Lawrence is a diverse and multifaceted city that provides many of the amenities of a large metropolitan area, while still maintaining a strong sense of community. Located in Northeast Kansas, Lawrence is just 45 minutes west of Kansas City, and 30 minutes east of Topeka, the state capital. Lawrence offers a rich and fascinating history, a wide range of exciting cultural experiences, nationally recognized educational institutions, and some of the most unique and enjoyable shopping opportunities in the Midwest.

eXplore Lawrence

For information about Lawrence as a destination, go to the eXplore Lawrence, the Lawrence Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Lawrence possesses all of the aspects of a friendly, active and culturally diverse community. With the perfect combination of small-town hospitality and big-city attractions, Lawrence lays claim to its share of national recognition and historical significance.

Mass Street

Lawrence boasts one of the most vibrant downtown shopping, dining and entertainment districts in the Midwest. Many have called Massachusetts “Mass” Street – or “Mass” to the locals – one of the most beautiful main streets in America.


Lawrence is also home to two universities: the University of Kansas and Haskell Indian Nations University. Approximately 28,000 students attend KU, which has one of the nation’s most beautiful campuses. Haskell Indian Nations University is the nation’s only inter-tribal university for Native Americans, representing more than 150 tribes from all across the country.


Lawrence is home to two popular public 18-hole golf courses: Eagle Bend and Alvamar. Eagle Bend was the site of the 2000 American Junior Golf Association Championship. Alvamar, which is consistently listed among the best 100 golf courses in the U.S. by Golf Digest, was called the “best maintained golf course in the United States” by Grounds Maintenance magazine.


  • Lawrence was ranked 6th in the nation by the U.S. Census for per capita bachelor degree attainment.
  • Lawrence is listed 8th in John Villani’s, “The 100 Best Small Art Towns In America” (4th edition – 2005), for towns with populations between 30,000 and 100,000.
  • In 2000, the National Trust for Historic Preservation named Lawrence one of its Dozen Distinctive Destinations, calling the city an example of the “best preserved and unique communities in America.” See the National Trust’s report (PDF).
  • Lawrence is a good place to start and grow new companies. In 2000, INC. magazine nationally ranked Lawrence 28th on the list of “50 Best Small Metro Areas” based on local business startups in the last 10 years and continued growth.
  • The National Endowment for the Arts ranked Lawrence 12th among cities in the U.S. with the largest percentage of professional artists in the workforce.
  • The Lied Center of Kansas, the University of Kansas’ multi-million dollar performing arts center, is ranked by International Arts Manager magazine as one of the “Top 10 U.S. University Presenters.”
  • Nearby Clinton Lake is listed as one of the “50 Great Boating Lakes” by Boating World Magazine.
  • Read more about recognition the City of Lawrence has received.
  • In 2014, the NCAA ranked Lawrence #2 in their list of America’s 5 Best College Basketball Towns.


  • Lawrence was founded in 1854 by the New England Emigrant Aid Society in an effort to keep the territory free from slavery. It is said that Lawrence is one of the few cities in the U.S. founded strictly for political reasons.
  • Dr. James Naismith, inventor of basketball, and KU’s only basketball coach with a losing record, is buried in Lawrence where he lived and coached most of his adult life. The KU Jayhawk basketball program is among the best in the country.
  • The city is located between both the Oregon and the Santa Fe trails, which run through Lawrence and Douglas County, KS.
  • Boyhood home of writer and poet Langston Hughes whose novel “Not Without Laughter” is said to be based on his life in Lawrence.
  • Home to beat-writer and artist William S. Burroughs.

The Original Naming of the Streets

  • Massachusetts Street was designated the “main” street because Lawrence’s founders were from Massachusetts.
  • Lawrence’s Herald of Freedom newspaper, Jan. 27, 1855, told of the street names from Sec. of the New England Emigrant Aid, Dr.Thomas Webb, and his statement:
    • “the streets, thirty-two in number running north and south are named after the several states of the Union. Thirteen of the streets in the eastern part of the city are named after the thirteen original States. The balance of the streets west are named after the remaining nineteen States, in order in which they were admitted into the Union.”
  • However, Carolina Street near Lawrence High School was added much later and Georgia never added.
  • The Lawrence Journal-World Nov. 21, 1996, noted Lawrence does not have streets named for all 50 states – “nine states have been snubbed: Alaska, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington and Wyoming.”
  • View the original town site image (PDF, .5 MB)

Climate Information

Annual Average Temperature (in Fahrenheit) Average 56 / High 67 / Low 45
January Average Temperature High 38 / Low 18
July Average Temperature High 91 / Low 69
Annual Average Snowfall 21″
Annual Average Precipitation 37″

Sister Cities

  • Hiratsuka, Japan
  • Eutin, Germany
  • Iniades, Greece