What's it like to live in Columbus, OH?

Kristen Auletto

Profile written by local expert:

Kristen Auletto

Columbus, Ohio, is perhaps best-known for its unbridled passion for college football. It's true that the fierce loyalty for the Ohio State Buckeyes is a significant part of life here. Look past the scarlet and gray that adorns the streets, however, and you will see that this metro area has much more to offer.

Columbus is teeming with art, music, theater, museums and culture, and thanks to the sprawling Ohio State University and an array of businesses, it's also home to a bustling and energetic workforce. 

Locals know how to have fun, too. From the lively bars and restaurants in the Short North to the charming, historic German Village to the many parks and gardens – and, yes, to Columbus' professional and college sports teams – residents are never left looking for entertainment. 


U.S. News analyzed 150 metro areas in the United States to find the best places to live based on quality of life and the job market in each metro area, as well as the value of living there and people's desire to live there.

Columbus, Ohio is ranked:

#55 in Best Places to Live

#69 in Best Places to Retire

#1 in Best Places to Live in Ohio




Best Places to Live

  • Desirability
  • Value
  • Job Market
  • Quality of Life
  • Net Migration

Read how we rank places

Columbus, OH Quick Stats

  • 2,054,062

    Metro Population

  • $51,260

    Average Annual Salary

  • 62.5° / 44.2°

    Avg High/Low Temps

  • 35.9

    Median Age

  • $196,917

    Median Home Price

  • 39.3 inches

    AVG Annual Rainfall

  • 3.6%

    Unemployment Rate

  • $925

    Median Monthly Rent

  • 23.8 minutes

    Avg Commute Time

What is there to do in Columbus, OH?

Columbus is a bustling place that doesn't lack for entertainment. The Short North Arts District is full of restaurants, shops, bars, concert venues, art galleries and more. The Gallery Hop, which takes place on the first Saturday of every month, is a great way to experience the artistic talent Columbus has to offer. The Short North area is also home to the North Market, a public market with vendors offering diverse local cuisine, fresh produce, gifts and more.

Columbus also encompasses many parks and museums, including COSI (Center of Science and Industry), the Columbus Museum of Art, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, and the Scioto Mile riverfront park.

Special events and festivals take place throughout the year, and during the fall, the region lives and breathes football. The pride and joy of the city is the Ohio State Buckeyes.

Find out more about what there is to see and do in Columbus, OH.

What's the cost of living in Columbus, OH?

One of the best parts about Columbus is the relatively low cost of living compared with other large metro areas. While the average annual salary is only slightly below the national average, home sales prices, monthly rents and the overall cost of living are lower here than in other major metros around the country.

Looking for financial advice? Find a local financial advisor in Columbus, Ohio.

Value Index

Index Score: 7.5 /10

How we calculate this.

Columbus offers a better value than similarly sized metro areas when you compare housing costs to median household income.

Housing Costs 2019



Housing Costs Over Time

Data sourced from Zillow median home sale price data series. Additional data provided by the Austin Board of Realtors, Houston Association of Realtors, Intermountain MLS, Omaha Area Board of Realtors, San Antonio Board of Realtors, and the Salt Lake Board of Realtors.

Buying or selling a home? Find top real estate agents in Columbus, OH.

What's the weather like in Columbus, OH?

Summers in Columbus are generally hot and fairly humid. In the winter, Columbus is spared the heavy lake-effect snow that other parts of the Midwest experience, although snow is still common.

Seasonal Temperature (Avgs)









Seasonal Rainfall (Avgs)

3.0 in


4.2 in


4.8 in


3.2 in


Monthly High and Low Temperatures (°F)

Data sourced from the National Climatic Data Center.

What's the best way to get around Columbus, OH?

Many Columbus residents opt to get around by car, and it is relatively easy to drive anywhere around the metro area. Those without wheels of their own can rely on local buses. The Central Ohio Transit Authority bus system runs through most of the city proper and surrounding suburbs, and the CBUS provides service through Columbus' more touristy areas, such as the Brewery District, Arena District and German Village. Columbus also offers CoGo Bike Share, not to mention a variety of taxi services.

If you prefer to walk, you'll find certain neighborhoods are more pedestrian-friendly than others, including the Short North, German Village, University District and Schumacher Place.

About 7 miles northeast of downtown is the John Glenn Columbus International Airport, which connects Columbus to a variety of destinations. The metro area is also serviced by the Greyhound bus company. 

Commuting in Columbus, OH

Means of Transportation
Above national average

Equal to national average

Equal to national average

Public Transit
Below national average
Average Commute Time

23.8 minutes

2.8 minutes less than national average

Average Commute Times by Zip Code

Data sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey.

Who lives in Columbus, OH?

Columbus attracts a young demographic and has many family-friendly suburbs.

Because it's home to the Ohio State University, Columbus has a diverse population. People from around the world make the metro area their home, giving Columbus a multicultural flair. 

The average annual salary is just below the national average, and as in any major metro area, pockets of poverty are interspersed with areas of affluence. A little more than 20% of residents live in poverty. 

Age Distribution

Marital Status Breakdown

About the same number of single people in Columbus as national average

Data sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey.