Moving to Columbus

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  • Neighborhoods in Columbus, Ohio?

    (4 replies)

    I'm moving to Columbus, Ohio so my daughter can live closer to her dad, and am wondering if anyone has any advice on neighborhoods and schools in and around Columbus.  I have a 5 year old daughter and, in a perfect world, would find a Columbus neighborhood or nearby suburb that feels a little like we still live in Oakland - progressive, walkable, kid-friendly, diverse.  I know this is a lot to hope for.  I'll be working at OSU, so close to campus is important.  And if I could move Lake Merritt to Columbus, that would be great too.


    I used to live there and have many friends still in Columbus. Clintonville is an affordable area—though I don't know the quality of the schools. There has been a lot of development along High St., so Clintonville has undergone a transformation the last few years. Upper Arlington and Grandview and Dublin have excellent school districts, but housing is less affordable. I am happy to put you in touch with my friend Ian who has served on city council in Columbus if you have questions.  

    Hi. I grew up in Columbus and although it's changed I can speak to some of the neighborhoods. 

    Bexley is a very nice community with excellent schools. It's centrally located, close to downtown and the airport.  New Albany also had excellent schools. Very upscale. 

    Clintonville is a neighborhood with a lot of character, very walkable, probably as close to the Bay Area as you might get but it's Columbus schools and then you need to consider private.  

    IMO, up and coming communities such as Powell are too far away.  Older communities such as worthington and upper Arlington have excellent schools as well.  Upper Arlington is close to OSU. 

    Good luck.  It's not the Bay Area but it is a nice area to grow up. And it's cheap.  

    Not sure if my reply went through. Check out Clintonville. 

    Upper Arlington, Grandview, and Dublin have great schools. The Columbus Zoo is a lot of fun as well. I used to live there. Loved going to Delaware (just north of Columbus). 


    From my brother in law who lives there:

    Many parts of Clintonville would absolutely fit the bill in terms of progressive, walkable, kid-friendly, diverse, and is very close to OSU campus.
    Many residents of Clintonville have ties to OSU; staff, faculty, grad students, etc..
    Clintonville covers a very largearea and as such the homes differ as does the "walkable-ness". I believe south Clintonville is preferred.

    German Village would also be worthy of strong consideration.
    It is also (highly) walkable, kid-friendly, and diverse.
    A beautiful historic (european style) neighborhood it is located at the south end of downtown and is 10 mins from OSU campus.
    More affluent and as such, higher median home prices.
    I lived in German Village prior to moving to NYC and I feel like someone who's lived in Oakland would find this neighborhood most amenable.

    Near downtown, Victorian Village (and Harrison West)  are absolutely worth mentioning as they are also historic, beautiful, walkable, kid friendly, diverse neighborhoods that are also 5 mins or less from OSU.
    Like German Village, higher median home prices.
    Skews a little younger here and the east border of Victorian Village is "The Short North" (south of OSU campus/north of downtown) which is essentially where all the downtown night life happens: restaurants, bars, etc. But a vibrant area and an eminently walkable community.

    Upper Arlington is beautiful, and located just a few minutes from OSU as well.
    Large area, much of it very affluent.
    The walkable areas are there and although It's not quite marked by the kind of diversity that you'd find in the aforementioned neighborhoods, Arlington will have the best schools.

    That should get things started.

    And while the above is my take, I have included this link from 2009 Columbus Monthly magazine, listing and describing Best Neighborhoods.
    The home prices are probably grossly outdated (as 2009 was right after market crash) but it should provide a guide for exploration.

    Best of luck!

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Moving to Columbus, Ohio for a job at OSU

March 2016

Our family will be moving to Columbus, Ohio over the summer and was hoping someone out there can give me some advice. What neighborhoods are family friendly, affordable, have good public schools (we would need a pre-k eventually), relatively close to OSU and not full of undergrads? Is there a BPN equivalent or some central place to look for preschools? How far in advance should we look for house rentals, or are we better off moving into a temporary housing and look for a place to live once we are there? Or any advice or tips about the area in general would be welcome! We will have 3 year old twins and a newborn. So many logistics


I moved to the Bay Area from Columbus, Ohio a couple of years ago, I doubt that much has changed.

I worked at The Ohio State University. The first year that we lived in Columbus, we lived in Bexley. Bexley is known for its great public schools, high walkability, and safe environment ('a great place to raise kids'). The homes are lovely--3-6 bedroom homes on quarter and half-acre lots. There are 2-3 elementary schools, a middle school, and a high school. Pretty much everyone who lives in Bexley sends their children to the public schools because they are so good. There is a commercial strip, and the area has easy access to the highways. It is a beautiful area, and it was so boring, that we moved to Olde Towne East the next year.

Olde Towne East is the next neighborhood east of Bexley, and is still undergoing gentrification. We lived in a beautiful 3-story house. The house next door to us was falling down (literally) and the house across the street was a crack house, and the rest of the homes in the neighborhood were fine. I walked to work and back home (University Hospital East) every day, even in the dark, and was just fine. It is a 45-minute walk to downtown through interesting streets and parks, which we did often. Little cafes and shops are scattered throughout, and there are probably more now. Easy highway access, easy access to Bexley (although we seldom went there after we moved). Always something a leeetle interesting going on (e.g., the man pushing a baby carriage where sat a gas canister--he would go around siphoning gas out of cars). The public schools in that neighborhood are horrible, so if you have children, you pretty much have to send them to a private school if they are to get a decent education.

Another area that families gravitate toward is called 'Clinton.' This is an older neighborhood built around a few ravines. Smaller, older homes, on wooded lots. The schools are still pretty good in this area (the university professors tend to live in Clinton, for an easy commute to OSU). This is near a commercial strip. We would mainly go here to walk through the ravines (but it sure looked nice).

My advice to you is to rent a home for a year or two. You will not have difficulty finding a nice home to rent--there are many rentals because of the university. That way, you can decide which area of town you like, before you buy a place. We were told that Bexley = heaven, and well, it just wasn't for us.

Great bagel shop: Blocks Hot Bagels, 3415 E Broad Street

Fitness center: Jewish Community Center on College Avenue (nice, normal people there who are minding their own business). It has a nice, not crowded, indoor pool.

Funny coffee shop: The Angry Baker, Oak & 18th in Olde Towne East

Go-to restaurant: Mile 229, downtown (overlooks the river, has a nice patio)

Hope this helps. Olde Towne East Girl

Columbus, OH - insights as a place to live for kids?

March 2015

We are contemplating a family move to Columbus, OH. As someone who loves the Bay Area, I have lots of questions. How are the schools? How is it as a place to raise children? How is it in terms of raising kids in multi-ethnic, socially open communities? How is it in terms of medical services (we have a child with some special medical needs in the pediatric GI arena)? What are the other pluses and minuses of living there? I know, too many questions. But many thanks. -To be or not to be a buckeye?

I have lived in Minneapolis most of my life, but also Berkeley (1 yr), St. Louis (2 yr), and Columbus (4 yr). Columbus is very 'livable' in terms of good housing prices, some very good public schools (some, not so much), good med services (at OSU), pretty good commuting, etc. Cannot speak to some of your questions, but overall, I would not hesitate to live there with kids. Susan

Columbus, OH neighborhoods like Temescal?

Dec 2010

We're considering a move to Columbus, OH--- the cost of things here is killing us (we're never going to be able to retire, take a vacation, etc). We live in Temescal and would like something similar...we realize it isn't the same, but we're thinking of something walkable, good mix of people, etc. We've heard Clintonville is a good place to look. Also, Is there something like the BPN? Any comments would be appreciated. Thanks. Love it here, but loving the idea of living on the cheap.

I grew up in Columbus, Ohio and all of my family is still there. The cost of living is much much cheaper than out here and there are several great neighborhoods that are similar to Temescal. Clintonville is a great neighborhood and is very family-friendly. Other great neighborhoods are the Short North and Victorian Village (both located immediately north of downtown Columbus) and German Village (located immediately south of downtown). These neighborhoods have great historical architecture and lots of restaurants, cafes, bars, and shops. Good luck! Former Buckeye 

Moving to Columbus, OH

Feb 2010

My husband and I are thinking about moving to Columbus (job offered, now doing some research about the location to be sure). Can anyone tell us a little bit about the city of Columbus and nearby towns? Mostly we are interested to hear about the schools, kids activities, outdoor activities to do nearby and the cost of living. We are trying to get a sense of what it's like to raise kids there...any insights about the area will be helpful. Thanks so much. anonymous

I grew up in Columbus, Ohio. It is not nearly as beautiful as here, but it is way more affordable. There are some wonderful neighborhoods. Bexley is an older neighborhood, great schools though, well located. New Albany is a newer area, further out and amazing schools. Be careful of the City of Columbus schools, stick with the suburbs.  Madeleine

My in-laws live in Bexley which is city within the city of Columbus ( It is an attractive city with brick houses and tree lined streets. Houses cost much less than here - my in-laws are always reminding us. It is the type of place where you see kids riding their bikes around. The schools are excellent (at least that is what my in-laws say). They have a cute little downtown with restaurants, cafes, etc. Since it is within Columbus, you have easy access to things in Columbus and easy commute to jobs in Columbus. The Columbus Science museum is amazing for toddlers through adults ( I grew up in the bay area and have been to many of the museums, but COSI blew me away. A Levin

Columbus is a great town and obviously cost of living is much less than bay area. I would check out Upper Arlington area to live - great neighborhood and schools. az

I can tell you a bit about Bexley, which is a town in the middle of Columbus. My husband grew up there and we visit my mother-in-law there for a few weeks several times per year. It's a little like Piedmont or Orinda is here - a really nice town with lots of families, great public schools that kids walk to, lovely parks and playgrounds, safe, clean, etc. The whole town comes out for the 4th of July parade, and there's really a nice friendly vibe about the place. In Bexley there are shops and restaurants (including Jeni's, Graeters, and Johnson's ice cream - all fantastic) and a wonderful library that has story time for kids each week. Columbus also has one of the best zoos in the country, and an excellent science museum called COSI. There's honestly not a ton for kids to do in the winter in Columbus - they don't have play-cafe type places like we do here, although there is a new place that's like Pump It Up. If we had to move to Columbus, I'd definitely consider Bexley. Good luck! Lisa

I moved away from Columbus (for my husband's job) 5 years ago but have lots of mom friends still there. I asked them for their advice and I'll paste it below. I really enjoyed living there though, I moved away when my daughter was 2 mos. old but it seemed like there were lots of resources for kids and lots to do outdoors (at least during the warmer months-festivals, boating/water skiing, hiking). We lived in the short north near downtown and there were surprisingly a lot of good restaurants all over (we had moved there from NYC). It is definitely cheaper living, no doubt.

The people in Columbus were very friendly and laidback. Seems like it gets more conservative the further you get from town. The suburbs that seemed good for kids are: Dublin, Worthington, Powell, New Albany and Upper Arlington. I loved the Clintonville area personally, but the schools are not so good.

Here's one friend's take: I live in Upper Arlington and I truly think it is the best community if you have kids. Everyone has them, or at least it seems and there are always community festivals. The schools are ranked number 1. The people can be closed off to some extent. Many people have lived here forever, for example they grew up in UA and left for college and then came back. They often let you know this, but there are also others here that are very cool.

Upper Arlington is more conservative. Clintonvile is great in the heart of the city. Very liberal. Very laid back. Very strong community. It is in the columbus public school zone, which is not great. Most families send kids to private or catholic school. Bexley is East, near downtown. Both conservative and Liberal. Diverse in religion. Very good schools. I do not know much about Dublin, Worthington, New Albany, Hilliard, Westerville, Blacklick, Gahanna, or Powell. I suggest that your friend look at the Ohio Chamber of Commerce website. It is amazing and they will find helpful information with many details. julesdesign9

Hi There, I grew up in Columbus, and lived there through my early thirties. First of all, if I were to move back to Columbus, I would definitely gravitate toward Grandview, Marble Cliff, Upper Arlington. These communities are close enough to downtown and the Ohio State University for entertainment (great restaurants, museums, an indoor farmer's market, galleries, etc. etc.) without the crime that occurs in other neighborhoods closer to those areas. Too, because these communities are older, they are more aesthetically appealing and there is a sense of not being so far out in the burbs where homes sit on very small lots and your house looks exactly like your neighbors, and their neighbors, and so forth. I lived in Grandview for many years and loved walking to the small main street, where I would happily drink Staufs coffee and talk with my neighbors and friends. Grandview is especially community-focused, liberal, and full of families and children playing in the streets. Very safe. Upper Arlington is more expensive, but the homes sit on large, mature lots and schools are top-rated. When we were last in Columbus, visiting friends who purchased a home in Upper Arlington, we were so envious of how much space their children had to play and explore. I do miss that! And they can see their tax dollars at work for sure.

You can purchase a gorgeous home with TONS of space for less than $300k - 4+ bedrooms, + basement + big yard + best school district. Actually, there are many great public school systems in the Columbus suburbs. Check out for general info.

Columbus is a white-collar town and if purchase power is your thing you can surely find lots of shopping b/c it's a test market. Restaurants are surprisingly great. COSI is freaking incredible (a children's museum), as is the Zoo (ever hear of Jack Hanna? He was the zookeeper when I was growing up.). I worked in the arts community in Columbus, and it's well supported.

People who live in the midwest love to travel and road trips are popular because so many cities are within a one day drive - so you can really explore surrounding states and the eastern seaboard. I miss traveling like that - our budget in the bay area hasn't allowed for much travel via car or plane, and one of the reasons we are considering leaving. If you like hiking, southern Ohio is beautiful. Lake Erie can be fun during warm months. I'm sure it will be challenging to move away from the physical beauty of the Bay Area - Columbus doesn't have tons of natural beauty, however there are lots of parks for children, and some larger parks hold summer festivals, Shakespeare in the Park, and free concerts. I do miss all the gorgeous trees, and in general autumn and spring weather is wonderful. Winter can be a bit dreary - grey with low cloud cover, but if you've seen the weather reports recently, Columbus is but one city receiving lots of snow (unusual). I would advise that you definitely purchase a home with air conditioning because late summer can be quite hot, humid and uncomfortable without it. Rain happens year round, and you'll get to experience true thunderstorms and lightning. I miss that, too.

Despite the popular opinion in the Bay Area that cultural does not exist in 'fly-over states', it does. Too, if you are liberally-minded, you will find community there. You'll probably also find that your paycheck and the cost of living are more in alignment, which can bring great freedom to other areas of your life. It's a BIG decision. My family is in the same boat with a potential job offer in another state and I so I wish you the very best with your decision. After living here for many years, it's easy to forget that you can have a quality life elsewhere. Think about what you are willing to sacrifice because as beautiful as it is here, we, and every single set of our friends are sacrificing MUCH just to stay put and barely make ends meet. ~~Wanting OUT of the Insanity

Relocating to the Cleveland area

Feb 2008

My husband may be taking a job near Cleveland, in Mentor, Ohio. Having never been there, and not knowing much about the area, I am somewhat apprehensive about the move. It seems like such a huge change (i.e. culture shock!) from living in the Bay Area. I would so very much appreciate feedback from anyone who has lived there, or near there. We have three small children, one of whom will be starting kindergarten in the fall. Are the schools any good? What school districts? What neighborhoods we should be looking at? My husband's future boss suggested looking around Chardon, Concord, Chagrin Falls, and Mentor itself. Anyone have a recommendation? Thank you so much... tinagr

I was raised in the Cleveland area, and have observed that people who have lived there are extremely positive about the place. Ohio, and particularly Cleveland, is still not successfully transitioned to a post-rust-belt economy and continues to suffer quite a bit economically. That said, Ohio is known for excellent public schools and public libraries. You will be astounded at how inexpensively one can live there.

I recently attended a meeting with many CA school administrators, who commented that Ohio administrators gripe about cutting items from their budgets that even the richest CA districts don't dream of putting in. I believe you will be amazed at the quality of the cultural institutions in the area: orchestra, art museum, health museum, rock n roll hall of fame, etc.

People who love the Berkeley/Oakland area will probably like Shaker Heights, Cleveland Heights, maybe even Lakewood. Unfortunately, these are close-in suburbs to the city and quite far from Mentor. Chagrin Falls, Chardon do have good schools, but are not all that diverse racially or economically and so may involve more culture shock. Mentor is not bad. I'm not familiar with Concord.

I have been surprised recently to see many of childhood friends turn back flips to return to the Cleveland area because it's a great place to raise a family.

The weather is of course miserable - constant snow in the winter (although global warning has lessened the severity), sweltering in the summer. The Mentor Headlands beach is one of the best places ever to spend one's summer days. Best of luck! Hometown Clevelander

As a life-long resident of the Cleveland area who has recently located to CA, I can provide some guidance.

Yes - you will be in for a culture shock, but not as much as you think. Cleveland is a relatively liberal town (at least in pockets - it is not Iowa). The biggest shock will be the weather. Cleveland has 3-4 of the best months you will find anywhere, but 4 or 5 of the worst months you will find anywhere. The lack of sun in the winter can be depressing, but the occasionally you will get crisp snow and a blue sky and have a truly beautiful winter day (although don't look for it to be like Tahoe).

In terms of the area, Chagrin Falls is really the cream of the crop. Hudson is right there with it. Excellent schools and really nice homes. Homes that do not exist in the Bay area. On the positive side, if you own a home in the Bay area, you can sell and live like a king in either of those areas. I am sure you have already been on and have an idea of home prices, but the Cleveland market is really depressed. Foreclosures have hit all price ranges and there is a lot of desperation selling going on. In this market, you can expect to get a huge discount and if you have multiple homes in mind, low ball offers may be entertained. Another thing, much unlike the Bay area, in the Cleveland market a 90% offer is not viewed as a low-ball offer - especially in this market. So, you should do extremely well on buying.

People talk about Chardon a lot, but the snow belt is really tough there. Chardon is very nice; however, when the West Side of Cleveland has 2-3 inches of snow, Chardon can have 12''. Cleveland has what is called ''Lake Effect'' snow, and there are only a few places in the world that have it (it is caused by lake Erie). Unless you really like a lot of snow (I mean a lot), you probably want to stay out the snow belt as commuting can be very difficult especially for someone who did not grow up driving in snow.

Obviously, there is a lot more to tell....and if you have specific issues in mind I will be glad to share my ''hard earned'' wisdom when it comes to Cleveland.



Moving to Columbus, Ohio

Oct 2003

I'm considering moving to Columbus Ohio. (yikes!) If anyone on the list has lived there or the surrounding area, I'd be interested to hear about your experience. My questions are about what it's like to live there - socially and practically - being a parent (info on day care, schools, etc), being an adoptive parent, having a transracial family, being a lesbian or bisexual, being a politically progressive person, working in public health, working in nonprofits. Thanks! janey

I moved to the SF Bay area seven years ago, after living in Columbus, OH for 7 years. I gave birth to my first child there, but moved shortly after so don't have a ton of information on raising kids there. But, I can give you quite a bit of information about living there (neighborhoods, political climate, etc.). sherry

One of my closest friends is from Columbus. My parents moved there 2 years ago from Pittsburgh Pa (how ironic is that?) after living in Pittsburgh for 13 years. My younger sister moved in with my parents a year ago after living in Manhattan for 10 years.

Pittsburgh is a cooler place than Columbus, but Columbus isn't bad either.

Here is my interpretation of Columbus from my family, best friend, and my point of view.

Right away I noticed that Columbus is very conservative politically. Lots of anti choice billboards, Jesus everywhere. Some of the coolest places to live in the city of Columbus (not the burbs) were built up by the gay community.

Columbus is where any kind of fast food, chain restraunt, etc. is test marketed before it's released to the rest of the world. Columbus has a significant Japanese population. This is a result of the Honda plant that opened a while ago. The result? Killer sushi and Japanese food. My parents live near a Trader Joes in upper Arlington, so there is hope for grocery shopping. I'm not sure if my mom's identified the food co-op yet, but rest assured there are some cool things around.

My mom's not very happy with the health care so far, but they do have osteopaths, cranial sacral massage therapists, and accupuncture.

My best friend says that Columbus is one of the easiest places for someone who is down on their luck to re-group. The rentals are cheap. My sister is paying $475 all utilities included for a one bedroom in a cute part of town! Can't say that here.

I don't know what the work situation is like because my dad works for OSU and somehow my sister keeps getting herself fired from her jobs.

The winters are colder and snowier than Pittsburgh. That's one thing my parents are still getting used to. There are things to do there at night, but you have to work at it.

The thing I like about Columbus (and my best friend too) is that there are so many cool small towns anyway you turn. It's a roadtrippers dream come true. My friend and I have been to some places that are so small and quaint, you might think time stopped. Also, Columbus is pretty close to New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Ann Arbor by car.

Hope this helps! beth k

I lived in Columbus Ohio for nine years (yikes!) as a faculty member at Ohio State. On the whole, Columbus was an easy place to live -- not exciting, not colorful, but comfortable in most ways. I'll try to respond with brief points:


relatively low housing costs with some appealing neighborhoods, lots of green space. We lived in Clintonville (about a mile north of campus) -- tree-lined streets, neighbors sitting out on front porches, big old (late 19th-, early 20th-century) houses, lots of neighborly feel, walk to shops and restaurants on High Street. Victorian Village (south of campus) also nice

not much traffic for the most part, easy to get around

a pretty big and solid gay (especially lesbian) community and a reasonable amount of tolerance for ''alternative'' lifestyles (though generally quite conservative, see below)

a fair number of restaurants, including selections from Asia, the Middle East, India, etc.

some good cultural outlets (fantastic public library system, art cinema, galleries on High Street, art museum, Wexner Center for contemporary art, Science/Children's Museum, etc.)

easy if not terribly exciting shopping (clothes, furniture, etc.)

beautiful springs and falls

people generally friendly, polite, and relaxed

Negatives (from my point of view):

overall pretty conservative and not terribly diverse (there are African-American neighborhoods and white neighborhoods, for instance, but little mixed, some Asians -- mostly associated with the university)

seasonally bad weather (hot and muggy in summer, cold and sleety in winter) Central Air a must

aesthetically awful parts (long strip developments along major arteries, pretty dismal campus area) Geography around the town is flat farm country

football mania (verging on the insane) surrounding the OSU Buckeyes

You are welcome to write with any more specific questions.

Good luck! Linda R