15 Best Places to Live in Ohio

Written by Darren Griffiths
Updated on
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Ohio tends to get more than its fair share of slack for just about everything – from the elements to its people and everything in between. If it’s not “too many killers in Ohio,” it’s “the people are too close-minded” about matters of religion, politics, art, philosophy, [insert social aspect here]. Some say the weather is crappy, with ice-age winters stretching for months. Others acknowledge its beautiful nature but quickly add, “too bland.”

No good city is around, and everyone claims to live in the three big C’s (Cleveland, Columbus, or Cincinnati). Lack of diversity: “Too many white people.” And, of course, the sports – especially the sports!

The fans in the Buckeye State have been labeled the most fanatical, with annoying superfans who seem to take everything way too seriously. Despite what you may hear, the Midwest state is not all gloom. It has some pretty decent things going for it.

The U.S. News & World Report named Cincinnati the 53rd best city to live in America, based on other factors, cost of living, average salary, unemployment, education, healthcare, commute time, and crime. It scored highest in – you guessed it – value, determined by median household income and overall cost of living.

The same report also included the other two big cities, Columbus (ranked 57th) and Cleveland (84), with Toledo (71), Dayton (75), and Youngstown (87) also staking a claim. The Heart Of It All, as the state is also known, is the seventh-largest state economy by GDP, with 23 Fortune 500 companies based here. But enough shop talk for now. Let’s have a look at the best places to live in Ohio:

1. Dublin

Dublin,OhioSource: Nyttend / Wikimedia

First on our list of best places to live in Ohio is Dublin, a suburb in Columbus with a population of around forty-seven thousand residents. This family-friendly town is filled with plenty of things to do for its residents and continues to thrive as a desirable place to live.

Dublin is consistently recognized as one of the safest towns in the United States. One reason Dublin gets a lot of recognition, too, is because of its unique festivals. The most popular annual festival in Dublin is the Dublin Irish Festival.

When moving to Dublin, you’ll learn more about its history, especially as a thriving farming community. With its excellent schools and many things to do, Dublin is a great town to call home.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in or near Dublin:

  • Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
  • Indian Run Falls
  • Field of Corn
  • Coffman Park
  • Zoombezi Bay
  • AMC Dublin Village 18
  • The Mall at Tuttle Crossing
  • The Dublin Link
  • Hayden Falls Park
  • Bridge Park
  • Easton Town Center

2. Bexley

Bexley, OhioSource: Columbus-ite / Flickr

Known for its tight-knit community, Bexley is a desirable town for many people to call home. It has a highly-ranked school system, a tremendous walkable score, and offers many private schools for the children there.

Bexley provides safe homes and neighborhoods and a robust infrastructure for its residents. With a population of around fourteen thousand, the residents of Bexley love to venture around Jeffrey Park to get a glimpse of their gorgeous gardens. This charming town also hosts its annual Bexley Summer Celebration every year, bringing its friendly and loving community together.

Bexley has a great reputation for having a diverse economy, excellent housing, and an educated population. In addition, Bexley’s unemployment hovers around five percent, slightly below the national average.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Bexley are:

  • Jeffrey Mansion
  • Rusty Bucket Restaurant & Tavern
  • Columbus Museum of Art
  • Topiary Park
  • Jeffrey Park
  • The Old Bag of Nails Pub
  • Local Cantina Trolley Barn
  • Franklin Park

3. West Chester

West Chester, OhioSource: sevenMaps7 / shutterstock
West Chester

The vibrant and diverse community of West Chester is located just outside of the Cincinnati area. This town offers its residents many hiking trails, shopping opportunities, restaurants, and entertainment options.

The town of West Chester has a highly-ranked public school system and provides many employment opportunities for its residents. West Chester provides its residents with an excellent quality of life and plenty of things to do all year.

West Chester is best known for its arts and culture, entertainment, and low cost of living, with the cost of living being three percent lower than the national average. West Chester remains one of the best places to live in Ohio and is a great town to raise a family.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in West Chester are:

  • EnterTRAINment Junction
  • Class Axe Throwing
  • AMC West Chester 18
  • Get Air Trampoline Park
  • Eagle Tee Golf Center
  • Main Event West Chester

4. Upper Arlington

Upper Arlington, OhioSource: www.uaoh.net
Upper Arlington

When living in Upper Arlington, you’ll get the perfect combination of suburban and city life. This small city, situated just west of Columbus, has a population of eight hundred and thirty-five thousand people. Over the years, the city of Upper Arlington has continued to grow, further improving its economy.

Upper Arlington has a large school district that consists of ten schools and is highly ranked. Out of almost 18,000 schools, US News placed Upper Arlington with a ranking of 1,006. When venturing around Upper Arlington, you’ll explore its many boutiques, restaurants, and events.

Residents love to enjoy the Upper Arlington Night Market, an outdoor event with live music, arts and crafts, tasty food, and so much more! Upper Arlington is a great place to call home if you’re looking for a well-rounded city in just about every area.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Upper Arlington are:

  • North Market Downtown
  • Columbus Museum of Art
  • Ohio Craft Museum
  • Northam Tennis Courts
  • Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
  • Galaxy Games & Golf
  • Thompson Park
  • LEGOLAND Discovery Center Columbus
  • Hayden Run Falls Park

5. Hudson

Hudson, OhioSource: Kenneth Sponsler / shutterstock

Hudson is a suburb in Summit County, Cleveland, with a population of twenty-two thousand that particularly emphasizes education. Its school system has a perfect score of 10 on GreatSchools, and over two-thirds of residents older than 25 have at least a bachelor’s degree.

More than that, the residents of Hudson enjoy almost non-existent crime. Downtown Hudson has plenty of local shops and restaurants. It must sufficiently cater to the loaded households that bring in more than double the national average.

Considering houses in this area go for less than average average, it is not difficult to see why Ohio, as a whole, is known to offer some of the most powerful bangs for the buck.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Hudson are:

  • CLE Social
  • Fun ‘n’ Stuff
  • Downtown 140
  • The Wine Mill
  • The Griffin
  • Szalay’s Farm & Market
  • Zip City USA

6. Mason

Mason, OhioSource: www.airtrondayton.com

Known for its friendly community, Mason has a welcoming atmosphere and is one of the best places to live in Ohio. With many local businesses continuing to open, there’s always something to do in Mason. Mason gives you the feeling of being in the big city while living in the suburbs.

Mason is more than just its loving community; Mason has it offers plenty of things to do whether you want a fun night out or a relaxing night in. With its thirty-five thousand residents, Mason is home to two major theme parks: Kings Island and Great Wolf Lodge.

Mason has an excellent school system with a ninety-five percent graduation rate. In addition, it’s also home to LensCrafters headquarters. With its superb reputation for arts and culture, entertainment, and low cost of living, Mason, Ohio, is one of the best places to call home.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Mason are:

  • Kings Island
  • Great Wolf Lodge Water Park
  • Pine Hill Lakes Park
  • Loveland Castle Museum
  • Mason Community Center
  • Regal Deerfield Town Center
  • Cottell Park
  • Sonder Brewing

7. Powell


Next on our list is the small city of Powell, with an excellent school system, proximity to Columbus, and one of the best places to live in Ohio. With Columbus only a short thirty-minute drive away, it opens up additional job opportunities for families wishing to relocate.

The residents of Powell take pride in their city and its great walkable score, beautiful parks, neighborhoods, and its vibrant downtown area. Two of its most popular areas are the Olentangy Indian Caverns and Scioto Park, perfect for biking or fishing.

In addition, each year, residents come together to celebrate at the Powell Street Festival, where they’ll participate in activities with music and art. With its diverse economy, excellent housing opportunities, and educated population, Powell is a great city to make your new home.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Powell are:

  • Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
  • Zoombezi Bay
  • Seldom Seen Park
  • Powell Village Winery
  • Olentangy Caverns
  • Library Park
  • ZipZone Outdoor Adventures
  • Indian Run Falls

8. Westerville

Westerville, OhioSource: aceshot1 / shutterstock

Westerville is a gorgeous city filled with many open land and wooded areas and is one of the best places to live in Ohio. Its open land and wooded area make it a great city for families to settle and call home.

Westerville has excellent schools, amenities, local shops, restaurants, and charming suburban homes. Westerville has a population of around thirty-nine thousand and is a safe community, with crime sitting seventeen percent lower than the national average.

Westerville also has a lower living cost than the rest of the country. Many residents in Westerville own their homes, with around twenty-two percent renting apartments.

The most sought-after neighborhoods in Westerville are Annehurst, Highland Lakes, and Preston Hollow. In addition, Westerville offers many things to do for its residents, which include many outdoor adventures.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Westerville are:

  • Westerville Mini Golf
  • Good Vibes Winery
  • Inniswood Metro Gardens
  • Highlands Park Aquatic Center
  • Jimmy V’s Grill & Pub
  • Millstone Creek Park
  • Westerville Jaycee Swimming Pool
  • Grizzlybird Brewing Company

9. Gahanna

Gahanna, OhioSource: Paul Sableman / Wikimedia

Labeled as one of the “Best Hometowns” by Ohio Magazine, Gaganna made our list as one of the best places to live in Ohio. With over seven hundred and fifty acres, Gahanna has beautiful neighborhoods, job growth, and historical attractions.

Gahanna is conveniently located only eight miles from Columbus and the International Airport, making commuting to work a breeze. One of its most popular areas is Discover Creekside Park, filled with refreshing waterfalls, paddle boats, and delicious restaurants.

If you’re looking to move to a small city with a welcoming and loving community, a thriving economy, and rich history, Gahanna is the perfect place to call home.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Gahanna are:

  • Gahanna Lanes
  • Glow Putt LLC
  • Academy Park
  • Hannah Park
  • Creekside Park
  • Cinemark Stoneridge Plaza Movies 16
  • Gahanna Historical Society

10. Hilliard

Hilliard, OhioSource: Wdzinc / Wikimedia

If you’re looking for a calm, slow-paced city to call home, Hilliard is one of the best places to live in Ohio. Hilliard is known for its excellent schools and annual events, such as the Old Hilliardfest Art & Street Fair.

Residents living in Hilliard enjoy the city’s high quality of life, low cost of living, and short commute times to downtown Columbus. In addition, families also get the most out of living due to the city’s aquatic center, education, and low crime rates.

Hilliard may be a small city, but it has many gorgeous neighborhoods filled with luxury condos, apartments, and other residential communities.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Hilliard are:

  • Homestead Metro Park
  • Ten Pin Alley
  • Heritage Trail Dog Park
  • Aquatic Adventures Ohio
  • Frank’s Park
  • North Market Downtown
  • Game Arena
  • Heritage Rail Trail
  • Easton Town Center

11. Ottawa Hills

Ottawa Hills, OhioSource: tekkbabe / Flickr
Ottawa Hills

Toledo was ranked No.71 on the 2017 version of the best places to live in the nation by the U.S. News & World Report. The city in Lucas County isn’t, on the whole, the most glamorous area in the 17th state. But it has more than its share of breathtaking, affluent neighborhoods that saw it land on the dependable list.

Perrysburg, Deveaux, Westgate, Old West End, Beverly, Franklin Park, and other suburbs in Toledo might quickly fill up this list of the 15 best places to live in Ohio on their own. But that would be pretty limiting, especially considering these are not areas for the ordinary Joe. So, we picked one from the glitzy bunch and came out with Ottawa Hills.

Nestled between the University of Toledo and Wildwood Preserve Metropark, the suburb of five thousand residents is considered the wealthiest community in the Toledo area. It has some of the highest incomes in the state and the highest home values, whose median is average.

Ottawa Hills is a stunning area, naturally speaking, but the friendly nature of its residents who take care of their own makes it truly special. And it has some pretty decent schools, among some of the best in the state.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Ottawa Hills are:

  • Wildwood Preserve Metropark
  • Toledo Botanical Garden
  • Toledo Zoo
  • Cedar Point
  • Toledo Museum of Art
  • Imagination Station
  • African Safari Wildlife Park
  • National Museum of the Great Lakes

12. Beavercreek

Beavercreek, OhioSource: Eric Fredericks, neighborhoods.org / Wikimedia

Located in Greene County, Beavercreek is overflowing with charm and character. Beavercreek has a population of over forty-seven thousand; Beavercreek is filled with exciting attractions and amenities that have made it one of the best places to live in Ohio.

From large shopping centers to locally-owned shops, Beavercreek has many beautiful landscapes and stunning golf courses and is loved by many residents. With this town’s small-town appeal, Beavercreek is where people move to experience a diverse culture and lifestyle.

Beavercreek is one of the most desirable places to live in Ohio due to its natural parks and hiking trails located throughout the neighborhoods. These outdoor opportunities make it one of the best locations to raise a family.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Beavercreek are:

  • The Greene
  • National Museum of the US Air Force
  • Wild Axe Throwing
  • The Mall at Fairfield Commons
  • Rotary Park
  • Boonshoft Museum of Discovery
  • Regal Fairfield Commons
  • Kettering Recreation Complex

13. Findlay

Findlay, OhioSource: USACE Buffalo / Flickr

Ditching the affluent theme for a minute, anyone looking for one of the most affordable, best places to live (not an easy mix to get by any chance) cannot do better than Findlay. Findlay is a town in Hancock County home to forty-one thousand residents. The cost of living here is really low, with rent below average and three- to four-bedroom properties going below average.

But that is not all.

Sales tax stands at an attractive six percent, and the residents have an average commute of 18 minutes. The weather is one of the best in a state accused of being too cold for most of the year, and households take home below the national average. The only blot on Findlay is its crime rate which keeps it from scoring higher.

It isn’t all that bad, though, because the area scores a clean “A” on Niche.com’s desirability for families category.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Findlay are:

  • Logan’s Irish Pub
  • Hancock Historical Museum
  • Oakwoods Nature Preserve
  • Children’s Museum of Findlay
  • West End Tavern
  • Findlay Brewing Company
  • Emory Adams Park
  • Riverside Park Pool

14. Blue Ash

Blue Ash, OhioSource: sevenMaps7 / shutterstock
Blue Ash, Ohio

Blue Ash is a suburb in Cincinnati that is located in Hamilton County. It is home to some twelve thousand residents, and its claim to fame is associated with its weather and amenities. The small population also reaps the benefits of an excellent school system which ranks among the highest in Ohio, and median household income stands above average.

There is great diversity in Blue Ash, both ethnically and economically speaking, something you don’t get to hear often in Ohio – at least when it comes to that first part. The unemployment rate in Blue Ash, which stands at seven percent, could be better, though.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Blue Ash are:

  • Summit Park
  • Blue Ash Nature Park
  • Climb Time of Blue Ash
  • Blue Ash Recreation Center
  • Sharon Woods
  • Annie’s Homemade Sweets
  • Blue Ash Chili
  • Kings Island

15. Mentor

Mentor, OhioSource: Jeffrey M. Frank / shutterstock

Rounding off our list of best places to live in Ohio is Mentor, a city suburb of Cleveland located in Lake County. Known as the City of Choice, forty-seven thousand residents have already chosen to call it home, and it is a decision you, too, would not regret.

The schools in this area are excellent, and it so happens to be nestled conveniently to the only notable lake in the state, Lake Erie. At approximately 25 miles, it is also within proximity of Cleveland. The retail sector in Mentor is one of the strongest in the state, and manufacturing is also a prominent industry. Families take home an average salary, indeed not wrong in an area where the average cost of homes is below the national average.

And the residents can always unwind through the vast array of activities. Swimming – the Headlands Beach State Park is especially popular for swimmers – boating, biking, and much more.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Mentor are:

  • Headlands Beach State Park
  • Mentor Lagoons Nature Preserve & Marina
  • Great Lakes Mall
  • The Himalayan Cave
  • Wildwood Cultural Center & Park
  • Mentor Mini Golf
  • The Holden Arboretum

15 Best Places to Live in Ohio:

  • Dublin
  • Bexley
  • West Chester
  • Upper Arlington
  • Hudson
  • Mason
  • Powell
  • Westerville
  • Gahanna
  • Hilliard
  • Ottawa Hills
  • Beavercreek
  • Findlay
  • Blue Ash
  • Mentor