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Downtown Columbus, Ohio

12 Things to Know About Living in Columbus

Thinking about moving to Ohio? Consider the great city of Columbus! Known as one of the best places to live in the Midwest, Arch City has an affordable cost of living, endless outdoor activities, amazing food, and friendly neighborhoods. Ready to pack your bags? Here are 12 things to know about living in Columbus!

Low Cost of Living & Great Job Market

View of Columbus skyline with skyscrapers and a bridge. Photo by Instagram user @onlyincbus

Photo via @onlyincbus

With a cost of living 11% lower than the national average, Columbus is one of the most affordable cities in the U.S. Not only can you find homes in Columbus with median prices around $131,800 (or around $856 for median rent), but Columbus also has a 4% unemployment rate, making it one of the best U.S. cities to find a job. Some of the top industries in Columbus include education, healthcare, finance, and e-commerce with The Ohio State University, Ohio Health, Nationwide Insurance, and JP Morgan Chase among the largest companies in the area.

Trendy Neighborhoods to Check Out

One of the best parts of living in Columbus is experiencing its cool neighborhoods. The Short North Arts District offers some of the best art galleries and public art displays in the city, as well as great food at restaurants like Arch City Tavern and Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream. There’s also the locally-beloved German Village, where you can find restored old homes, quaint shops like The Book Loft, and German pubs like Valter’s at the Maennerchor. Or you can find a little something for everyone in the Arena District, which is home to six music venues, two sports venues, and more than a dozen restaurants and bars, including R Bar Arena, the top hockey bar in Columbus.

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Get a Fantastic Education

Columbus is a great place to be a college student! There are over 50 private and public colleges in the area with nearly 136,000 students total. Chosen as one of the top 30 institutions by the American Association of Community Colleges, Columbus State Community College has a fantastic career and technical program. Columbus-based Ohio Dominican University is among the top private institutions in the country and offers competitive financial aid and a low teacher-to-student ratio. But no university in the area is more well-known than The Ohio State University. This massive university has almost 60,000 enrolled students alone and has a well-connected business program. Not to mention, local residents love supporting the Buckeyes, whether it’s for football, basketball, or hockey!

Columbus Loves the Outdoors

Photo of a lake a Three Creeks Metro Park. Photo by Instagram user @missanca

Photo via @missanca

Buckeye City has over 350 parks throughout the area, making it a great place for outdoor enthusiasts. Considered one of the best free things to do in Columbus, The Columbus Park of Roses allows you to stroll through over 12,000 roses in 400 varieties. There’s also Glen Echo Park, one of several ravines in the city, which offers a peaceful area for residents to enjoy a picnic or take a stroll along the creek. Curving along The Scioto River in Downtown Columbus is The Scioto Mile, which connects the Arena District to the Whittier Peninsula and includes restaurants, galleries, and landmarks on over 175 acres of green space and parks. Can’t decide between visiting a park or a gallery? Mirrored after a famous French painting, A Sunday Afternoon on the Isle of La Grand JatteThe Topiary Park of Columbus is filled with more than 50 human, boat, and animal topiaries.

Arts & Culture for All Interests

Polar bear swims in aquarium while people watch from below. Photo by Instagram user @onlyincdbus

Photo via @onlyincbus

There’s no shortage of exciting things to do in Columbus! Make a visit to the COSI (Center of Science and Industry) to explore the planetarium, examine mythical creatures, learn about crocodiles, and much more! Embrace your inner artist at the Columbus Museum of Art—a beautiful downtown gallery showcasing 19th and 20th century American and European paintings, contemporary pottery, photography, and folk art. Located on The Ohio State University campus, The Wexner Center for the Arts is the place to go for film, dance, and contemporary art. With rides, interactive exhibits, and an underwater aquarium, The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is one of the major Columbus attractions you can’t miss. Fun Fact: famous animal expert Jack Hanna was the zoo’s director for 40 years! Columbus also has an incredible performing arts scene. Take in a Broadway show or concert at The Palace Theatre, or marvel at modern dance or classical music performances at the Ohio Theatre.

A Festival for Everyone

People holding balloons that spell PRIDE during a parade. Photo by Instagram user @yayitsm4tt

Photo via @yayitsm4tt

With a number of exciting festivals and one-of-a-kind events, there’s always something to do in Columbus! Every summer, residents dress up in their funniest costumes and get together to celebrate “the liberty & lunacy of Freedom of Speech” at The Doo Dah Parade. Join over 400,000 spectators at the Red White & Boom! festival, and watch the most impressive fireworks show in the state. One of the largest Pride events in the Midwest, the Columbus Pride Festival and Parade is an exciting three-day event that consists of a parade, drag contests, music, and even a Pride Brunch. And you can’t forget about the Ohio State Fair, which has over 300 commercial exhibitors, live music, carnival rides, livestock shows, and over 200 food vendors with 32 varieties of food-on-a-stick!

Take Your Pick of Sports Teams

Hockey player Mark Letestu guiding the puck down the ice. Photo by Instagram user @bluejacketsnhl

Photo via @bluejacketsnhl

Ohio is known for their pro-sports teams, and Columbus is host to a few favorites. Watch the Columbus Blue Jackets (NHL) skate around the ice at the Nationwide Arena. Or catch the Columbus Crew SC (NPSL) or The Columbus Clippers (MiLB) rack up major points on the score board. Local residents also support a number of other professional teams in the state, including the Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland Guardians (MLB), the Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals (NFL), and the Cleveland Cavaliers (NBA).

A Premier Shopping Experience

Front view of the Easton Station Building. Photo by Instagram user @eastontownctr

Photo via @eastontownctr

With dozens of shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues, Easton Town Center is a one-stop shopping destination. Located 15 minutes east from Downtown Columbus, this indoor-outdoor shopping center is designed to look like a small town. Explore entire blocks of shops like Nordstrom, Tiffany & Co, Crate & Barrel, and Anthropologie. Enjoy delicious falafel and doner kebabs at Cafe Istanbul, or fill your belly with Parmesan-Crusted Chicken and a cold BJ’s Brewhouse Blonde Ale at BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse. Not only can you shop and dine, but you can also enjoy live comedy at the Columbus Funny Bone, catch a movie at the AMC Easton 30, or let the kids run off some energy at the LEGOLAND Discovery Center.

Columbus Is a Famous Test Market

Closeup of sliders, chicken nuggets, and more in White Castle containers. Photo by Instagram user @whitecastle

Photo via @whitecastle

From experimental flavors at White Castle to new dishes from Wendy’s, innovative fast food flavors have long been tested on the palates of Columbus residents. In the 1990s, companies favored Columbus as a test market because they felt the city’s residents closely matched the rest of the United States. Today, Columbus is home to a number of food and retail corporate headquarters and still used as a test market for new food and retail items, so if you like to be on the cutting-edge, Columbus might be an ideal spot to settle down!

A Food Scene to Sink Your Teeth Into

Overhead view of tacos, corn, and more on a table. Photo by Instagram user @katalinascafe

Photo via @katalinascafe

Bring a big appetite to Ohio because the list of places to eat in Columbus is endless! Indulge in fresh seafood, craft cocktails, and oyster happy hours at gastropub The Pearl. Satisfy your burger craving at The Thurman Cafe, one of the best restaurants in Columbus. This spot is local favorite for oversized hamburgers like The Thurmanator, hand-cut fries, and specialty pizzas. Head to Katalina’s—a restaurant housed in an old gas station—for some of the best breakfast tacos, pancake balls, and slow-roasted pork sandwiches. Grab a place in line at Dirty Frank’s Hot Dog Palace and order one of 40 beef, vegan, or vegetarian hot dog combos, as well as cocktails like the bourbon-based Warm n’ Fuzzy and Salty Dog! If you’re in the mood for something sweet to eat, stop by the famous North Market. Try a Turtle or Lemon Triple Berry donut from Destination Donuts, or choose a selection of savory truffles and sweet chocolates to go from Coco Cat.

Enjoy a Night on the Town

Young men playing arcada video games. Photo by Instagram user @16bitbar

Photo via @16bitbar

Whether you’re in the mood for live music, dancing, or karaoke, there are plenty of things to do at night in Columbus. Play pinball, Tron, and Mario Bros while drinking a Winnie Cooper or Bill Nye cocktail at 16-Bit Bar +Arcade. Sip on a beerita while you laugh, dance, and sing along to dueling pianos at The Big Bang Columbus. For some of the best live music in Columbus, grab a few friends and venture to neighborhood staple, Park Street Tavern, to listen to local bands perform. Searching for a laid-back spot with late-night eats? Head to The Walrus Kitchen & Public House for trivia, karaoke, and comfort food like rich Lobster Mac & Cheese or the spicy Buffalo Chicken Flatbread.

A World-Class Beer Scene

Beer aficionados rejoice! Columbus is home to nearly 50 breweries! Visit Seventh Son Brewing and enjoy a Stone Fort Brown Ale or a seasonal Sun Mouth Saison while sitting around the fire pit. Or reserve a table at Wolf’s Ridge Brewing to taste a variety of ciders and drafts like the Mad Moon Cider or Salted Dire Wolf Canis Mexicanus Stout. Hoof Hearted Brewery & Kitchen isn’t only known for attention-grabbing brews like the Miracle Toast Stout with cinnamon and bourbon syrup. They also have a vast food menu, whole bean coffee for sale, and a running club! Ready to visit all the breweries in the area? Grab a free copy of the Columbus Ale Trail map and get hopping!


Moving to Columbus soon? Extra Space Storage has convenient storage facilities throughout the area that can help with your transition. Find a storage unit near you!

12 Things to Know Before Moving to Columbus

Downtown Columbus, Ohio
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