Columbus skyline by river

Home of the Ohio State Buckeyes and the state’s capital city, Columbus is one of Ohio’s most popular and sought-after municipalities to live in. Columbus is the 14th largest city in the United States, with World Population Review reporting just under one million residents. The capital offers the best of both worlds — a metropolitan, urban environment without the high prices and population density of other big cities, like Chicago or New York City.

There is something in Columbus for everyone. As Hometeam Properties points out, foodies will love the city’s many restaurant options, spanning every imaginable cuisine. Similarly, there is a very active brewery and nightlife scene in more urban areas of the city. Columbus also offers an equal amount of stunning skylines as they do gorgeous public parks, hiking trails, and nature reservations. The cost of living is also a reported 10% less than the national average, making it a relatively affordable city. Whether you live in the city itself or a surrounding neighborhood, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. If you’re considering relocating your family to Columbus, keep reading to learn about some of the best family-friendly areas in Ohio’s capital.

Clintonville

Restaurant patio in Clintonville, Ohio

Clintonville is a lovely neighborhood that offers equal parts trendiness and historic charm. It is centrally located in many trendy Columbus areas, just minutes away from the Ohio State University, the downtown area, and the popular neighborhood of Worthington, via HER Realtors. The community has plenty to offer in and of itself, too, with most things being a short walk away. Clintonville puts a lot of emphasis on small, local businesses, as well as the community. Many city-wide celebrations aim to highlight restaurants, shops, and other local enterprises. There are also lots of community-centric organizations, like the local band or choir.

Families will love the school system, which offers lots of distinguished early education pathways, and unites students together again in one high school. Clintonville’s middle school is also centered around supporting deaf, hard of hearing, and special needs students — the only of its kind in Columbus. The high school also offers both AP and dual enrollment courses.

Other Clintonville attractions include the stunning Park of Roses, the independent-run Studio 35 Theater, a plethora of vegan, gluten-free, and health-conscious restaurants, adorable shops and boutiques, hiking paths along glacial ravines, bakeries, and farmers markets, via Realty Ohio Real Estate. The average rent in Clintonville is $1,076, and the typical home is valued at $303,660, making it a little pricier than the national average, per Niche. It has an A grade for family, B+ for housing, A+ for nightlife, and a B for diversity.

Bexley

Jeffrey mansion in Bexley, Ohio

If you want the absolute best schools for your family and don’t mind paying the higher prices associated with it, look no further than Bexley, Ohio. Bexley has a population of 13,900 and is located only 3 miles east of Columbus’ downtown area — close enough for some to walk, via Krupp Moving & Storage. Bexley is also an incredibly safe area to live in, with the violent crime rate at 77% less than the national average. It is also home to Capital University.

Bexley also has a lot of historic charm and a few stunning attractions. The Drexel Theatre, located right across from Capital University, opened in 1937 and is still fully operational and is one of Bexley’s main attractions, via Touring Ohio. Another popular tourist site in the neighborhood is the Jeffrey Mansion or Governor’s Mansion. The mansion was built in 1905 and donated to the city in 1945. It’s now used as a stunning venue site for weddings or other events, as well as a community center for Bexley residents.

There are a few drawbacks to living in Bexley, though. For one, it is pretty pricey, with the average home costing $409,000 and very few rental opportunities (aside from campus housing), per Niche. The average income is a stark $109,000. It also leaves a lot to be desired in terms of diversity. Families will likely prefer Central Bexley for its median prices and proximity to the high school, with North Bexley being the priciest.

Gahanna

Waterfall at Creekside Park

Gahanna, Ohio, is another incredibly popular area for families, offering a combination of excellent schools, a supportive community, and lots of fun things to do and explore. Gahanna has a population of over 35,000, but despite its population density, it still has a lot of community and charm, via Niche. It’s a little farther from the downtown area than the other two — around 8 miles from downtown Columbus — but it isn’t hard to get there. Gahanna alone connects to five of the most extensive highways in central Ohio, which can get you to the airport, Easton Town Center for shopping, and more, per E-Merge Realty.

Gahanna public schools are some of the best in central Ohio and Columbus, with an A grade from Niche. As for exploring the neighborhood, consider taking a stroll through one of the 52 parks. Gahanna is also home to some of Columbus’ most beloved festivals and gatherings, including the annual Creekside Blues and Jazz Festival, the Creekside Festival, the Holiday Lights Celebration, and the Taste of Gahanna. Gahanna is deemed the Herb Capital of Ohio, with the Ohio Herb Center located in a historically registered building on Mill Street, notes Visit Gahanna. On top of all this, Gahanna is quite affordable, with the average house costing under the national average of $228,800. There are also many options for renting, the average monthly price clocking in at $1,153, slightly above the national average.

Upper Arlington

Historic home exterior

Another Columbus neighborhood with a great school district is Upper Arlington. Upper Arlington is home to quite a few notable names, including Dave Thomas — the founder of Wendy’s — and the pro-golfer Jack Nicklaus, per Krupp Moving & Storage. It is located 5.5 miles from downtown Columbus and borders other popular neighborhoods like Worthington and Bexley. Upper Arlington is an incredibly affluent and pricey neighborhood, with an average income of $123,548. Niche reports the average home price at a steep $429,100, and 79% of the more than 35,000 residents own their homes. It comes as no shock that Upper Arlington is home to one of central Ohio’s most popular country clubs.

According to Touring Ohio, the Scioto Country Club is where Nicklaus first started golfing. Upper Arlington is an incredibly historic area with many adorable, quaint boutiques and shops. The neighborhood is also home to the incredibly popular Upper Arlington Arts Festival, which attracts as many as 30,000 every Labor Day. Upper Arlington has a great school district, receiving an A grade from Niche, ranked number 23 out of 607 Ohio school districts. It is, unfortunately, strongly lacking in diversity amongst residents, receiving a C- from Niche.

Worthington

Antrim park shoreline

Last but certainly not least is Worthington, Ohio. Worthington is slightly smaller than other listed Columbus neighborhoods, with Niche reporting just under 15,000 residents. Worthington is just a quick drive away from downtown Columbus, near most major highways and at the crossroad of U.S. State Routes 23 and 61, per Worthington. The city is a historically charming community, with the historic district on the official National Register of Historic Places. The neighborhood is very walkable, with an eclectic assortment of shops along the brick-paved, tree-lined streets. It is just near Inniswood Metro Gardens, which spans a gorgeous 123 acres, offering views of stunning gardens, nature, and historically preserved buildings, as well as Antrim Park along the Olentangy River. There is no shortage of restaurants, either.

Worthington schools are also highly coveted by many, making them an ideal place for families. Niche gives Worthington schools a grade of A-minus. There are two high schools, Worthington Kilbourne and Thomas Worthington. They are both rated well, but U.S. News ranks the former exceptionally high nationally. However, living in Worthington is quite pricey — the average house is well above the national average, costing $304,200. It also lacks quite severely in terms of a diverse population.