OT: Living in Columbus (!!??!?!)

Submitted by dmoo4u on March 12th, 2013 at 7:39 PM

I know we have some members of our community living in enemy territory – so I figured I would seek your wisdom. I have a job opportunity that would require me to move from Los Angeles to Columbus (you all must think I am crazy, but it’s a good opportunity). My family is still all in Michigan, so I wouldn’t mind heading back to the midwest – maybe for only a few years. So my questions – what is it like being a Michigan fan in Columbus? How is Columbus as a city? I would be working about an hour north of Columbus – any recommendations on cities to live in or to avoid?  



March 12th, 2013 at 8:12 PM ^

In regard to living in Ohio State territory . . . I lived in Dayton (90 miles from Columbus) during parts of the '80s and 90's.  Dayton is big time Ohio State country.  

Let me tell you it was a BLAST living in Ohio State-land when Michigan was doing well.  I walked around with a smug smile for years.  And yes, all the Michigan fans in the area do come out of the woodwork in a brotherhood of solidarity.

I worked for a large corporation during that time.  The Friday before the '86 Michigan-Ohio State game for the Rose Bowl at Ohio State (The Harbaugh guarantee game), I looked up at the top of one of the offiice buildings where the corporate flag was usually flown . . . and saw that somebody had run up a giant Block M Michigan flag in its place!  Right in the middle of enemy territory.  It felt like the Stars and Stripes at Iwo Jima.

Now that Michigan is returning to elite status in both football and basketball, you can get in on the ground floor of being a thorn in the side of Buckeyes in their own backyard.





March 12th, 2013 at 8:12 PM ^

Been here for nearly 9 years myself. I enjoy it a lot, to be honest. Good restaurants, pretty easy to get to any end of town (although with 71 getting revamped, that has changed a bit). I wear Michigan gear, and rarely get any shit unless its rivalry week or game day. I've been to several OSU/Michigan basketball games, and apart from the usual jeering, nothing big.

I can also echo an earlier comment and say that the northern suburbs are excellent (Dublin, Worthington, Gahanna, etc.) as are many Columbus area school districts (I am a teacher).

You may hear from some there isn't shit to do and some may tell you there's always something to do here. I suppose its just a matter of what you're looking for. I've never had troubling finding fun whether it be concerts, sports, theaters, or bars.

Lemme know if you need any other info!


March 13th, 2013 at 8:05 PM ^

All of this is accurate, good advice.

Only want to add that these locations, while nice/mostly affordable, will have at least an hour commute to Marion, where you said you would be working.

Check out Lewis Center as well (towards/around Westerville), particularly around Polaris Mall. There's VERY nice apartments, condos, and houses; there is 71, 270, and 315 (interstates/outerbelt) right nearby that could take you up north and your wife downtown. From here you would be under an hour from Marion (most mornings).

If not there, check in the Short North or German Village areas. This would be over an hour commute for you, but downtown Columbus is your back yard!

I live in the Short North and it's great for various reasons. You really won't have a backyard here, but your compensation really is the sheer location. Good luck!






March 12th, 2013 at 8:13 PM ^

I'm from Wisconsin and my wife went to school at Otterbein, just outside Columbus so I never lived there but spent a lot of time in the area... By the time my wife graduated I was at the point where I would not advertise in any way that I was a Michigan fan. That's not to say Columbus is a bad place to live, but as passionate Michigan, you will run into people that absolutely hate you for the team you love. You either deal with it or adapt.

Good Luck!

Perkis-Size Me

March 12th, 2013 at 8:15 PM ^

UM alum but will be attending OSU for grad school next year. Yeah, don't ask. Trying to figure out how I'm going to plow through these next two years.

My time in Columbus has been pretty limited, but honestly, its really not that bad a city. I've gone out there a few times to visit a friend, as well as when I got flown out to visit the campus. Really young, up and coming city. There are some really great areas for bars and restaurants, especially along High Street.

I've got a feeling that you'll encounter bad eggs wherever you go, especially if you find your way on-campus. My friend and I went to the OSU basketball game this year with our UM stuff on and we got every known obscenity thrown our way. But that's students. I'd think most of the general populace will give you some friendly heckling, but nothing to get worked up about.

E. Gordon Gee

March 12th, 2013 at 11:18 PM ^

Its not as bad as you may think it is. I had a grader for a class who was at OSU working on a PhD from UM while teaching. Some how while working on a problem this discussion came up and he said he was able to survive it just fine. Granted he didn't share with a lot of people the school he supported, he lived far from campus to avoid the students and didn't participate in anything except intramurals and made it out just fine. Interesting guy that really opened me to the good their is in Michigan. 


March 12th, 2013 at 8:17 PM ^

and it is an easy commute.  I was living inside the beltway but I couldn't take the city anymore, so I purchased a nice little hobby farm about 35 miles southeast of the city and it takes me about 45 min to get to work, in downtown Columbus. Dealing with all of the OSU homers isn't always that bad but it does take some getting use to (I grew up here, so yeah). I lived in SoCal for a couple of years and though the weather was great, the air in Ohio is so much cleaner and the people are less crazy.


March 12th, 2013 at 8:19 PM ^

I grew up there and I'm at school in michigan now. But growing up in Columbus as a michigan fan was horrible during childhood. It definitely solidified the hatred I have towards them. Because of living there, I have learned to hate the fan base more than the actual team. Now when I go home on breaks I love to wear my michigan jersey there just to get dirty looks from people. I embrace it now

The Westerville area is actually really awesome, lots of malls and great places to do things. Good place to live, but the people suck as far as sports

Benoit Balls

March 12th, 2013 at 8:21 PM ^

which is about 15 minutes northeast of downtown. Money magazine ranked in as one of the 100 best places to live in 2008, I believe.  Where, an hour north, will you be working? Mansfield?

The northwest suburbs are the more "ritzy" places to live (such as Upper Arlington, Dublin and Powell), but traffic on that side of town rush hour is absolutely horrendous, which is why my Wife and I decided to live on the Northeast side of town.  Westerville is more north/central, but it is also a nice suburb as well.

As far as the city itself, it's really not that bad. The farther you are from OSU campus, the less likely you are to run into the insane Bucknuts.  You can get anywhere from anywhere in 20 minutes or less.  Columbus is a big test market due to its "whitebrededness" so many corporations open test locations here, so you can find almost any chain restaurant that exists. There are a number of good golf courses nearby as well (if you are so inclined).  There are 2 "Lifestyle centers" (does anyone remember malls, sheesh Im old) that may not rival what you can likely find in LA, but they wont leave you wanting either. You can get pretty much anything you want here, except good seafood.

Also, you may want to look into Delaware county, which is the county directly north of Franklin (which Columbus is located in). Cities to look at in Delaware county include Delaware (so creative!), Sunbury, and Powell to name a few. Delaware county has the highest median income in the state and it is also the fastest growing county in the state both in terms of poulation and income.

If you have any other specific questions, Id be happy to help.


March 12th, 2013 at 10:00 PM ^

I've lived in columbus, actually less than 1.5 west of the horseshoe, since 2004 and would only add that there aren't many weekend/outdoor activities - just a bunch of muddy rivers - and too much of the city is corporate America franchises.

Also, all of us Central Ohio Wolverines need to hook up with the UM Alumni Club. If you're interested or want more info, email me at [email protected] and we'll get you on the email list.


March 12th, 2013 at 11:20 PM ^

is great! When I first considered moving outside of the beltway, I was looking at the New Albany/Gahanna area and I actually bought a home in New Albany, which I now rent out to a very nice family. My problem has always been I grew up in the Hocking Hills, so I needed to be somewhere less flat, so I bought some land a little south of Lancaster. I love it there and as long as I leave my house at 6-6:30, I can normally beat the traffic into the city.


March 12th, 2013 at 8:20 PM ^

Columbus is basically a college town with the appearance of a big city. No one you meet will be from Columbus originally. Nationwide Insurance hires from all over the country.

As far as how bad it is being a Michigan fan? Latch onto the first sensible Buckeye fan you find. They're out there, I promise. Just find someone who likes talking football but isn't so overly passionate that they can't give you an honest answer about something.

The city is actually not too bad either. There are some pockets that are a decent time. Downtown has a decent bar scene as does the Short North, The Brewery District, and German Village. The parks are nice and so are the people when it's not game day.

Places to avoid: Lane And High on game day, Summit St after dark, Italian Village, Cleveland Ave.

Have fun! Check out North Market, Victorian Village, ComFest, etc. Summers are fun and winters suck. You'll be alright.


March 12th, 2013 at 8:23 PM ^

I was born and raised in Worthington, Ohio (Columbus suburb) and went to Michigan.  Growing up there was great - schools good enough to get into UM out of state, safe community, good youth sports scene, plenty of activity - but after Michigan became a huge part of my life, it felt less and less like home.  My allegiance to Michigan is extremely important to me and I felt like it was difficult to "be myself" and feel comfortable when I was at home for breaks.  Sure, good-natured ribbing from my family doctor (OSU M.D.) and certain neighbors (most of whom were graduates) was exactly that - good-natured.  The people that went to OSU (and were over 35 or had families) seemed to be proud of their school, respect the rivalry and go on about their business. 

The problem is that, as Bob Ufer so eloquently said, Columbus is filled with OSU fans who just care about the sports, or worse, just football (Ufer: "10,000 alumni and 72,000 truck drivers").  These people honestly made it tough to go "home" to visit family during breaks.  Going for a run in Michigan shorts would be met with yells from passing cars (once, I was even passed, and then someone turned around to throw a BP cup of soda at me).  Going to Kroger in a jersey on game day would be met with taunts ranging from a playful "Go Bucks" to "Go back to Michigan" to "You suck" to "Fuck Michigan" to "Fuck you."  The gas station attendant story above doesn't surprise me.   

Not everyone respects the rivalry, which makes it much more difficult for those of us (including the OSU fans who, I'm sure, hate to be lumped in with the "truck drivers") who DO respect the rivalry.  As much as I enjoyed my hometown, I would never move back there and being a Michigan alum is the only reason why.  I don't want to feel unwelcome in my own home city.

This is not to say that you shouldn't move to Columbus because many OSU fans are deplorable.  Just making sure you have another perspective and know what you're getting yourself into.  I turned out okay and love Michigan having gone through all of that, but I also wouldn't choose to do it again.

Best of luck and congrats on the opportunity.


March 13th, 2013 at 8:48 AM ^

Reading through these harrassment stories, I have no idea where they stem from.  I must just not run into these people.  However, I am also a very large former athlete, so maybe people just don't want to cause problems with me.  I don't really recall any time that I've been hastled by OSU fans, and I wear Michigan gear 30% of the time I am not at work...


March 12th, 2013 at 8:29 PM ^

Lived here for 9 years and it's alright.

Asshole OSU fans are an everpresent danger, but they usually only crawl out of their coolers on football saturdays.  The 70% of Buckeyes who aren't mouthbreathers are generally ok.  Or maybe it's 7%?

As far as neighborhoods go, Westerville, Worthington and Dublin are all pretty good places for raising a family and are all on the northern perimeter.  If you're an hour north... yeah that still is kind of a hike.  For hipper younger neighborhoods, you're probably looking at Grandview or Victorian Village both of which are just outside downtown.  Clintonville isn't bad too - it's probably where the liberal yuppie couple lives.  Then they have kids and move to Upper Arlington.   German Village is very picturesque but can go from pretty to sketchy in the span of three blocks.  Bexley is also quite nice, but extremely old money.

Columbus is what it is - a perfectly respectable slice of everything caught between big-city aspirations and its provincial midwestern test-market roots.  I like it well enough, though after visiting Chicago or Toronto it's hard to take it seriously as a city.  Still there is something to be said for the fact that anywhere to anywhere else here is a 20 minute drive at worst.  It's also a very underrated food town, though when you've got such a high restaurant per capita ratio such things are probably to be expected.


March 12th, 2013 at 8:44 PM ^

cbus is a great and improving metro area.

re. Michigan fandom:  ohio rhetoric is at a fever pitch so you need major blinders on. the fans are as obnoxiuous and dumb as you can imagine. avoid any intended good natured bantering- they will not get you. hebstreit left -and he is one of them.

new albany or polaris area might work but if you live in mansfield  (1 hour due north of cbus) it is pretty beat down- prison, olive garden and mid-ohio race track are the highlights.

working an hour north- you are really as close to cleveland as columbus.


March 12th, 2013 at 8:42 PM ^

Have you been in Frankenmuth a while? My great-grandfather founded ( and uncles own) the farm equipment dealership across from Kroger and brother and cousin work there. I love going back and it is a good,safe, place to raise kids. Just once I had the taste of having everything so close it'd be hard to move back.
@dubs, I'm a teacher as well, at a high school in powell!


March 12th, 2013 at 8:59 PM ^


I have been up to Powell many times, as I worked at the zoo for a summer during college a few years back.  Pretty fun experience.

Funny you mention Frankenmuth...I was up there during my holiday break in December my lady.  We had a blast checking out all the little shoppes, etc.  I forgot how cool it was since my only memories were the foggy variety, living the first years of my life in Saginaw.

Mabel Pines

March 12th, 2013 at 10:14 PM ^

8 years.  I really like it....as you can see from this thread, every city/town has it's pluses and minuses.  Frankenmuth is a bit small for this Detroit gal, but I don't really care where I live.  (As long as I am within driving distance of Ann Arbor)   I think I know one of your uncles.  Good guy, Big Michigan fan, two kids? 


March 12th, 2013 at 9:08 PM ^

Living here and actually it's a great place to raise a family. Enjoy it quite a bit. I live in Dublin, so lots of transplants among the Buckeyes from everywhere. Great schools and diversity.


March 12th, 2013 at 9:08 PM ^

I moved from Florida to Columbus for a much better job. Worst part is the winter. Very hard to stay active. North of Columbus is Delaware County. It is not bad at all. Rural looking, but a lot of nice homes in developments and a short drive to the city when not in rush hour, probably nothing compared to LA though. I haven't had too much grief from Buckeye fans. I went to the BBall game in Cbus this year and no one said anything directly to me (while wearing all Michigan gear). Sad to say but they don't fear us like they use to. It's weird, almost like pity or sympathetic? Until we can and do beat them regularly it will be docile. I can't wait for when we start beating their ass again to see how they treat us then.


March 12th, 2013 at 9:19 PM ^

My best friend lives in CBus and he thinks it's okay, aside from the obvious OSU cooler poopers. Just depends how you want to live, I think. Personally, I couldn't stand the SoCal traffic and general demeanor of people who live there, but I'm certain you're aware of all that. Best of luck

All Day

March 12th, 2013 at 9:23 PM ^

I lived there for about a year. Like someone said, it's a weird mix of "big city" and good ol' Midwest. There's a decent variety of shows, concerts, and sports. However, if you are active you might be disappointed, especially compared to CA. Good running and biking trails and events, but I hated how far removed I was from water, forests, etc...


March 12th, 2013 at 9:39 PM ^

If you are working an hour north of Columbus find housing in Delaware County. The northbound traffic from Franklin into Delaware County is brutal 6+ hours out of each day and there are infinite housing developments to the north.

Undefeated dre…

March 12th, 2013 at 9:41 PM ^

I moved to the Columbus area a few years ago after nearly 20 in Ann Arbor. We chose Dublin based on proximity to work and schools, but many of the other communities mentioned are great. I would say that Upper Arlington (and Bexley) are the "old money' parts of Columbus -- great schools, great houses, but the $ per sq ft is super-high. That's one reason we ended up in Dublin. Downside of Dublin is that it's basically a community of subdivisions; unlike Ann Arbor there's very little "there" there. If you're going to be about an hour north of Columbus, that seems about Marion-area. Delaware (the town) is a bit hipper than Marion, and further south is Lewis Center (growing suburb) or Powell, which is like Dublin but with a nicer mini-downtown.

OSU fans are everywhere. Thank goodness the principal at my kids' elementary is a U-M grad! She promised my kids wouldn't get harrassed for wearing maize and blue -- though my daughter was given a buckeye necklace her first week at school. Ouch. The thing to remember is that the Buckeyes ARE the only game in town. It's not like Michigan where fandom is split between U-M and MSU, but then most fans unite behind the Detroit sports teams. Professionally, Columbus is split between Tribe and Reds, between Browns, Bengals, and Steelers, the Blue Jackets stink, and the Crew, while great (and yellow!) are "just" MLS. So everyone rallies around the Buckeyes. Imagine the Wolverines, Spartans, Tigers, Lions, Red Wings and Pistons all rolled into one program. That's OSU. Red is everywhere. Everywhere! My recommendation would be to represent but just be prepared for some grief. 

Generally it's a great area, and it's the most active economic region in Ohio (helped by OSU and the capital, along with Nationwide, the Limited, Battelle, Ashland, Cardinal Health, and a huge Chase operation). Moneybags Les Wexner has also endowed a pretty thriving arts scene. A couple negatives -- as a semi-foodie, the restaurant scene, while flourishing, is generally meh. Much better meals available in Ann Arbor (and, I'm sure, LA). Other downside is the topography. While there are hills about 45 minutes northwest, east, and south/southeast of Columbus, the city itself is in a major flat plain that runs more or less from Toledo down through Columbus and over toward CIncinnati. Oh, and the inland water sucks. Only lakes are reservoirs and most have issues with algae bloom. No Pure Michigan, for sure.

Good luck, and Go Blue!


March 12th, 2013 at 9:43 PM ^

Its fine being a Michigan fan living in Columbus. Most people enjoy the talk back and forth. Just dont be a douche about your team in their territory.


March 13th, 2013 at 9:17 AM ^

Ahhh... the phenomenon of sports allegience blinding someone to a subject.  The truth of the matter is that Columbus is a better place to live then most of Michigan.  Of course, it's all subjective, but there is no way to say that Columbus is quantifiably worse than many places.


March 12th, 2013 at 10:09 PM ^

A lot of posts talk about CBus been a "hole" but really it is a terrific place to live with the exception of some of the "Over the Top" fans.   Most fans are pretty cool but some can be downright hateful..  My wife (who is a Michigan grad) refuses to wear Michigan gear around town.  There are many Michigan fans here but if you are going to raise a family, you should expect a heavy dose of OSU banners, posters and ads in your kids' schools.  OSU is everywhere here whether you like it or not.  It gets really old at times to be honest.

As far as places to live, depending on your tastes and finances, there are a lot of good schools and communities in the burbs.   Upper Arlington and Bexley probably have the best public school systems but Hilliard (where I live), Dublin, Powell, Worthington, Westerville, Gahanna and Pickerington are all good too.   Downtown Columbus has a lot of really good restaurants and a lot of really nice new housing if you like big city living.   In the 20+ years I have lived here, it is amazing how much downtown has been transformed.   It used to be a real dump.   Clintonville is probably my favorite city neighborhood but if you live there, you have to send your kids to private schools;  Columbus city Schools are awful.

Marysville is a little futher out but it's pretty nice too.   Also, New Albany and Lewis Center are also newer suburbs that are also very nice.

I grew up north of Cincinnati which is not nearly as OSU oriented and a lot more pro sports oriented than is Cbus.