Why Columbus is (Still) Our Favorite City

I've lived in Columbus for 36 years and have always loved this town. Something about this place grabbed me during college and I never made the planned move to Chicago, Boston or Austin (now one of our nation's other "hot" cities.)

I'm not sure what stopped me, because back then it was relatively dull here. Downtown was dead at 5 pm and there was not much to do unless I had symphony or art museum tickets. The city center was nearly abandoned as our suburbs sprawled. Despite being the state capital, in many ways we lived up to the dismissive "Cowtown" nickname.

But, a few years ago things really began to change. Our community began to work together with a vision to form a nourishing climate for established businesses, entrepreneurs, students and families. We've become focused on retaining our educated workforce with amenities and living resources they desire, and we encourage social interaction in business, on the streets and in cultural resources.

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We now enjoy emerging and diverse downtown living supported by food trucks, sidewalk cafes, public art and street vendors - each of which had been frowned upon in the past. We have high-end apartment living with amenities enjoyed by baby boomers and millennials alike. Even Franklinton (formerly known as "the bottoms") is rising from the ashes and will compliment the Short North, Brewery and Arena Districts for after-work fun. (My current favorite evening is happy hour at Land Grant Brewery, dinner at Strongwater and night cap at Rehab.)

People in Columbus have always had a certain pent-up passion and I've always been proud to call Columbus home. That passion is now showing itself in every corner of the city and outsiders are taking note of our success and vision. We've been named the best US city for opportunities, #1 in Fastest Growing Wages, the #1 Public Library, America's Top Zoo and a notable and long list of top national rankings.

And, its not just the popular attractions that make Columbus a vibrant city - it's also the many little underground gems that few know about, such as the nation's largest cartoon museum or the F & R Lazarus rooftop gardens. There are hundreds of such jewels in Columbus and central Ohio, a few of which we have chosen to highlight through the end of 2015. Check out #ABCbus to see our hand-picked list of our area's top 26 hidden treasures in alpha order. And, while you are learning about ours, tell us about your secret places to play, relax and entertain - and what makes Columbus your favorite city too.