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  OHIO'S BIG APPLE

Move Over San Fran And NYC! Why Is Columbus Becoming America’s #1 Gay City?

In the Best of GayCities: The World According to Gays, Columbus, Ohio was named the Up-and-Coming Gay City of 2011. And as the city’s 30th pride celebration approaches this weekend, we’re wondering—will Columbus soon beat out San Francisco and Minneapolis as America’s gayest city?

And as much as Ohio gets lumped into the Midwest, Columbus demonstrates something of an Eastern sensibility. The secret is that Columbus’s queer Pride comes not from its restaurants, galleries, and clubs but rather from its queer history.

Even though some of the city’s first pride marchers in 1981 wore bags over their heads to conceal their identities, the queer population still spent the next three decades quietly building Columbus’ neighborhoods and embedding themselves citywide. Now Columbus has a widespread LGBT population with $7.5 billion in purchasing power that has helped establish the queer community as an integral part of the culture.

The city also boasts a large university, numerous surrounding liberal arts colleges, and gay-friendly businesses (like Limited Brands and Abercrombie & Fitch) that have based their headquarters there, all of which contribute have encouraged more LGBTs to move into the area.

During Netroots Nation, Queerty has slept with spoken to some of the residents of Minneapolis—the city that’s supposedly gayer than Columbus—and they hate it here. They think it’s a conformist jail.

Well… at least two of them think that.

By:           Daniel Villarreal
On:           Jun 17, 2011
Tagged: , ,

  • 41 Comments
    • NateB79
      NateB79

      As an Ohio boy, I have to say Columbus is a great city with a great Pride Weekend. I’m not surprised to see this. Guys there call it the San Fran of the Midwest.

      Jun 17, 2011 at 5:20 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Kirby
      Kirby

      LOL it’s Ohio dude!

      Jun 17, 2011 at 6:36 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chuck
      Chuck

      Columbus is certainly better than Cincinnati. Essentially Ohio is divided between a progressive, enlightened North and a backward, redneck south that wishes it were part of Kentucky. While Columbus is nowhere near the Eastern sensibility of Cleveland and pretty towns along Lake Erie, Columbus does have a decent downtown, large student population and a gay community that is let’s just say not persecuted, which is saying something for Ohio.

      Jun 17, 2011 at 6:59 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Reece
      Reece

      I love Columbus. Being from California, I love going to The Ohio State University. It is really open minded and there are very little discrimatory people there. So, for me, its no wonder Columbus is getting ranked so high.

      Jun 17, 2011 at 8:02 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jason
      jason

      I think that what killed New York City and San Francisco as “gay capitals” is the hedonism. Hedonism always destroys. It’s one of the golden rules. Hedonism makes people complacent and lazy. It destroys activism. It turns people inward and makes them concerned only for orgasms. This is what destroyed NY and San Fran.

      No surprise, therefore, that America’s golden heart of gay activism is moving elsewhere.

      Jun 17, 2011 at 8:36 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • christopher di spirito
      christopher di spirito

      Columbus is a great city for LGBT folks.

      It’s the state capital, lots of government and private industry jobs, major hospitals, not too big a city, not too small either, very affordable housing, a super revitalization effort along a river that runs through downtown, diverse restaurants, and a big university which attracts a ton of interesting culture and guest speakers.

      Plus, Columbus is along what I call “the Jethro line” which runs along I-70. Columbus and north is great, South of I-70 going toward Cincinnati you encounter white trash and what I call Uncle-Daddies.

      Jun 17, 2011 at 10:01 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Atlas
      Atlas

      I’m from Ohio, and Cleveland is a hellhole, but otherwise I agree with Chuck and Christopher.

      Jun 17, 2011 at 10:49 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • JumpingUpAgain
      JumpingUpAgain

      jason : I think it’s more because New York and San Francisco are too expensive. All the young people are moving out of San Francisco (can’t afford to stay once they turn 18) and New York is just for doctors and businessmen with enough money to live cose to the office.

      Jun 17, 2011 at 11:15 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Tommy
      Tommy

      @Atlas: I moved to Cleveland from elsewhere, and I have to say that the only people who think Cleveland is “a hellhole” are the sorts of backwards idiots whose idea of “heaven” is sprawl, chain restaurants, big box stores, cheap new buildings & racial homogeneity. For the rest of us, it strikes a very nice balance between the midwest and the east coast. It is sophisticated not pretentious, energetic not exhausting and progressive without being filled with limousine liberals. Wait a minute, no wonder someone on Queerty had to call it “a hellhole”. But I digress…

      Columbus is a great city with a lot going for it. Give it 50 years at the rate its going, and it’ll without a doubt be “world class” in every respect. Having spent a lot of time both there and Minneapolis, I can say they are completely different places despite both being categorized as “midwestern”. Columbus isn’t nearly as clean, or as large as the Twin Cities, but thats part of its appeal. The people are a lot more down to earth, the social scene is more easily accessible and the scale of the place is less intimidating. Minneapolis is also a great place, but not everyone fits there. Its good to see that there is increasing diversity amongst what are considered “gay cities”.

      Jun 18, 2011 at 1:38 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Gus
    • DJ
      DJ

      So, is this a joke article? Seriously, Ohio?

      Jun 19, 2011 at 7:56 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jay_max
      jay_max

      What kills San Francisco and New York is the unbridled arrogance patronizing attitude of the gays who live there (“we’re the center of the gay universe”) and how quick they are to remind you of it (“Seriously, Ohio?”). There are plenty of other cities in this country that are extraordinarily friendly and protective of GLBTs, often with a much better quality of life than San Francisco and New York. Columbus, Minneapolis, Seattle, San Diego, Denver… just to name a few.

      For the record, I don’t live in Columbus.

      Jun 19, 2011 at 11:06 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • PopSnap
      PopSnap

      Those of you saying “HURRR Ohio” have obviously never actually BEEN to the Cleveland/Columbus area for an extended period of time. It may not be San Francisco or LA, true, but it sure as hell is better than Alabama or Arkansas. Actually, unless you’re in the rural South, I’d say most LGBT individuals don’t have that hard a time of it, even the more “obvious” ones. The shock value of being gay wore off in about 2008. In most regions, I’d say people have a live and let live attitude about it, at worst. I know plenty of fundamentalist Christians and even though they disagree with “my lifestyle” and I disagree with their bigoted beliefs, we’re able to get along well enough.

      This is why I’m not surprised Columbus is the number 1 gayest city this year. It’s pretty much the “average” American city, in terms of everything. Average America is accepting us, so naturally, the average American city SHOULD be chosen as the up and coming gay hotspot. If those even exist in the future.

      Do we have marriage equality yet? No. But I’d be willing to be my house on it being a reality within the next decade.

      Jun 19, 2011 at 11:09 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • candace
      candace

      Abercrombie & Fitch is gay-friendly?

      Jun 19, 2011 at 11:21 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • DJ
      DJ

      @jay_max: You got me! I do live in San Francisco and I am really smug about it. Let me tell you no one is staying away because of our elitist attitudes, it’s just really expensive here.That’s why people leave. I think it’s great that there is a rise in acceptance in other cities, but I would never send my gay friends visiting from Europe to Columbus. My grandparents are from Westerville. I have been 20 times and I think it is boring. The guys are really hot though.

      Jun 19, 2011 at 11:56 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Romeo
      Romeo

      DJ : I hear you. The men in the less “glamourpuss” cities are ALWAYS the hottest.

      Jun 19, 2011 at 10:54 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jeff thompson
      jeff thompson

      I was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio. I came out there and marched in many Pride parades. I now live in San Francisco.
      One reason I left Columbus is there is so much homophobia there.
      Most of it is hidden, like racism.
      I travel frequently to Cols., which has lost several gay bars and has no discernible gay gym. There is a gay strip(restaurants, card shops) that is not bad. There are two bathhouses that are OK. The gay scene is mostly college kids who move after graduation.
      If you are in the 18-35 age group, its probably a decent city. One thing is for sure between NY and Chicago, Columbus is your best bet.

      Jun 20, 2011 at 12:52 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Richard
      Richard

      I went to OSU, and this article is completely wrong. Columbus is a bore, homophobia is rampant both on campus and off, and all kinds of companies have their corporate headquarters there for some reason. Naming two that are “gay-friendly” is ridiculous.

      Jun 20, 2011 at 3:23 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • UWSguy
      UWSguy

      I find this difficult to believe.

      Jun 20, 2011 at 7:47 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mike
      Mike

      Well . . . it sounds great, and I will certainly say I’ve heard many, many gays over the last eight or 10 years remark what a great gay city Columbus is compared to their own, but it certainly has further to go. And, oh, Richard? When did you go there? Twenty years ago? If you’d attend a Pride Parade or two, you’d see PLENTY of support . . . from MUCH more than just two corporations. Perhaps it was just the crowd you were hanging out with. Just a thought.

      Jun 21, 2011 at 9:33 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • CK
      CK

      I’m from Alabama and I went to Ohio State for college. I can’t tell you what a culture shock it was going from the Deep South to the wonderfully accepting city of Columbus. I finally found a place where I could be comfortable in my own skin and be who I was. Anywhere you go, even San Francisco or New York City, you are going to encounter the people who think being gay is wrong. That’s just going to happen. But the thing about Columbus is that the city, for the most part, embraces its gay culture. The Short North is one of the most gay-friendly places in the city. From the bars, shops, and restaurants, to the lights over the street that they turn rainbow for Pride. I could walk down the street holding my girlfriend’s hand and nobody would think twice about it. There is no way I could do that in my home town in Alabama. Sure you get the idiotic protesters at Pride, but they are minuscule compared to the overall response and attendance of Pride in Columbus. C-bus may be in the Midwest, but it certainly has that East Coast feel.

      Jun 24, 2011 at 9:49 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • KG
      KG

      CK- agreed. Homophobia exists everywhere, as does racism, sexism, and any other kind of -ism that you can think of. Columbus was selected as the Up-and-Coming #1 Gay city, not as the Center of Gay Perfection. It is in no way comparable to LA or San Fran or NYC in massiveness or acclaim, but it does harbor a community of LGBT individuals who are fiercely proud, as well as a community of straight allies who are exceptionally supportive.

      Jun 24, 2011 at 10:09 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • JR
      JR

      A point I wanted to make about Columbus is that, even though it has had a signifacant gay population for decades, it hasn’t been until recently where it has become more public. Just in the past 5-10 years the pride parade and festival has nearly doubled. And most of the urban neighborhoods closest to downtown have a prominent gay representation that isn’t afraid to be out. This is fairly recent, so if you haven’t been to Columbus in 10 years you will be shocked.

      If you are interested in gentrification involving gay residents, you should check out the documentary Flag Wars. It was filmed in Columbus, showing the debate between African American resients and new gay residents moving in and restoring homes. The movie is about ten years old, and I can notice so much change in Columbus since then.

      Gaylumbus!

      Jun 24, 2011 at 10:46 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • GB from Columbus
      GB from Columbus

      @DJ:

      Open your eyes to what’s going on here. I am sorry you are surprised, since at least 250,000 people attend our Pride parade. That’s no small shakes. The joke is on you, but you can change that with just a little education. We have something incredible happening here and you are invited!

      Jun 24, 2011 at 11:02 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Kristian
      Kristian

      Columbus is a great open city with a cool Pride Festival. I blog about festivals in Ohio and you can read my Columbus Pride Fest here – http://Ohiofestivals.net/?p=897

      Jun 24, 2011 at 12:26 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • gaycat1
      gaycat1

      my partner and i went to cleveland pride it was nice but columbus ohio KICKED ASS and was a great pride event,we just wish they could get a big entertainment name like rupaul or one of the queens from her show,that would be GREAT.

      Jun 26, 2011 at 10:46 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Pandora UK
      Pandora UK

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      Jul 3, 2011 at 11:36 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Stephen
      Stephen

      I live in Dayton about an hour southwest of Columbus on the way to Cincinatti. Columbus is a great city and has one of the largest concentratioins of gay people living here in the midwest. That being said, I agree with some of the posts about people who live on the coasts who look down their noses at anything that is not NYC, LA or San Fran et al. This type of attitude does nothing for the millions of gay people that live in the rest of the country. Hopefully one day all cities will be gay friendly and accepting. We should be celebrating the fact that a city in the midwest is getting recognition for strides and try to help out. It will make all of America better, instead of keeping the war of regionalism going.

      One ironic thing to note as well: I read posters in Columbus scold others for putting them down for being in Ohio, then in the same paragraph dog and dismiss the rest of the state south of them as “hicks,” thus displaying the same pretentiousness and regionalism they were denouncing seconds before! I have had guys in Columbus peer down their noses at me because I don’t live there. Cmon! There are educated, attractive, non-“hick” (as someone said) people south of Columbus. There are great people, gay and straight, all over the state. Even Dayton, as a much smaller city, has a pretty good gay scene and supportive politicians, police dept, etc. And guess what: even attractive guys!

      So lets all come together and support one another and try to avoid regionalism and the tendacy to label “those others who live there.” It seems the human tendacy to look down upon and discriminate and judge is irresistable even to the gay community.

      Jul 12, 2011 at 2:13 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • John
      John

      I was born in NYC, and came to Columbus for school. It is an AMAZING and very gay friendly city. YES its smaller than NYC and LA…. but come on guys, get your heads out of your asses. Anyone who just comments “omg really OHIO?” obviously has not been here (Westerville does not count as Gay Columbus) or really given it a change.

      Get over your “little dick syndrome” NYC boys, there are A LOT of beautiful gay places in this country… not just 2 cities.

      And Columbus is one of these amazing beautiful gay cities.

      Jul 12, 2011 at 3:01 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TV
      TV

      I just stumbled onto this article from a friend’s tweet, and think I can add another angle. As a straight man I can say that Columbus’s gay community is one of the things that makes our city a great place to live. The contribution your community makes to our art scene, nightlife and neighborhoods are what sets us apart from most boring midwest cities. I can’t imagine myself having stayed in Columbus without it. Thanks to you all.

      Jul 12, 2011 at 3:58 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • BTL
      BTL

      I think an important thing to realize in this discussion is that those of us who choose to live/stay in Cbus have a different definition of what makes a fabulous gay life. If you are looking for amazing dance parties (although we use to have one of the best in Red Party) or round the clock cruising and nightlife you won’t find it. What you will find are great restaurants, urban neighborhoods, and a thriving independant artistic community. You will find a gay softball league with 30 teams, a huge volleyball league, a talented Chorus, and countless other organizations working hard to be visible. I think its the visibility of the community that makes Cbus unique compared to other similar sized Midwest cities. If you are visiting for work or a weekend you are not likely to tap into the large and intermingled network of friends that are the reason people stay or move back after stints in larger cities.

      What amazes me is just how well our GLBT community is blending with the “straight community” to the point where being gay is a non issue. There is an easiness about life here. What makes Columbus great is not packed gay bars, but the visibility of gays in “straight” bars and restaurants who are comfortable being outwardly gay. I have been to two suburban cook-outs in the last month where multiple straight neigbors and their kids have had no issues hanging out with the “gays”. Many friends have adopted and built comfortable lives in the suburbs.

      I love visiting NY, LA, Atlanta and Chicago and all my friends who live there. All of them but LA are cheap 60 minute flights away. But what I love more is a 15 minute commute, football saturdays, deep friendships, a 2500 sq. ft. house with a yard and enough cash left over to visit the above mentioned cities anytime I want. I guess you could call it a gay version of the American dream.

      Jul 12, 2011 at 10:45 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jake
      Jake

      You know, the really great thing about Cbus is that being gay is almost a non-issue here, even if it may be elsewhere in the state. There may not be tons of gay bars, but thats because most gay guys here arent confined to a circle of gay friends that only go to gay bars. Columbus is accepting. Its fantastic how “normal” of a life you can have here. Sure, the trade-off is that the gay community isn’t as closely-knit as it could be, which results in fewer gay bars etc, but the upside is that you can have a normal “all-American” life in an “all-American” city, which I’m sure isn’t everyones cup of tea. Personally though, I’d rather have my sexuality be a non-issue instead of segregating myself into gay ghettoes – which although vibrant, are still ghettoes.

      The gay population here is also a young one that didnt grow up with the same sort of stigmas as older guys in NYC and SF, so there isn’t such a need for the gay social life. Its also a well-educated, and relatively well-off city – facts which naturally lend to a more liberal social climate. Think of it as a smaller Washington DC, and realize that it doesnt try to be just a smaller NYC or San Fran. Honestly, Ohioans are far too normal for that, and prefer normalcy over flamboyancy.

      Jul 13, 2011 at 4:02 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Former Buckeye nation resident
      Former Buckeye nation resident

      @Jake, with all respect, you’ve got some interesting rose colored glasses on. You’re right about All-American gay life, but with exceptions. Also, every similar metro has gay-friendly people, non-issue, non-ghetto areas, so again, Columbus isn’t much different. Ohioans being normal over flamboyant … seriously? No.

      .

      False Pride
      Columbus tries to be a major city, but won’t accept they aren’t. It’s very prideful there, so it’s a different type of personality. It’s like Hollywood without big stars. Someone above mentioned about how some in Columbus look down on the rest of the state and others … spot on! It’s Columbus Ohio people.

      (Doesn’t include the arts scene / downtown independents / creatives though … great people there!)

      .

      Grass isn’t greener.
      Only those who have lived in Columbus can know what I’m talking about. I moved after years there. Good times, but up and coming? No. What is now will be. Big city growth isn’t on their side.

      Columbus doesn’t have anything other metros already have. The weather is a big detriment versus many other places. There’s nothing “special” about it versus any similar town. People who visit only see with “vacation eyes” like those who visit Florida.

      If you’re a gay Caucasian mainstream conformist (read: not very diverse gay wise), Columbus is absolutely the best and most affordable place. Otherwise, it’s a great middle of the road city … a stepping stone if you’re moving up from smaller places (read: the only reason they are increasing in population). It is VERY diverse and accepting, but quietly segmented overall.

      .

      Pride Numbers
      The only reason Columbus has huge pride attendance is because there’s nothing else big & gay going on all year for the REGION ever! It’s not just about high numbers, but the research behind them. The gay nightlife and scene in Columbus isn’t growing! Pride is a weekend party, regional vacation, and that’s all it is.

      *****

      The Point
      There’s a reason a lot of people, talent and gays leave who seek more in life. This is a researched opinion, folks, from personal experience and many others.

      *****

      #1 … think again
      Again, great in-the-middle city (i.e. families, affordability, shopping, stepping stone), but will never be a major player as a #1 gay city (i.e. weather, standout unique qualities, keeping talent) … unless middle-of-the-road, quiet segmentation and conformity is what defines a #1 gay city.

      If you fit that, awesome. You can wear rose … err … crimson colored glasses. If you don’t … other than Chicago, move out of the Midwest.

      And if you don’t favor the Buckeyes, good luck.

      Jul 13, 2011 at 11:23 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • John
      John

      @Former Buckeye nation resident

      see –> “little dick” “i live in a big city now seriously… am i important ?” syndrome.

      Jul 13, 2011 at 5:22 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jake
      Jake

      @ Buckeye nation:

      You took my argument to places I never directed it. I simply was talking about the social climate of Columbus, not about debonaire self image and “big city wannabe” mentalities. I wasn’t arguing that its the next gay mecca. I was saying that it is, overall, a very tolerant city. Many cities have pockets of tolerance, what I’m saying is that Columbus is overall tolerant. Suburbs are of course suburbs, but even Bexley and Grandview are quite tolerant.

      So honestly, I don’t know how you read my one point and decided instead to counter 5 points that I didn’t make. In your whole response, only three short sentences directly touched upon what I wrote.

      Jul 13, 2011 at 6:12 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jbcmh81
      jbcmh81

      @Former Buckeye nation resident:

      Sorry, but it just seems like you have a personal grudge against the city in general. “Up and coming” does not mean the same as being a national destination presently. Clearly it’s not. At the same time, however, Columbus has moved forward tremendously, particularly in the last 10 years or so. Anyone who hasn’t been around during that time or left prior to that will have a very different opinion of the city than anyone who sees it presently. I am a Columbus native. I have seen it during the 1980s and through the mid-90’s when there were no hot spots, there was no night life Downtown. The city had a reputation, rightly so, of just being an overgrown college town. Good for families, sure, but not much else. But this is not 1985 or 1995. This is 2011, and things have changed and continue to change fairly rapidly.

      Columbus has one of the highest rates of growth in Hispanic and Asian populations in the country (top 10 in both catergories). It has seen billions of dollars in investments, public and private, in the central urban neighborhoods just since 2000. The Downtown population is up over 40%, the biggest growth there since the 1960s. The Short North continues to develop and is busier than ever, and now that development is spreading to places like Franklinton, which was largely ignored until now. Columbus is the only city in the state to see growth both in city proper and its metro. Its current rate of growth is more than 2x Cincinnati, the only other major Ohio city to see its metro grow. Columbus was just rated in the top 15 future boomtowns by Forbes. “Brain drain” is lower than ever, as more graduates from Columbus’ many schools choose to stay in the city.

      As far as your points about conformity go, I haven’t seen that. No one has ever said to me that I must be like everyone else. I’ve never felt any pressure to be something or someone I’m not. Then again, I surround myself with people who are laidback and don’t seem to care about what everyone else is doing. There are people here who do, but I would say they are an extreme minority, and usually seem to be from out of town or state. Most of my friends are also not Caucasian. I meet tons of minorities all over the city without even trying. I don’t actually think in terms of race like that. It is what it is. And yes, being gay myself, I know a little about the gay scene. Outside of the Short North, the city is extremely accepting of it. When people talk about gays, it’s like, “Well, it’s Columbus.” You may meet the rare ignorant bigot, but in my own experience, I’ve met far more travelling outside of the city/state than I ever have here. And you can’t dismiss pride here, either. It’s definitely grown a LOT over the years. I was in Chicago a few years ago for their pride, and met many people who absolutely loved coming to Columbus for theirs. That really surprised me, but I realize now that it probably shouldn’t have. You get used to something when you live in a place and don’t really see it until you go elsewhere.

      How is the weather a detriment? The fact that it has winter? So does 90% of the rest of the country. Frankly, I would get bored with weather that never changed. I prefer 4 distinct seasons. Spring, fall, and summer here tend to be very nice, and I have never minded snow or cold.

      I don’t know, you just seem to be trying to hard to be down on the city for whatever reason, and much of the reasoning seems to be antiquated and no longer true of the current reality. Even myself as a native have been surprised at how far the city has come in just a short time. Oh well, we’ll continue to move forward whether or not others believe in it.

      Jul 17, 2011 at 4:36 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Former Buckeye nation resident
      Former Buckeye nation resident

      BTW, I grew up on the East Coast … so the whole “Eastern sensibility” thing is funny.

      .

      @John (#34)
      Moved from Columbus for a better job. I didn’t move to a bigger city. I moved to one extremely comparable to the size of Columbus (based on MSA).

      I owned a home in Columbus. It’s not like I was a transient. Did trying to make a dig help you feel better? I’m glad I could help.

      .

      @jbcmh81 (#36)
      “antiquated and no longer true” … I moved last year and spent most of the recent years there.

      I’ve also spent my entire life in a four season environment. I love the snow, but I’d rather vacation with snow than live with snow. Columbus has the worst weather I’ve lived in, and I’m not talking about just snow (again, I’m from the East Coast near DC).

      In the handful of places I’ve lived, I’ve never experienced a metro culture -for good and bad- like Columbus Ohio. It truly has its’ own personality, and I pointed out the solid good traits if that’s what someone is looking for. Of course there are more good things, but the negatives are also accurate if you do the research.

      Everywhere has good and bad, but the only place you find focused criticism anymore is politics, toward each other (eh-hem @John) and about trivial things. You can’t fix what’s broken if you don’t acknowledge it’s broken. Columbus’ future, and the overall pride of the area, will play out with time – gay, straight and economically.

      So, middle-of-the-road absolutely works. The area has economic sustainability, but success for Columbus is in the middle. It fits for some; not for others. I’d rather have anyone reading understand that the grass isn’t greener (See: Forbes list ending note); it really depends on the type of grass you like.

      This is all relative to one’s personal situation. I love research and analytics, so I also took a scientific approach to it over my years there. It’s not based simply on emotion or a small circle of friends. This is real research and time will tell the tale for better or worse.

      Forbes list are a joke. Again, do real research (preferably on your own).

      Jul 18, 2011 at 10:23 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jbcmh81
      jbcmh81

      @Former Buckeye nation resident:

      Former Buckeye, if you actually moved last year, then you should honestly know better, but I suppose you would’ve also had had to live there for some time to see the drastic changes that have taken place, particularly in the last decade. I have actually added up investments made, mostly in the Downtown region and surrounding urban neighborhoods, and just since 2000, there has been about $15-$20 billion. And that was only based on projects that I could remember or find information on. You can’t have that kind of money put into a urban area and not see anything happen. It’s crazy. You can also not have 800,000 people and double-digit growth decade after decade and have it stay middle-of-the-road. In less than 20 years, the city will probably have 1 million.

      Columbus got its “cowtown” nickname back during the early years when there were actual cattle on the Statehouse lawn. It was later used as a slam on the city for its supposed unsophistication and country bumpkin mentality. The truth is that that name has not been relevent for awhile now. I suspect many people that come from certain areas of the country with far more famous cities think of Columbus still as that cowtown. They see it, as you do, as middle-of-the-road and nothing special… and that it never will be anything more. Perhaps for some, no matter how far the city comes, that image will always be what they believe. Sad. And honestly, I countered just about all of your points with actual facts, including those on diversity and gays. It’s clear you view the city as little more than a stopping point to get to someplace you see as much better, and frankly, that is offensive to all of the people that love it here and make their lives here. It is insulting to all of the hard work and progress that has been made in turning that cowtown image around. While it is certainly a work in progress, to suggest that it can never be more than mediocre is not based on research, it’s based on personal bias. I was born here, I was raised here, and it is unrecognizable.

      As far as the weather goes, Columbus doesn’t even the worst weather in Ohio, let alone the region or nation. I’ve always liked the weather here, tbh. Spring and fall are typically beautiful, I love the snow and cold of winter, and I like the green and warmth of summer. The DC area gets far less snow on average but can have far larger individual snow events. The summers there are much hotter than in Columbus and much more humid. I guess it just depends on what you like. I like variety, and I don’t think any of Ohio’s seasons are too extreme.

      Jul 20, 2011 at 12:10 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Keith Morris
      Keith Morris

      Oh geez, more jbcmh81 boosterism. Columbus has made some improvements and yes, there are a decent amount of areas where same-sex couples are seen as just another couple. Compared to just about any other American city it certainly has a high number of gay people at over 6% and when you consider that most live in 1/4 of the city in the old urban core vs the other 150 sq mi of annexed sprawl, it’s rather impressive.

      The problem lies in the city’s disinterest outside of the city’s favored quarter, which is similar to DC’s NW side: east (including the northeast), south, and west sides are *not* gay-friendly and would be dangerous to be holding hands or dressing flamboyantly. These are rougher working-class neighborhoods, at least for those who work and don’t deal drugs and shoot at each other. That ~$20 billion dollars of urban revitalization dollars were spent almost entirely on Downtown and the near northside neighborhoods. Citing 800,000 and growing is just a coverup of the hemorrhaging of the inner-city which is made clear by the 2010 census map where several neighborhoods lost as much as a 1/5 of their population in the past decade since they’re left to rot economically and culturally. You can spin it however you like: Columbus is still a one street town with High St and nothing in the works for anything close. Until it gets at least one more decent main street out of the several that exist, High St is a great street, but Columbus is much more than High St and it blows, for the most part even when you don’t consider the 3/4 of it that consist of annexed sprawl. It’s good enough for you and that’s fine, but as a fellow resident who needs more than one good street in my city my time here is ticking down til I move to Minneapolis: ranked as America’s #1 gay city and where there’s actually plenty of stuff to do whether it’s the north, east, south, or west side where the city and inner-city residents are making real, visible strides and attracting new residents all over.

      Columbus’ gay scene, considering how many large concentrations of gay people there are on all sides of the city, is very two dimensional: flashy gay bars playing Lady Gaga and hole-in-the-walls for older men where drag shows and showtunes are the focus. It is most certainly not a city where you can be whoever you are and take part in the gay community. If you want to you’ve either got the former or the latter: just read about the gay bar offerings on Yelp! or elsewhere. There is something to be said when my straight roommate from San Francisco was floored by how stereotypical Columbus gay men tend to be. If you’re not stereotypical it’s definitely not worthy of first place.

      Jul 29, 2011 at 9:55 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jbcmh81
      jbcmh81

      @Keith Morris:

      And what a surprise, more negativity from Debbie Downer. Shocking that you failed to mention Parsons avenue at least 5 or 6 more times. I for one cannot wait until you move. Let it be Minneapolis’ problem, because someone like yourself with that kind of attitude will probably not be happy anywhere. Let me fill you in on a little secret… it’s not really about Columbus. It’s about you. See, I can be happy anywhere. I’ve lived in places with populations from less than 5,000 to over 25 million. I enjoyed myself in all of them. Why? Because life is just too gd short to try to find every little thing wrong, to nitpick things to death, to feel so high and mighty that you feel you have to tear everything down simply because it might not conform to what you think it should be. I’m sorry that the only gays you know are stereotypical, but then again, stereotypical does not mean bad people. It does not mean that they can’t be fantastic friends. It does not mean that you can’t have a good time with them. I’m sorry that you cannot see deeper into those around you beyond the surface. I’m sorry that you feel that the city and its people is beneath you and your San Francisco hipsters. Good luck in Minneapolis. I’m sure there’s absolutely nothing there for you to complain about.

      Aug 3, 2011 at 1:08 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • sgraycmh
      sgraycmh

      One of the best friends I made during my decade spent living in SF’s Castro & Mission districts was somebody that others people warned me about getting close to. I decided long ago to base my opinions on my own experiences with people and not the reports of others.

      Apparently, the same can be said of geographic locations. All I can say is keep an open mind and give Columbus a chance. Just about everyone that I know that moved here from one of the coasts or even visited here for work or play were surprised by the diversity, vibrancy and culture of our diamond in the rough.

      Columbus is a very young city and has experienced lots of growing pains but the true character of a city is how they handle those growing pains. Columbus has shined.

      Aug 21, 2014 at 9:32 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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