This town of 82,000 was established in the early 1850s; the University of Kansas, founded 15 years later, is still the heart of the place. Lawrence is ideal for walking: Mass Street is the main commercial thoroughfare, lined with local shops (coffeehouses, restaurants, and boutiques) and national chains (Gap, of course). Education is key in this town—and not just at the university, which is Lawrence's largest single employer. Langston Hughes Elementary School ranks 22nd among Kansas's 712 public grade schools; Lawrence High School ranks 43rd out of the 326 in the state.The Houses
The homes in Lawrence's eight historic districts date from 1860 through 1930. Architectural styles include National Folk, Queen Anne, Colonial Revival, Craftsman, Second Empire, and Prairie.The Prices
You'll pay a pleasing $80,000 for a slab ranch fixer-upper in East Lawrence. An Italianate mansion in the Old West Historic District won't come so easy, though. It'll cost you $1.5 million. Why Buy Now?
Kansas's State Historic Preservation Office offers financial assistance and administers state and national tax-break programs for the renovation of historic properties.
Among the best for:Families with Kids