If you’ve ever driven cross-country, chances are you’ve zipped through Columbus, Ohio, without giving it a second glance. But look again: Columbus is becoming a destination city for many as the not-so-well-known gem of the Midwest. If you’re considering moving to Columbus, you’re not alone… and here’s why.
- Columbus is full of smart people
Named the 7th smartest city in the world by the Intelligent Communities Forum, Columbus was the only city in America to get on the list… so that’s saying something. Really, we could stop this list right here because if the country’s smartest people live in Columbus, they’re clearly on to something. But we’ll continue.
- The food is fantastic
As Ohio’s biggest city and the foodie hub of the area, you can find just about anything you want here — including things you never knew you wanted, like a Thurmanator (think burger + ham sandwich) at Thurman’s Cafe. Vegetarians and vegans will be surprised and pleased with the abundant options like vegan chili dogs, and the North Market will keep your eyes and mouth happy with an enormous variety of food shopping.
- Animals, animals, animals
The zoo and the aquarium in Columbus are consistently rated among the best in the country, and who doesn’t like to educate themselves about the world’s animals? So whether you’re a solo adult of you have kids in tow, you can get your educational fix of aquatic and land animals all year round in this city. Make sure you pay a visit to the young polar bear cub named Nora, who represents the zoo’s efforts to preserve the dwindling polar bear populations. Interested in seeing some animals in the wild? Hop over to this blog post for the inside scoop on things to do outside in Columbus.
- Looking for a job? Come to Columbus
Especially if you are a nurse. Columbus is home to a big concentration of medical facilities, including research hospitals at the city’s universities. Big companies like Victoria’s Secret, Cardinal Health, AEP, and Nationwide Insurance also have their headquarters in Columbus, and the overall unemployment rate is just 4.3% — that’s significantly below the national average. Columbus has over 84,000 businesses which employ over 264,000 people. Maybe that’s because everyone is so smart… we’re not sure. But if you’re looking for a job, this city can help.
- Art, music, Columbus has it all
The Topiary is, as far as we know, the only real-life interpretation of a painting – A Sunday Afternoon of the Isle of La Grande Jatte, by Georges Seurat, in the shrubbery. Relocating to Columbus means you can call this incredible work of art your neighbor, at least to some degree. Shadowbox Live has been hosting world-class theater performances for over 20 years or take a stroll through the Gallery Hops in the Short North area to get a taste for the local artistic flavor. Fashion Week Columbus brings out all the haute couture you never knew this Midwest had in a more intimate venue than New York’s fashion week, and big-name acts will generally make Columbus their midwestern stop at Nationwide Arena. You’ll find the smaller acts at the fantastic LC Pavillion.
- The people are friendly. Really friendly
This might be a more subjective category, but those Midwest city folks are just a welcoming bunch. Columbus loves to love Columbus and there are abundant opportunities for you to get out and celebrate your new city with your fellow Ohioans — shout out an, “O! H!” and get an “I! O!” in return every time. There are 109 languages spoken in Columbus, so whatever you seek? You can find a sense of belonging in this city.
- That includes the LGBT community
The Pride Parade in Columbus is not something to be missed (George Takei has led it!), the Gay Men’s Choir keeps Columbus celebratory, and the New York Times went so far as to call the city the Gay Mecca of the Midwest. So a little secret about this big Midwestern city? It’s quite open-minded across the board.
- Festivals, outdoor concerts, you name it!
CD 102.5 Summerfest seems to top the list of awesome festivals, bringing high-end acts to town so Columbus can celebrate the best season of the year. Then there’s Red, White, and Boom, the biggest display of fireworks in the Midwest, or the Pelotonia bicycle ride (also the biggest in Ohio), the Columbus Arts Festival will scratch everyone’s itch for some crafts, and the Food Truck Festival brings together all of your favorite trucks in one spectacular smorgasbord. That’s not all, either — there’s truly a festival for everything.
- The cost of living is comparatively low
It’s lower than St. Louis, Salt Lake, Austin, or other comparable big cities in fact — that means with your fantastic new job in this thriving economy, your paycheck goes further. Houses are priced affordably for the average income, and if you’re coming from another big city, you might even notice the prices for common things are a bit lower. The benefits of living in Columbus!
- Families love it in Columbus
With that low cost of living, families are drawn to call Columbus home — so there is a lot to cater to that younger crowd. Cosi Museum makes science fun for kids, there are plenty of free parks and playgrounds, many of the city’s festivals are family oriented, and in case you missed point #1, the zoo is amazing. Your kids will never, ever be bored!
Ready? When it’s time to take the next step, start by doing some research on what it will likely cost for you to move long distance. Our blog post will help you determine what and how to calculate!