retirement

Columbus, Ohio: A Great Large City for Retiring in Good Health

Would-be residents will find a walkable city with a variety of affordable housing options.

Population: 850,106

Cost of living: 90.5 (national median = 100)

Median home price: $144,900 (national median: $185,000)

Healthy highlight: Wallace Gardens community garden plots

Although Grandview Heights is just minutes from downtown Columbus, this small city (population 7,300) has a distinctly small-town vibe. Many of the town's Arts-and-Crafts-style homes have big front porches, which means people know their neighbors, says Teri Alexander, a certified financial planner and longtime resident. Most neighborhoods have sidewalks, and the town's small size—about 1.3 square miles—and mix of commercial and residential buildings throughout the city make it easy to get places without a car. "It was meant to be walkable," says Ray DeGraw, the city's mayor for the past 13 years. Local businesses include an in­dependent bookstore and record store, along with a wide assortment of nonchain restaurants. Grandview is also a hotbed of microbreweries, with at least half a dozen places to sip some suds.

Homes here are more expensive than they are in other parts of the Columbus area. Condos are available for about $200,000, and prices for historic single-family homes with three or more bedrooms range from $355,000 to more than $500,000.

The Ohio State University Hospital System, less than three miles from Grandview Heights, includes the Wexner Medical Center, a 900-bed hospital that offers specialties in critical care, organ transplant and rehabilitation. The hospital system also includes the James Cancer Hospital, with more than 200 oncologists.

Other Columbus attractions a short drive from Grandview Heights include the newly renovated Columbus Museum of Art, the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, and the German Village and Brewery District.

Ohio exempts Social Security benefits from state taxes. Other retirement income is taxable, but retirees can claim a tax credit of up to $200.

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