I lived there until very recently.
I moved from DC, and was surprised but I really like it. I’m not much for sports, so the whole OSU Buckeye obsession is a bit annoying, but overall it’s a great city. I’ll tell you about things I’m interested in, but it’s a bigger city than people realize, so this is far from an exhaustive list!
-It’s a very gay-friendly, progressive city by midwest standards, really in general, but like many cities it gets more conservative as you go out from the city center.
-They have a good local food scene, lots of people wanting to do interesting things. The North Market is nice, Jeni’s ice cream is the pride of the city (ha - but it is awesome, and popular), and I could go on and on about specific restaurants.
-The Wexner Center for the Arts is a great modern art center, it hosts exhibits that don’t usually come to mid-size midwest cities. They have Marclay’s The Clock right now, there was a big Annie Liebowicz retrospective before that, in both cases the artists came to visit/give talks multiple times. The main art museum, the CMA, is good also.
-COSI, the science center, is very nice and the zoo is one of the best in the country.
-neighborhoods in the city: German Village is very charming, full of brick streets and 1800s houses. Schiller Park there is a great place to wander. Short North is kind of a trendy area with shops and restaurants, some art galleries (it used to be known for galleries, but rising rents have made some move). Victorian Village and Italian Village are nice residential neigborhoods near it. VV has Gooddale Park, which is great. Clintonville is a little further from downtown, probably bigger houses, but still in the city and nice. There are plenty of suburbs, of course, if that’s your thing. Close to the city, there is Grandview Heights, Upper Arlington, and Bexley - all upscale, have walkable areas, and close to downtown.
-Downtown recently added a The Scioto Mile, which is a riverfront park and walkway. The river downtown used to be kind of blah, not somewhere you wanted to go, but this is helping. Downtown also demolished the old mall and put in a park that hosts concerts ans festivals.
-It’s within three hours of Cleveland, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Indianapolis, and Louisville for weekend trips. Broaden that to sixish hours and you’ve added Chicago, DC, Baltimore, Nashville, Buffalo/Niagra Falls, and probably more. So that’s nice.
-The newspaper, the Columbus Dispatch sucks IMO, much of our local media also, the obsession with OSU football borders on the hysterical, there’s sprawl galore, sometimes it seems a little small and I want to move to Chicago, but it’s got a lot going for it and it’s very inexpensive, so the quality of life one can afford here vs. DC is great.