Originally Posted by thesepaperbirds
My husband just got a job in Columbus, so we'll be moving there from Seattle this June. We have family in Cincinnati but don't know Columbus at ALL. If you could please offer pointers of areas to check out, or avoid, we would really appreciate it! He'll be working at Nationwide Children's Hospital, and I'll be "staying home" with our 3 yr old. Hoping for more kiddos in the near future. We like music, art, eating local, gardening, playing outside, etc.
1. Housing resources: any tips on finding a good place to rent? I've been browsing Craigslist to get an idea of cost of living there. Here in Seattle, Craigslist seems to be the way to go to find a rental property. How about Columbus? We'll visit in late May, to try to find a place with a least start date of July 1.
Yeah, Craigslist is probably the go-to place here, too. Also check out metro-rentals.com--rentals by neighborhood. Some major, credible landlords in town are Kingland (we rented from them and they are awesome--integrity up the wazoo), Wallace Ackley Company, and Myers Real Estate. There are others, but those are the first that come to mind.
2. Neighborhoods: I have heard good things about these areas: Dublin, Upper Arlington, New Albany, Gahanna, Westerville, Worthington, Clintonville, ...? How do these neighborhoods compare with one another? We of course want to be in a safe and family-friendly area, would love a house, ideally with a fenced backyard (we have a large but very mellow older dog), preferably 3-4 bedrooms. With my husband working at Children's, we're hoping to keep his commute under 30 or so minutes if possible. That about sums up our initial wish-list. (Oh and this may be silly but being relatively close to Whole Foods and Trader Joe's would be a plus. ha!)
Clintonville is great in terms of neighborhood-y feel and lots of cute houses. However, the schools are really hit or miss, as it is part of Columbus public schools, which suck and are under a major corruption investigation. There are some good elementary schools--Indianola and Clinton, I think? but beyond that a lot of people move.
We lived in Upper Arlington and while you can find reasonably affordable housing, I didn't like it much. The schools are excellent and it is conveniently located (close to downtown and hipper neighborhoods) but it is super bland and wealthy and white. Not very walkable.
Now we live in Grandview, which is just south of UA. We like it much much better. Still pretty white, but much more "neighborhoody" feeling. Older houses, good schools, quite walkable with a cute downtown and very convenient to downtown Columbus. Very kid friendly. The only rub is affordable rentals can be tough--we lucked out but we had to STALK Craigslist. We now rent through Wallace Ackley and pay $925 for a (small, in somewhat rough shape) 3-bedroom duplex. We would like to buy but it is tough to find anything more than 2 bedrooms for under $220K or so.
If you do live in Columbus school district, Reynoldsburg (an outer-ring suburb) has fantastic schools that are open enrollment--but you'd have to drive.
You might also look into Bexley. Great schools, also close to downtown, housing can be a bit more affordable depending on where in the suburb you are, as it is surrounded by some very rough areas.
3. Community Gardens: Do these exist in Columbus?
YES! Grandview has one, and there's a neat one just north of the OSU campus (close to Clintonville) called Animal's Garden http://www.greentowns.com/initiative/community-gardens/animals-community-garden-columbus-oh. And there are others, I'm sure. Check out local-matters.org--I think they have garden info there.
4. Preschools: I've heard good things about School for Young Children. I was interested in a Waldorf (or Waldorf-inspired) preschool but the website for Briar Rose doesn't seem to work so I'm not sure if that still exists. Any other suggestions?
Everyone raves about SYC. I don't think we'll send our daughter there because we're not up for the drive form where we are. OSU runs a preschool that is supposed to be great. There are a few Montessori schools and some various church-based ones that are supposed to be good.
5: other Columbus resources: anyone familiar with anything like Columbus natural parenting or AP groups, etc?
Yes, there's a Columbus AP Village group on Yahoo (I think? I'm not involved with it). Sprout Soup, a natural parenting store in Clintonville, has a moms group and lots of other resources (babywearing groups, etc.)--sproutsoup.com. CHOICE midwives group also has parenting groups sometimes, I think.
If you're familiar with the area and have a minute to share some thoughts on Columbus, please let me know. I know we have months before moving but we're really eager to learn about our new home city!
Thanks in advance!