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Best Places to Live in Ohio

If you’re thinking about moving to Ohio, you’ve probably heard at least one former Buckeye complaining about the time they spent there. Well, here’s the deal: We’re not really sure what they’re talking about.

Sure, Ohio has its share of issues (like literally every other state), but it’s got a lot to offer: sports teams, big cities and smaller communities, world-class theater and music, plenty of job opportunities, friendly people, and a super affordable cost of living with low housing costs across the board. Sounds awesome to us!

Before you make the move though, you need to decide where in Ohio you’re going to live. So, let’s look at the 10 best places to live in Ohio. Just keep this in mind: The best place for you to live in Ohio (or anywhere else for that matter) will depend on your individual situation and preferences. You may be looking for somewhere to retire, start a family, or launch your career.

As you go through this list, think about which places are the best fit for you.

Where Are the Best Places to Live in Ohio?

Here’s the list! In no particular order, the 10 best places to live in Ohio are . . .

Let’s break them all down.


Up first is Columbus, Ohio’s capital city. Columbus has a lot going for it—it’s the home of a pro soccer team (the Columbus Crew), a pro hockey team (the Columbus Blue Jackets) and multiple Fortune 500 companies (like Nationwide and Big Lots).

But of course, you can’t talk about Columbus without mentioning what it’s best known for: The Ohio State University (OSU). With over 60,000 students, OSU is the third-biggest college in the U.S. and sets the tone for Columbus’ culture and atmosphere.1

The city has lots of youthful energy, and it’s full of people who take pride in where they live. That’s never more evident than on OSU football game days, when over 100,000 screaming fans fill the Horseshoe to create one of the most exciting environments in college football.

Add to all this the fact that Columbus’ cost of living is 8% lower than the national average, and it’s no wonder that Columbus is such a popular moving destination.2



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*Data in all tables collected in April 2024.


Want to enjoy the energy and passion of Columbus without actually living there? Powell is a good alternative. A suburb of Columbus, Powell is less than 20 miles from the big city and offers its residents a much quieter place to go home at night.

That doesn’t mean Powell is boring though. Its downtown area recently underwent a major overhaul, and it’s full of great restaurants (like Liberty Tavern) and other places to hang out.

And the Olentangy River runs close to the city, offering beautiful views and nearby opportunities to hike or have a picnic. By the way, if you do move to Powell, make sure you learn how to pronounce Olentangy beforehand (it’s oh-len-tan-gee)—it’ll help you make friends with the locals much more easily.

Housing can be expensive in Powell, but it’s a great choice for those who can afford it.



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Unless you absolutely cannot stand big cities, you’re almost guaranteed to enjoy at least something about living in Cincinnati. That’s because it has a ton to offer.

See how much house you can afford with our free mortgage calculator!

Like most major metro areas, it’s got professional sports teams, world-class museums and theaters, and plenty of job opportunities. But it doesn’t stop there! Cincinnati also has plenty of great hiking and boating spots to keep outdoors enthusiasts occupied (two of the best are Eden Park and Mount Airy Forest), two major universities (Xavier University and the University of Cincinnati), and a huge amusement park nearby in Mason (Kings Island).

As for Cincinnati’s culture, the city is made up of super friendly people who take their food very seriously. Yep, if you move to Cincinnati, it won’t be long before you’ll have to pick a side in the Skyline Chili versus Goldstar Chili debate. Other classic Cincinnati foods include LaRosa’s pizza and Graeter’s ice cream.

Cincinnati also has plenty of great suburbs, like Mariemont and Blue Ash, that are great for raising families. Best of all, housing in Cincinnati is very affordable—especially when compared to other cities of a similar size. Its overall cost of living is 3% lower than the national average.13



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If you’re trying to find a destination with plenty of job opportunities that isn’t a huge city, Dayton is for you. (The health care industry is especially strong there.)

Wright-Patterson Air Force Base is Dayton’s biggest employer. The base is also home to the National Museum of the United States Air Force, which over 800,000 people visit each year.19 And if that’s not enough history for you, Dayton is also where the Wright brothers opened their first bike shop in 1892. (That was before their flying days.)

You’ll find a tight-knit community in Dayton, as well as affordable housing costs and a generally low cost of living overall (5% below the national average).20 And if you ever get bored, you’re just a few hours from Columbus, Cincinnati and Indianapolis.



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Now, Mason is definitely a more expensive place to live than the cities we’ve gone over so far. But if you can afford the steeper price tag, it’s a great place to raise a family.

That’s because kids who grow up in Mason (and the grown-ups!) get all the advantages of a smaller community and a big city. With a population of just under 35,000, Mason has a much more tight-knit feel than Ohio’s big cities, and its public schools are top-notch.

But because Mason is only 33 miles from Dayton and 24 miles from Cincinnati, the folks living there are never too far away from catching a Reds game or visiting the Air Force museum. In fact, lots of people in Mason commute to jobs in Cincinnati or Dayton.

Don’t let all that fool you into thinking you have to leave Mason for entertainment though. The city is packed with fun things to do—like playing 18 holes at the Grizzly Golf and Social Lodge (co-founded by Jack Nicklaus) or shopping at the Deerfield Farmer’s Market.

And of course, Mason is home to Kings Island: a huge amusement park with 16 roller coasters and counting.



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With a population of over 360,000, there’s no denying that Cleveland is a big city. But here’s the thing: It doesn’t always feel like a big city. While Cleveland offers all the perks of a larger city (pro sports teams, huge concerts, big businesses, etc.), it’s significantly less congested and more affordable than places like Boston, Chicago and New York. It’s also full of friendly people and plenty of outdoor park space.

Plus, you won’t need to sit on a bus or subway for an hour just to get across town. Cleveland is one of those cities where you can drive just about anywhere in 15 minutes (give or take). And while some parts of Cleveland see significant snowfall during the winter, people living there do get to experience all four seasons.

Besides, you’ll find plenty of great things to do indoors when the weather gets cold—like catching a Cavaliers basketball game, watching an A-list musician (we’re talking stars like Drake and Justin Timberlake) perform at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse, and enjoying a play or musical at a theater in Playhouse Square, the biggest performing arts center in the U.S. outside of New York City.

The cherry on top? Cleveland offers affordable housing prices and an overall cost of living that’s 8% lower than the national average.31



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One of the more expensive cities on our list, Dublin probably isn’t the destination for you if you’re fresh out of college and looking for somewhere to start your first job. But if you’re further along in your career and looking for somewhere to settle down, it’s a great option.

A suburb of Columbus (which is just 20 minutes away), Dublin is a bit of a business hub. It’s home to the international headquarters of Wendy’s and several other big companies across multiple industries. Between those businesses and the ones in Columbus, you’d never have a hard time finding a job if you moved to Dublin.

Some fun local events in the city are the Dublin Irish Festival (a hat tip to the city’s namesake), the weekly Dublin Market at Bridge Park, and the annual Independence Day celebration.



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Hudson serves as a smaller, more intimate alternative to the bigger cities on our list. But we’re not talking about the boonies here—after all, Hudson is super close to a Costco in nearby Boston Heights and a Walmart in Stow.

The city is a lot like Dublin in that it’s a wealthy community and, in turn, expensive. In fact, the housing costs in Hudson are some of the highest on our list. Those high prices are mostly for good reasons though.

That’s because Hudson has great schools, a nice downtown area, and easy access to both Cleveland and Akron. As we’ve already said about some other spots on the list, it’s a great option if you can afford it.



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Up next is Akron, the hometown of LeBron James and Steph Curry. Akron certainly has a lot to offer anyone looking for an affordable place to live in Ohio.

First off, there’s plenty to do. The city is home to the Akron Zoo and Cuyahoga Valley National Park, and it’s a half-hour drive from the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton. And if you want more options, Akron is just 45 minutes from Cleveland and around two hours from Columbus and Pittsburgh.

As far as the community goes, Akron is ethnically and culturally diverse. Lock 3 Park hosts several fun events throughout the year, and the nearby Hartville MarketPlace and Flea Market is a local gem.

And like we said a second ago, Akron is super affordable. More specifically, its housing costs are the lowest on our list.



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Rounding out our list is Delaware, a traditional suburban city with golf courses, awesome restaurants (two local favorites are Amato’s Woodfired Pizza and the Hamburger Inn Diner), and tons of parks.

The city’s historic downtown area features local shops, bars and microbreweries. Oh, and the annual Little Brown Jug harness race is a huge deal in Delaware—40,000 people pack the track each year.

And if you ever want an extra dose of excitement, Delaware is less than two hours from Cedar Point—an amusement park in Sandusky, Ohio. If you’ve ever been to Cedar Point, you know it’s got some of the best roller coasters in the country along with an unbeatable view of Lake Erie’s shoreline. 

Delaware’s housing market is strong and keeps getting stronger, which means living there can be pricey. So, make sure the city fits your budget before you make the move.



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Ready to Move to Ohio?

Does one of the areas we’ve looked at seem like a good fit? Awesome! But hold your horses. You need to double-check that you can afford the housing costs in your new city before hitting the road.

Make sure your rent or mortgage payment is no more than 25% of your take-home pay. If you’re planning to buy a home, that number includes private mortgage insurance, HOA fees and homeowners insurance. You can use our free mortgage calculator to get a look at which home prices fit your budget.

Keep the 25% rule in mind, and you’ll be well on your way to thriving in Ohio. You’ve got this!


Next Steps

1. Learn more about how much it costs to move. Then crunch the numbers and see if it makes sense for you.

2. If you are ready for a move to Ohio, connect with a RamseyTrusted real estate agent. The agents we recommend will serve you with excellence and make sure you wind up in a home that’s a good fit for you and your family. We trust them, and you can too.

Connect With a Pro

Frequently Asked Questions

Two of the nicest, more upscale areas of Ohio are Dublin and Hudson. Dublin is a suburb of Columbus, and Hudson is a suburb of Cleveland.

The safest cities in Ohio, based on the most recent crime-rate data from the FBI, are Olmsted Falls, Springboro, North Ridgeville, Seven Hills and North Royalton.57

Singles moving to Ohio can’t go wrong in Cleveland or Cincinnati. Both offer plenty of job opportunities, fun things to do and affordable housing costs.

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Ramsey Solutions

About the author


Ramsey Solutions has been committed to helping people regain control of their money, build wealth, grow their leadership skills, and enhance their lives through personal development since 1992. Millions of people have used our financial advice through 22 books (including 12 national bestsellers) published by Ramsey Press, as well as two syndicated radio shows and 10 podcasts, which have over 17 million weekly listeners. Learn More.

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