Many Millennials are looking for a flexible and culturally-rich lifestyle that is affordable. Although big cities like LA and NYC can offer culture and excitement, they’re expensive and making a mark is often difficult. This is why the midwest has turned into a thriving hub of young people willing to make their cities just as fulfilling as the heavy hitters.
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Columbus, Ohio is the 15th largest city in the United States and growing extremely fast at an average yearly rate of 1.2%. Not only that, but it’s been highly ranked nationally for things like being the “Most Intelligent City” by IntelligentCommunity.org, number one on the “Cities Where Wages Are Growing the Fastest” list from CNN Money, and “Best Cities for Millennials” by Money. Which, you know, is why you’re reading this article.
1. Let’s talk business
Let’s get the business out of the way first. Columbus ranked #14 in Glassdoor’s “25 Best Cities for Jobs” ahead of Indianapolis (#16), Chicago (#22), and Atlanta (#24). It’s packed with companies that make the Fortune 500 list. Huge retail companies have headquarters in Columbus: DSW, Abercrombie, L Brands (Limited, VS, etc.), and Express. Health and wealth companies also call Columbus home: Nationwide Insurance, JP Morgan Chase, Abbott Nutrition, and Cardinal Health. If corporate America is your jam, Columbus has you covered.
Cubicle life not for you? The startup and technology culture in Columbus is thriving. Between meetup groups, Startup Weekend, entrepreneurship programs at Ohio State and major tech companies being financed by huge investors, Columbus is killin’ it.
2. The housing market is affordable
Once you’ve made your mark in corporate America or had your startup financed, you can take advantage of one of the major perks of living in Columbus – an affordable housing market. It was ranked number ten on “America’s 20 hottest markets for real estate” in April 2016 from Realtor.com. Cost of living is reasonable, housing is abundant, and types of neighborhoods are varied.
3. Waterholes are aplenty
Beer snob? Cocktail aficionado? Perfect. It’s all here. Breweries like Wolf’s Ridge, Columbus Brewing Company, Knotty Pine, Seventh Son and Land Grant are bringing a craft brew culture to the area. Brothers Drake Meadery is crafting handmade mead and Middle West Spirits distills the number one ranked vodka (OYO) by Food Republic. (Check out our favorite Columbus Breweries here)
4. You’ll never go hungry
Foodie? Yeah, Columbus has that too. With a young population fed by a handful of universities, Columbus knows how to handle many different diets. From vegan to gluten-free, restaurants make sure you’re covered. Northstar Cafe has a legendary beet and black bean burger and Portia’s Cafe provides all vegan options. The build-your-own movement of food has really taken off, too. FUSIAN boasts a build your own sushi format, Bibibop is Asian and Brassica is the Mediterranean version. Cameron Mitchell has established a suite of mid-to-upscale food establishments that have blanketed the city and provided quality food in each neighborhood. If you’re into grass-fed, organic, and unique ingredients, options are aplenty.
5. The city is artsy
Columbus has an arts council that ensures this city stays vibrant, cultural, and immersed in all aspects of art. The Columbus Museum of Art has historically focused on European and American, but more recently has branched into contemporary exhibits and a permanent photography collection. On the first Saturday of every month, Gallery Hop takes place in the Short North. All of the art galleries, restaurants, and shops stay open later than usual while people meander around the streets.
6. There’s a lively music scene
Maybe fine art isn’t your thing, but you can appreciate a good concert, comedy show, or theater performance? Excellent. Columbus has a huge music scene with venues of all sizes. It’s a major tour stop for most musicians, so you’ll never miss out on your favorite band. There are two large theaters and many community theaters if you’re more into drama. Oh, and comedy? Yeah, laughs are good. There’s even an improv group at Shadowbox Live.
7. There’s always a game
How about sports? Columbus is home to The Ohio State University (maybe you’ve heard of ‘em?) with a football team that packs the stands regularly. In the area of professional sports, The Columbus Crew is soccer club in the MLS, The Bluejackets are the resident NHL hockey team, and The Columbus Clippers are a minor league baseball team. If you’re a pennant-waver, fist-shaker, or tailgater, Columbus is for you.
8. Parks and Rec
Yep, it’s big. Millennials are known to love a good game of rec softball, soccer, volleyball, or kickball and there are endless leagues available. Between that, The Scioto mile – a beautiful new bike trail, climbing wall, dog park, and more that runs through downtown, countless neighborhood parks, and a young, healthy population – Columbus is a major draw for people who like the outdoors.
9. There’s a neighborhood for you
Downtown is continually evolving and building up. And the surrounding neighborhoods? They’re drenched in history and full of vigor. The Short North boasts unique restaurant concepts, bars, and art galleries on every corner. German Village is known for its brick roads and quiet atmosphere with destinations nestled in the middle of the neighborhood. Grandview is a short skip from downtown and Ohio State. So, it’s perfect for those that want to be just a little bit out of the city, but close enough to enjoy it regularly.
Columbus just gets Millennials and is continually evolving to support their needs.