Columbus, Ohio is by far the best city we’ve been to so far in terms of what we’re looking far. After a dozen states where nothing really popped, we finally have a contender! It doesn’t mean we will move to Ohio, but it is definitely on the list of maybes now. Columbus was a clean, well kept city. We saw several parts of it and talked to probably a dozen people. They were all easy to talk to and seemed to like where they live. We even met someone from Birmingham who had lived there for a while and really liked it, though he was unwilling to even attempt to compare Birmingham to Columbus. 🙂
Here’s the video:
We also met people of several ages ranging from teenagers to a grandmother. People seemed very willing to talk to us, which we liked. We don’t really want to live somewhere so big that people are freaked out to meet someone new or be asked a question on the street (in a non-threatening manner obviously).
Columbus felt like a good middle ground between Midwestern and East Coast culture. It had the artsiness and values of a lot of the East-coasters I’ve met, but it had the extreme cleanliness and organisation of Minneapolis and parts of Wisconsin that I personally miss. It also had the aforementioned openness to new people that I think bigger cities often tend to lack, while still having the amenities of a larger city.
It is also extremely flat, which may sound like a very specific thing to want, but last year, Chris and I got interested in cycling, but living on top of a giant hill, it would have been painful to cycle up it and, frankly, terrifying to cycle down it. Columbus seemed both flat and bike friendly, which is a big plus. It also seemed much newer in terms of the bulk of its buildings than Cincinnati. There were some older districts, but it looked much more truly optional. There was plenty of modern housing as well and the houses looked well maintained for the most part, as did the public spaces.
It has three airports, though unfortunately none of them do direct UK flights. That said, the connecting ones to Chicago and Philly looked reasonably spaced in terms of layovers.
Since we liked it, rather than eating road food and things, we decided to make a day of it and test it out. We went out for both lunch and dinner, plus a movie. We managed to very much enjoy all three experiences, and not just because we hadn’t done any of them in ages. We went to Michael’s Goody Boy because it had outside seating. The food turned out to be amazing and the waitress was very helpful in giving us lots of advice about the area.
It turned out she would be the first of many people to do so. We met several people just going for a walk by the river, all of which were happy to talk to us about their area, plus a couple of boys from Knoxville, Tennessee, who were happy to talk about that.
We hadn’t been to the cinema in longer than I can remember. I saw Mockingjay 1 on my own last winter, but whatever Chris and I last saw together, I have no idea. We decided to see Jurassic World at the Marcus Crosswoods Theater since it is clearly one of those films to be seen on the big screen. We were so impressed with the local cinema. It was both clean and comfortable, especially compared to the Odeon cinema in Brighton (which is usually a bit sticky and has odd lighting that completely ruined Rise of Planet of the Apes). All the chairs were recliners and they had a reasonable wine selection, and still more friendly people who were happy to talk to us and be in our video below. Jurassic World was as plot-less as I thought it would be (they clearly made the film for two reasons beyond money – because children riding baby triceratops is cute and because they wanted t-rex to fight an even bigger dinosaur – the story was just a way to make those two things happen), but we still enjoyed the experience. We will soon be trying out some other cinema (probably in the Philly area) to see the new Terminator, so we will see if the high quality is Columbus or just American.
Afterwards, Chris had his first proper taste of Mexican food in the US. Before he’d only been to chains, Taco Bell and Taco Johns (he hated Taco Bell but we both quite like Taco Johns). This was a family run restaurant conveniently located by our motel and the cinema. It was fantastic! I hadn’t had proper Mexican food in a few years probably. We can also highly recommend El Acapulco, as well as the whole city of Columbus, Ohio, our first real contender.