20 Things to Know Before Moving to Columbus

Columbus – the capital of Ohio and the seat of the Buckeye Nation – lives up to its reputation as a vibrant, smart and progressive city. Between state and local government, The Ohio State University, and an abundance of jobs, Ohio’s “Capital City” attracts and retains some of the country’s brightest young minds.

The affordable cost of living, flourishing arts community, and diversified economy make Cbus incredibly appealing to young professionals, growing families, and entrepreneurs. All of this combined, according to a current NPR story, makes Columbus remarkably recession-proof. No wonder it is among the fastest growing cities. Here is what else you need to know about Columbus.

1. Columbus is No “Cow Town”

Money magazine chose Columbus as one of the country’s Top Six Best Big Cities for its cost of living and cool factor. The only cows you’ll see around here are those at The Ohio State University’s Waterman Agricultural Center, which has the city skyline as a backdrop.

2. City of the Future

Columbus won $40 million in the Department of Transportation’s Smart City Challenge. Developing a sustainable public transportation system, corridors for driverless cars, smart sensors, and infrastructure for electric vehicles will transform and how people and goods move about the city.

3. We are Well-Read

Columbus denizens are not only smart, but also bookish. The beautifully renovated Columbus Metropolitan Library is consistently recognized as one of the country’s best public library systems.

4. You Can Get There From Here

Despite citywide construction, driving in Columbus is manageable and the road system easily navigated. Aside from rush hour and Buckeye home games, it takes no more than 30 minutes to drive across greater Columbus, including the burbs.

5. Speaking of Game Day

A good time to go shopping or run errands is during an Ohio State football game when everyone is glued to their televisions, traffic is dead, and Columbus all but shuts down. On the flipside, the traffic around campus is beastly for hours before and after home games.

6. O-H… I-O

The Buckeye Nation is loud and proud. A call and response of “O-H”… “I-O” resonates throughout Columbus, even on non-game days. If you hear a random “O-H” shouted out somewhere, don’t leave them hanging without an “I-O.”


The Ohio State University marching band a.k.a. “The Best Damn Band in the Land” has performed their signature “Script Ohio” during every game since 1936. High-stepping band members spell out a sinuous Ohio with great spectacle. The finale comes as an honored sousaphone player dramatically “dots the i” with a deep bow and a flash of brass– a moment that brings a tear to every game-goer’s eye.

8. Columbus Decides What America Eats

Diverse demographics have long defined Columbus as a ‘microcosm of America’ making it the perfect test market for fast food and countless other products. White Castle and Wendy’s are headquartered here, so they along with other foodie businesses test menu items on the Cbus guinea pigs before rolling concepts out nationally. As Columbus goes, so goes the nation. Like politics, but sometimes easier to stomach.

9. Full of Pride

With 4.3% of its population being lesbian, gay, bi-sexual or transgender Columbus ranks 15th in gay population. The accepting, welcoming, and gay-friendly atmosphere of Columbus reinforces the diversity and openness of Ohio’s capital city.

10. Fountain of Youth

Columbus’ youthful vibe and reputation as a forward thinking and modern city can be attributed to a built-in population of young people from The Ohio State University and dozens of nearby colleges. The culturally rich and affordable city woos millennials to stay and young entrepreneurs to start businesses.

11. Stock up on Allergy Meds

Luckily, Columbus dodged the title of “Allergy Capital of America,” but it sits smack in the middle of one of the worst allergy zones. Seasonal pollen, ragweed, and mold spores seem to plague most locals on some level.

12. History Lesson

Columbus was designed to be the state’s capital. The city’s founding father, Lucas Sullivant, established a settlement in 1797 on the west banks of the Scioto River, which he named Franklinton in honor of Benjamin Franklin. Perpetual flooding caused Ohio’s State Legislature to choose the east side of the river for its new capital. In 1812, a new city was laid out and named for Christopher Columbus.

13. Never An Off-Season

The Buckeyes aren’t the only game in town! Columbus has three professional sport teams: The NHL Bluejackets hockey team calls Nationwide Arena home. Soccer lovers cheer on the MLS Columbus Crew at MAPFRE (pronounced MAW-free) Stadium. The ladies of the Columbus Comets play full-contact tackle football at Huffaker Sports Complex as part of the professional Women’s Football Alliance. Huntington Park is a gem of a venue for the city’s Minor League Baseball team, Columbus Clippers – the farm team for the Cleveland Indians.

14. The Golden Bear

How did legendary golfer Jack Nicklaus get his nickname? He grew up and attended high school in the Columbus community of Upper Arlington whose mascot is the Golden Bear. Jack plays host to the annual PGA Memorial Tournament at his prestigious Muirfield Village Golf Club in the Columbus suburb of Dublin. The Jack Nicklaus Museum, located on Ohio State’s campus, is a worthwhile pilgrimage for golf-lovers.

15. Wild Times

Animal expert and television personality, “Jungle Jack” Hanna put the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium on the map during his forty-year reign as Director/ Emeritus. The zoo with its aquarium and huge waterpark is ranked among the best in the country. Additional bragging rights: Colo, the oldest Gorilla bred in captivity was born at the zoo in 1956, making her the oldest captive-born gorilla in the world.

16. Ahhhhhnold

Columbus has a beach. It’s called “Muscle Beach,” and it appears each March as the buffest people from around the country descend upon the city. The Arnold Sports Festival, co-founded by Arnold Schwarzenegger is a four-day revelry in all things bodybuilding, strength, and fitness. Power lifters, gymnasts, boxers, and amateur athletes compete in Arnold Classic competitions.

17. From the Terminator to the Thurmanator

A local burger went big time when featured on a bunch of food shows because of its sheer ridiculousness. If a one and a half pound burger isn’t enough, Thurman Café’s heart-stopping Thurmanator heaps on the bacon, ham, mushrooms, and onions, which is then smothered in a blanket of Mozzarella and American cheese. The hungriest of carnivores have trouble conquering this massive mountain of meat.

18. The State Up North

Michigan is a lovely state, but never, ever say this to an Ohio State fan given the intense rivalry with the University of Michigan. The Buckeye Nation bleeds scarlet and gray and can not bring itself to utter the M word. It is referred to as “the state up north.” Grilled Wolverine might even turn up on the tailgate menu.

19. Scioto Mile

Downtown’s Scioto Mile (pronounced “sigh-OH-toe”) is an urban parkland integrating green spaces, bike paths, and pedestrianized boulevards along the river. Features include a dancing fountain and splash pad, an oasis of wildlife at the Scioto Audubon Center, and the Center of Science and Industry (COSI).

20. Landscape Within A Landscape

Tucked behind the Columbus Metropolitan Library is a whimsical garden in which 54 life-sized topiaries cleverly recreate Georges Seurat’s post-Impressionist painting of “A Sunday Afternoon on the Isle de la Grande Jatte.” Greenery has been trained into three-dimensional figures from the painting as picnickers, strolling ladies, dogs, and a curly-tailed monkey lounge around a pond. Topiary Park goers are serenaded with free summer concerts and movies in the park.

Shawnie Kelley