Moving to Columbus, Ohio: Tips, advice, info?

As I posted in MPSIMS a few weeks ago, due to my husband’s job situation and the fact that my entire extended family lives in Ohio, we’re packing up and moving there at the end of this month. At first we’ll be living with my family in the small-ish town I grew up in, in southeastern Ohio (about 60 miles from Columbus), but as soon as MrWhatsit finds a job, we’re getting our own place in the Columbus area.

Now, I did grow up in Ohio, but I don’t know that much about Columbus, except that Ohio State is located there, there’s a decent amount of artsy stuff to do, and… that’s about it. Are there ethnic markets where I can find ingredients for making Thai food? Are there independent movie theaters that show art films? What are the people like? What are the best neighborhoods to live in? Any advice at all would be helpful.

Also, is it true, like my family keeps telling me, that the job market in Ohio is better than it is out here in Seattle? I can’t honestly imagine that it could be any worse, but still.

I really would like to help you with your question. I live in Dayton and I go to OSU, and I’m learning a lot about the town. IMHO, Columbus is a great town with a lot to offer. However, I really don’t know what you want.

You asked about neighborhoods. What do you want in a neighborhood? Do you want good schools? What are your criteria?

OSU’s own Wexner Center for the Arts shows indie films, along with other stuff. And the Convention Center downtown has a lot of neat things year-round also.

The people are also very nice and friendly, although I really can’t tell you a whole lot about the job market as I don’t know about the job market out in Seattle. What kind of job are you looking for? That makes a big difference too.

There are a lot of asian markets, and I know where they are, but you will probably want the closest ones to where you want to live, and I can’t give any recommendations until you are a bit more specific with your wants/needs.

I really like Columbus, and I know some neat things here, but I don’t know anything about you so I can’t recommend anything!

MrWhatsit will be looking for programming, tech editing, or possibly actuarial work. (He’s taking the first actuarial exam in November.) I will not be looking for work as I will be continuing to telecommute for my present employers.

Apart from that, I’m sorry, I really can’t be any more specific, because I don’t know much about the area, which is why I posted this thread in the first place. :slight_smile:

I can’t help you with the job market (I don’t know much about that, myself, since I’m in grad school, and I’ll be moving out of town after I graduate), but I do know something about ethnic restaurants and grocery stores, film/art things, etc. I also know what different areas of town are like, so I might be able to help you in choosing a neighborhood.

Feel free to e-mail me.

Columbus is rapidly overtaking Hartford, CT for the number of insurance companies per square mile (at least on the I-270 run-around) and about 80% of all the programmers still working in Ohio are in the Columbus area.

I cannot predict that they are all actually hiring, of course, but there is a lot of activity, there.

BTW–the Wexner Center is not the only place you can see independant films. The two Drexel theatres are a good bet, and sometimes the AMC Lennox shows slightly off-the-beaten-track stuff, too. If you go to the Ohio Union central office, you can find out about various movie showings run by campus organizations. (Looking at the bulletin boards in central campus buildings is also a good way to see advertisements for small showings of foreign and/or independant movies.) The Columbus Museum of Art has screeings of vintage movies sometimes, and there’s at least one movie theater in town that does the Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Oh, and if you’d like bargain, second-run movies with pizza and beer, we’ve got that, too.

I’ve got business in Colombus about 3-5 times a year, although the drive from Chicago is about as boring as it gets, Colombus is a great little town. I spend my down time in the Short North district, Little Brothers and Skullys are nice venues for live music, and throw down some decent food. If you’re looking for the suburban experience, head to Worthington or Reynoldsburg, between the two of them, they’ve got all the requisite commercial outlets.

German Village is a neat place to experience as well. The courthouse district feels like “real” Columbus to me, I like to watch the gentrification every time I get back there.

All else fails though, it’s pretty likely that no matter what you’re looking for, you’ll be able to find it on High Street.

The river front is also highly recommended.

Beulah Park is a run-down racetrack that’s seen better days, but they have an inordinate anount of stupid bettors there which allows a decent pony picker a chance at a good daily profit. YMMV.

Schmidt’s Sausage Haus is a great place if you like German food. (The quality’s gone down a bit since they expanded, but still worth eating, IMHO.) The main thing you need to watch for in OH are the highway patrol. They are by the book, and know the best places to hide to snag you.

COSI is a pretty nifty science place to take kids (hell, even grownups can have fun in the place!), and the Ohio Historical Society is cool as well.

If you’re anywhere near New Albany, stop in Eagle Pizza and see if Dennis is working. He’s a big Civil War buff (besides being the owner of the place) and has written a book on the Civil War. He’s also got lots of nifty artifacts, including a bullet that someone had to bite on during surgery. The thing looks like a gray hunk of chewing gum.

It’s been a number of years since I’ve been there, but the French Market used to be pretty cool.

In Gahanna, there were some neat orchard places where you could get great cider, etc, but it’s been so long I don’t remember any of them.

Tuckerfan–The French Market’s basically dead at this point. Just thought I’d let you know.

OTOH, the North Market and the Short North are alive and well.

Bummer. The French Market was tres cool when I was a kid.

MsWhatsit,

I’ve lived in the Columbus area since 1992. The Short North (just north of The Ohio State University on High Street) is where one can encounter a lot of “artsy stuff.” The first Saturday of every month is the Gallery Hop - basically people stroll up and down the Short North as the stores, boutiques, galleries, etc., stay open late.

The Farmer’s Market downtown is a popular locale where one can find ingredients for Thai food (I’m pretty sure, but not entirely). If not there, then definitely somewhere in Columbus.

As mentioned previously, the Drexel Theaters (there are three - the Drexel Grand in the Arena District; Drexel East in Bexley; and Drrexel West in Grandview Heights) all feature independent films. The Wexner Center (on the campus of OSU) tends to feature more “art films” (along the lines of avant guard French or German films, for example) than at the Drexel.

Along with the sports offered by OSU (Columbus is still primarily focused on the Buckeyes), Columbus has two major professional sports teams - the National Hockey League (NHL) Blue Jackets and the Major League Soccer (MLS) Crew. Both are very popular (especially the Blue Jackets), although tickets for the Crew games are easier to get (and cheaper). There’s also the AAA farm team for the New York Yankees (the Columbus Clippers).

As to the best neighborhoods to live in, it depends. If you’re looking to live in Columbus, German and Victorian Village are recent gentrified areas very close to downtown. However, rents tend to be high (you might get lucky to find something nice in the 800-900 range for a small apartment) . Homes also tend toward the expensive side as well (you might be able to find one at a reasonable price if you want a “fixer-upper”).

Other nice areas in Columbus are Grandview Hights - also close to downtown. Rents/home prices are a bit cheaper than German/Victorian Villages, but not by much. A third area is Clintonville, just north of OSU. Not as attractive as the German/Victorian village areas, but you can find some really nice places at reasonable rents/costs. I have a good friend who lives in Clintonville in a nice, quiet residentual area.

You also might want to think about living in one of the many suburbs of Columbus. Bexley and Upper Arlington are closest to downtown and are considered by many to have the nicest homes/places to live (I like Bexley myself but it’s pricey). A newer area is New Albany to the northwest (newer in the sense that a lot of wealthy people have built homes there over the last 10 years; Les Wexner - owner and CEO of The Limited - has his mansion in the area).

Worthington (just north of Columbus) is also nice, but pricey. Just to the West is Dublin and Hililard. I know quite a few people who live in both (home and rent costs are reasonalbe). Likewise for Westerville and Gahanna to the Northeast of Columbus.

You also may want to consider southern Delaware County. Powell, a relatively small community 10-20 years ago, has seen tremendous growth (development in the southwestern and southern sections of Delware County has been especially rapid). The major drawback in living in Southern Delaware County/northern Franklin County is the traffic - I-270 is especially bad during rush-hour.

I recommend not renting/buying a place south of Columbus. True, costs/rents tend to be lower, but all the nice, new shopping areas (Polaris - southern Delaware County; Easton - northeast of Columbus) are to the north.

The job market is relatively good - of course it’s not as good as it used to be what with the downturn in the economy and all; but it’s better than a lot of other places.

The annual OhDope party this year is on November 2nd somewhere near Columbus Airport. It’s billed as Halloween Party/Wedding Shower/Housewarming for thinksnow and laserkitty. Maybe you could make it up there. Here’s a link to the thread in MPSIMS.

eponymous, New Albany isn’t all that new. I grew up there. It was a small, quiet farming community until Wexner bought it up and began building multimillion dollar homes there. (Rumor has it that Wexner’s bedroom is some 6,000 square feet!)

Thanks for all the info so far, guys! This is really helpful, and is making me feel less and less like I’m moving, as one friend put it, “to a third-world country”. (Because as we all know, no city could possibly be as cool as Seattle. :rolleyes: )

eponymous, I really appreciate the rundown on various neighborhoods. I expect that MrWhatsit and I will probably be looking for a relatively decent place that is not too pricey, so I’ll look into some of the neighborhoods you mentioned that fit those criteria. My sister and brother-in-law live in New Albany and really like it, but it does seem somewhat pricey. Although, nowhere near as pricey as some of the neighborhoods out here in Seattle, even so. I’ve done some preliminary searching online, and as far as I can tell, rents everywhere in Columbus are somewhat to extremely lower than they are out here. Which is nice.

Where exactly might I find these “second-run movies with pizza and beer” that Scribble mentioned? It sounds like Brew and View at the Vic, which I really missed when I moved from Chicago. Seattle has nothing similar.

**Tuckerfan **,

Sorry if I wasn’t clear in my response to MsWhatsit. I know New Albany has been around for a long time. I just wanted to indicate that it’s a place where there’s been a lot of recent housing development.

MsWhatsit,

Yes, thankfully the cost of living in Columbus is pretty decent (relatively cheaper rents/home costs than other places).

Oh, and here’s the link for Studio 35 - second run movies where you can have pizza and beer!

Columbus is a nice city. You will love shopping in there, it has great malls))
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