Introduction to Manhattan, Kansas

Located in the scenic Flint Hills of northeastern Kansas at the junction of the Big Blue and Kansas rivers is the city of Manhattan, county seat of Riley County. Known as the "Little Apple" (in deference to its larger namesake in New York), Manhattan is situated 56 miles west of Topeka, 85 miles west of Lawrence, and 120 miles west of Kansas City. The city is notable for being the home of both Kansas State University and the Fort Riley Army Base. Also located here are Manhattan Area Technical College and Manhattan Christian College.

First settled in 1855 by settlers from the Northeast, Manhattan was incorporated in 1857, just four years prior to the State of Kansas being admitted into the Union. At that time, local citizens began a lobbying effort to try to get a state university established in the city. In 1863, these efforts came to fruition when the Kansas legislature established Kansas State Agricultural College in Manhattan. In later years, the name of the institution was changed to Kansas State University.

Arts and Entertainment in Manhattan

The Manhattan area boasts a number of cultural and recreational attractions. Some of the most popular are the following:

  • Country Stampede Music Festival: Held in mid-June, this is the largest annual music festival in Kansas
  • Tuttle Creek State Park & Lake: Offers 15,000 acres of boating, water-skiing, fishing and hunting
  • Colbert Hills Golf Course: The nation's first PGA Collegiate course
  • The Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art: Houses Kansas State’s permanent art collection, numbering approximately 1,400 works
  • Damon Runyon Birthplace: Honoring the "Inventor of Broadway", the house is listed on the National Register of Historic Places
  • Riley County Fair: Held in late July, the fair includes The Kaw Valley Rodeo, where nationally-ranked bull riders and bronc-busters compete
  • Arts in the Park: A summertime event which brings the performing arts to the Larry Norvell Band Shell in City Park
  • Country Stampede: A country music festival held during the last weekend of June each year
  • Oz Museum: Located in nearby Wamego, the museum houses one of the largest private collections of Oz memorabilia in the world
  • Goodnow House: Furnished home of Isaac Goodnow, a founder of Manhattan and Kansas State University, built in 1861 and now a state historic site
  • Milford Lake: Kansa’s largest lake is a 30-minute drive west of Manhattan
  • Marianna Beach Art Museum
  • Kansas State University Gardens
  • Konza Prairie Research Natural Area
  • Riley County Historical Museum
  • American Museum of Baking
  • Sunset Zoo
  • Historic Fort Riley
  • Blaine Thomas Musical Museum
  • The Columbian Theatre Museum & Art Center (Wamego)
  • McCain Auditorium & Nichols Theatre
  • Wolf House Museum
  • The Randolph State Park Horse and Hiking Trails

For sports fans, Manhattan offers collegiate athletics at its finest. The Kansas State University Wildcats field NCAA Division 1A teams in several different sports and since 1997 have competed in the Big 12 Conference. In prior years, the University has belonged to the Missouri Valley Conference (1913 to 1928), the Big Six Conference (1928 to 1947), the Big Seven Conference (1947 to 1958), and the Big Eight Conference (1958 to 1996). During that time span, Wildcat teams have racked up over 50 Conference Championships.

Professional sports fans willing to get on Interstate 70 to take the two-hour drive east to Kansas City (Missouri) will be rewarded with plenty of major league action. Teams located in Kansas City include baseball's Kansas City Royals (MLB), football's Kansas City Chiefs (NFL), and soccer's Kansas City Wizards (MLS). All three teams play their games at the Truman Sports Complex, situated about 10 miles from the Kansas-Missouri state line.

Auto racing fans can avoid crossing the Missouri border and instead take the slightly shorter drive east to the "other" Kansas City (Kansas City, Kansas), where the Kansas Speedway hosts races from several major circuits. Fans taking an even shorter drive (about an hour) to Topeka can watch National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) drag racing events which take place at Heartland Park Topeka.


Total Population 55,769
Male Share of the Population 51.7%
Female Share of the Population 48.3%
Senior Citizens 7.5%
Employed Population 16+ 29,664
Age of the Population 24


% of people married 34.1%
Average household size 2

Education and Earnings

Population % with Bachelor Degree or Higher 50.2%
Median Earnings25+ $0
Median Earnings Without High School Qualification $0
Median Earnings With High School Degree $0


Median Family Income $72,452
% Above Poverty Level 73.8%
% Below Poverty Level 26.2%

Commute & Sprawl

Average Commute Time 15 minutes
% Working from Home 4.6%
% Walking and Biking to Work 12.4%
% Using Public Transportation 0.5%


People Living Alone 33.1%
Median Gross Rent $859
Median House Value $187,200


Other(often includes Hispanic and African American) 25.1%
US/American 0%
English 10%
Irish 11.1%

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

Manhattan Almanac

Category Value
Nearest Medium City 48 miles W of Topeka, Kansas (center to center)
Nearest Large City 107 miles W of Kansas City, Missouri
County Riley
Standard Zip Codes 66502, 66503, 66506
P.O. Box Zip Codes 66505
Phone Area Codes 785
Time Zone Central (-6 hours from GMT)
Daylight Savings The city observes Daylight Saving Time.
Latitude 39.183
Longitude -96.571

Manhattan Climate

Nearest Weather Stations


  • Temp ranges are avg daily min and max for the month
  • Precipitation is rainfall (and rainfall equiv of snowfall)

Distance 2.8 miles
Jan Temp 16 to 40 F
Apr Temp 42 to 68 F
Jul Temp 67 to 93 F
Oct Temp 43 to 71 F
Annual Precip 34.8 inches
Distance 4.8 miles
Jan Temp 14 to 37 F
Apr Temp 41 to 65 F
Jul Temp 66 to 90 F
Oct Temp 41 to 69 F
Annual Precip 32 inches
Distance 19.4 miles
Jan Temp 15 to 37 F
Apr Temp 41 to 65 F
Jul Temp 67 to 90 F
Oct Temp 43 to 69 F
Annual Precip 32.5 inches

Nearby Cities and Towns

Location Population Median Family Income
Grandview Plaza 2,110 $43,805
Ogden 2,010 $33,416
Riley 971 $50,000
St. George 852 $66,875

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

Manhattan Public Libraries

Manhattan Public Library
Manhattan, Kansas
(785) 776-4741
Library Web Site

library logo

More Information for Librarians

Manhattan Hospitals

(Voluntary non-profit - Church)
(913) 776-3322
Emergency Service: Yes

(785) 776-5100
Emergency Service: No

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Manhattan High Schools

Serves 1,885 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 13.6

Additional Details
Manhattan Colleges
Manhattan colleges and trade schools.
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