This Downtown Columbus Condo Offers a Scenic Retreat

Article originally published in Columbus Monthly by Laurie Allen

A city-center family enjoys quieter times from a fourth floor perch at Parks Edge.

With its spectacular city views and custom details, Angie and Brian Joslyn’s home in the Arena District brings together their love of city life with the desire for a quieter place to enjoy it all.

“Thankful” and “lucky” are the words they use to describe how they feel about living in a home where city energy merges with greenway trails and unique vistas.

The Joslyns live in Parks Edge, a new luxury condominium development along West Spring Street near McPherson Commons and, from the building’s front, overlooking the Scioto River. In 2015, Nationwide Realty Investors kicked off the development, located a block away from Nationwide Arena. The third and final phase is to be completed next year, when a new 10-story building will join the two existing 12-story residences for a total of 201 units. The development includes a 15-year, 100 percent property tax abatement.

“It’s a very quiet area in the midst of so much busyness Downtown,” Brian says. “I feel thankful to live someplace with close access to bike paths and walkways. … There’s so much to see, and we don’t feel sequestered.”

The Joslyns have called Parks Edge home since moving there in October 2017 from the adjacent Burnham Square condominiums. They loved the Burnham Square condo and had made extensive renovations but sought a bigger space when they learned they were expecting a child. At 3,300 square feet, the Parks Edge condo is roughly double the size of their previous dwelling and feels especially roomy with walls of glass and an open floor plan, Angie says.

Prior to settling in the Arena District, the Joslyns lived in German Village, not far from Brian’s criminal law practice, where both work. “We’ve always been Downtown people,” Angie adds.

At Parks Edge, they chose a tree-level, fourth-floor unit because it maximizes the amount of greenery directly in front of them. The corner unit provides expansive views and includes a wrap-around terrace and outdoor living area. That has been a favorite area, especially this year when many of the nearby sports, entertainment and eating venues have curtailed operations during the COVID pandemic. Plants soften the cityscape and create a sense of privacy, while a custom grill allows them to make warm-weather meals while sipping homemade cocktails and relishing the view.

Inside the condo, clean lines, a mostly neutral color palette and varying textures create interest without being distracting. The focal point is a custom bar at windows’ edge, which produces a perfect city overlook where people can gather and gaze. The bar was fabricated locally and hand-painted in a metallic Champagne finish. Its top is inset with bronze-toned mirrored glass, says Amanda Sexton, the lead designer and owner of Distinctive Residential Design, which counts several Arena District owners among its clients.

As with most families, the kitchen is the hub of activities for the couple and their now 4-year-old daughter, Maryjane. The couple made the kitchen roomier by removing a large pantry, which allowed more seating at the island. Quartz countertops and modern, flat-panel cabinets in a neutral “greige” tone contribute to the clean look, while the handmade ceramic tile backsplash adds texture. The backsplash “was quite a feat,” says Angie, recalling her exhaustive search for the perfect material, which she eventually found at Hamilton Parker. Each handmade tile is glazed to order, giving it a range of color throughout, Sexton explains.

With windows dominant, the goal was to control light and privacy throughout the day without blocking the commanding view, Sexton says. Window coverings are light-filtering roller shades with a mobile app that allows users to create a schedule to raise and lower them. The design firm’s work room fashioned cornices to finish the look.

The Joslyns home has other custom features, including the master bathroom, which they modified “to account for the fact that we’re a family living Downtown, not a hockey player or a bachelor.” (Several units at Parks Edge and other nearby condominiums are owned by Columbus Blue Jackets players or executives who live there only part of the year.) The large bathtub is adjacent to a window wall rather than free-floating in the room, and ledges hold practical items like soap.

In the master bedroom, two sofa seats with pullout storage underneath are built into a wall of windows and are Angie’s favorite place to relax after a long day. “I love my bedroom. It’s my sanctuary,” she says. “I put my feet up … and I just unwind.”

Brian got the idea for the window seats from a hotel during the family’s frequent travels. In another area, a Houston hotel inspired the entry hall, where two chandeliers hang from a recess in the ceiling. Tube lighting within the recess amps up the illumination in an area that is darker than the rest of the home.

They also closed off an open office and sitting area, turning the space into a third bedroom. Although not a typical family neighborhood, Angie says the greater Downtown area has many nearby attractions for children, including COSI, Columbus Children’s Theatre, the Main Library, parks and more.

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected those attractions this year, and with venues in their immediate neighborhood closed or operating with restricted hours, things are a bit different now. “We miss all of that, and especially the [running] races that come down Spring Street,” says Angie. That said, she and her husband have appreciated how easy it has been to navigate the neighborhood in recent months.

“I spent the first year looking out the windows saying ‘I can’t believe I live here,’” she says. Three years later, she adds: “We feel lucky to live here.”

Construction photos: Chipotle office, condos and more continue their rise in the Arena District

Article originally published in Columbus Business First by Tristan Navera | October 14, 2020

Twenty years ago this month, the Columbus Blue Jackets played their first game in Nationwide Arena.

At the time, the arena was mostly surrounded by rusty industrial buildings and empty space. What was then Flytown was largely overlooked real estate. But what has risen since then – and what keeps rising – has changed the paradigm for the whole city.

Developer Nationwide Realty Investors Ltd. at first envisioned the Arena District as a limited development. But it’s since invested $1.2 billion across 100 acres, including 1.5 million square feet of commercial space. And it’s not done yet.

A billion dollars of construction along the northern arc of downtown Columbus is poised to transform the urban core.

Nationwide Realty President and COO Brian Ellis said construction has proceeded normally on the most prominent portions of the project. For instance, the third building in the Parks Edge condominium development is rising on John H. McConnell Boulevard. The 10-story, 50-unit tower is timely as all but two of the units in the tower next to it are spoken for. “For the most part all of our for-sale product has done really well,” Ellis said. “Even coming out of the chute we’re seeing strong interest in the units built there. The declining interest rates have helped motivate our buyers.”

Continue to Business First for the full article >>

Exclusive: Parks Edge North Building, 10-Story Arena District Condo Tower

Parks Edge rendering

Nationwide Realty Investors Ltd. is moving ahead with the third building in its Parks Edge condominium project at West Spring Street and John H. McConnell Boulevard.

The 10-story, 50-unit tower is the final phase of the luxury condominium community. It was slated to break ground in early 2020 and is welcoming its first residents in 2021.

The new building will offer similar floor plans to the existing buildings, with the majority of the units fronting the commons. The building’s exterior will feature two stories of brick facade with glass on the upper floors, designed to “connect seamlessly” with the architecture of the first two buildings.

Nationwide Realty had long envisioned the condominium development with a third building. The land this building will be constructed on was the construction staging area for the first two buildings.

Full article from Columbus Business First HERE 


Arena district before and after

Arena District: a billion dollar bet


February 13, 2020

Article originally published in Columbus Business First by Tristan Navera

When the home of the Columbus Blue Jackets first went up, the real estate arm of Fortune 100 giant Nationwide Insurance initially considered the surrounding 75-acre mixed-use development an amenity for its 10,000 Columbus employees. But it has become much more than that.

“From day one, all of our activities have been market-driven,” Nationwide Realty President and COO Brian Ellis said.

“The companies that have come, like Chipotle, have been a big and creative addition to that, and now we have the opportunity to brand this area and continue to react to hose opportunities.”

Ellis said the master plan for the Arena District arrived at the same time as interest in new urbanism and mixed-use projects grew, giving the company a chance to paint with broad brush strokes.

Today Business First is calling the Arena District a Billion-Dollar Belt. A transformative powerhouse that’s driving $1 billion in new investment – and that’s on top of the $1.2 billion already invested in Columbus since Nationwide broke ground in 1998. The Arena District has become an economic engine generating $68 million in annual taxes.

Read the full Columbus Business First article.

The Billion-Dollar Belt: Brian Ellis on Nationwide Realty Investors’ role in shaping the Arena District

Brian Ellis gave the keynote address at the 2020 Columbus Business First Power Breakfast held on Wednesday, February 12. Below are some excerpts from his remarks.

So, how did it happen? You make think it all started with Nationwide Arena. But it did not. This remarkable investment in Columbus’ urban core started in the ‘70s.

At the time, major companies were moving to the suburbs. Most of the big names you know followed the trend. Nationwide faced the same decision. But then-CEO Dean Jeffers decided to put a stake in downtown. He vowed to keep our headquarters here and invest in Columbus. We broke ground on One Nationwide Plaza in 1974, surrounded by barren surface parking lots and the fully operational Ohio Penitentiary.

It was a pioneering event for Nationwide to build its headquarters where it stands today.

Well into the ‘90s, Columbus was still the largest city in the nation without a downtown arena and a major league sports franchise. Cities across the country were committing public funds to build stadiums and arenas for existing teams or expansion franchises. The Nationwide Hockey League was growing fast in the ‘90s. Having an NHL franchise play the New York Rangers or LA Kings or the Chicago Blackhawks on the national state would help establish Columbus as a major league city.

Dimon McFerson, then CEO of Nationwide, along with Mayor Greg Lashutka, John F. Wolfe and other community leaders came together to see if we could construct a privately financed arena to retain the opportunity to bring the NHL here. Nationwide and city leaders recognized that this was a once-in-a-generation opportunity. If we didn’t get it now, the opportunity would pass us by. Nationwide quickly stepped up to privately finance the arena, in partnership with the Wolfe family.

Nationwide Realty Investors became the developer of the new arena and the Arena district. On June 2, 1997, we presented our plans to City Council and the mayor, and received full support. Then the NHL awarded Columbus a franchise to begin play in the fall of 2000.

I’m proud to say the Arena District has been a model for other cities. Over the years, leaders from Pittsburgh, Milwaukee, Sacramento, Detroit, even Edmonton have come to Columbus to learn from what we’ve done and try to create similar economic results in their cities. But there’s no magic formula to give them. What we’ve done here is special. It’s unique to Columbus.

Read Brian Ellis’ condensed version of his 2020 Power Breakfast keynote address shared by Columbus Business First.


6 Benefits of Living in Downtown Columbus

Planning on moving from the suburbs or countryside to downtown Columbus? Whether you’re making the change for work, family reasons or simply desire to be where the action is, there’s no better place to live in Ohio than Columbus proper!


To better acquaint you with the Columbus city life, here six great benefits of moving into a downtown Columbus apartment or condominium.


  1. Say Goodbye to Long Commutes

One of the greatest advantages to living in downtown Columbus is close proximity to offices and great access to public transportation. Studies show that the longer you sit in the car for your commute, the higher your risk of obesity, stress, diabetes and high blood pressure. If you work in Columbus, living in the city significantly reduces your drive time—allowing you to trim the commute, trim the fat and increase your happiness.


  1. Be Where the Action Is

 It’s no secret that a lot goes on in downtown Columbus, especially in its Arena District. Having more going on around you encourages you to get out, socialize and experience things you never would have living in the suburbs or countryside. Whether you’re an introvert or extrovert, we all need certain levels of social interaction to achieve a higher level of happiness, and living in the city gives you on-demand access to exactly that.


  1. Greater Culinary Exploration

 Living in downtown Columbus puts you in close proximity with some of Ohio’s best restaurants and bars—from local eateries to nationally established bistros. Urban living can empower your every dietary desire and need by providing a mix of healthy options, comfort cuisine or late-night hot spots to choose your next meal from.


  1. More Opportunity to Be Active

  Not only does city living reduce your commute time, it also reduces all your time spent in the car. With everything within a walkable radius or short drive, you can spend a lot more time on your feet and less time sitting in traffic. Downtown Columbus is filled with fantastic parks and walking, running and biking trails within the city—including the popular Scioto Mile located along the Scioto River! Additionally, Columbus offers fantastic access to physical fitness programs like yoga, spin classes, weight training and more at places like the Arena District Athletic Club.


  1. Access A Diverse Community

 When living in downtown Columbus, you are introduced to a wide array of people, cultures, faiths and languages—something that those living in the suburbs or countryside are rarely acquainted with. This type of urban lifestyle, in which you’re living among a greater representation of the world, can greatly expand your worldview and provide ample opportunities to meet friends and neighbors of differing backgrounds.


  1. Faster Emergency Response Times

 This may not seem very important on the surface, but it could end up saving your life. Columbus has a large population, which is why it also features state-leading emergency response teams and hospitals located within city limits. You will be able to relax much more knowing that, should something happen, the state’s greatest healthcare professionals are mere minutes away.

There is a lot more to love about living in Columbus, but all of boils down to things that will increase happiness, healthiness and all-around activity. City living truly has something for everyone. Leave your troubles in the suburbs and come join a plethora of people and experiences that are perfect for you!

Click here to find the Columbus downtown apartment right for you .

5th Line, we have your CBJ updates – 2019-20 Schedule, CBJ Development Camp & Block Party

Hey 5th line – the 2019 – 2020 schedule has been announced!

The Arena District was brimming with excitement during the 2018-2019 Columbus Blue Jackets season and we can’t wait to get that energy back again!

View the full calendar for 2019-2020 season and reserve your tickets to the best games at the best prices by purchasing a full or partial season ticket plan. (Save 5% if you commit by June 30!) You live in the action, now get into the action!

View schedule  | Purchase ticket plans

Columbus Blue Jackets Development Camp

The Blue Jackets annual development camp starts today and runs through Friday, June 28.

RSVP for behind-the-scenes tour which includes watching practice from the glass and info about ticket plans.

Columbus Blue Jackets Block Party

CBJ Block Party is this Friday, June 28 from 3 – 6 pm on the McConnell Plaza next to the Big Lots Box Office. The Block Party will have free activities and entertainment including food, drink, music, and interactive games. Event details.

Find fun events and things to do in the downtown Columbus Arena District for the week of April 15, 2019.

With so much going on in the Arena District each week, deciding what to do and where to go can be a tricky decision. To help you find the best events, Columbus Downtown Apartments is offering the inside scoop on the top things to do in the District this week.

The Columbus Blue Jackets are in the thick of the first round of Stanley Cup Playoffs, and the vibe in the Arena District is electric! Easter is also this weekend, and downtown Columbus is celebrating with a fun-filled Adult Easter Egg Hunt.

Much more is also in store! Click here to read you Columbus Arena District Digest for the week of April 15, 2019.

The Perfect Night Out: Guide for Introducing Friends to Downtown Columbus

Obviously, you want to show them a great time, but with so much to do in Columbus—from the Arena District to Grandview Heights—planning the perfect night suddenly seems overwhelming.

But fear not! As experts on all things fun in downtown Columbus, we put together a blueprint for the perfect night out. If you want to impress your friends and introduce them to the great city that is Columbus, check out this guide.


The Pregame

Every great night out begins with a solid pregame! To give your friends the warmest welcome possible, pick up some drinks and hors d’oeuvres from your local supermarket and have them laid out and ready by the time they arrive.

If you’re a downtown Columbus condo resident crunched for time, your Resident VIP card will get you free curbside express pickup on orders of $75 or more at Giant Eagle Market District in Grandview Heights.

After catching up for a bit over drinks, it’s time for the night to begin!


The Dinner

Nothing acquaints people to an urban area quite like the food—it provides a powerful first impression and shapes perception in a big way. After your friends get settled in to your condo, it’s time to grab dinner at one downtown Columbus’ many fantastic restaurants.

No matter the cuisine or dietary preference, the city has an option that’s perfect for your group and bound to keep them raving. Here is our list of recommend dinner spots in downtown Columbus, based on the type of food you’re looking for:









The Nightlife

Whether or not your friends have a good time in the city can rest entirely on where you choose to spend your night. After a great meal at one of downtown Columbus’ great restaurants, it’s time to paint the town red with a fun nighttime activity.

Whether you’re in the mood for live music or a sporting event, the city has what you need to provide a truly memorable experience for your group—one that you’ll remember fondly for years to come. Here are a few recommendations that the whole group will enjoy:

Sports Bar 


Live Music


Once the night is over, it’s time to lead the group back to your spacious downtown Columbus condo for some late-night fun and at least a few hours of sleep.


The Next Day

After you and your friends wake up from a fun night out in downtown Columbus, head back out for a delicious breakfast and brunch. Here, you can recount the previous night’s events and laugh over breakfast and coffee (or something stronger).

Our recommended eateries in the city include:

Once breakfast/brunch is over, you can head back to your condo for some much-needed lazy time—or, if the weather’s nice, venture out to one of Columbus’ many beautiful parks for some fresh air and relaxation.

Some of our favorite parks in Columbus include:


Once the weekend is over, your friends will most likely leave your downtown Columbus condo wanting more. “Why don’t we live here?” and “When can we come back?” are just two of the many envy-filled questions they might ask before they leave.

Congratulations, you’ve successfully introduced your friends to Columbus. And you can rest happy and satisfied that you gave them a truly unforgettable experience.

Like showing people around and being the go-to contact for what to do in Columbus? Become a Certified Tourism Ambassador.




Parks Edge Condominiums Open House Sunday, February 24

Open House | Sunday, February 24  |  12 – 2 pm


Join us for an open house and tour the newly furnished Portman model and the last remaining Findley.

View Pricing. View Floorplans.

Parking options are within close proximity to Parks Edge. We suggest parking in the Neil Avenue garage for this event.

The main entrance to Parks Edge Condominiums is located off of
Parks Edge Place. Review the map and directions here.

About Parks Edge Condominiums


Located in the heart of the Arena District in Columbus, Ohio, Parks Edge is situated between McFerson Commons and North Bank Park. It began with a 12-story, 69-unit condominium building and attached parking garage, and now includes a second building to the East comprised of 12-stories and 82 units.

With balconies overlooking the Columbus skyline and river – Parks Edge condominiums offer views, unmatched. Residents also enjoy a rooftop pool and hot tub, sun deck and covered kitchen, a social room with fireplace, bar and kitchen, guest suite, fitness center and more.

Parks Edge includes a 15-year, 100% property tax abatement.

If you are interested in touring additional units, please contact the Parks Edge Sales Office to schedule a private appointment.

For more information visit, or call the sales office at 614.221.9900.



The 10 Best U.S. Cities to Live in Right Now

Article by Shaina Mishkin on Travel + Leisure and | NOVEMBER 25, 2018

Promising job growth? Relatively low cost of living? Enviable attractions? These places have it all.


You don’t have to empty your savings account to afford city living in America—at least not in these locations.

Urban areas offer a gateway to culture or a medley of activities, but they typically come with a high price tag. That’s why MONEY crunched the numbers to find big cities—those with a population of 300,000 or more—with the best of all worlds: attractions, iconic neighborhoods, a relatively low cost of living, and promising job growth.

Here are our top 10 picks for best big cities to live in. (See MONEY’s full 2018 ranking of the Best Places to Live in America.)

1. Austin, Texas

  • Average Family Income: $87,389
  • Median Home Price: $326,562
  • Projected Job Growth (2017-2022): 10.9%

Texas’s delightfully bohemian capital nabs the list’s top spot because of the thriving job scene, coupled with memorable food, music, and a startup culture.

Not only is Austin projected to see a whopping 10.9% increase in jobs over the next four years, but the current unemployment rate of 3% also sits below the national average. The city’s median family income is $87,389, and the median home sale price is $326,562, according to Much of its job growth comes from small businesses and the tech sector—Dell, IBM, and Amazon are some of the biggest employers. Entrepreneurs, take note: CNBC ranked Austin as the No. 1 place to start a business, while Forbes named it one of the top 10 rising cities for startups.

Once you do land a job, you won’t have to worry about how to entertain yourself. Dubbed the Live Music Capital of the World, Austin is bursting with talent and more live music venues per capita than anywhere else in the nation. Visitors flock to the annual South by Southwest festivals, featuring concerts, speeches, and comedy showcases.

And then there’s the food. Restaurant-rating powerhouse Zagat named Austin the second-most-exciting food city in the U.S. last year, thanks to mainstays like Franklin Barbecue and new favorites such as ramen restaurant Kemuri Tatsu-ya, which combines Texan flavors and Japanese techniques for a meal as distinctive as the city itself.

2. Raleigh, North Carolina

  • Average Family Income: $82,021
  • Median Home Price: $263,000
  • Projected Job Growth (2017-2022): 9.6%

Part of North Carolina’s tri-city university hub, called the Triangle, along with Durham and Chapel Hill, Raleigh is home to a relatively young, diverse, and educated population.

Like Austin, Raleigh is a hotspot for employment seekers: Moody’s Analytics projects the area’s jobs will grow 9.6% by 2022. Forbes this year ranked Raleigh among the top 10 cities for jobs, owing in part to its 17.25% job growth over the past five years. And people are listening: There’s been a 13% increase in population since 2010, according to MONEY’s Best Places to Live database.

Your wallet will feel the benefits too: With an average sales tax of about 7.25% and average property taxes at $2,632, the city’s cost of living is relatively low compared with our other big cities.

As the historically significant birthplace of Andrew Johnson, Raleigh is host to dozens of museums, earning it the nickname Smithsonian of the South. The North Carolina Museum of History reaches back 14,000 years into the state’s past, and at the massive North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, general admission is free.

There’s a strong sense of community as well. Every fall, the North Carolina State Fairdraws 1 million visitors to Raleigh for a 10-day festival featuring rides, music, games, and crafts from local artists. Tickets cost about $10 for adults and $5 for children.

3. Virginia Beach, Virginia

  • Average Family Income: $82,927
  • Median Home Price: $255,000
  • Projected Job Growth (2017-2022): 2.6%

The living is easy in Virginia Beach, also named one of MONEY’s best beach destinations last year. The area’s unemployment rate is about 3.1%, below the national average, and crime, relatively low among the big cities here, is also well below the national average. Despite an only 4% increase in population since 2010, the area is booming for retirees: The number of people age 50 and over grew 22% over the past eight years. But perhaps best of all, there are 213 clear days a year, giving residents plenty of time to enjoy six major beaches over 35 miles of coastline.

There’s a sandy stretch for nearly everyone, starting with the family-friendly First Landing State Park at Chesapeake Bay Beach. For surfing, head to Virginia Beach Oceanfront, or for a quieter, picturesque view, go to Sandbridge Beach.

The Sandbridge area is also home to Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, where you can learn about the region’s snakes, frogs, and turtles during a guided nature hike on Bay Trail. Nearby is First Landing State Park, the most visited state park in Virginia, named after the arrival of English colonists in 1607. First Landing offers outdoor activities as well as cabins, a boat launch, and swimmable waters.

Culture vultures won’t feel left out: Renowned symphony orchestras play the Sandler Center for the Performing Arts, and comedians headline at the Funny Bone Comedy Club.

4. Mesa, Arizona

  • Average Family Income: $64,455
  • Median Home Price: $246,000
  • Projected Job Growth (2017-2022): 8.1%

Seeking a sunny city with easy opportunities to escape to the outdoors? It pays to head west.

Mesa, just 20 miles outside Phoenix, has experienced a 12% growth in population over the past eight years and is projected to see jobs increase 8% in the next four years. The majority of new job offerings here, unlike in Austin, are in the investment and manufacturing sectors rather than tech.

Local government leaders say businesses are moving to Mesa, as well as the surrounding East Valley area, for its low tax rate and relative affordability. Average property taxes are around $1,444, the second lowest among MONEY’s big cities, and the median home sale price is $246,000 as of March.

Once you’ve settled in, you won’t have to look far for an outdoor retreat. Mesa gets an impressive 296 clear days a year, and a whopping 115 campsites surround the area. Camping reservations for county parks can be made online as early as six months in advance. You’ll pay $32, including a reservation fee of $8, for a developed camping site with electricity and restrooms or, if you’re a bit more daring, $15 for a site with no amenities.

To learn about the area’s history, visit the Mesa Grande Cultural Park, which preserves ruins believed to be the religious center of the ancient Hohokam civilization, dating back to 1100 A.D. Admission to the ruins costs $5 for adults and $2 for children. For more insight into the Hohokam ancient people, you can check out the Park of the Canals, which features 4,500 feet of an extensive canal system used to farm corn, beans, squash, and cotton.

5. Seattle, Washington

  • Average Family Income: $112,211
  • Median Home Price: $676,889
  • Projected Job Growth (2017-2022): 7.5%

The Emerald City enjoys a growing job market and vibrant cultural attractions but at a cost—the median home sale price, $676,889 as of March, is the most expensive among the cities on this list. But the high price tag might be offset if you could score a lofty job at Amazon, which employs more than 40,000 Seattle residents across its 8.1 million square feet of office space. The company’s dominance has spurred other major tech giants to build their own offices—and poach local employees.

Despite the relatively high cost of living, the area provides plenty of affordable attractions. Nearly 200 wineries cover the region and are ideal for visits. Check out the Charles Smith Wines Jet City tasting room for offerings from one of the state’s largest wine producers. Be sure to also try the famous cream cheese–covered Seattle-style hot dog at Monster Dogs.

To live like a tourist, get a two-in-one ticket to Seattle’s iconic sites: the towering Space Needle and the glass-sculpture garden at Chihuly Garden and Glass. They happen to double as ideal date spots. If you’re young and looking for love, Seattle is the perfect match. MONEY named it one of the best places for millennials and singles.

6. San Diego, California

  • Average Family Income: $91,199
  • Median Home Price: $555,000
  • Projected Job Growth (2017-2022): 4.4%

With 1.4 million residents, San Diego is the most populous city to make the list. It’s also one of the more racially diverse cities in the country, with 40% nonwhite residents.

Head to the east side, and you’ll find mountains and canyons perfect for hiking, mountain biking, and fishing. The area also boasts Las Vegas–style casinos and resorts, including Viejas Casino, home to 2,200 slot machines and an outdoor concert venue. California beaches outline the city’s west side, from mile-long La Jolla Shores, perfect for children and seal lovers, to bonfire-friendly Pacific Beach, often referred to as “the Strand.” And don’t forget to visit the rare giant pandas at the world-renowned San Diego Zoo.

7. Colorado Springs, Colorado

  • Average Family Income: $75,795
  • Median Home Price: $285,000
  • Projected Job Growth (2017-2022): 7.1%

About 70 miles south of Denver, Colorado Springs was recently ranked one of the country’s best tech hubs by the Computing Technology Industry Association. The city will see projected job growth of 7% by 2022, and the cost of living is relatively low among big U.S. cities, according to PayScale.

Skiers enjoy the region’s proximity to major ski getaways like Aspen and Vail, as well as the area’s surrounding resorts, including Eldora Mountain Resort, which offers 680 acres of terrain and 300 inches of snowfall a year.

Here’s a summit for the courageous: the 2,000-foot-high, one-mile hike up the Manitou Incline. Climb all 2,744 steps, and you’ll be rewarded with gorgeous views of the city below. Nonathletic types are welcomed too. The annual Labor Day Lift Off features hot-air balloons and a festival with live music, skydiving demonstrations, and a doughnut-eating contest.

8. Lexington, Kentucky

  • Average Family Income: $74,531
  • Median Home Price: $131,000
  • Projected Job Growth (2017–2022): 4.3%

Good news for potential residents: Lexington has some of the lowest taxes among the cities on this list, with a sales tax of 6% and average property taxes nearing $1,921.

Moving to Lexington means embracing equestrian culture. Nicknamed the Horse Capital of the World, Lexington was the first U.S. city to host an FEI World Equestrian Games, in 2010, drawing half-a-million attendees. Residents and visitors alike can ride horses and ponies at the Kentucky Horse Park.

For a crash course in bourbon distilling, the Town Branch Distillery offers tours and tastings, and one of the South’s best bourbon bars, The Bluegrass Tavern, is home to Kentucky’s largest bourbon collection.

If you’re looking to root for the Wildcats, the University of Kentucky’s basketball team where NBA All-Stars Anthony Davis and John Wall got their start, head to Winchell’s Restaurant for 25 TVs and passionate fans.

9. Jacksonville, Florida

  • Average Family Income: $63,735
  • Median Home Price: $196,000
  • Projected Job Growth (2017-2022): 7.7%

As the largest metro area by landmass in the continental U.S., Jacksonville, like many other cities on our list, claims a growing job market and population. In the past eight years, the city’s population increased by nearly 9%, with a projected job growth of 7.7% by 2022. Those seeking employment, specifically in the tech industry, should head to the area’s growing job market, say ZipRecruiter and Indeed.

Visitors can support the home team by attending a Jacksonville Jaguars game at TIAA Bank Field. The coastal city also features 22 miles of mostly public and dog-friendly beaches. Learn to surf at Atlantic Beach, or brave souls might try a taste of alligator at nearby Mayport’s historic fish camps.

For a combined farmers’ market and artists’ hub, head to the Riverside Arts Market, which attracts thousands of people every Saturday. You’ll listen to live musicians, eat local bites alongside the St. Johns River, and support local artists, all in one day.

10. Columbus, Ohio

  • Average Family Income: $61,513
  • Median Home Price: $185,000
  • Projected Job Growth (2017-2022): 5.7%

Columbus is one of the fastest-growing cities in the U.S.—and in the Midwest—with a population increase of nearly 11% in the past eight years and job growth of 14% in roughly the same period.

Big 10 Ohio State University is the city’s biggest employer, and you can take advantage of the college town’s vibrant culture by attending a football game at Ohio Stadium, which seats over 100,000 people. Following the game, head to the Thurman Cafe and indulge in its massive, double-patty Thurmanator burger for $21.99.

If college athletics aren’t your thing, check out one of the area’s 96 museums, such as the hands-on Center of Science and Industry, or the Columbus Museum of Art, featuring modern and contemporary works.


To create MONEY’s Best Big Cities ranking, we looked only at places with populations of 300,000 or greater. We eliminated any city that had more than double the national crime risk, less than 85% of its state’s median household income, or a lack of ethnic diversity. We further narrowed the list using more than 8,000 different data points, considering data on each place’s economic health, cost of living, public education, income, crime, ease of living, and amenities, all provided by research partner Witlytic. MONEY teamed up with to leverage its knowledge of housing markets throughout the country. We put the greatest weight on economic health, public school performance, and local amenities; housing, cost of living, and diversity were also critical components.

Finally, reporters researched each spot, searching for the kinds of intangible factors that aren’t revealed by statistics. To ensure a geographically diverse set, we limited the Best Big Cities list to no more than one place per state.