Moving to Urbana, OH? Here's Everything You Need to Know
Urbana is a rural town where people live laid-back lifestyles.
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Image courtesy of Urban Daily Citizen.
Urbana, Ohio is a city in west central Ohio that sits about 47 miles away from Columbus. It is also the county seat of Champaign county. It is a city with a pioneering spirit and a thriving economy, with a historic downtown area. Downtown is filled with buildings from the 1900s that have been extremely well preserved. Most of these buildings’ functions have changed throughout the years, but they still maintain the same stunning architectural detail. For any sights you can’t see in person, many photos of this city’s early and recent days can be found at the Champaign County Historical Society and Museum.
Here’s what you should know about moving to Urbana:
- History of Urbana
- Facts and figures about Urbana
- Local favorite things to do in Urbana
- And more!
History of Urbana
Before Moving to Urbana, Get to Know the History of Your New Home
Urbana was founded in 1805 by William Ward. He named the town “Urbana” after the word “urbanity,” which stands for “urban life.” William Ward was a Virginian who decided to settle in the Ohio area. He purchased over 100 acres of land and then decided it would be the chair of Champagne Country, which was founded that same year.
Urbana is a town that grew very slowly. In 1840, they had over 1,000 residents. That came with four churches, two newspapers, twenty retail stores, along with machine shops and an iron foundry.
Urbana used to be home to Urbana University. Urbana University was founded in 1850 by the Swedenborgians, a Christian denomination that is influenced by the writings of a scientist named Emanuel Swedenborg. The University is no longer running today.
Three railroads were eventually built in the area that connected Urbana to the rest of Ohio. This caused Urbana’s population to grow exponentially. In 1880, the town ended up having over 6,000 residents. By 1886, the town had established five newspapers, four banks, and 11 churches. Many manufacturing businesses were also present at the time. Urbana’s manufacturing businesses were churning out leather, iron castings, stoves, carriages, and much more.
Urbana continued to grow during the 20th century. In the year 2000, more than 11,000 people were living in Urbana. Many of Urbana’s residents find employment with different manufacturing companies. Those companies continue to prosper and provide the bulk of employment opportunities in this town. The next most common jobs for Urbana’s residents are retail positions.
Urbana by the Numbers
Learn About Urbana’s Economy, Demographics, and What It’s Really Like to Live Here
Urbana, Ohio has a population of about 11,000 people. With less than 1,500 people per square mile, the town isn’t very densely populated. The median age of an Urbana resident is 38 years old, one year older than the country’s median age of 37. On average, there are 2.4 people per household, not much lower than the national average. 47% of those households are married couples. 29% of those couples are married with children. 24% of households are made up of single parent families.
Urbana’s residents are 88% white. 3.5% of the residents are black, and around 3.3 percent claim Hispanic ethnicity. Around 3.6% of people identify as two or more races. In Urbana, the median price for a home is about $125,000. It is a very affordable city.
The Urbana City School District is home to seven schools. Six of those schools are private schools, and one is a private school. There are about 17 students per teacher, giving teachers plenty of opportunity to focus on individual students while giving group instruction.
Things to do in Urbana
Urbana is a quiet town that has some great places available to its residents. There is plenty of outside space to enjoy in this town. There are freshwater farms, nature preserves, and open space that provide great backdrops for a good time. There are a few great shops and restaurants around Urbana, especially in its historic downtown center. This town also has a few museums available to the public.
Get to Know Urbana Like a Local
Where People Shop, Dine, and Hang Out in Urbana
Urbana’s residents love their outdoor spaces. Their open farms and nature preserves makes for a great outdoor experience. People go hiking, have picnics, and simply enjoy the outdoors. There are also a few museums in the area. These museums are where people in Urbana go to have fun while obtaining knowledge. There are a few shopping locales and restaurants that are frequented. They provide awesome food and products for people in the area. If you stop by Urbana, whether your stay is brief or permanent, you’ll get to see why it's beloved by its residents!
This restaurant serves up saucy Italian cuisine.
13 Monument Square | Urbana | cafeparadisourbana.com
Café Paradiso offers a piece of Tuscany right in central Ohio. Their restaurant offers a comfortable and friendly atmosphere that keeps their guests coming back. Café Paradiso was founded back in 1930. At that time, it was called “Paradise Lunch”, but has long since changed owners. It used to be a breakfast and lunch shop, but has served Italian food since 2006. They use fresh, local ingredients, and have extensive lunch, dinner, and drink menus.
The menu includes many traditional Italian meals. They serve gourmet pizzas like pepperoni, margherita, and chicken Florentine. They offer antipasti, soups, and sandwiches. They also have a “create your own pasta” option. You get to select your own combination of pasta, sauces, and toppings!
“Definitely make a reservation. Even though I had no reservation, they were able to seat me on a cute outdoor table at the entrance. The staff is very friendly. I had the amazing chicken piccata with a side of spinach risotto and a glass of Pinot Grigio. The lemon sauce with the capers was very good and the risotto the perfect compliment. I highly recommend this restaurant!” -- Yelp Review
Lincoln & Main
This restaurant will fulfill your need for tasty American and international foods.
624 N Main St | Urbana | lincolnmain.com
Lincoln & Main is a restaurant that loves to switch things up. They have a constantly changing menu that they provide a comfortable space for people to enjoy. They make sure to bolster local communities by using local ingredients whenever they can. Their menu includes classic American options like burgers and mac and cheese, but also dishes from abroad, like Cuban sandwiches and Greek salad. You can also find Bibimbap inspired bowls, Italian beef, and Korean beef tacos. They also have extensive vine, beer, and liquor menus.
This restaurant has many types of beers to choose from. You can order drinks from five to twenty two ounces. They support independent breweries, especially those that are local to Ohio. They also cater events. You can get their food for birthday parties, corporate meals, and weddings!
“We had a nice date night. Our server misunderstood what I ordered and had it quickly re-done without hesitation. My SO had the #4 beer with the brisket burger and I tried the pumpkin cider with the Shrimp Poor-Boor, both were excellent. We will definitely visit again when we are in Urbana!” -- Yelp Review
This sea animal farm will show you how fish are taken care of.
2624 N US Hwy 68 | Urbana | fwfarms.com
Freshwater Farms of Ohio was founded in 1983. It is the largest fish hatchery in Ohio. It is a family-owned business that is run by three generations of the Smith family. The founder has a degree in nutritional sciences and has a lot of knowledge about the best ways to nourish fish. He studied marine sciences for several more years, and worked with shrimp for a few years at a university. He was also once the president of the Ohio Agricultural Association, whose mission is to exchange ideas and promote interest in Agriculture. Freshwater Farms has the ultimate mission to educate the public and reverse fish farming’s negative reputation.
You get to schedule tours with the staff or even take a self-guided tour. They offer unique experiences like their “trout feeding frenzy,” “sturgeon petting zoo,” “live animal exhibits” where you can watch them pass the time. They have picnic areas and children's play zones. You can even stop at their retail store on the way out!
“We wandered in and did the self guided tour, which would have been nice, but what made it better is that we ran into one of the employees and he was more than happy to show us around. We learned a ton about farm raised trout, and sturgeon. If you're in the area it's really something to see.” -- Yelp Review
Cedar Bog Nature Preserve
This nature preserve has great spaces for you to enjoy your time outside.
980 Woodburn Rd | Urbana | cedarbognp.org
Cedar Bog Nature Preserve is the first nature preserve in the state to be purchased by the state. It is run by the Cedar Bog Association for the Ohio History Connection. It is considered to be a national landmark, one of 25 in the state of Ohio. It is the highest ranked preserve in Ohio for its plant diversity. This space is kept available for residents during the day. You can enjoy the boardwalk and plant life.
You can rent space here for your events. You can schedule events from business meetings, social gatherings, and formal events. They also offer group tours. You can learn a lot about the nature surrounding you on one of these tours.
“The Cedar Bog Nature Preserve is operated by the Cedar Bog Association for the Ohio History Connection. There is about a mile of boardwalk trail which can be very slick when wet. The trail is lined with many informative and educational signs about the habitat. Seating is located along the walkway to relax and enjoy nature. Volunteer staff were friendly and helpful. Rest rooms are available in the nature center. Plenty of parking available. Definitely a great way to spend a morning walking and enjoying nature.” -- Yelp Review
World’s Largest Loaf of Bread
This is the largest loaf of bread you have ever seen.
417 E Water St | Urbana
This giant loaf of bread is located right in Urbana! It has been in the same spot for years, and after a revamp in 2016, is looking better than ever. This large bread replica sits outside of The American Pan Factory. It is made out of fiberglass and steel. The origin of this loaf is completely unknown. Its age is also a mystery.
This giant loaf of bread is not the easiest to find despite its size. It sits in a tree-filled area that isn’t very close to the main shops. But if you do find this loaf, you’ll likely want to take plenty of pictures!
“It's exactly as it's touted. It's a large loaf of bread that is lit up from the street and there is a driveway where you could pull in and take a picture (with visitor parking at the top of a hill). It's definitely a two picture moment: 1) one of the bread, and 2) a selfie. We were checking out Urbana as we've never been there before and if you had a free five minutes in your schedule, definitely stop by and check it out.” -- TripAdvisor Review
Urbana, Ohio is a small town with a lot of character and great outdoor spaces. If you’re there, you get to enjoy a quiet existence that is filled with fun when you want it to be!
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