A major metropolis and the 15th largest city in the United States, Columbus is home to more than two million in the metro area. Recent surveys rank Columbus among the best cities in the United States for everything from affordability to intelligence, from best ice cream to top up-and-coming tech city. Columbus is a diverse place that offers a wide variety of vibrant cultural opportunities for our students to enjoy — there’s something for everyone!
#1 Opportunity Cities (Forbes)
#1 Intelligent Communities of the Year (Intelligent Community Forum)
#1 Six Best Big Cities: Best in the Midwest (Money)
#4 Most Budget-Friendly Metros (Huffington Post)
#6 20 Best U.S. Cities for Culture (Property Shark)
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Diverse, Affordable Neighborhoods
Columbus has been ranked as one of the best cities for renters and one of the most affordable places to live well in the United States. As a large metropolitan area, Columbus provides Ohio State students with the ability to live near campus in the University District, in nearby residential neighborhoods or in the surrounding suburbs. The Central Ohio metropolitan area is made up of a variety of vibrant neighborhoods each defined by their own histories, characteristics and personalities.
All Ohio State students have access to unlimited transit on the Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) bus system, with comprehensive service to all points on Ohio State campus from throughout the greater Columbus metropolitan area. With so much available in neighborhoods near to campus, walking or biking to campus is also an option much of the year for many students.
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Dining and Nightlife
Like many large urban areas, Columbus boasts a wide and ever-changing selection of culinary offerings, from ethnic restaurants to farmers markets, food trucks, microbreweries and distilleries, and food-related websites, podcasts, publications and events. Residents and visitors agree that Columbus offers an outstanding, locally-driven culinary experience, with creative chefs and entrepreneurial restaurateurs.
The city and its neighborhoods also offer a vibrant nightlife, providing Columbusites everything from gastropubs and meaderies in the Short North, dance clubs and microbreweries in the Arena and Brewery Districts, and iconic music halls and buckeye-nation bars in the University District.
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Arts and Music
Filled with music venues, theatre companies, art galleries, an independent music scene, and a world-class symphony, ballet and opera, Columbus has been named one of the nation’s best metro areas for the arts. The internationally renowned Wexner Center for the Arts, located on Ohio State's campus and free to our students, hosts contemporary art exhibitions and film screenings from prominent artists and independent film makers. The Short North area, just south of campus, hosts Gallery Hop, during which dozens of shops and galleries invite the community in to view works by local artists. The central Ohio area also hosts a wide variety of festivals throughout the year and many other events for our community to enjoy.
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Sports and Recreation
In addition to the Ohio State Buckeyes, Columbus is home to the NHL’s Bluejackets, Major League Soccer’s Columbus Crew and AAA Baseball’s Columbus Clippers. It’s no wonder why Columbus was recently named the no. 1 sports town in the nation.
Students are also encouraged to maintain a healthy lifestyle. The city of Columbus and Ohio State provide a wide array of ways to stay healthy and fit. The recreational facilities at Ohio State, which are some of the best in the nation, are available to all students. Columbus also enjoys a network of Metroparks, nearly 20 parks in and close to Columbus, offering hiking, kayaking, biking and more.
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Columbus is also a great place to work! A number of our students participate in summer internships here in Columbus or stay to work after graduation. Columbus is one of the leading research and tech cities in America, home to institutions like Battelle, Chemical Abstracts and the IBM Client Center: Analytics Solutions Lab, a first-of-its-kind center that draws the best and brightest minds in technology. The city is a great incubator for small businesses, like Homage Vintage Apparel, Hot Chicken Takeover and Columbus Idea Foundry (the largest makerspace on the planet). Fortune 500 and Fortune 1000 companies that call Columbus home include L Brands, Nationwide, AEP, Huntington, Abercrombie, Scotts, Honda and Cardinal Health. Columbus recently beat out 78 cities in the U.S. Department of Transportation's Smart City Challenge to win $50 million in grants to supplement the $90 million the city has raised to modernize transportation; plans include corridors for self-driving vehicles and a fleet of electric city cars.