Depending on where you are from originally, there are two schools of thought about Columbus, OH. It is either out of sight, out of mind or seen for what it really is: one of the hottest real estate markets in the United States.
But is it a good place to live? If you want that big city feel without the costs, then Columbus may just be the city for you. There is so much to like about Columbus, from the cost of living, nightlife, and massive college presence just to name a few.
Table of Contents
- Why Columbus, Ohio Is A Good Place To Live
- Is Columbus, OH a Good Place to Live?
Why Columbus, Ohio Is A Good Place To Live
Low Cost of Living
Whenever you are looking for a place to live, cost of living becomes one of the top focuses. There may be perks to living in New York City or Los Angeles, but you better believe that there are serious costs that come along with it.
Columbus, on the other hand, has that big city feel at a much lower cost. Columbus comes in at 10% under the national average for the cost of living index. Not only that but things like housing, utilities, and healthcare have Columbus coming in significantly under the national average.
When moving to a city, having a lot to do is great but not if you can’t afford to do any of it. Columbus allows residents to live within the cost of living index, giving them the capability of enjoying all that the city has to offer.
A Diverse Job Market
Columbus also has a quite diverse economy that allows the city to remain a strong employer among the major cities in the Midwest. It ranks in the top 100 metro areas in the country, which makes it a smart and safe option for workers looking for employment in the city.
Furthermore, the city has several industries that are thriving on a consistent basis. Retail and eCommerce, manufacturing, healthcare, fashion, finance, and automotive are just one of a dozen categories in which the Columbus job market thrives.
A lower than average cost of living coupled with a healthy, diverse job market can make Columbus an appealing choice based on those two factors alone.
THE Ohio State University
You can’t talk about Columbus without talking about the Buckeyes. There is so much that the university brings to the table for the city that a few paragraphs can’t possibly cover it all. That said, here are a few of those things.
For one, the job market is heavily influenced by the university and state-related jobs. Transplants to the city have no problem finding employment either through the university or a related company/industry.
And then there is the athletics. Unlike some other college towns, Columbus is professional sports-level simply because of the Buckeyes. Their football program is one of the premier programs in college athletics, with hundreds of millions in revenue for the school.
Columbus has the feel of a college town while offering the perks of a major city. You will see students from campus across the town enjoying a variety of restaurants and entertainment destinations. You can’t have Columbus without Ohio State.
Not Your Daddy’s “Cow Town”
Once upon a time, Columbus was referred to as a “cow town.” Part of this was that there was a major foundation of agriculture, but also because Columbus simply did not have that big city feel that it does today.
Columbus has grown up big time. As the capital of Ohio, work has been put into the city to put it on par with Cincinnati and Cleveland. Local businesses are thriving, there is a wide array of festivals, and more community events than anyone could cover in a short amount of time. Simply put Columbus is a big-time city and not the small town that it may have been in the 1980s.
A Culinary Trendsetter
While it may not seem like it, Columbus has had a diverse demographic that closely matches the rest of the country. It has been this way for decades. For that reason, it makes sense that Columbus has essentially been a test market for high-end drinks, snacks, fast food items, and other brands.
Columbus remains that hotbed for testing even today. Businesses from across the country take the opinions of the city’s residents quite seriously. If Columbus foodies like it, they take it to market. If not, they bring it back to the test kitchen to make some changes.
Too Many Restaurants to Try
It would take living in Columbus for many years to try all of the restaurants that the city and surrounding areas have to offer. From Greek to German, Italian to Mexican, there is no cultural cuisine that cannot be found somewhere in the city.
One chain, in particular, Condado, has exploded into a major chain that has expanded throughout Ohio. They make fresh, authentic tacos that are exploding with flavor. If you want to try Indian, there is Aab Restaurant and their massive and beautiful buffet.
An Ohio State favorite is Mamacita’s Mexican Street Food. It is located near the campus and provides a wide array of delicious and massive burritos to the bustling students. That is just the tip of the iceberg for the culinary experiences that Columbus has to offer.
Speaking of that diverse demographic, there are mini-regions and a wide array of neighborhoods all across Columbus’ 233 miles. There is no background that you will not find somewhere in the city and neighborhoods ranging from rural suburbs to hopping downtown condominiums.
Downtown in particular is one of the hottest areas in the market. It is the primary civic and business district but is fast becoming a residential center, too. Townhouses, condos, and high-rises have been popping up left and right throughout the years. Downtown is becoming even more attractive for those seeking out the big city life and proximity to work and nightlife.
And then there is the Short North, which has a number of boutiques and art galleries. Including the Victorian Village, neighborhoods host events like the Gallery Hop. This is where visitors and residents come, going from installation and exhibit to installation and exhibit. It is a great way to see art and hear street performers playing.
Public Transportation is a Major Plus
Another major detriment to living in a major city is public transportation. Even people who have not been to New York or Los Angeles know what it is like getting around the city and the surrounding suburbs.
While Columbus is definitely a car town, the Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) has made things easier. They even provide free commuter buses known as Cbus to residents of the Short North and German Village.
Even if you need to drive, commutes average about 22 minutes of drive time to downtown. That means getting anywhere in the city without incurring the stresses of driving through a major city.
More Schools Than Ohio State
Contrary to popular belief, Ohio State is not the only college in the Columbus area. There are a few other schools that provide growing educational and job opportunities to students and graduates across Columbus.
Franklin University is on the city’s eastside and is best known for being a business college. They offer degrees starting at an associate’s and working up to doctoral degrees. Capital University, located in Bexley, is known for its law school and music conservatory program.
Columbus College of Art & Design is great for burgeoning art students, attracting applicants from across the country. Otterbein University, located in Westerville, is a liberal arts college that has a renowned theater department. Whatever you can think of the Columbus educational scene can cover it.
A Competitive Housing Market
All of this sounds great, right? But none of it matters if those looking to make their home in Columbus can’t actually find a home. The good news is that the housing market in Columbus is competitive and affordable.
The median home price in Columbus is just $190,000. That puts Columbus at 18% below the national average for housing prices. Added in with the low cost of living, Columbus is one of the most affordable “big cities” out there.
Underrated Outdoor Life
For outdoor lovers, there are some challenges to living in a big city. After all, there are only so many tall buildings that you can see before you want to get out and see some greenery. As usual, Columbus is up to the task.
There are plenty of parks, trails, and paths to choose from. Walking, biking, hiking, and swimming are all available with short drives from downtown. The Olentangy Greenway is a multi-use path that runs along both the Olentangy and Scioto rivers, providing wonderful scenery and comprehensive paths.
Is Columbus, OH a Good Place to Live?
What is there to not like? Columbus is a major metropolitan city without the costs, hassles, and headaches that come with living in one. The public transportation, when necessary, makes travel easier though driving is standard.
The college atmosphere provided by Ohio State is second to none. The job market and local economy are healthier than ever, offering plenty of opportunity to residents in a number of burgeoning job markets.
The food scene is unique and unlike any other in the country. Not only from the wide variety of cuisines to be had, but for the importance of the city’s opinion on food trends across the country.
Most of all, there is a little something for everyone. From outdoor trails and paths to the Polaris shopping mini-town, anyone can find something that they like within Columbus. Residents will need all the time that they can get to explore the various offerings that Columbus provides.