September every year. Also called "Bluegrass," the Walnut Valley Festival offers visitors the chance to easily make friends— in a town that is already one of the friendliest in the state.

The Takeaway

Visiting a town on a trip that feels like a college reunion is something every vacationer will love to experience. And while much is said about Southern hospitality, the Midwest region, also known as America's Heartland, is just as welcoming. Midwest residents often have an authentic interest in visitors and an open-heartedness that will easily disarm. And that includes Kansas. From Abilene to Winfield, the Sunflower State boasts a cornucopia of towns that are so friendly that one will immediately feel part of the community.

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