Columbus, Ohio: a city full of businesses big and small, diversity, lively neighborhoods and happiness. All of this and more make up Columbus' one-of-a-kind atmosphere. Over the last decade, this midwestern gem grew over 11% in terms of population, more than any other mid-western city. Thousands of recent college grads, young families and more find themselves moving to Columbus, Ohio for the opportunity to start or further their career and experience everything else the city has to offer. Below are just 20 of the reasons Columbus is the best city for young professionals.
Cost of Living
The cost of living in Columbus sits about 10% lower than the national average. If you measure up Columbus to New York City, the differences in housing prices, food, and entertainment are shocking. Monthly rent in one of Columbus' more modest neighborhoods comes in around $934, while the same space in NYC is $3,026. The difference in housing costs alone make Columbus a great destination for lean entrepreneurs starting a new business or tech company. When it comes to dinner and happy hours, Columbus—to no surprise—has much lower prices. Dinner for two in Columbus costs 22% less than NYC; and cocktails are $4 less on average in this booming midwest city vs. The Big Apple.
Columbus is home to a number of suburbs with top-rated schools. Suburbs such as Upper Arlington and Grandview Heights are just a short drive away from the central business district. For those who don't mind a little longer commute, Dublin and New Albany also provide a great education. Columbus' suburbs make it the perfect city for young families looking for the right place to raise their kids. Along with the schools, you can find close parks, pools, libraries and other kid-friendly activities.
Surrounded by Strong Startups
Many once small and now mighty startups have made Columbus home. Compared to more conventional cities in the country, Columbus is #1 for growing startups (found by Kaufman Development). Explained in more depth, this midwestern gem has the highest rate of small companies that turn into medium sized! Some of Columbus' unicorns include Root Insurance and CoverMyMeds.
Venture Capital & Investments
Columbus is a hot-spot for venture capital and startups looking for capital to build their business. Chris Olsen and Mark Kvamme left Sequoia Capital in Silicon Valley to start their own firm, Drive Capital, in Columbus in 2013. They decided to locate their new firm in the Midwest for a simple reason: the opportunity. Drive Capital and other big-name investment firms like JumpStart investing in Columbus companies such as SafeChain, Aware (formerly WireTap), CoverMyMeds and Root Insurance.
Columbus is well-known for it's diverse food scene. Over the last decade, novelty restaurants, juice bars, and upscale eateries have popped up to make Columbus a foodie destination. Ranked as one of the best food cities in the country, Columbus has certainly made a name for itself with restaurants such as Hot Chicken Takeover, Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams, and more! Below are just a few fan favorites.
- Juice bars: Alchemy, Zest, Native
- Organic: Northstar, Little Eater
- Upscale: Lindey's, Basi, M at Miranova, Veritas, The Pearl
- Rooftops: Lincoln Social Rooftop, Juniper
The Ohio State University, ranked #17 among public universities with a top-ranked business school and high-ranking STEM programs, is just minutes away from Downtown Columbus. Ohio State brings top talent, including interns, to companies in Columbus. The university has so many fun activities and events open to the public! One of the most notable is Buckeye football; which includes tailgating, live music, and an electrifying game in the Ohio Stadium. During the winter, you can also attend an Ohio State basketball game in the massive Schottenstien Arena. The campus itself has tons of museums and exhibits, including the Orton Geological Museum and Wexner Center for the Arts, and a beautiful campus to explore with serene walking paths and historical buildings.
Arts & Entertainment
Columbus residents never have a dull weekend with all the festivals, sporting events, concerts, art shows, and more! Several sports teams are home to Columbus; including the Blue Jackets, Ohio State Buckeyes, and Columbus Crew; making the city a sports lover's paradise. During the warmer months, festivals such as the Jazz & Rib Fest, Greek Festival, and Columbus Art Festival showcase Columbus' vibrant atmosphere and city culture. Columbus also has a large music scene, bringing in artists of all genres to Nationwide Arena, Express Live, Newport Music Hall, and the Schottenstein Center.
With so many startups and small businesses, it only makes sense that Columbus has a number of great co-working spaces all over the city. These shared spaces are the perfect option for smaller-scale companies and offer amenities you can't get anywhere else. One of our favorite co-working spaces is Industrious in the Short North (with a second location coming soon!), which offers local treats, community lunches, a coffee bar & lounge, and valuable networking opportunities. Some other notable spaces in the city include Kollektiv in German Village, Versa in Grandview and Arena District, and the Columbus Idea Foundry in Franklinton.
Little Traffic and Commutes
Lucky for Columbus residents, complicated, long commutes and hours stuck in traffic are almost unheard of. Most Columbus neighborhoods require just a short drive to downtown, which makes getting to work stress-free.
Easy Travel Links
Get to any part of the country or world with Columbus' John Glenn International Airport. Only around 5 miles away from the city center, CMH offers travel links that'll get you exactly where you need to go. Columbus' airport is perfect for business travelers, with non-stop flights to Washington DC, Chicago, L.A. and New York City. Read more about what CMH has to offer on their informational airport guide website: Cmh-airport.com
When it comes to downtown Columbus, the entire city is walkable. Wide sidewalks and pedestrian crosswalks make it easy to hop around to each unique neighborhood. Columbus' walkability is perfect for lunchtime, after work happy hours, or catching a Clippers game at Huntington Park. Walking around Columbus never gets boring with the beautiful scenery and trees and metro parks along the way.
Great Startup & Tech Scene
Columbus is well-known for its strong startup community. TechLife Columbus hosts workshops, meetups, and other events to promote networking, entrepreneurship, and professional development. In addition to networking groups, Columbus is also home to Techstars Startup Week, a five day conference that celebrates and encourages the city's entrepreneurial spirit while also providing valuable seminars.
German Village is a beautiful neighborhood with striking buildings and a rich history. The neighborhood was constructed by German settlers in the 1800's and still holds its traces of German culture. Homes with breath-taking architecture line the brick streets and surround quaint restaurants such as Pistacia Vera, Brown Bag Deli, and Katzinger's. Schiller Park is just around the corner and holds Shakespeare in the Park performances during the Summer. German Village's most notable attraction is The Book Loft, a book store with 32 rooms.
The Short North Arts District is Columbus' most lively neighborhood, home to so many art galleries, one-of-a-kind restaurants, and local boutiques. Wander into some of the art galleries like Hammond Harkins Gallery or Brandt-Roberts Galleries to find stunning work from local and even international artists. The Short North has a number of delicious food options, including the North Market, a public market with local merchants and restauranteurs. From authentic Vietnamese cuisine to elegant donuts to local florists, the North Market represents the diversity of Columbus.
The University District is home to The Ohio State University. This big ten school has a large campus with beautiful buildings and a famous walking path called the Oval. While you're in the campus area, make sure to check out Thompson Library and "The Shoe" (Ohio Stadium). You also won't want to miss the famous Buckeye Donuts located right on High Street.
North of downtown is the Arena District, a unique neighborhood built around Nationwide Arena, the home of the Columbus Blue Jackets. You can also find many offices, luxury condos, and pub-fare restaurants. Another fun thing to do in the Arena District is going to a Clipper's game; especially on Dime-A-Dog night!
Grandview Heights is a vibrant suburb of Columbus with excellent restaurants, specialty stores, and family-friendly activities. Walk down Grandview Avenue and grab a coffee at Stauf's Coffee Roasters, pour a candle at The Candle Lab, and go for a swim at the Grandview Pool. Grandview is a popular Summer dinner spot because of all the restaurants with refreshing cocktails and patios.
Philanthropy is a huge part of the Columbus community. Residents enjoy giving back and easily find ways to do so with organizations like Besa and Ronald McDonald House. Besa matches volunteers with local charities so they can make an impact on their community. Local non-profits of all kinds offer volunteering programs for individuals, small groups and even large teams!
Businesses large and small offer competitive salaries for those working in Columbus. No matter the industry, companies in Columbus often pay above median income in order to attract top talent. And in relation to the cost of living, these salaries are even more appealing in relation to the low cost of living. But that's not all, many major employers in the area emphasize a healthy work-life balance and offer compelling benefits.
Columbus is truly a welcoming and collaborative community. Smaller than most big cities, developing strong connections and building a network in Columbus is possible and even encouraged. Many Columbus business leaders enjoy giving advice and feedback to up-and-comers over a cup of coffee. Work with thought-leaders and the industry experts you admire in Columbus.
All around this midwestern city are top-rated hospitals located right off freeways and easily accessible by residents. For your little ones, Columbus is home to the 7th best Children's Hospital in the country: Nationwide Children's Hospital. Wexner Medical Center, one of the top research hospitals is located right here in Columbus and is nationally ranked in several specialty areas, including Cancer and Cardiology. The number of highly rated hospitals and healthcare networks are an added benefit on top of all Columbus has to offer families and individuals.
Ohio is known for its beautiful scenery, and Columbus is no exception. There are parks all over the city with hiking trails and bike paths so you can get out and explore. The Olentangy Trail runs along the Olentangy River and through multiple neighborhoods. Another Columbus hidden gem is the Park of Roses in Clintonville, which has 350 types of roses and 11,000 roses total. Columbus also has several metro parks right next to the city with greenery and breathtaking views of the skyline. Although near the city, the Scioto Audubon Park borders the Scioto River with wetlands, hiking trails, and even a climbing wall.
Fun for the Kids
All the kid-friendly activities in Columbus make it the perfect city for families. No matter the season, you can find ways to get your family out of the house on the weekends to do something fun! The Columbus Zoo & Aquarium has over 7,000 animals and 800 species; making it impossible for your kids to get bored. During the holiday season, the zoo has several animated light shows and other winter festivities. Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens showcases beautiful flowers, butterflies, and even the history behind the horticulture. If you're looking for an educational and interactive activity for the family, explore COSI, a museum that makes learning about science fun! Columbus also has a number of Play Cafes like Peapod and Tree of Life for a low key weekend.
Health and Fitness Focused
The City of Columbus is health and fitness conscience with races, conventions, and other events every year. The famous Arnold Classic is held right in the Columbus Convention Center and features multiple sports and body building activities. Residents of Columbus combine fitness and philanthropy with the annual Pelotonia bike race, which has raises nearly 30 million each year. We can't forget about the city's love for running. 17,000 people come out to run in the Columbus Marathon, one of the largest races of its kind in the United States.