Everything You Need to Know About Delaware, Ohio

If You’re Moving to Delaware, We’ll Give You the Low-Down

a street in delaware ohio on a sunny day


Sarah Stager


Jan 21, 2021

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If you’re moving to Delaware, you may just be living in the healthiest county in all of Ohio. In addition to this shiny accolade, Delaware also boasts a beautiful downtown area, pristine parks, quirky local businesses, and more. Though it has that charming small-town atmosphere, its proximity to Columbus also means that all the modern amenities from the city have made their way into the area. If that doesn’t convince you that you’re lucky to be moving to this beautiful small city, we’re here to give you an even closer look at everything Delaware has to offer. 

View homes for sale in Delaware, OH

General Information

The population of Delaware is over 37,000, making one of the larger cities among those surrounding Columbus. The median age is 34 years old, significantly less than Ohio’s median age, which is 39.3 years old. 74% of residents are originally from Ohio, while 22% are from out-of-state, and only 4% are from a different country entirely. The median income of homeowners is $78,071, and renters earn a median income of $34,416. When mentioning renters, it’s important to note that Delaware is home to Ohio Wesleyan University, and many of its students likely rent without having a very large income. The average home price is $161,100, and the average rent is $861.

a historic image of the intersection between Sandusky and WIlliam Streets in Delaware, Ohio
In this image of the intersection between Sandusky and William Street, you can see the streetcars that transported residents around town. Image courtesy of delawareohio.net.

A Brief History

The town was officially founded back in 1808, and began attracting diverse groups of Christians, including Methodists, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, and Lutherans. Its population swelled quickly because of its position next to a major waterway, the Olentangy River, and it reached over 2,000 residents by the 1840s. 

Local businesses began to truly flourish in 1851, when a railroad connected Delaware to Columbus and Cleveland. The town invested in a streetcar system, and inter-city lines carried residents to Columbus and Cleveland, making Delaware an even more prosperous and attractive place to live.

The Methodists established Ohio Wesleyan University in 1842, making Delaware a destination for scholars. Under the influence of this institution, the town also played a part in the Underground Railroad before the outbreak of the Civil War, providing safe homes to former slaves.

This rich history has contributed to the multitude of opportunities and unique attractions that Delaware contains today. It remains a center for both small businesses and large manufacturing companies, though many residents commute to Columbus for work.

Delaware Activities

If you’re looking to have some fun on the weekend, Delaware has many options for you — a litany of outdoor activities, explorations of history and art, and even a trip deep underground. You’ll certainly never be bored in this city!

Alum Creek State Park

A Little Bit of Everything

The lake at Alum State Park in Delaware, Ohio
This quiet lake in Alum Creek State Park is perfect for swimming, kayaking, boating, and any other water activity you could conceive. Image courtesy of Paul S. on Yelp.

3615 S Old State Rd

Delaware, OH 43015

(740) 548-4631

Whatever outdoor activity you’d like to do, you can find it at Alum Creek State Park. Camping, mountain biking, boating, paddle boarding, disc golf, fishing, hunting, picnicking, swimming, hiking, horseback riding, sledding, ice skating, cross-country skiing — essentially, it’s impossible to be bored at this park, no matter your interests or the season. One of the more popular areas, especially in the summer, is 3,000 feet of beach that line one shore of the large lake. It can tend to get a little crowded (it is pretty much the only beach around in Central Ohio, after all), but if it’s ever too packed for you, no worries — just pick one of the many other activities!

“One of my most favorite state parks in central Ohio. It has a little bit of everything: beach, trails, camping, boating (has a full-service marina), etc … There is also a little dog beach for those who want to take their pups.  Lastly, the park seems to attract people from all walks of life/diverse background. Truly makes me glad to see such a diverse group enjoying the park together in central Ohio!” - Anna S. on Yelp

Stratford Ecological Center

A True Learning Experience

Sheep and a barn at Stratford Ecological Center in Delaware, Ohio
Get a sense for the agricultural area surrounding Delaware and the greater Columbus area. Image courtesy of Eating Local in Central Ohio - Wordpress.com.

3083 Liberty Rd

Delaware, OH 43015

(740) 363-2548

Mon-Fri: 9am-5pm

Sat: 9am-1pm

Stratford Ecological Center is like a combination of a farm and a park, with 236 acres of picturesque land, several nature trails, greenhouses, livestock, gardens, and educational programs for all ages. They foster all kinds of art, hosting a poetry collection and a youth photography contest and exhibit. For those interested in local history, Stratford is the site of a particularly interesting historic cemetery, about which there are ongoing studies. Whether you want to learn something new, buy fresh, local food, or just enjoy nature, Stratford is worth a visit. 

“Stratford is an amazing place! My daughter has gone to Farm camp the past three years, and loves it more every year! We are incredibly grateful to have such a beautiful place nearby. I learn something every time I go.” - Kate W. C. on Facebook

The Arts Castle

Express Your Creativity — or Witness That of Others

The castle-like building that houses the Delaware County Cultural Arts Center
Though this place is officially named the Delaware County Cultural Arts Center, everyone calls it the Arts Castle, for obvious reasons. Image courtesy of The Penniless Traveler.

190 W Winter St

Delaware, OH 43015

(740) 369-2787

Mon-Fri: 9am-5pm

Whatever artsy skill you want to learn, The Arts Castle is the place to do it. If the beautiful architecture wasn’t enough incentive to visit already, they also offer a multitude of classes, including but not limited to painting, glass, photography, yoga, dance, music, and creative journaling. In addition to regularly scheduled classes, The Arts Castle also hosts a rotating cast of events, including camps, exhibitions, and workshops. Even if you don’t want to participate in anything specific, you can visit the gallery and admire all the local art or take a self-guided tour of the building. 

“Lots of great programs and classes for every age with a very friendly staff. There isn't any other program like this in the city. I definitely recommend trying one of the classes offered!” - Chelsea M. on Yelp

Olentangy Indian Caverns

Exploration for the Whole Family

A dad and two kids touring the Olentangy Indian Caverns
Bring the kids along for an educational romp through the caverns. Image courtesy of Columbus Family Adventures

1779 Home Rd

Delaware, OH 43015

(740) 548-7917

Mon-Sun: 9:30am-5pm

The caverns are the main attraction here, of course, with a tour that lasts about 40 minutes and is packed full of interesting information about the history of Native Americans in the area. But, after spending 40 minutes in the depths, you can come back to the surface and participate in the many other activities that Olentangy Indian Caverns offers, including a petting zoo (with deer!!), mining for gems in a sluice, a cute and rewarding treasure hunt maze, and an 18-hole miniature golf course. 

“Totally an unknown gem, right here in central ohio!  Does not take all day long, but the history is amazing.  Wow, what progress we have made as a society!  Great for children too.” - Lee M. on Yelp

Where to Eat

Every city has its unique watering holes, and Delaware is no exception, with plenty of cute local shops where you can grab a meal or get your coffee fix. Here’s a few that you should check out. 

1808 American Bistro

The Pick of the Locals for Good Reason

the interior of 1808 American Bistro
This modern interior may deceive you about the age of this building. Image courtesy of 1808 American Bistro.

29 E Winter St

Delaware, OH 43015

(740) 417-4373

Tue-Sat: 4pm-10pm

Sun: 10am-2pm, 4pm-9pm

1808 American Bistro’s creative fresh takes on American cuisine may contrast with the historic downtown building in which this restaurant has made its home, but the celebration of both old and new work to bring each customer a truly unique dining experience. With dishes made from seasonal local ingredients and craft brew on draft, this restaurant offers a true taste of Delaware. 

“We love 1808!! You can never go wrong with the filet medallions! The house salad is a favorite of mine, along with the beets! Service is always great, too!” - Shelly Z. on Yelp

12 West

Photogenic Mexican Cuisine

A colorful plate of Mexican food from 12 West
12 West’s food is as flavorful as it is colorful. Image courtesy of Sasha E. on Yelp.

12 W William St

Delaware, OH 43015

(740) 417-8156

Mon-Thu: 11am-9pm

Fri-Sat: 11am-10pm

Sun: 12pm-9pm

Prepare your Instagram feed and your stomach — this food is both beautiful and delicious. 12 West is the perfect place to visit in the cold Ohio winter, with authentic Mexican food that will warm you from head to toe. Though the restaurant may be small, this just makes it all the more cozy. 

“I love this restaurant!  Their seasonal veggie tacos are the best!  I always love trying their specialty tacos too.  If you like Brussels sprouts these are a must, huge portions and nice and crisp.” -Tracy S. on Yelp

Speck Italian Eatery

Pasta Conjured from Scratch

Handmade pasta in a green sauce
This dish may look a little strange, but it’ll certainly please your taste buds if not your eyes. Image courtesy of The Delaware Gazette.

15 E Winter St

Delaware, OH 43015

(740) 417-4074

Wed-Sat: 5pm-10pm

Their limited hours and snug square footage makes dining at the Speck Italian Eatery quite an exclusive experience, and with a seasonally changing menu, you may never have the same dish twice. Don’t let that intimidate you, though — the restaurant has quite a laid-back atmosphere, and you can trust that whatever Chef Josh Dalton has whipped up for you will be your new favorite food.

“Sooooo good! Perfect addition to downtown Delaware. I am a sucker for fresh pasta and theirs absolutely didn't disappoint. The crab linguine was probably the best pasta dish I've ever had and their cocktails (limoncello spritz) were fantastic. Will definitely be back!” - Taylor B. on Yelp

So much to see, so much to do, so much to learn, so much to eat! This is Delaware. It’s a beautiful historic city, yes, but it’s also hurtling along quickly into the future. It truly has the best of all worlds — small town atmosphere, natural beauty, rich history, a strong creative center, and unique modern eateries. And soon you’ll be lucky enough to live in this fascinating place!

View homes for sale in Delaware, OH

Header image courtesy of WOSU Radio

September 18, 2019
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