Aerial view of Downtown Columbus, Ohio, and the Scioto River just after sunrise.

Cities Near Columbus, Ohio, To Put on Your Radar

Columbus Ohio

by Bridget Houlihan Posted on May 20, 2024

Known as the “Biggest Small Town in America,” Columbus, OH, is a bustling city that offers residents lots of amenities, coupled with the friendliness of a small midwestern town. There are plenty of jobs in Columbus, Ohio, in a variety of industries, including manufacturing, finance, insurance, healthcare, and technology — not to mention it has an affordable cost of living compared to other large cities. And there are always things to do in Columbus, Ohio — the city has a vibrant arts and cultural scene, passionate sports fans, wonderful culinary and beverage options, several popular outdoor spaces, and lots of family-friendly activities. But while city living might be what many folks are after, what if you’re one of those people looking for some space from all the action? Perhaps you’re interested in moving to one of the cities near Columbus, Ohio, instead of an area within the city limits? That’s where we come in.

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If you want to live in one of the cities close to Columbus, Ohio, but you still want to ensure you’re living in a highly rated place, you’re in luck. There are plenty of great areas around Columbus that provide less hustle and bustle, more space for the price, and a quieter, slower pace — without sacrificing quality of life. What’s more, these cities, towns, and suburbs are also family-friendly and located close enough to easily commute to the big city when you want. 

Cities Around Columbus, OH — FAQs

Q: Which city is close to Columbus, Ohio?
Worthington, Hilliard, Upper Arlington, and Bexley are all within a 20-minute drive from downtown Columbus. 

Q: What is the nicest suburb of Columbus, Ohio?
Some of the nicest suburbs of Columbus, Ohio, are Upper Arlington and Bexley. 

Q: What are the outskirts of Columbus?
Worthington, Upper Arlington, and Bexley are some of the cities around Columbus, Ohio, that are within a 15-minute drive.

Q: How far are Columbus and Cincinnati from each other?
Columbus is around an hour and 40 minutes from Cincinnati if you take I-71S, or slightly longer if you take I-70 W to I-75S. 

The Top 10 Cities Close to Columbus, Ohio

Whether it’s a larger space to raise a family or a quieter space that still has a short commute into the big city, there’s a place for everyone on this list. Here are our top picks when it comes to living near Columbus, Ohio.

: Locals gather at an event in downtown Worthington, Ohio, on a sunny day.

Worthington offers lots of opportunities to enjoy the outdoors and be a part of a tight-knit community.
(Source: Experience Worthington via Facebook)

1. Worthington, OH

If you want to live just north of Columbus and still have a short commute to downtown, then consider looking at places in Worthington. Ranked in the top 3 best places to buy a house in the Columbus area, according to Niche, Worthington offers lots of opportunities to enjoy the outdoors and be a part of a tight-knit community. Residents love how easy it is to walk or ride bikes at Rush Run Park, as well as enjoy the views of Antrim Lake (that even has an observation point!). And in the northwestern part of the town, along the Olentangy River, is Olentangy Park, which includes lots of picnic areas, a playground, and the Winding Adventures Skate Park.

Families especially love that there are lots of neighborhood schools for younger children, like Worthington Estates Elementary School and Worthingway Middle School, as well as places that offer family-friendly activities, like the Old Worthington Library, the ball fields, and even a nearby rock climbing facility, Vertical Adventures. And when you’re ready for shopping or to grab a bite to eat, High Street has all kinds of options, including American fare at The Whitney House and delicious pizza at Dewey’s Pizza.

2. Delaware, OH

Directly north of Columbus is the nearby city of Delaware, OH. This community offers residents all the best parts of a small town, but it’s only a 35-minute drive to the big city. This would be the ideal place if you’re looking for an area that offers lots of quiet neighborhoods with plenty of access to outdoor activities. In fact, it’s only a short drive to the Delaware State Park Beach along Delaware Lake, where you can swim, boat, kayak, or just relax in one of the many picnic groves. And if you’re a fan of golf, you’ll love the fun but challenging courses at Oakhaven Golf Club and Hidden Valley Golf Course. Residents also like to walk or jog the trails along the Olentangy River or take the kids to Hickory Woods Park.

Aviation or shooting enthusiast? Delaware could be for you, too, as there’s a municipal Delaware Airport and popular Black Wing Shooting Center. And when you’re ready to try local cuisine, head over to The Warehouse for some Italian, or catch the Ohio State Game at Scoreboard Pub & Grill.

3. Hilliard, OH

Located to the northwest of Columbus along the Scioto River is the quiet community of Hilliard. This suburb is considered one of the top places in Columbus to raise a family because of its excellent schools, like the Metro Early College High School and the Wellington School — that guarantees its students international travel experience. It also gives folks plenty of walkable neighborhoods to choose from that offer affordable places to live. 

One of the most popular spots to spend time outdoors is at the Roger A. Reynolds Municipal Park, which offers a disc golf course, a soccer park, and the Hilliard Family Aquatic Center (featuring a leisure pool, lap pool, slide pool with two slides, lazy river, and interactive children’s pool). The Hilliard Community Center is also a hot spot, and you can test out your swing at the nearby Heritage Golf Club or work on your strike at Ten Pin Alley

Cemetery Road offers lots of shopping opportunities, including grocery stores like Giant Eagle, Aldi, and CAM Asian International Market (the biggest international market in Ohio). Along this major road, you can also stop for a sandwich at the Rusty Bucket Restaurant & Tavern, grab Latin fusion at Louies Grill, or stay in your car for burgers and shakes at Swensons Drive-In.

Aerial view of residential neighborhoods in Upper Arlington, Ohio, a city near Columbus.

Upper Arlington has a very easy commute into Columbus, but still offers the small-town charm you’re looking for.
(Source: The City of Upper Arlington - Government via Facebook)

4. Upper Arlington, OH

Upper Arlington is ranked as one of the top 3 best places to live in the Columbus area, according to Niche, and once you see what it has to offer, you may want to move there yourself! This suburb has a very easy commute into Columbus, but it still offers the small-town charm you’re looking for. Located on the other side of the Scioto River from Hilliard, Upper Arlington is just northwest of the downtown area. It’s also very close to the Ohio State campus, which means there is a nice mix of folks in the area, including families, young professionals, and students. Upper Arlington is also considered one of the nicest suburbs of Columbus and offers residents lots of things to do. You can easily spend the whole day in Thompson Park, for example, at the tennis courts, playgrounds, soccer fields, and picnic areas, or you can indulge your inner bookworm at the Upper Arlington Public Library. 

Residents love that they can play pickleball at Fancyburg Park, get on the course at the Scioto Country Club, and enjoy a little culture at the Ohio Craft Museum. And because of its diverse population, you’ll find all kinds of cuisines represented in Upper Arlington, including Asian at Eastern Bay, entrees from south of the border at El Vaquero, and traditional Korean at Don Pocha Korean BBQ.

5. Granville, OH

If you want to put down roots in one of the best cities near Columbus, Ohio, as well as the number one place to live in Licking County, according to Niche, then Granville, OH, could be the right choice for you. This city is located east of Columbus, and it’s home to Denison University. Families especially love Granville’s good schools and outdoor areas that help keep everyone active. Racoon Valley Park, for example, offers plenty of space for league sports, picnics, and for smaller kids to play on playgrounds. We suggest also hitting up the driving range at Granville Golfland, walk around Lake Hudson, and then stop in for coffee at the cute River Road Coffee House

And in addition to outdoor fun at the Wildwood Playground or hitting the trails along Racoon Creek, locals like to visit the Bryn Du Mansion for all things cultural. This sprawling 52-acre estate includes a polo field, a space for art shows and classes, lecture series’, festivals (like the Taste of Granville), and concerts. When you’re in the mood for local fare, head to the main district along East Broadway and try craft beer and burgers at the Broadway Pub or breakfast favorites at Aladdin’s Diner

6. Westerville, OH

One of the best cities 30 minutes from Columbus, Ohio, (or less, actually) is the community of Westerville. This area is located northeast of Columbus and borders the Hoover Reservoir. Residents love how easy it is to take Smothers Road across the reservoir, so they can enjoy Walnut Bluffs Park and Parkhill Park, as well as get their boats in the water at the Hoover Sailing Club. And if you love being outdoors, then this community has you covered, as the Westerville Reservoir and park, Heritage Park along Alum Creek (including the community center), and Hoff Woods Park all offer plenty of opportunities to enjoy nature, including walking and biking. 

Did you know that Westerville is also home to Otterbein University? Residents cheer on the Cardinals during sporting events and enjoy the art scene that the school promotes — which includes shows, concerts, and exhibits. And State Street is the bustling heart of Westerville where you’ll find all kinds of shopping options, art galleries (like Frank Museum of Art), and places to grab a bite, like the Uptown Deli and Brew and the Northstar Cafe.

Aerial view of the Stefanov Circle roundabout at Market and Main in New Albany, Ohio, on a sunny summer day.

New Albany is ranked as one of the best places to buy a house in the Columbus area.
(Source: New Albany, Ohio Government via Facebook)

7. New Albany, OH

Another one of the best cities around Columbus, Ohio, is New Albany, which is located further east of Westerville and the Hoover Reservoir. This area offers residents close community ties, plenty of easy access to the outdoors, and a quieter pace of life that’s still within a 30-minute drive to Columbus. 

The city is ranked as one of the best places to buy a house in the Columbus area, according to Niche, and families love the highly ranked schools (New Albany High School, Columbus Academy, and New Albany Middle School), as well as the plentiful greenspaces. And in New Albany, residents enjoy congregating at Bevelhymer Park, which includes picnic areas, basketball courts, and pickleball courts. Other folks love the opportunity to golf at the popular New Albany Links Golf Club, nearby Willow Run Golf Course, and the New Albany Country Club

The city is also home to Jorgensen Farms, a working organic farm that provides fresh food and flowers to events held on site as well as to the community. Craving some delicious local food? Head over to Hudson 29 or enjoy a steak at The Barn at Rocky Fork Creek.

8. Plain City, OH

Looking for one of the top cities 30 minutes from Columbus, Ohio? Then you should definitely take a look at Plain City! Don’t be fooled by the name — there’s nothing plain about this community; it just refers to the flat, open land that surrounds the town. 

Residents of Plain City appreciate that they have everything they need right around the corner, but when they’re interested in experiencing one of the many things to do in Columbus, Ohio, the big city is only a short drive away. One of the most popular places for residents of all ages to enjoy is Pastime Park, which offers plenty of ball fields, an aquatic center, pickleball courts, volleyball pits, and even a disc golf course. 

Plain City residents also love supporting all the local businesses in the area, including places like the Bluescreek Farm Meats & Market (take a class on smoking or stock making, and have meat delivered right to your door!), Yutzy’s Farm Market, Plain City Lanes and Pizza (family owned and operated since 1972!), and the Country Closet Thrift Shop. There are a variety of spots to eat along Main Street, as well, including pub food at The Grainery and good eats at the Red Hen Cafe & Bakery.

9. Johnstown, OH

Another one of the top cities near Columbus, Ohio, Johnstown is a picturesque community that’s a little over 30 minutes northeast of Columbus. It’s full of all the daily amenities you need, but it’s also surrounded by beautiful, natural scenery. In fact, the open space surrounding the area ensures you’ll always be able to get away to the outdoors for some exercise whenever you want. If you want to improve your golf game, check out Kyber Run Golf Course, Clover Valley Golf Club, or Hillcrest Golf Course. Or if you’re looking for something else, try horseback riding at the Brave Horse Equestrian Center or Hunter’s Court Farm.

Residents also like spending time on the TJ Evans Trail when they want to walk the dog, jog, or bike with the kids. And you can pick up everything you need at the local Kroger or Troyers Marketplace, and then head to the downtown district along Main Street to sample a specialized libation and stay the night at the Ghostwriter Public House or eat comfort food at the Dashing Diner

The view down a tree-lined residential sidewalk in Bexley, Ohio, in the fall. The leaves have all turned to hues of yellow, orange, and red, and a good portion of them have fallen onto the grass.

If you’re working in the city and looking for a short commute or you're raising a family and looking for good schools, Bexley has you covered.
(Source: City of Bexley, Ohio via Facebook)

10. Bexley, OH

When it comes to cities near Columbus, Ohio, Bexley takes the cake. In fact, it’s ranked as the number 1 best place to live in the Columbus area, according to Niche. So no matter if you’re working in the city and looking for a short commute or you're raising a family and looking for good schools, Bexley has you covered. 

This community is located right on the border of the beautiful Franklin Park Conservatory, which offers plant exhibits, a playground, an amphitheater, and even an adventure center. And as a resident, you’ll also have easy access to Jeffrey Park and Jeffrey Mansion, along the Alum Creek, that provide trails, picnic spaces, a pool, a sledding hill, and the home of the Bexley Historical Society.

Families especially love that both the public and private schools in the area are top notch, including Bexley High School and the Columbus Academy. And Bexley is known for its artistic ambiance, boasting of art galleries like Ann Sokol Fine Art and the Terry Janis Collection, as well as highly rated musical performances at Capital University.

Which One of the Cities Near Columbus, Ohio, Will You Choose?

As you can see, there are plenty of amazing cities close to Columbus, Ohio. Living near the bustling big city but not in it is a great way to spread out, yet still enjoy all the things to do in Columbus, Ohio. This is especially great for those who want a quieter pace of life, are raising a family, or just want to have more affordable space to live in. If you’re ready to make the move to one of the cities around Columbus, Ohio, from this list, it’s time to consider how you’ll get there.

Want a hassle-free way? Go with a PODS portable moving container. Just choose the size you need, and PODS will deliver the container to your driveway, so you can load up your items when it suits you. Then, simply give PODS a call when you’re ready, and a pro will pick up the container and drive it to your new home. The best part? One month of storage is included with every move! 

Editor’s note: For ease of reading, monthly rental prices were rounded to the nearest $25 and home values were rounded to the nearest $100.

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