15 Cool and Hip Neighborhoods in Ohio to Visit Or Move To
The midwest doesn’t get as much press for its trendy neighborhoods, but we’re here to change that with the top fifteen unique neighborhoods to visit or move to!
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In case you didn’t already know, downtown city area doesn’t necessarily translate to the cool part of town. Hidden in big city nooks and sandwiched between unassuming districts, the most interesting neighborhoods are often out of the mainstream. However, they’re not so lackluster that you don’t hear newspapers and reviewers yelping about the place. Whether the neighborhood advertises a rich history, vibrant arts scene, or a bunch of independent enterprises, you’re sure to hear about it if it’s as fun as it’s supposed to be.
From neighborhoods within Ohio’s largest cities to smaller suburbs within the state, our friends at HER, REALTORS® have compiled a short list of upcoming neighborhoods for you to check out.
Artsy Columbus neighborhood with art galleries, coffee shops, and more!
As the city’s arts district, Short North is nothing short of an art-laden neighborhood that stretches down High Street until just above the Columbus downtown area. From the abundance of galleries to public murals and sculptures, visitors could find art displays in nearly every section of the district. Local bands and musicians often make weekly appearances as well as perform in coffee shops and restaurants. Because of its reputation, Short North attracts a variety of artists and art enthusiasts to the area.
One of Short North’s most defining characteristics is Gallery Hop Saturday, a monthly celebration that encourages visitors and residents alike to experience art galleries, exhibitions and live music. Food trucks come to the neighborhood and restaurants sometimes offer special deals to visitors. Gallery Hop happens every first Saturday evening of the month and hits its 30th year anniversary in 2015. Now a Columbus tradition, it's the city’s favorite night to celebrate art.
Three fun facts about Short North:
- Known for its beautiful art that lines the streets
- Hosts the annual Columbus gay pride parade every year
- Hosts HighBall Halloween and Masquerade on High, both fashion shows that close down High Road every year
City known for the Waterloo Wonders, a class B basketball team that won championships in 1934 to 1935!
Did you know that Waterloo district is named after a street? If you walk down Waterloo Road, you’ll see two sides: one is the I-90 freeway barrier wall, and the other is Waterloo Arts, lined with building-wide murals at every corner. Though it’s only a part of the Collinwood neighborhood, Waterloo prides itself as being the only entirely locally owned corner of Cleveland with a funky mix of boutiques, restaurants, and art venues.
If you want to check out a particularly Waterloo-defining bar, try the Millard Fillmore Presidential Library. Spoiler: it’s not actually a library and they don’t have any books. You could see live music performances there every once in a while, though!
Three fun facts about Waterloo:
- Known for producing the Waterloo Wonders that carried Ohio’s Class B basketball team that won championships in both 1934 and 1935
- Cost of living is 20.4% lower than the United States average
- Considered an unincorporated community, meaning it isn’t governed by a local municipal corporation
Known as the hip and arts district of Akron with many unique places to visit!
Highland Square stands out as the “hipster” neighborhood of Ohio’s fifth largest city, Akron. The general wealth of its residents offer plenty of support for local artists. They’re proud of their independent businesses and support a healthy cultivation of the arts.
One of the most notable attractions, Portage Path, is a marked pathway along a street of the same name. The path is marked by an Indian statue to represent the Native American tribes that used to cross the area carrying their canoes from Cuyahoga to Tuscarawas River. Another marker of the neighborhood’s history is Highland Theater, which originally opened in 1938 but kept its oversized screen, flashy marquee, and art-deco facade. Rumor has it that the neighborhood is named after the theater.
Three fun facts about Highland Square:
- Known for their historic, and old looking houses making the neighborhood homier to live in
- Highland Theatre is iconic for only charging $5 no matter what movie they’re playing
- Square Records is their fun record store that is a popular hot spot to go to
Columbus neighborhood historically known for the German immigrants residing here when they first came over seas!
The aptly named German Village is one of Columbus’s most popular cultural hubs. Its name originates from the German immigrants that originally resided there and the heritage that continues to flourish there despite the diversity of incoming residents. A model district for historical preservation, visitors can find lines of refurbished homes that have been renewed while maintaining their historic quality.
If it’s a potential settling point, just know that German Village is considered to be one of the most desirable places to live in the city because of the beautiful homes and neighborhood. Just because the neighborhood is full of German heritage and touristy areas doesn’t mean you can’t settle into the fun. The German Village Society values the neighborhood’s history and visitors so much that they created a German Village Visitor Center, an entirely volunteer-run establishment that offers information about the area. If you’re new to the area, you may want to consider it a starting point because of the informative advice they could give you about German heritage as well as shops, restaurants and popular attractions.
Three fun facts about German Village:
- Known as one of the world’s most premiere historic restorations
- German newspaper, Der Westbote, was first started here and became very influential
- Annual Oktoberfest festivals are hosted here every year
Home of Oberlin College, a liberal arts college southwest of Cleveland!
Oberlin is defined by Oberlin College, a quirky liberal arts college known for being the first to admit female and black students. Sure, it may be small, but the resulting tight-knit community keeps residents feeling right at home.
Even as a college town, Oberlin is known for being especially progressive and open in terms of social justice like LGBTQ rights and feminism. Student or not, the artsy atmosphere and selection of unique shops continues to entertain visitors. Be on the lookout for albino squirrels!
Three fun facts about Oberlin:
- Known for being the center of focus in the abolitionist movement in the 19th century
- Many Oberlin College graduates during the abolitionist movement graduated and then helped blacks escape the south to freedom
- Hold pumpkin carving contests every Halloween
Neighborhood in Cincinnati originally under the name Cumminsville!
Northside labels itself as an “urban village,” a halfway between city and suburb--or as close as you could get to an urban environment with the closeness of a suburb in Cincinnati. As a cross between a working class space and a hipster hotspot, you could find your groceries and banks alongside more bougie choices like quaint coffee shops and lively nighttime pubs.
Northside prides itself in making conveniences available within walking distance like fresh food marts to browse through local produce, a salon to spruce yourself up for a formal event, and even more mundane necessities like a place to fill your prescriptions. In addition, they encourage biking and walking within the neighborhood--very pedestrian-friendly.
Three fun facts about Northside:
- Miami-Erie canal is what originally brought people to the area so they could have somewhere to work and make good money
- Sarah Fossett, a famous African-American rights advocate resided here with her husband, Peter Fossett, who was actually one of Thomas Jefferson’s former slaves
- Was at one point annexed by Cincinnati because of its rowdy taverns and bad reputation
Enjoy riverside parks and beautiful scenic landscapes in this suburb of Toledo!
South of Lake Erie, riverside town Perrysburg charms its visitors with riverside parks and scenic landscapes along the Maumee River. In addition to the river, 577 Foundation and Schedel Arboretum also house some of the most beautiful gardens in the region and preserve as much of the area’s natural beauty as possible. Fresh food markets, local vendors, musicians and artists are common sights through the warmer months of the year. Once strictly a port city, the neighborhood has evolved to accommodate over 18,000 residents and boasts advantageous schools, a historic downtown, and successful commercial and industrial districts.
Perrysburg has a particularly strong historical background as the original location of Fort Meigs, where American troops spoiled a British and Indian seige at said outpost. Fort Meigs is still known as the largest reconstructed fortification (aka largest maintained fort and or defensive-type war building) in North America.
Three fun facts about Perrysburg:
- Home to Fort Meigs, the largest wood fort in North America
- William Henry Harrison ordered for the construction of the Fort Meigs fort to be built during the War of 1812 and then became the United States’ ninth president
- Resides near an Odawa reservation
Check out some vintage stores, antiques, salons, and more located near Shaker Square in Cleveland!
The tagline says it all: “Upbeat Vitality, Offbeat Charm.” Larchmere may be small, but the neighborhood offers a selection of vintage and craft stores, salons, and art galleries. It’s known as a shopping destination for the unique locally owned businesses that operate there. Home to more than 40 quirky shops and great service enterprises, a shopping day here will beat any kind you could have at your typical suburban mall.
Larchmere cares so much about public art that they incorporated it into their streetscape plan. You’ll find artist-designed bike racks around the neighborhood, each one inspired by classic wooden chair styles such as Shaker, Queen Anne and Bentwood. About 25 bike racks have been installed along a 12 block stretch as part of the Cleveland public art program.
Three fun facts about Larchmere:
- Home of Loganberry Books, and independent bookstore in the Cleveland metropolitan region
- Shaker Square, one of the oldest and best shopping centers is located here
- Was a rural area until Otto Leisy, owner of Leisy Brewing Company, built a 36 room mainson there
Home of many different festivals, make sure to check out this neighborhood in Dayton!
Not only does it serve as a home for the famous Dayton Art Institute, but Grafton Hill also hosts many festivities such as an Greekfest, Oktoberfest, and other art exhibitions. The DAI and artsy reputation draws in wealthier Dayton residents and patrons, but Grafton Hill also lures in Victorian architecture fans who appreciate styles such as Queen Anne, Neoclassical, and Tudor homes. Grafton Hill is Dayton’s designated historic district and also registered in the National Register of Historic Places.
Three fun facts of Grafton Hill:
- Known as one of the most historic districts in Ohio
- Has some of the most beautiful architecture in the area with Victorian, Jacobethan, and even Tudor-style homes
- The Dayton Art Institute and the Dayton Masonic Temple are houses in Grafton Hill
Come to this village in Green County, Ohio known for its nature preserves and even its urban areas!
Home of Antioch College, Yellow Springs is a creative haven that attracts entertainers, artists, and others looking for a place to let their minds roam. The neighborhood is named after a natural spring in Glen Helen Nature Preserve, where iron-rich water deposits leave yellowish-orange residue on the rocks. Also nearby Yellow Springs is John Bryan State Park and other outdoor attractions whose hiking trails and waterfalls make the town a scenic destination. Fresh food markets are common because of the nearby farms and orchards.
With Yellow Springs, you find a mix of natural beauty and an eclectic urban environment. Downtown is lined with colorful storefronts, primarily dominated by independently owned galleries, shops, and restaurants. Live performing arts venues and visual arts exhibits abound as well as festivals that the neighborhood hosts to support its artists and entertain residents.
Three fun facts about Yellow Springs:
- Yellow Springs got its name from the natural spring that is located in the Glen Helen Nature Preserve
- Became a center for civil rights and the anti-war movement in the 1960s and 70s
- Has the largest LGBTQ+ population out of all the Ohio villages
Move to this inner suburb in Cincinnati that thrives on business and recreational fun!
Twenty minutes north of Cincinnati lies Blue Ash, Ohio, an area most well known for its thriving businesses and beautiful recreational parks. The feel of this area is described as a “close-knit community” with it’s suburban feel, but it's easy access to Cincinnati is also convenient for anyone that works there, or if you want to go have a fun day in the city!
Blue Ash has been named one of the safest communities to live in in the Greater Cincinnati region with some incredible housing values. This is also an area where jobs are booming, so you don’t have to worry about not getting a job right away because they are constantly looking for people, and it has the most beautiful recreational parks, like Summit Park and even Oakwood Park. If you’re looking for easy access to Cincinnati, but want to live in a beautiful suburb full of lively people and places, then Blue Ash is for you!
Three fun facts about Blue Ash:
- Blue Ash Amphitheatre hosts different events every year, such as Summit Fest, Red, White, and Blue Ash, a Summer Concert Series, and much more
- Every year, the suburb hosts a Farmers’ Market event where vendors and food trucks line the streets
- Blue Ash Golf Course has been rated one of the top 75 municipal courses in the country by Golf Digest magazine
Experience this village in Hamilton County known for its two overlapping historic districts!
If you want to live in an area known for its history, then there’s no better place than Mariemont, Ohio, a village located in Hamilton County. Within the village are two overlapping historic districts, which are the Village of Mariemont and Mariemont Historic District. The area is also known for its distinct English architecture that is considered specifically Norman to Georgian that lines the streets.
While this area is rooted in its history, you can also experience all of the fun events and opportunities that are there as well. There are several parks there, such as the Concourse on Miami Bluff Drive, and Dogwood Park that features carillon concerts every Sunday during the summer, but if you want to get to know the history of the area, go to the Village of Mariemont. Rooted in history and good times, check out Mariemont today for some good times!
Three fun facts about Mariemont:
- Named after Mary Emory, an American philanthropist
- Described to look like an “English garden city” with the nature that lines the streets
- Town has five different nature parks, such as Emery Park, Nolan Park, Jordan Park, Livingood Park, and Hampstead Park
A hip village on the east side of Cincinnati known for its upscale clothing and jewelry boutiques, and also its chic coffee shops!
Known as one of Cincinnati’s oldest and best shopping plazas, Hyde Park is the place to go for beautiful scenery as you walk along the streets and shop til you drop. Hyde Park is located six miles east of Cincinnati and is surrounded by some amazing upscale clothing and jewelry boutiques, some delicious restaurants, and much more!
Hyde Park also features lots of different locally owned businesses, since it is mainly a residential community. The Kilgour fountain lies in the middle of the neighborhood surrounded by a small park that you can easily go to after shopping. It has been named one of “America’s Best Neighborhoods” by Forbes magazine and it’s known for its incredible public schools where children are able to get a great education. Make sure to check out Hyde Park if you are considering moving there today!
Three fun facts about Hyde Park:
- Located on a plateau above the Ohio River Valley and also the Miami Valley
- It’s economy is rooted in its success of its privately owned small businesses
- Hyde Park was annexed by Cincinnati in 1903, but instantly boomed in real estate after
A suburb of Toledo, this area is known for its great schools and community
Ottawa Hills is a beautiful suburb of Toledo that believes in the essence of the family with their unique residential area. Known for their “Village Life,” this is a great area for kids to grow up to play different community sports, such as soccer, tackle football, tennis, and so much more. If you want to enjoy many different fun activities close to home, children and adults can join at any time and be trained by highly qualified professionals in this fun, exciting area of Toledo.
When Ottawa Hills was first discovered and the area was being built into what it is now, it’s goal was to look like “a scenic home park,” which is definitely what they accomplished. Almost all of the homes there were built before 1939 and have a lot of historic value to them, along with setting the aesthetic of the area, making it well known for its beauty. If you’re moving your family to Ohio, Ottawa Hills is definitely the place to go!
Three fun facts about Ottawa Hills:
- As promotion for the movie Mr. Blanding Builds His Dream House, a replica of the house from the movie was built in Ottawa Hills where people can pay an admission fee to tour it
- Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes bought a $1.5 million mansion in Ottawa Hills
- Tom Scholz, the guitarist of the band Boston was born and raised in Ottawa Hills
Suburban city outside of Columbus known for its highly ranked public schools and historic value!
Founded in 1908, Bexley, Ohio is a suburban city outside of Columbus that is deep rooted in its history and is also known for its highly ranked public school system. It has a beautiful Main Street environment for you to walk along, and is also known for being the home of Capital University.
When Bexley was first discovered in the 1920s, it was never considered to be a city until they reached a total population of 5,000 in 1932. Today, this booming city homes over 14,000 people and even has a beautiful creek to walk along, also known as Alum Creek. This is a beautiful area known for its historic culture and good reputation and if this is what you’re looking for, check out Bexley today!
Three fun facts about Bexley:
- At Jeffrey Park, they offer Music and Movies in the Meadows on Friday night for the community to come together and have fun
- As of today, there are more than 14,000 people living in Bexley
- Every year they do a Enchanted Harvest Walk at Jeffrey Park to celebration Halloween and the fall season
With these neighborhoods, expect a steady stream of local happenings and activity to keep you entertained. Each one boasts an abundance of locally owned businesses, and unique selection of shops and eateries that separate them from your typical Ohio neighborhood.