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Studio$1,009509 sqft
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3+ Beds$1,7131,358 sqft

About

Columbus is the 14th largest city in the United States. Spread across Franklin, Fairfield, and Delaware counties, Columbus, OH, originated in 1812 as a political center and was immediately named after Christopher Columbus. It was a critical location during the Civil War, both as a staging area for Union forces and home to one of their largest prisons, Camp Chase. Today, bustling Columbus is a popular destination for families, professionals, and young adults alike because of its range of housing prices, thriving business scene, activities for all ages, impressive restaurants and chefs, proximity to the countryside, central Midwest location, and more.

As of writing this guide, Columbus has a population of 905,000+ residents with a composition of 54% White, 34% Black or African American, 6% Latino or Hispanic, and 6% Asian American Pacific Islanders (AAPI).

Living in Columbus offers a taste of all four seasons, with temperatures averaging at a low of 30 °F in January and a high of 75 °F in July. The most threatening weather events here are tornadoes—the highest risk being April through July. The winter months also see a fair number of snowstorms. When it’s nice out, you can find the locals dining outdoors, going for walks, hanging out at one of the city’s many parks, or attending a sporting event. The rainiest month in Columbus is July.

When it comes to rental homes and apartments in Columbus, there are plenty of options. For example, you can choose to live in a rural area or downtown; in a quiet, low-rise apartment complex or a high-rise with all of the luxury amenities. Columbus is also home to townhouses and multimillion-dollar mansions. Live in Dublin, and you’ll be where the suburban lifestyle meets convenience and a trendy downtown feel. If you’re looking for a neighborhood that’s almost entirely walkable, check out the high-rise apartments in Grandview Heights; they’re just steps from Downtown Columbus and are surrounded by good restaurants and shopping. For a dose of whimsy, consider an Eastlake Victorian-style home in picture-perfect German Village, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. In Columbus, there’s a home for every lifestyle and budget.

Getting Around

As big and spread out as Columbus is, driving is the most common mode of transportation. Unless you live in a walkable neighborhood like Grandview Heights, Downtown Columbus, or Bridge Park, where your core grocery stores, shopping, and restaurants are all within walking distance, you’ll need to drive or use rideshare services to get around. Luckily, Columbus caters to this lifestyle by offering plenty of public parking lots, garages, and street parking payable by mobile app or kiosk.

For those who can’t or don’t want to drive, Columbus does have reliable, clean, and safe public transportation options. Hop on an open-air FreeRide golf cart, and you can get a ride to and from anywhere in Downtown Columbus free of charge. The Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) offers a daily, low-cost bus service on 40 routes throughout Greater Columbus. Buses run from before dawn to late night and come at intervals of 15 minutes or less. Travelers can also catch the AirConnect bus and ride from John Glenn International Airport to Downtown-area hotels and the Greater Columbus Convention Center. For even more local travel, take advantage of dock-free, scooter-share apps, which let you grab a scooter Downtown or on The Ohio State University campus, ride to your destination, and leave them wherever you are. Pick up a bike instead when you download the TransitApp to use the COGO Bike Share program, which has over 600 bikes across 70 stations in Columbus, Bexley, Grandview Heights, Upper Arlington, and Easton.

The two primary airports serving Columbus are John Glenn International, which offers nonstop flights on major airlines to and from 40+ domestic and international destinations, and Rickenbacker International Airport, which hosts Allegiant Air flights.

Food & Drink

Columbus is home to one of America's best food scenes—both because of its inherent creativity and its proximity to farms, livestock, and Amish country. There are over 100 restaurants within walking distance in Downtown Columbus alone, and across the city, you'll find everything from quirky ethnic eateries and popular food halls to rave-worthy ice cream, award-winning BBQ, farm-to-table freshness, and James Beard-recognized restaurants. The vibe here is laid-back and casual, with jeans being standard and families of all ages welcome in almost every restaurant.

We can't talk about dining in Columbus without mentioning its hometown hero chefs and restaurants. If you haven't tried the creative scoops at Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams, you're missing out—sweet cream biscuits and peach jam ice cream, anyone? It was started in Columbus by James Beard Award-winning chef and cookbook author Jeni Britton Bauer and is made with milk from all-Ohio grass-fed cows. For something else sweet, stop by the James Beard Award-nominated bakery Pistacia Vera in German Village for house-made French macarons and croissants. Cameron Mitchell Restaurants was also born in Columbus, launching the first in a series of local favorites in 1993 called Cameron's, and has since added mouthwatering spots like The Avenue Steak Tavern, The Pearl, Budd Dairy Food Hall, and Cap City Fine Diner.

Whatever you're in the mood to eat, you'll find it in Columbus. Get your classic American diner breakfast at Jack & Benny's or award-winning smoked ribs, pulled pork, and brisket at American BBQ joint, City Barbeque. For good Mexican, try the tacos at Condado's or head to Nada's for a sophisticated take on the staples, like "crispy" quesadillas with chihuahua cheese, scallion crema, and skirt steak. Have a New York-style deli experience at Katzinger's Delicatessen, traditional pork sausage and sauerkraut at Schmidt's Sausage Haus in German Village, or vegan sweet treats at Pattycake Bakery. Go to one of the destination's top food halls—like the historic North Market or brand new Budd Dairy Food Hall—and try local quick-serve restaurants with everything from tacos, Filipino street food, and Maine lobster to Italian, Indian, Vietnamese, Middle Eastern, and Polish specialties and more. Food trucks are all the rage here, so be sure to check out favorites like Grilled Cheese Gangsters, BBQ-style Taesty's Food Truck, and more at the annual Columbus Food Truck Festival each August.
Local hops and Ohio-grown grains make for a renowned craft beer scene in Columbus. Experience it for yourself when you explore the Columbus Ale Trail, which has 50+ local craft breweries like DankHouse Brewing Company, 1487 Brewery, and The Brew Brothers. Or, walk down Brewer's Row in Downtown Columbus and pop into spots like North High Brewing, Elevator Brewery, and Draught Haus. If you don't like beer, do a wine tasting at Central Ohio's first and oldest winery, Wyandotte Winery. Try award-winning microdistilleries like Watershed Distillery and Brother's Drake Meadery on the Columbus Distillery Trail. For morning brew, opt for one of the 20 coffee shops along the Columbus Coffee Trail.

With its rural Ohio surroundings, it's no surprise that there are so many incredible farmer's markets in Columbus. From Clintonville and Grove City to Dublin and North Market, it's normal to find locals buying their weekly produce, meats, and cheeses from such a market. For more mainstream grocery shopping in Columbus, residents shop at Kroger, Whole Foods, The Fresh Market, ALDI, Giant Eagle Supermarket, Walmart, Grandview Yard Market District, and Trader Joe's.

Shopping

You might be surprised to learn that with the exception of NYC and Los Angeles, Columbus has more fashion designers per capita than anywhere else in the US—so it's safe to assume that shopping in Columbus is pretty top-notch. Start your Columbus shopping spree at one of its must-do malls. Once named the "Rodeo Drive of the Midwest," Easton is designed to look like a village and has over 240 stores, including Tiffany & Co., Nordstrom, Louis Vuitton, Macy's, Kendra Scott, and Shop/LAB. At the indoor-outdoor Polaris Fashion Place, you'll find a mix of mainstream brands, local boutiques, and even an IKEA. If it's a good sale you're looking for, shop the racks at 90+ stores at Tanger Outlets Columbus.

If you're passionate about shopping locally, you're in the right place. Columbus is home to a range of boutiques, vintage and home goods storefronts, jewelers, general stores, flower and toy shops, and more, all locally owned and operated and scattered across the city's different shopping streets and districts. High Street in Short North Arts District is known for its trendy fashions at one-of-a-kind storefronts like Rowe Boutique and Tenspace. Head to charming German Village to shop at the oldest American craft gallery in the U.S., Helen Winnemore's, or The Book Loft—it's one of the nation's largest independent bookstores, with 32 rooms of books for all interests. Wander around Grandview Heights, and you'll find a bevy of vintage and modern consignment shops with everything from everyday clothing to valuable antiques. Support the women in your life when you browse the shelves in Clintonville's large community of quirky, female-owned gift shops, like The Little Light Collective, Quincy General Store, Wild Cat Gift & Party, and Tigertree.

Things to Do

There is so much to do in Columbus. If you love the arts, check out the industrial art in the Franklinton Arts District, The Pizzuti Collection, or the outdoor sculpture garden at the Columbus Museum of Art. Do the monthly Gallery Hop and explore the many street murals and art galleries along the Short North Arts Trail. Catch local plays and Broadway shows at theaters like The Palace, The Ohio, The Southern, and The Lincoln. Ohio State University's onsite Wexner Center for the Arts frequently hosts music, drama, and dance performances from artists across the globe. And summers in Columbus wouldn't be complete without "Picnic with the Pops," a summer outdoor concert series by the Columbus Symphony. Find good theater at Shadowbox Live!, America's largest resident theater company, or visit the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens and see the world's largest collection of Dale Chihuly's glass installations in a botanical garden. Combine your arts with entertainment when you go to annual festivals like the Columbus Arts Festival or the Dublin Irish Festival.

For more culture, check out the various museums in Columbus. At the National Veterans Memorial and Museum, you'll find exclusive personal narratives of veterans, fallen soldiers, and their families from all military branches and wars. The Center of Science and Industry (COSI), which was ranked the "best science museum in the nation" three years in a row, has over 300 interactive science and technology exhibits, including a special exhibit from the American Museum of Natural History Dinosaur Gallery. Find out about the city's indigenous roots when you see the ancient artifacts in the Ohio History Center, or take a walk through German Village and step into history yourself—the entire neighborhood is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Columbus gives residents plenty of reasons to be outdoors. The 253-acre Scioto Mile stretches from Bicentennial Plaza to North Bank Park and is a popular place for locals to walk, bike, run, skate, paddle, and take in the city's beautiful surroundings. Bicentennial Park is known for its free summer concerts and entertaining fountains, while Scioto Audubon Metro Park has the nation's largest free outdoor climbing wall. Columbus Metro Parks actually has 20 parks with more than 200 miles of trails for all skill levels, most of which can be enjoyed all year long. Get lost in 100+ acres of woods and streams at Inniswood, or enjoy the idyllic replica train station, barns, covered bridge, and ponds at the 44-acre Homestead Park. Stroll along Dublin Link (it's the longest single-tower, S-shaped suspension bridge in the world), see Indian Run Falls' natural gorge, or hike through the 7,000 acres of forests, prairies, and wetlands at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park. Get some animal sightings while you're at it when you go on bird hikes at the Grange Insurance Audubon Center or hand-feed giraffes at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.

Sports lovers can cheer on their favorite teams at Columbus Blue Jackets hockey games, Columbus Crew soccer games, Columbus Clippers baseball games, and The Ohio State University Buckeye football games.

Looking for kid-friendly activities in Columbus? You're in luck as Columbus is a family-friendly city. Be sure to check out the LEGOLAND Discovery Center, which has a huge indoor LEGO playground with two rides, a four-dimensional movie theater, and 10 LEGO build-and-play zones. Another popular attraction, Play: CBUS, is a 53,000-square-foot indoor entertainment center with a dedicated kids' area, climbing walls, ninja courses, and the world's largest indoor ropes course at two stories high.

Colleges & Universities

With its vibrant restaurants and bar scene, thriving arts and culture, affordable cost of living, and plenty of attractions and outdoor activities, Columbus is an attractive place for students to spend their college years. Ohio's pride and joy, The Ohio State University, is in Columbus, and other colleges and universities like Ohio Wesleyan University, Columbus College of Art & Design, and Denison University—to name just a few—are either in the city or nearby.

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