Geography of Manhattan, Kansas

By | February 29, 2024

According to citiesplustowns, Manhattan, Kansas, is a lively city located in the northeastern part of the state, nestled in the scenic Flint Hills region. It is the county seat of Riley County and is known for its college town atmosphere, rich history, and surroundings. The geography of Manhattan is characterized by its location in the Flint Hills, with rolling hills, lush grasslands, and the nearby Kansas River, all contributing to its unique landscape and climate.

Geographically, Manhattan is situated in the Flint Hills region of Kansas, approximately 50 miles west of Topeka, the state capital, and 120 miles west of Kansas City. The city covers an area of approximately 18.79 square miles and is surrounded by the Flint Hills, a distinct geological formation known for its tallgrass prairie ecosystem and scenic vistas. Manhattan is part of the larger Manhattan metropolitan area, which includes the nearby city of Junction City and the Fort Riley military installation.

One of the defining geographic features of Manhattan is the Flint Hills, a region characterized by its rolling hills, limestone outcrops, and tallgrass prairie. The Flint Hills are part of the larger Great Plains region of the United States and stretch across much of eastern Kansas. The Flint Hills are home to one of the last remaining tallgrass prairie ecosystems in North America, providing habitat for a diverse range of plant and animal species.

The Kansas River, also known as the Kaw River, flows through Manhattan from west to east. The river serves as a natural boundary between Manhattan and neighboring communities and offers opportunities for outdoor recreation, including fishing, boating, and kayaking. The Kansas River is an important waterway in the region, providing water for agriculture, industry, and recreation.

The landscape of Manhattan is characterized by its rolling hills and grasslands, which are part of the larger Flint Hills ecosystem. The city is situated at an elevation of approximately 1,020 feet above sea level, with some nearby hills reaching elevations of over 1,400 feet. The rolling hills and grasslands of the Flint Hills provide residents with opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, and wildlife viewing.

The climate of Manhattan is classified as humid subtropical, characterized by hot, humid summers and cold, snowy winters. The city experiences four distinct seasons, with temperature variations throughout the year. Summers in Manhattan are warm and humid, with average high temperatures in the 80s Fahrenheit from June to August. Thunderstorms are common during the summer months, providing much-needed rainfall for the region and contributing to the lush greenery of the landscape.

Winters in Manhattan are cold and snowy, with average high temperatures in the 30s and 40s Fahrenheit from December to February. The city receives an average of around 23 inches of snow annually, with the heaviest snowfall occurring between December and March. Snowstorms can occasionally bring significant accumulations of snow, leading to temporary closures of schools and businesses and hazardous driving conditions.

Spring and fall in Manhattan are transitional seasons characterized by gradually warming or cooling temperatures as the region transitions between summer and winter. Spring brings blooming flowers, including wildflowers such as purple coneflowers and Indian paintbrush, while fall is marked by cooler temperatures and changing foliage as the leaves of deciduous trees turn shades of yellow, orange, and red before winter sets in. These transitional seasons offer pleasant weather for outdoor activities and events, making them popular times of year for residents and visitors alike.

The unique geography and climate of Manhattan have shaped the city’s culture, economy, and way of life. The rolling hills, grasslands, and scenic river provide residents with opportunities for outdoor recreation and contribute to the city’s natural beauty. The city’s location in the Flint Hills region, with its rich history and diverse ecosystem, provides residents with access to a wide range of cultural amenities, job opportunities, and recreational activities.

Manhattan’s economy is diverse and includes sectors such as education, healthcare, manufacturing, and retail. The city is home to Kansas State University, a major public research university that is a key driver of the local economy. The university attracts students, faculty, and researchers from around the world and provides employment opportunities in education, research, and related fields. The city is also home to several major employers in the healthcare, manufacturing, and retail sectors, providing a diverse range of job opportunities for residents of Manhattan and the surrounding area.