Located about 3 hours from the nearest big city of Wichita, Hays serves as the economic and commercial center for the surrounding area. This means that you have the best shopping, dining, and entertainment options for miles.
Fort Hays State University, with about 11,000 students, is home to about half the population of your new city. Additionally, Kansas State University Agricultural Research Centers attracts new residents to the large facilities located in the southwest region of town.
During the late 19th century, there was a large influx of German immigrants to Hays. That history is preserved in several German cultural events and museums throughout town. Hays’ public schools even shut down for the annual Oktoberfest celebration.
Outdoor lovers with enjoy the rural feeling of the surrounding areas, as well as the 16 parks within city limits. However, during the spring and summer months, tornadoes and large thunderstorms are no joke in this part of Kansas.
The bad news is that the rental market in Hays is competitive, at times terrible and more expensive than it should be. Because the city is pretty much evenly split between college students and permanent residents, there’s a rush on apartment rentals during the fall matriculation season, which drives up prices on most rental properties. The cost of living in Hays is still relatively low, so you can still find a ton of cheap apartments when compared to rental prices in larger cities like Wichita or Kansas City.
The city center and Fort Hays State University have a number of apartments for rent in detached homes, duplexes, and apartment complexes. There are also plenty of short term lease options and studio apartments in this area. A few new developments have been built around Frontier Historical Park. These new developments frequently offer great amenities, such as a gym, swimming pool, and clubhouse. Two bedroom apartments for rent in these neighborhoods generally range from $450-600.
North of the city center, away from both FHSU and Kansas State, you’ll find quieter, more settled suburban and rural feeling communities. Here, you can find the occasional apartment rental, but most of your options in these neighborhoods will be in the form of rental homes. Two bedroom rental properties in this area generally range from $400-600.
Because the rental market in Hays is tight, finding a pet-friendly apartment here can be hit or miss. Many new developments are both cat and dog-friendly—that is, as long as you’re willing to shill out a pet deposit. If you’re relocating with a four-legged friend, allow yourself plenty of time (and money) to secure a decent Hays rental.
So welcome to northwestern Kansas. Once you settle in and get used to the small town lifestyle, you’ll be sure to get “Hays fever.”