Truthfully, Columbus looks good compared to the towns and depressed cities around it, and to areas of West Virginia and Kentucky. Beyond that, forget it. The best thing about Columbus is and always will be the Ohio State University, which drives the local culture and economy. Everything else is mediocre at best. The downtown never really came together, and this isn’t helped by the presence of local neighborhood commissions who don’t want to see any new developments over six stories and not in red brick. With no national developers, the local one’s don’t design anything over 12 stories max, the central business district is badly outmoded parking lots and just plain lacking. Suburbia isn’t much better with a muddle of cookie cutter developments scattered through out the metro. Public transportation is a barely adequate bus only system. About all we can do here is dream of cities on the coast. But if you’re from Appalachia, or a depressed industrial town - come on in!
The people are extremely nice, there are four seasons, and it's very naturally beautiful. Shopping is great here, they have nice multicultural and fun places to visit like short north and north market. College atmosphere makes it great as well.
Columbus is great. I have been here one year and it's been really great. I moved from Austin last year and it's been very fun getting acclimated to Columbus. The people are extremely nice, there are four seasons, and it's very naturally beautiful. Shopping is great here, they have nice multicultural and fun places to visit like short north and north market. College atmosphere makes it great as well. I lived in Austin for 2 years prior to moving here and frankly speaking Columbus is just a colder version of Austin. Liberal, diverse, and fun city in predominantly conservative state. all the online reviews for Columbus are complete crap and lies. All the stuff about weird people and driving and safety issues are not true at all. As a society we have a propensity to complain about things in general online than to be positive and give good reviews. well change starts here, so come people, let us know what you think about Columbus.
I have lived in Columbus for over 23 years and I absolutely love it here!!! Columbus has so many things to offer everyone and I will detail them now.
1. There's always something to do here
Columbus isn't all about the Ohio State Buckeyes despite what some people make it seem. Yes, they are a big deal here, but if you aren't a fan of them or aren't even a sports fan, that's fine, there's plenty more to do.
Indoor Activities/Shopping: Polaris Fashion Place, Tuttle Mall, and Easton Town Center are the big malls in Columbus with all three of them having tons of amenities around them. Easton is my favorite because it's also an outdoor mall set up to be like an old town square. The Short North is also a great area for shopping and the arts. In addition to a number of bars and restaurants, they also host a monthly art show called Gallery Hop. Aside from shopping there are tons of movie theatres, ice skating rinks, bowling, indoor putt-putt golf, etc.
Museums, Libraries and Indoor Attractions: The Columbus Metropolitan Library is ranked as one of the top libraries in the nation; Ohio State University also has several libraries. The Ohio Historical Society, The Columbus Museum of Art, COSI (Center of Science and Industry), Motorcycle Hall of Fame, The Ohio Statehouse, The Ohio State University, Hollywood Casino, and so many other places...
Parks and Outdoor Attractions: Columbus Park of Roses, The Columbus Zoo, Zoombezi Bay Water Park, Franklin Park Conservatory, Schiller Park, Goodale Park, The Columbus Metro Parks System (Highbanks, Inniswood Metro Gardens, Blendon Woods, Clear Creek, Glacier Ridge, Battelle-Darby Creek...just to name a few). Columbus has dozens of urban parks and nature preserves. There are plenty of places to go hiking, biking, walking, kayaking and everything you can think of.
Sports: Ohio State Buckeyes; Columbus Blue Jackets, NHL; Columbus Crew, MLS; Columbus Clippers, AAA Baseball; Scioto Downs Racetrack; Buelah Park Racetrack; The Memorial Tournament, Golf; (Columbus has close to 100 golf courses).
2. It's a great place to raise a family
It is a very safe city, despite what some crime numbers indicate. There is crime, as in all major cities, but it is restrained to certain parts of the city (the bad parts of town). In addition to all the family friendly activities listed above, Columbus has great schools and opportunities for higher education.
Schools: There are several universities located in or around Columbus: Ohio State University, Ohio Domican University, Franklin University, Capital University, Otterbein University, ITT Technical Institute, DeVry University, Ohio Weslyan (Delaware, OH); In addition to higher education, the primary and secondary schools of Columbus are also great. Columbus has several private schools and charter schools in addition to around 30 (rough estimate) Catholic schools in the area.
3. It's a livable city
Columbus is very easy to get around in. It does not have great public transportation, but even that might change in the next decade with the possible future addition of light rail lines. Getting from the suburbs to downtown during rush area can take anywhere between 10-25 minutes depending on where you are coming from. In addition to easy transportation, the cost of living is low here, especially compared to other major cities. There's lots of job growth here as well because it has such a diverse economy based on food, retail, insurance, banking, government and technology.
4. It's close to everything else
Columbus is great to live in because it's the place where you want to lay your head down at night. It's always nice to go on vacation and then come back to Columbus. It's located within a day's drive of 50% of the population of the United States. That means that traveling to other places while living in Columbus is very easy, affordable and fast. Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, Washington DC, the beach...all less than 10 hours away (depending on which beach you go to.)
So this is my rant on why I love living in Columbus and why I think it's a great place to live. The weather is not as bad as people say, the residents are friendly and welcoming to new residents (most of the residents are from somewhere else!!!), the Buckeye fans can be crazy but it's the equivalent of our professional sports team. Columbus has character. It is unique and special and I am so proud to call it my hometown and I hope that others can too.
I have lived in Columbus, OH for about 4 years now and I am about to move... CAN'T WAIT! I have lived in Tampa, NYC, Long Island, Myrtle Beach, and have traveled abroad. This is the absolute worse place to live! Not all, but many people here (most) have absolutely no personality. I swear it's like the walking dead around here with crap attitudes. West side is gross, east side is gross, north side is gross, south side is country living. Yes, there are things to do but so does every city in the country. Columbus has the absolute worst, draggy, fat people I have ever came in contact with. Driving is easy if you like road rage, riding on your bumper, and 90% of drivers with no insurance. The police are the most arrogant in the city. This place is like a cross between a southern hick town and a wannabe city. Weird, cold, and distant people really create the atmosphere here. I can love anywhere I live but there are some places that are just bizarre.
There are so many drug infested areas it's sickening. There also seems to be a serious racial tension in the air around here. No one seems to really like each other. The women are seriously oggley. WOW,, cake makeup and scary skins. Go to the Ohio State Fair and you will get a nice, big whiff of Ohio at it's finest.
If you can stay away, please do. This place will try to drain the positive life out of you. GOOD LUCK!
Drugs are so bad in Columbus that the police don't even want to know about small (less than a pound) drug sales. They aren't going to take a report for open drug activity in the bars around the university. I was told that the penalty for DUI is worse than for possession of under an ounce of pot. I talked to a Columbus officer at a northside motel recently and was told that he was not interested in stopping the drug sales or open prostitution ( unless told to by the motel management ) because of the light sentencing for these offenses ( not worth the trouble ). He suggested that if I didn't want to see this activity for me to leave. I have since moved out of the state and am much happier for it.
I have lived here for more than a month and it's rapidly becoming the seventh level of Hades! I originate from Kansas City, have previously lived in Des Moines, Ann Arbor, and have traveled to more than 30 states in my lifetime and sadly Columbus, OH is the worst place I have lived or visited by a long shot even though it has a ton of potential. I've seen rotten and rude places, but this one took me by surprise on how bad a city can really be under its surface. It does have a few upsides though...
The worst problem I have with Columbus is the residents themselves. I have worked customer service for more than 20 years and have a good ability to read a personality and see past the "public facades" (you must get to know a person very quickly to be really good at customer service). It's easy to spot the Columbus Lifers and those who have moved to Columbus recently: the Lifers are generally without any personality, drab, and have a serious tendency to look down on outsiders (even those from other areas of Ohio) or those who are excitable, open, and overly-friendly. The only dramatic emotion I have witnessed by Lifers here are their "rabid" loyalty to OSU. I say "rabid" because I've seen college rivalries before, but other college towns do not get vicious towards those with college preferences other than their own. It's ridiculous and very closed-minded toward others. The best description I can offer without writing a 200-page thesis is that some mysterious force has sucked the life from most residents here. The only residents who have offered cheerful and open discussion are those who moved from other locations; I met a cashier at a store who relocated to Columbus and after discovering my wife and I did the same, offered the following question: "What would possibly make you move to this crappy city?"
In particular, many different groups of people would find a hard time fitting in or enjoying a visit to Columbus:
New Yorkers would have difficulty with the culture clash of the residents in Columbus.
Bikers from California or the Dakotas would feel out of place with the near non-existence of hogs and choppers here.
Kansas Citians would be offended by the definition of "barbeque" in Columbus: (Boiled white meat with a side of spicy ketchup is NOT BBQ in anyone's right-mind)
Texans and Southerners would feel like circus freaks when their down-home heartiness is met with an odd look or blank stare.
Anyone with a "twang" in their accent are generally looked at with disgust.
Those from Ann Arbor MI are pretty much unwelcome.
Those who will fit in rather easily:
Dog-lovers are most welcome here. Folks love to walk or jog with their canine friends and you will see a lot of specialized breeds.
Exercise buffs will love the biking here. Unlike other municipalities where cyclists are viewed as an inconvenience or hood-ornaments, Columbus welcomes those who choose to take their fitness outside of the gym.
I find Columbus's greatest asset to be in it's size and architecture. I find Upper Arlington and Grandview Heights to be a very lovely part of the city. Old buildings that are kept up, mixed with new buildings that preserve the charm of the old neighborhood. This particular section of the city is dotted with small shops, unique restaurants and taverns that have a special coziness about them (if only the human addition were as cozy). I love to drive and stroll in this area and has become one of my favorite neighborhoods in the nation next to the Civil-War housing of Lexington, MO for it's old charm.
You can get nearly anywhere in Columbus in a short time. Traveling from the west side on I-70 to downtown, it is only 7 1/2 miles from farm fields to high-rises. However, do be careful about rush hour as explained in the next section.
The East side of Columbus is a particular no-go: honestly... don't go there. The daily newscasts of robberies, murders, and the like are telling enough. Sadly, this is where the airport is located so you might want to rethink that red-eye flight unless you have planned ahead for proper and safe transportation to/from the airport.
Regardless of Columbus' lack of acclaimed tourist attractions, one bright positive is its central location to the areas of the Northeast that do have the attractions: Indianapolis 500, Rock and Roll hall of Fame, Niagara Falls, Appalachian Mountains, the Great Lakes, Nashville, etc... they're only a few hour's drive from here. As a resident, you can make several, cheap, weekend and day-trips to places that will help you forget you live in Columbus.
Traffic and Transportation
Whether you are moving to Columbus or just passing through, be mindful of the infrastructure (roads, traffic signals, etc.). Many roads are in dire need of repair and the many railroad crossings are murder to a vehicle's suspension. Many traffic signals are still the classic, circa-1975 yellow ones that are suspended by wires. Coming from the West side of Ohio where the infrastructure is modern in places like Dayton, you feel like you have stepped back in time once you exit the Interstates in Columbus. Drivers tend to be very heavy-footed and love to tailgate. While not particularly rude, they do seem to get a little self-deserving in their attitude about you being between them and their destination.
The size of Columbus is rather small for its population. Rush hour is brief, but insane: too many drivers for too little pavement. However, the smaller footprint allows for a better public transportation system. The COTA bus service is quite adequate for such a population and compared to other cities, COTA shines brightly above them. You will find bus service nearly everywhere and you're only a few blocks away from a bus stop. Bus fares are a little steep in my book ($2.00 for basic, non-express service as of January 2012) and it seems the fares keep going up every year.
Weather and Environment
Most anyone who visits Columbus has experienced weather extremes beyond what Columbus has: this is a good thing. Autumn of 2011 was an exceptionally rainy time (record-breaking in fact), but the locals here do admit that the sun does not shine eight months out of the year. So far, I'd have to agree with that statement. Summers are not too hot (In 2011 Columbus only saw 97 degrees very few times with many da
As a lifetime resident of Ohio, I've traveled to the city of Columbus several times. And every time was a fantastic experience! Malls, outlet stores and a unique selection of restaurants make Columbus the perfect place to visit for a relaxing and fun weekend, or even getting a start on your Christmas shopping list with unique gifts. The outlet stores offer a variety of discounted products. I feel that the outlet stores are great for the whole family, because they have everything from Nike to Pottery Barn!
There is also the Easton Center, but this is a classier area and a bit overpriced in my opinion. My favorite part was the Candle Lab. I collect candles so I had to visit this spot. They let you try making your own scents! I feel that one of these candles would make a unique gift for a family member.
A couple of years ago I traveled to Columbus for Halloween. We stayed around the Ohio State University area. There were hundreds of students walking around in costumes, and I had the best pizza I have ever tasted at a small parlor called Catfish Biff's. The last time I traveled here, I ate at Marcella's Italian Restaurant. The food was fantastic and the atmosphere was very romantic. I've stayed many times in the Residence Inn in the downtown area. It was very nice and clean but a little expensive. Also, downtown is a bit crowded, so it takes a while to get around. Other than that, the city is beautiful when lit up at night.
Columbus has sports arenas but I haven't seen them yet. I plan on doing so next time I visit. I would love to see a Buckeye's game there!
One thing about traveling to the city of Columbus is that you aren't likely to get lost. Out of all the cities I've visited, Columbus may be the most easy to navigate with its intuitive grid system. Streets run north-south and avenues run east-west. The only thing a tourist driving on the streets would have to look out for is the urban bicyclists which add a small-town charm to this actual big city.
The only negative about Columbus was the hot, muggy weather (during summer) that could turn on a dime. One minutes it's beautiful outside and the next you've got a thunderstorm or a tornado or some other weather anomaly coming down on you.
Some things to do in Columbus include the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium (which has a large variety of animals and shows) and the Center for Science and Industry (which has lots of hands-on experiments including making a newscast and learning how sound works - you could literally spend all day here and not get bored).