10 Best Places to Live in Ohio

Top 10 Best Places to Live in Ohio (+3 Places to Avoid)

Ohio truly has something for everyone. With its affordability, residents from all backgrounds can create a fulfilling lifestyle. The state’s four distinct seasons offer diverse natural beauty throughout the year. From snowy winters to colorful autumns, Ohio’s seasonal changes provide a variety of stunning landscapes. Whether you prefer a cozy winter wonderland or a warm summer day, Ohio has it all.

Ohio is a state filled with potential, but it’s important to find a location that can help you achieve your dreams. If you’re thinking about moving to Ohio, you’re probably wondering where the best places to live are. To help answer that question, we’ve analyzed various statistics related to crime, education, demographics, culture, job opportunities, and more. Based on our research, we’ve identified 10 cities that stand out as excellent options. However, we’ve also included three places that you may want to avoid if you’re looking for the best living experience in Ohio.

Discover the best areas in Ohio and explore why these regions are worth visiting. From well-known favorites to hidden gems that are often overlooked by those outside of Ohio, there are plenty of reasons to explore “The Buckeye State”. Keep reading to learn more about these areas and plan your next adventure.

10 Best Places to Live in Ohio

Ohio is a state that provides a diverse range of living options, catering to both urban and rural lifestyles. It boasts of offering excellent living standards, exceptional educational opportunities, and promising career prospects. The state has a rich cultural environment that caters to various interests. While there is no perfect city, the benefits that come with each location far outweigh any negatives that exist.

10. Columbus

Columbus, the capital of Ohio, is also the largest city in the state with a population of nearly 12 million people. In fact, it is the seventh most populous city in the entire United States. It’s not surprising that so many people choose to call Columbus home, given its popularity as a desirable place to live and retire. Columbus is ranked #69 in both categories, cementing its reputation as a top destination for those looking to relocate.

Columbus boasts an impressive array of big-city amenities while maintaining a relatively low cost of living. As a visitor or resident of Columbus, it’s important to understand the city’s passion for sports, particularly the Ohio State Buckeyes football team, as locals are incredibly loyal to their college teams. Additionally, visitors and residents alike can appreciate the city’s many attractions, such as the Columbus Zoo, Columbus Museum of Art, and numerous parks, which provide cultural and entertainment value.

Although Columbus is a large city, it boasts a lower crime rate than the national average. With a violent crime rate of 312.9 per 100,000, Columbus is considered to be relatively safe. While it may not be the safest city in Ohio, residents and visitors alike can feel secure in their surroundings.

9. Cleveland

Cleveland boasts stunning views of Lake Erie, making it one of the most picturesque regions in Ohio. Originally established as a hub for immigrants who played a vital role in the local industry, the city has since become a popular destination for young urban professionals and their families. Cleveland’s economy has evolved over time, allowing it to maintain an impressive standard of living.

National Geographic Traveler has recognized Cleveland as one of the top destinations to visit, and for good reason. With its award-winning restaurants, art museums, and iconic Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland offers a perfect balance of urban amenities and natural wonders such as Lake Erie and scenic walking trails. What’s more, the stunning waterfront views come at an affordable price, making Cleveland a must-visit destination for travelers seeking a unique and memorable experience.

If you’re looking for an affordable place to call home, Cleveland might just be the perfect fit. Despite being a city of similar size, Cleveland boasts lower housing costs, with the average home price sitting at around $125K, which is well below the national average. Cleveland is also known for its diversity, excellent schools, and top-ranked hospitals, making it a great choice for those seeking a well-rounded community. Don’t overlook this gem of a city in Ohio.

8. Cincinnati

Cincinnati is one of Ohio’s big three “C-Cities” and is renowned for its vast library system, numerous schools, and cultural sites, making it a perfect blend of thrill and stability. The U.S. News & World Report has ranked Cincinnati as the top place to live in Ohio, securing the 50th position in the list. Moreover, it has also been ranked as the 50th best place to live in the United States and the 34th best place to retire, making it an ideal place to settle down.

Cincinnati is a city that boasts of several Fortune 500 companies, including Procter & Gamble and Kroger, offering a plethora of job opportunities. Its thriving industries such as business, healthcare, science, and the arts, attract professionals from various backgrounds. Despite having a slightly lower average salary than the national average, Cincinnati’s low cost of living ensures that residents can lead a comfortable life. In fact, it can be said that they enjoy a comfortable lifestyle that is on par with or even better than the national average.

Cincinnati boasts a promising crime rate, with only 222.6 per 100,000 violent crimes – significantly lower than the national average. This rate is also lower than other areas in Ohio, including Columbus. As a result, Cincinnati offers its residents ample safety, allowing them to prosper without concerns about city crime.

7. Akron

Akron has earned the moniker “City of Invention” for its commitment to inspiring creativity and utilizing innovative thinking to shape a brighter future. This vibrant city boasts a diverse array of cultural landmarks, from a remarkable zoo to stunning Tudor-style homes, melding budding industries with an appreciation for its rich history.

Akron is considered an urban area that is closely connected to Columbus due to urban sprawl. Although Akron has its own media outlets, it also benefits from easy access to Cleveland news and radio stations. Moreover, visiting Cleveland can enhance the exploration experience by expanding the range of options available in Akron.

Akron, formerly known for manufacturing oatmeal, tires, and pottery, has evolved into a hub for tech development. The presence of Fortunate 1000 companies has brought about numerous career opportunities and room for growth. Although it may not be the most populous city in Ohio, with its 200,000 residents, Akron boasts a wealth of talent and resources, making it one of the top places to be in the state.

6. Granville

Looking for a slice of New England in Ohio? Look no further than Granville! Nestled on the edge of the Appalachian Plateau, this charming town offers a quaint atmosphere and plenty of charm. Despite its small population of roughly 6,000, Granville has plenty to offer visitors and locals alike. It boasts historic buildings that have been converted into unique homes and attractions, and is also home to Denison University. So whether you’re a history buff or just looking for a picturesque getaway, Granville is definitely worth a visit.

Granville is a town that residents adore for its serenity and calmness. The community bonds are tight, which adds to the town’s charm. Despite being a peaceful town, Granville still offers urban perks as it is situated in the Greater Columbus area and is only a 30-minute drive from Ohio’s capital.

The local shops and peaceful natural surroundings are beloved by the residents, while the youthful energy of the student population adds vibrancy to an otherwise quiet area.

5. Athens

Athens, Ohio takes great pride in its cultural vibrancy and is known as “A place to belong”. The city actively promotes cultural development through various means such as fine dining, community activities, and adding a touch of magic to everyday life. Regardless of whether you prefer a lively nightlife or a peaceful evening at home, Athens offers a diverse range of experiences to cater to your interests.

Athens has garnered a strong Niche rating, which comes as no surprise based on data analysis and user input. The city boasts decent public schools and scores well on crime and safety metrics. Although the cost of living in Athens is slightly higher than some other places in Ohio, it is still a more affordable option compared to many other places in the U.S. Moreover, those who enjoy a lively nightlife scene are sure to appreciate Athens’ high-energy atmosphere.

4. Marietta

Marietta, situated by the Ohio River, is a hidden gem in Southeast Ohio. Pioneers settled in this area in the 18th century, making it Ohio’s first city. When you visit Marietta, you can witness its rich history come alive. Although this town may not be well-known to outsiders, it holds immense significance in Ohio’s past and continues to play a vital role in its future.

Marietta is actively promoting economic growth through various initiatives such as tourism, small business development, business expansion, and downtown revitalization. The town is committed to maintaining its position as one of the most desirable locations in Ohio for businesses and residents alike.

Marietta is an affordable place to live, with a cost of living that’s 22.7% lower than the national average, according to Best Places. Moreover, the city boasts a low crime rate, making it a safe place. If you’re looking for entertainment, you can explore the Campus Martius Museum or attend festivals such as the Ohio River Sternwheel Festival that takes place every September.

3. Toledo

Toledo, situated on the West end of Lake Erie, may be an overlooked city but is nevertheless a charming destination and the fourth most populous city in Ohio. Whether you’re interested in unique architecture or the arts and culture scene, Toledo offers plenty of opportunities for exploration and discovery.

Toledo earned its nickname, the Glass City, due to its significant role in the glass industry in the past. While the city has undergone expansion since then, remnants of old warehouses still dot the urban landscape. It is not uncommon to witness refurbished lofts that breathe new life into these historic structures.

Toledo is a city that has managed to keep up with the times while still being an affordable place to live. Its proximity to museums, science centers, and outdoor venues makes it an ideal location for families. Interestingly, Toledo has also been ranked #23 in retirement places, which makes it an attractive option for older folks as well. So, if you’re looking to explore beyond the usual “C-cities,” Toledo should be on your list.

2 .Wickliffe

With its parks and historical buildings, Wickliffe may not be a big city, but it is beloved by its 13,000 residents. Families especially appreciate the stability and slower pace of life that this suburb of Cleveland provides, making it an ideal place to call home.

Wickliffe boasts a high livability rating due to its affordability, low violent crime rate, low poverty level, and excellent schools. These elements combine to create an environment that runs seamlessly and continues to flourish. Although it may seem a bit subdued for those accustomed to city life, Wickliffe still provides ample opportunities for entertainment and convenient access to Cincinnati.

1. Westerville

Westerville, located just fifteen minutes away from central Columbus, is an excellent suburban option for those seeking a more affordable alternative to places like Powell. Boasting 40 parks and thousands of attractions, Westerville has plenty to offer for individuals and families alike.

Westerville has been shaped by a variety of cultural influences that are evident throughout the city. The region was home to Native Americans for thousands of years prior to being influenced by Dutch design. In addition, the city boasts Antebellum houses, some of which were even part of the Underground Railroad.

Westerville is a top-rated Columbus suburb in Ohio, with an impressive A ranking from Niche. This ranking speaks volumes about the city’s overall appeal, especially in terms of public schools, families, jobs, health and fitness, outdoor activities, and nightlife. The city boasts a perfect blend of these desirable elements, creating a strong and vibrant community that residents are proud to call home.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Place to Live in Ohio

Ohio has earned the nickname “Heart of it all” due to its location, as it is surrounded by more than just its central geography. This state brings together various lifestyles and identities, making it a unique and diverse place to live. Ohio’s residents love the state for its exciting and dynamic atmosphere. However, it may not be the perfect fit for everyone. Before deciding to reside in Ohio, it’s essential to consider the following factors.

    • Ohio’s job market is growing, allowing people already established in industries to make an easy move and even accomplish career advancement.
    • Ohioans have midwestern charm and are often inviting to newcomers and love to share their sensibilities and neighborly love.
    • With an extensive park system, it’s easy to enjoy the natural wonders of Ohio.
    • Affordable homes in most areas mean that you don’t have to be rich to find the right home for you and home ownership is a reachable goal for most people.
    • A low cost of living means that you can invest more time, energy, and money into things that offer you more joy.
    • While Ohio does offer urban areas, even in Urban areas, Ohio often feels more rural.
    • Ohio’s weather isn’t too drastic, it does have humid summers and cold, sometimes snowy, winters. Some areas of Ohio may experience the lake effect from the Great Lakes and can get lots of snow.
    • If you want a happy medium, Ohio gives a little bit of everything, but it may lack certain features you’re looking for, such as strong public transit, high diversity, and it has some areas that struggle with poverty and crime.

3 Places in Ohio You Should Avoid

In Ohio, while there are numerous pleasant places to consider for your home, it’s essential to be mindful of specific areas that may warrant caution due to distinct characteristics. These locations, although not inherently unfavorable and featuring some nice areas, are recognized for elevated crime rates, poverty, or other issues that necessitate consideration before deciding to relocate to Ohio.

3. Canton

Canton raises concerns primarily due to its alarming crime rates. The crime rate in this area is 168.2% higher than the national average and nearly 200% higher than Ohio’s state average. Of even greater concern is the violent crime rate, which surpasses Ohio’s average by 362.8% and the national average by 268.5%. This high level of crime poses challenges for the city’s overall social and economic well-being, making it difficult for industries to thrive.

2. Dayton

Dayton shares many challenges with Youngstown, stemming from industrial changes that have impacted residents’ ability to secure a good living. Economic difficulties have led to issues such as addiction, poverty, and crime. Although Dayton, known as the birthplace of aviation and the home of the Wright Brothers, has historical significance, it currently grapples with these challenges and has a ways to go before experiencing vibrant development.

1. Youngstown

Youngstown exemplifies a city that experienced decline due to the closure of steel mills. Despite efforts to adapt to these changes, overcoming the decline remains challenging. With around 38% of its population below the poverty line, Youngstown faces economic hardship that contributes to startling crime rates, including a high murder rate. Addiction is also prevalent in this area, posing an additional obstacle to its recovery.


Deciding whether to settle down in Ohio and where to do so can be overwhelming with the wealth of information about different popular areas. The following frequently asked questions can provide clarity and address key concerns when considering living in Ohio.

Is Ohio, USA, a good place to live?

Ohio stands out as a great place to live, combining desirable features without breaking the bank. While it may not boast the largest cities in the United States, its cities provide ample opportunities for residents.

What are the benefits of living in Ohio?

Ohio’s appeal lies in its low cost of living, coupled with good schools, job opportunities, and a promising chance at the American dream.

What part of Ohio is prettiest?

The prettiest part of Ohio depends on personal preferences. For urban beauty, Cincinnati and Cleveland offer captivating architectural feats and skylines. Natural beauty can be found in parks like Cuyahoga Valley National Park or Hocking Hills State Park.

Is Ohio Cheap or Expensive?

Ohio is known for its affordability due to a lower cost of living compared to other states in the United States. The combined median income and average housing prices make it easier for residents to live comfortably.

What is the most livable city in Ohio?

The most livable city in Ohio varies based on individual metrics. Columbus, as the largest city, provides numerous job opportunities, while Cleveland is renowned for excellent schools and a remarkable park system. The most livable city depends on personal values.

What is a good salary for living in Ohio?

With an average salary of around $48,000 in Ohio, the suitability of a salary depends on factors like lifestyle and the chosen area of residence. Ohio’s low cost of living allows residents to make their money go further.

What is the most affordable city in Ohio?

While many areas in Ohio are affordable, considerations like schools and crime rates should take priority. Examples of affordable areas include Youngstown, Gahanna, Bexley, Lancaster, and Heath.

Is Ohio a good place to raise a family?

Ohio’s family-friendly atmosphere, coupled with a low cost of living, makes it an excellent place to raise a family. Choosing an area with top-ranked schools and low crime rates is advisable.

Is Ohio good for kids?

Kids can enjoy a variety of attractions in Ohio, including the Cleveland Children’s Museum, Dig for Dinosaurs Fun Park, and Tuscora Park. The state offers communities where children can make friends and attractions that cater to both big and little kids alike.

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