As the husband and I prepare to explore an area of the country in search of a new place to settle down, I’ve been reflecting on the past and present cities I’ve been rooted in as well as the ones I’ve only thought about calling home.
I grew up in southern Ohio, and I then lived in Cincinnati, Ohio for about seven years throughout college and my early to mid 20s. I have since lived in Columbus, Ohio for about 12 1/2 years. And honestly, I didn’t think I would stick around here for that long. So, aside from my early toddler years in Florida and that one year when I was six/seven years old in Houston, Texas, I’ve always lived in Ohio. And… I’ve always dreamed of living somewhere else other than Ohio.
New York was actually on my list when I was in college for criminology, and I even road-tripped it out there once with a friend to scope out the college I was interested in and get a feel for the city. However, that didn’t pan out… and sometimes I wonder where I would be now if I had made the plunge. Would I be somewhere else completely different professionally? Or would I be working three jobs to make ends meet? Because there is no doubt my creative side would have won out earlier in life if I had lived in the Big Apple. For some reason, I feel like Coyote Ugly would have ended up on my resume. After all, I do love to dance…
Once I married my husband and opened his eyes up to the whole world outside of Ohio that could possibly be our home, we’ve been contemplating ever since. Boston has always been on our list, and I’ve mentioned our love affair with Maine. So, that’s where we are now… it’s either going to be the east side or west side, baby.
So as we determine what we want in our future city, I’ve been thinking about what it is I like and dislike about living in Columbus, Ohio.
- The Football Craze ~ I used to like football when I was younger, and then I moved to Columbus. Almost everyone here is Buckeyes crazy. Football culture is very prominent here, and it’s basically a cult. If you don’t like the Buckeyes or football, you’re thought of as weird and unpatriotic towards your home. However, if you like to shop or need to run errands, there is no better time than game time. Because if the folks aren’t physically at the game, they’re watching it wherever there’s a TV… home, the sports bar or the food court of the local mall.
- Flat Terrain ~ I spent the majority of my childhood in southern Ohio which is located along the foothills of the Appalachian mountains, and then I lived in Cincinnati… one of the city’s nicknames being the “City Of Seven Hills”. So, I was used to hilly, windy roads. I love hills. I moved to Columbus and realized it is so insanely flat, and I’m not a fan.
- Blah Weather ~ I love the changing seasons, and thankfully, we have those in Columbus. However, our Ohio summers are usually stupid, yucky, and humid and our Autumn the past few years has been lasting about a couple weeks… seriously. Not ideal for a girl whose favorite season is Autumn.
- No Water ~ No worries, we have drinking water. I’m not talking about how you’ll die from thirst here. I’m talking about how all we have are a couple lakes and a few rivers. As someone who likes to boat and kayak, Columbus is not the most exciting place to live in that respect.
- Lack Of Museums ~ We have an art museum which I personally think sucks for the most part. Once in a while, there’s a cool exhibit. We have a science center, COSI, but that’s geared more towards children. We have a handful of small, weird museums like the creepy doll museum, but what I would love to see here someday is a natural history museum.
- Traffic & Inadequate Public Transportation ~ It sucks right now unless you live centrally in downtown, campus or the surrounding areas. But as I will mention below, it is improving. It’s just happening very slowly right now. The suburbs need to be more connected with the city through transit, and that would hopefully cut down on some of our awful traffic congestion… and create more jobs and help those without reliable transportation to get to work.
- Lack Of Varied Events ~ A lot of the events in the area are very art-centric or sports-oriented… neither of which I am interested in all that much. We do have the food & beer festivals, but I think I do enough of that on a regular basis.
- Food Culture ~ There’s no doubt we have outstanding food in Columbus, and this is the big draw for me to the area. From some amazing brunch (my fave meal of the day!) spots like Skillet, Tasi Café, Katalina’s, Cravings Carryout Cafe to Jeni’s ice cream to microbreweries and new restaurants cropping up constantly, finding some yummy food and craft beer is never difficult.
- Unique Neighborhoods ~ We have a small collection of unique and historical neighborhoods like German Village, Short North, Italian Village, Victorian Village and Olde Towne East. The architecture and the old houses are gorgeous.
- Revitalization ~ There has been a lot of improvements and revitalization in various neighborhoods over the years. New apartments and restaurants are always popping up in downtown and in the neighborhood areas mentioned above. The Scioto Mile along the waterfront of the Scioto River is beautiful.. especially at night. Bike and car sharing are now options and public transportation improvements have been jostled around with small-scale ideas being proposed.
- Zoo ~ If you’re a fan of zoos, we have one of the best zoos in the nation. You can thank Jack Hanna for that. And about an hour southeast of Columbus, we have The Wilds, a conservation center where you can get up close and personal with some of our endangered species. I highly recommend that experience!
- Diversity ~ I’d like to think Columbus is the Midwest hub for cultural diversity. As as an Asian American, it’s nice to not be surrounded by a sea of white folks. And while there is still some conservatism and prejudice present as in any city, Columbus on the whole is more than accepting of its large gay population and racial diversity.
- OSU ~ If you’re in need of a university, you can’t find one much better than Ohio State. The medical center and college is one of the best in the country.
All in all, Columbus is a pretty good place to live. I know it seems like I’m dissing on it big time, but it’s more like I’m not a good fit for this city. I think if you have children, it’s a wonderful place to raise them. The city is a great mix of relatively safe, suburban life with a decently active downtown.
Columbus is improving all the time, and I foresee great changes and it growing into its big city pants in the near future. No matter where I end up, I look forward to its continued growth.