With its youthful vibe and forward thinking, Columbus was named by Money as one of the Top Six Best Cities.You’ll find arts, professional and college sports, endless fairs and festivals, and some of the best food in the country when you make The Arch City your new home.
Make no mistake — Columbus is a major city, but with a friendly Midwestern feel. With more than 50 colleges and universities, it’s also one of the most educated and well read cities in the United States. It’s also America’s test market for lots of products — so you just might be the first to taste the next fast food sensation.
Columbus’s low cost of living and hot job market mean that it’s a city on the rise. You’ll be able to stretch your money farther than in similarly sized cities without sacrificing all the best parts of urban living.
Columbus City Schools, which manages public schools in the city, is the largest school district in Ohio. There are 118 schools (elementary, middle, and high) in the district, including several magnet schools. The magnet schools are known as alternative schools in the district, and include Spanish immersion, French immersion, and Afrocentric schools. Parents may also choose parochial schools run by Catholic, Lutheran, and Episcopal churches.
Columbus is home to more than 50 colleges and universities including The Ohio State University — one of the largest university campuses in the nation. Columbus State Community College is also located in the city. Both secular and religious private institutions are to be found in Columbus, including Ohio Dominican University, Ohio Business School, and Columbus College of Art and Design.
The unemployment rate in Columbus has been steadily falling since reaching a high of almost 10% in 2010. As of spring 2019, the unemployment rate in the city was at 3.8%, slightly below the national average; the rate for the larger metropolitan area was even lower. It is lower than the rate for Ohio overall, which in spring 2019 was 4.4%
Major industries in Columbus include education (unsurprisingly, with a large public school district and over 50 institutions of higher education!), banking and finance, and healthcare. The food industry is also a major employer — fast food giant Wendy’s has its headquarters in Columbus, and the city is a major test market for many restaurant chains throughout the US. The city is also something of a shipping hub, with DHL and UPS playing large roles in the economy and employing many residents.
There’s so much to do in Columbus! The city’s many parks, including the Franklin Conservatory and Botanical Garden, offer opportunities for nature breaks and outdoor fun. The Columbus Museum of Art, opened in 1931, possess a fabulous collection of art, while the Wexler Center for the Arts (on the OSU campus) presents contemporary art for the public. Columbus is one of the country’s most well-read cities, so be sure to spend some time at the Columbus Public Library. Check out historic homes turned into museums, visit one of the city’s microbreweries, and stroll through the farmer’s market.
Columbus is home to an NHL hockey team (the Blue Jackets) and a Major League Soccer Team (Columbus Crew SC). But really, when it comes to sports, Columbus is all about the university. The Ohio State University Buckeye football games draw crowds rivalling professional teams, and the city all but shuts down during game time.
Eating is an adventure in Columbus! Because Columbus is a test market for many restaurant chains, you can also seek out new food items and be among the first to try them. Don’t miss the North Market, an indoor market with an assortment of food vendors and options. Columbus takes breakfast seriously, too — check out any number of classic diners or breakfast spots. You can find classic Midwestern fare alongside imaginative gastropub offerings, meaning you can switch up your food routine as often as you’d like.
No matter what, though, make room on the menu for some Columbus classics. The Ohioana dog at Dirty Frank’s is a signature dish, dressed with spicy corn relish, sweet corn, pickle relish, jalepeno, and celery salt. And you can’t visit Columbus without experiencing an Ohio Buckeye — the delicious peanut butter and chocolate concoction, that is. Whether you have a classic buckeye candy, a buckeye donut, or any of a dozen other ways to enjoy this treat, make sure to get a taste of Ohio.
The housing market in Columbus is hot, hot, hot — but you can still get a lot of house for your money. Housing prices have risen nearly 10% over the last year, though, so it’s best to move quickly when you find a property that fits your needs. The median home value in the city is $156,000, while the median home sale price is just over $162,000. The median listing is $189,000, so you’re likely to have some room to negotiate. You can expect to pay about $130 per square foot to buy a home.
If you prefer to rent, you’re looking at prices on par with the rest of the country — around $1350 per month for a 1-bedroom. Expect to spend a little over $1 per square foot to rent. Being in Columbus proper rather than the larger metro area is cheaper by about $100 a month.
Columbus has a wide-ranging bus service, the Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA). While many places are accessible by bus, Columbus is at its heart a driving city. The city’s grid system makes it easy to get around and figure out where you are going. The system gets a little bit more confusing when you get out of the central city, however. Plan to spend do a lot of driving in Columbus, though traffic is generally not bad and commutes are not lengthy.
The city is home to John Glenn International Airport. Limited international flights (Canada and Mexico) are available out of Glenn, and domestic destinations are plentiful. Smaller regional airports also serve the area. A number of bus lines, including Greyhound, provide long distance service as well.
Biking is a popular mode of travel in Columbus, due to the relatively flat terrain. The city has a public bike share program called CoGo Bike Share. Electric scooters are also available throughout the city.
Uber, Lyft, and taxi cabs are all available in Columbus. You will need to book your taxi by calling ahead, booking online, or booking through an app; you cannot hail a cab on the street.
Columbus has a transitional climate, moving from humid continental to humid subtropical. Severe weather is rare, but tornadoes, thunderstorms, and blizzards do occur. Summers are humid and muggy, while winters are cold and dry. The annual average temperature is 52.9F. Columbus gets about 56.11 inches of rainfall annually.
Winter: Winter is cold and dry in Columbus. The city is not in the path of Nor’easters or other severe winds, but snow is common and blizzards are not unheard of. Winter runs from late November until early April. Low temperatures range from the mid 40s to the high 20s, while high temperatures range from the mid 60s to around 40. Humidity is low during the winter, and snow is most likely to fall in December and January.
Spring: Spring runs from April until early July. Springs are humid and wet, with most rain falling in April and May (13 inches, on average). High temperatures range from the low 60s to the low 80s, while low temperatures range from the low 40s to the mid 60s. Snowfall in early April is possible, though uncommon and never heavy. Severe weather such as thunderstorms, sometimes including tornadoes, is not uncommon in the spring.
Summer: One word to describe summer in Columbus? Muggy. Summer runs from July to October, and July, August, and September are the most humid months of the year. Expect humidity over 70% most days during those months. The severe weather threat continues during the summer, with thunderstorms and lightning very common. High temperatures range from the mid 60s to the mid 80s, while low temperatures range from the low 40s to the mid 60s.