Columbus, Ohio metropolitan area

Columbus, Ohio metropolitan area
Map of Columbus Metro Area

Common name: Columbus Metro Area
Largest city Columbus
Other cities  - Delaware
 - Newark
 - Lancaster
 - London
 - Marysville
 - Circleville
Population  Ranked 31st in the U.S.
 - Total 1,836,536[1]
 - Density 490.3/sq. mi. 
Area 3169.2 sq. mi.
8207.7 km²
State(s)  Ohio
 - Highest point 1480 feet (450 m)
 - Lowest point 630 feet (192 m)

The Columbus Metropolitan Area is the metropolitan area centered on the American city of Columbus, Ohio. Definitions of what is commonly referred to as the "Columbus Area" vary. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the metropolitan area includes the counties of Delaware, Fairfield, Franklin, Licking, Madison, Morrow, Pickaway, and Union.

The larger Combined Statistical Area (called the Columbus-Marion-Chillicothe Metropolitan Consoliated Area) adds the counties of Fayette, Knox, Marion, and Ross. It includes the Micropolitan Statistical Areas of Chillicothe, Marion, Mount Vernon, and Washington Court House, due to strong ties with Columbus. The population of the CSA is 1,936,351 according to the 2005 census estimates.

About 1.8 million people live in the metro area. It is the third largest metropolitan area in the state of Ohio, behind Greater Cleveland and Greater Cincinnati and is one of the largest in the Midwestern United States. It is part of the Great Lakes Megalopolis containing an estimated 54 million people. It is also one of the fastest growing metro areas outside of the Sun Belt.



The public sector dominates the Central Ohio employment landscape, with the State of Ohio, The Ohio State University, and the United States Government accounting for an estimated 55,000 to 60,000 employees. When combined with Columbus City Schools the City of Columbus, and Franklin County, the number swells to about 80,000 employees, making government jobs the area's largest employment sector.

The financial sector provides the second largest employment sector in Central Ohio. JPMorgan Chase is the area's largest financial sector employer, with Columbus-based insurance giant Nationwide Insurance a close second. Also headquartered in Columbus is Huntington Bank, with significant presence by banks such as KeyBank, Fifth Third, National City Corp., Park National Corporation, and Commerce National Bank. In addition to Nationwide, other insurance-based companies in Central Ohio include Motorists Insurance, Grange Insurance, Safe Auto Insurance, and State Auto Insurance.

The manufacturing sector includes Honda, which operates their largest North American manufacturing complex in the Marysville area. Also in Marysville is Scotts Miracle-Gro Company, the maker's of Miracle Gro and various other soil and potting fertilizers. Located in downtown Columbus is AEP, which is one of the largest electric utility companies in the US. Mettler Toledo, a manufacturer of precision scales and scientific equipment is based in the area known as Polaris. Worthington Industries, a large steel-processing company, is primarily located on the north side of Columbus near Worthington. The Ashland Inc. company has a large officespace within Dublin. Anheuser-Busch operates one of their 12 breweries on the north side of Columbus. Hexion Specialty Chemicals (formerly part of Borden.) is located in downtown Columbus. The Ross Products Division of Abbott Laboratories, makers of Ensure nutritional drink and Similac infant formula, is also headquartered in Columbus. Homebuilders M/I Homes and Dominion Homes are located in Columbus.

The retail sector's biggest employer is clothing company Limited Brands, which is headquartered in New Albany. Retail brands within the Limited corporate umbrella include Victoria's Secret, Pink (Victoria's Secret), Bath & Body Works, and Henri Bendel. Companies that have been spun off from Limited Brands that are still headquartered in Central Ohio include Abercrombie & Fitch and Tween Brands, formerly Limited Too. Another apparel and furniture company located in Columbus is Retail Ventures. Their operating stores include DSW, Filene's Basement, American Signature, Rooms Today and Value City. Newark is also is the headquarters of basket-maker Longaberger. The headquarters building is in the form of a five-story tall basket, making it the largest basket in the world. The department store holding company Federated Department Stores was once based in Columbus, and included the Lazarus department store chain, before being rebranded under the Macy's brand name in 2005.

Central Ohio is home to two large fast food chains. Wendy's has its corporate headquarters in Dublin, Ohio, while White Castle is located in Columbus. Smaller fast food chains Charley's Grilled Subs and Steak Escape are Columbus-based as well. Cameron Mitchell Restaurants, Bob Evans Restaurants, Max & Erma's, Damon's Grill, and Donatos Pizza are also based in the city.

In the health care sector is Cardinal Health, which is the highest ranked Ohio-based company on the Fortune 500 list, and has its headquarters along I-270 in Dublin. Also in the health services sector is Ohio Health, which is a leading HMO.

Central Ohio has a well established tech sector as well. The Online Computer Library Center (owner of the Dewey Decimal System) is located across from Cardinal on the other side I-270. Other tech-based companies located in Central Ohio include Sterling Commerce and Qwest. Microcenter, a retailer of computers and other electronic equipment, was started in Upper Arlington and is now based in Hilliard. A fair amount of science-based companies also reside in Columbus, including Chemical Abstracts and the Battelle Memorial Institute R&D company. CompuServe was once an independent firm headquartered and operated within Columbus, before being acquired by WorldCom and AOL.

Columbus is home to fractional ownership aircraft company NetJets, and was previously home to Skybus Airlines, a low-cost airline that began flying in May 2007 but folded less than a year later. Columbus used to be an airline hub for America West Airlines, however AWA pulled their hub out of Port Columbus International Airport, making Central Ohio one of the largest US metro areas without a major airline hub. This is also due partly to the fact that relatively nearby cities such as Cleveland, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, and Detroit all have major hubs. Columbus and Delaware, Ohio were slated to be stops along the proposed Ohio Hub passenger rail service between Cleveland and Cincinnati, until Governor John Kasich killed the project.[2][3]

Columbus also has a booming start up culture.[4] There are several business incubators and multiple resources available to help Central Ohio’s small business community thrive.[5] There is also a yearly Startup Weekend workshop[6].


Numerous K-12 school districts are found in the area. There are wide differences in setup, with some districts being mostly rural and having a small enrollment, while others are urban and have large enrollments.

Dozens of institutions of higher education can be found in the area, the largest of which is The Ohio State University in Columbus. Three of the prestigious Five Colleges of Ohio are located in the metro. They include Ohio Wesleyan University, located in Delaware, Denison University, in Granville (near Newark) and Kenyon College in Gambier. Other schools include Otterbein University in Westerville, OSU Newark (a branch campus of The Ohio State University, Central Ohio Technical College (also in Newark), OU Lancaster (a branch campus of Ohio University), Capital University in Bexley, Franklin University, Columbus State Community College, the Methodist Theological School in Delaware, and Mount Vernon Nazarene University.



Numerous museums are located throughout the metropolis. Science lovers will enjoy visiting COSI, which has exhibits, demonstrations, IMAX movies and activities for all ages. The Columbus Museum of Art houses a fine collection of art and hosts many interesting exhibits throughout the year. Stargazers will enjoy Perkins Observatory, located just south of Delaware. The observatory hosts public programs, and serves as the home for the Columbus Astronomical Society. The Ohio Railway Museum, located in Worthington, features a large collection of both static and operational railway equipment. In Hilliard, a unique museum exists in the form of the Early Television Museum. This attraction features a large collection of TV's from the 1920s, 30's and 40's. Fans of Bruce Lee will find the Bruce Lee Legends of Martial Art Hall of Fame Museum located in Reynoldsburg particularly interesting. Nearby in Pickerington, the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum draws those interested in classic cycles as well as its surrounding culture. Also in the area is the Mid-Ohio Historical Museum, located in Canal Winchester. Collections found here include thousands of antique and modern children's toys, a train display, and a miniature circus. Historical memorabilia of an entirely different kind can be found at the Motts Military Museum, located in Groveport.


As is common with the Columbus area, the Ohio State Buckeyes dominate the sports landscape, with TV's tuned into Buckeye football and men's basketball games during their seasons. Other OSU sports also have a dedicated following, such as OSU baseball, women's basketball, and men's hockey, but football and basketball remain the longtime stalwarts of the Central Ohio sports mindset. Ironically enough, the huge emphasis on OSU athletics has also created a backlash against the Buckeyes such that there is a sizable fanbase in Central Ohio for OSU's arch-rivals, the Michigan Wolverines.

Central Ohio hosts two major league professional sports teams. The NHL's Columbus Blue Jackets call downtown's Nationwide Arena home. The 2008 MLS Cup Champion Columbus Crew play in Columbus Crew Stadium near the Ohio State Fairgrounds. The stadium was the first stadium in the United States designed specifically for Major League Soccer (including a FIFA regulation 115 yd (105 m) x 75yd pitch), and has been credited with inspiring the wave of construction of so called soccer-specific stadia throughout the league (for the 2007 season 7 of the league's 13 teams own or share a dedicated soccer stadium, with at least three others having progressed significantly with stadium plans of their own). The Columbus Clippers, which are the Cleveland Indians Triple-A minor league baseball team, play at Huntington Park, which opened at the beginning of the 2009 season, and previously played home games at Cooper Stadium.

Although a majority of the sporting attractions take place in the city proper, there are a few better known events in the area. Since 1976, Dublin has been the site of the PGA Tour's Memorial Tournament at the Muirfield Village golf course, designed by Jack Nicklaus. In 1987, the course hosted the Ryder Cup and in 1998 it hosted the Solheim Cup. An LPGA event called the Wendy's Championship for Children was held in Columbus from 1999–2006.

Two semi-professional football teams compete locally: the Columbus Comets of the Women's Professional Football League and the Ohio Swarm of the Mid Continental Football League. Both teams play in Dublin at Coffman High School. Columbus is also the home of the Columbus Lady Shooting Stars soccer team, who have their home field in Delaware at Roy Rike Field. Columbus was home to the Columbus Destroyers, an Arena Football Team, prior to the league shutting down operations in 2009.

Rahal Letterman Racing has a home in Hilliard and races in the Indy Racing League. Intersport Racing is located in Dublin and races in the American Le Mans Series. TruSports, owners of the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, is found in Dublin as well. Kilisport has a home in the north suburb of Powell and competes in the Champ Car Atlantic Series.

In addition to the plethora of spectator sports above, Columbus has a thriving participant sports spectrum as well. There are approximately 300 golf courses within the Central Ohio area, which is one of the highest ratios of golf courses per capita for a major metropolitan area. There are many on-road and off-road bike trails in the area, with the area being part of the statewide-connected system known as the Ohio to Erie Trail. Skiing facilities exist at Mad River Mountain in Bellefontaine, Ohio, about 40 miles northwest of Dublin, and at Snow Trails near Mansfield, Ohio. Organized baseball and softball leagues are regularly played at Berliner Park in South Columbus, as well as at local fields throughout the area. The Columbus Marathon and Race for the Cure 5K events are held annually in downtown Columbus as well.

Performing Arts

Columbus is the home of many renowned performing arts institutions, including Opera Columbus, BalletMet, the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, the Contemporary American Theatre Company (CATCo), Shadowbox Cabaret and the Columbus Jazz Orchestra. Throughout the summer, the Actors' Theatre offers free performances of Shakespearean plays in an open-air amphitheatre located in German Village.

There are numerous large concert venues in Columbus, including arenas such as Nationwide Arena, Value City Arena, and Germain Amphitheatre. The Lifestyle Communities Pavilion (the LC for short) (formerly the PromoWest Pavilion), Veterans Memorial auditorium, and the Newport Music Hall, round out the city's music performance spaces. Recently, funding has been allocated to renovate the Lincoln Theatre, which was formerly a center for Black culture in Columbus.[7][8] Not far from the Lincoln Theatre is the King Arts Complex, which hosts various cultural events. The city also has a number of theatres downtown, including the historic Palace Theatre, the Ohio Theatre, the Southern Theatre, and the Riffe Center which houses The Capitol Theatre as well as two studio theatres. Much of the growth in entertainment capacity in Columbus has been recent. The construction of the Crew Stadium, Nationwide Arena, Value City Arena, the Greater Columbus Convention Center, and the Lifestyle Communities Pavilion are all projects completed since 1990.

joyUNSPEAKABLE Productions, located in Hillard, provides various live entertainment for special events, including Mimes, Living Statues, and live theatre. The city of Dublin hosts an especially active cultural scene. The Abbey Theatre, (not to be confused with the venue of the same name in Dublin, Ireland) hosts a number of amateur and semi-professional theatre and music events.

Families can enjoy a variety of productions put on throughout the year by the Columbus Children's Theater and the Phoenix Theater, two different theater companies oriented toward children.

Fairs and Festivals

Events taking place within the Greater Columbus area include the Ohio State Fair, one of the largest state fairs in the United States, as well as the Little Brown Jug, a world-famous harness racing event taking place in Delaware. Comfest (officially The Community Festival) is arguably the largest free, non-corporate urban music and arts festival in the United States featuring 6 stages of music over 3 days in downtown's Goodale Park and has occurred annually in late June since 1972. Each year, Dublin hosts the Dublin Irish Festival, which attracts tens of thousands of people for a weekend of Irish food, music, and dance. Upper Arlington hosts its own arts festival annually on Labor Day, taking up a large portion of Northam Park. The Franklin County Fair is held annually in Hilliard.

The Columbus Arts Festival is a huge arts festival held each summer that attracts well-known and talented artists from all around the country. The fair features hundreds of artists of all types, several stages with musical performances, art-related activities for children, and traditional fair food as well as food from area restaurants.

Columbus also hosts a Latino Festival, Jazz & Rib Festival, International Festival, Asian Festival, and a city-wide Fourth of July celebration (Red, White & Boom).

Parks and recreation

In addition to numerous city parks, the Columbus Metro Parks operate 14 large parks mostly focused on preserving and protecting the natural environment. There are many State Parks with unique natural features, including Blackhand Gorge, Clifton Gorge, Alum Creek, Hocking Hills State Park, and Rockbridge State Nature Preserve. The Hocking Hills region also includes parts of the Wayne National Forest, which makes for good Leaf peeping in the autumn. The Columbus suburb Westerville's Parks and Recreation department has won the National Gold Medal for outstanding parks and recreation in its last two years of eligibility (2001 and 2007).[9]

All cities, villages, townships, and communities

Delaware County




Fairfield County




Franklin County






Licking County




Madison County






Morrow County


Pickaway County




Union County



Unincorporated communities


  1. ^ 2010 Census
  2. ^ "Ohio Governor-elect: "That train is dead"". Trains Magazine. November 5, 2010. Retrieved November 7, 2010. 
  3. ^ "Fact Sheet: Kasich says no passenger rail for Ohio". Retrieved 2010-11-04. 
  4. ^ [1], – "In Pictures: America's Biggest Brain Magnets" Feb. 2011.
  5. ^ [2], Link to list of local small business incubators at
  6. ^ [3], link to Startup Weekend website
  7. ^ Siegel, Jim (2006-08-19). "THEATER'S FUTURE ABOUT MORE THAN POLITICS, MAYOR SAYS". The Columbus Dispatch. pp. News 05D. 
  8. ^ Siegel, Jim (2006-12-05). "STATE READIES PROJECTS BUDGET". The Columbus Dispatch. pp. News 01D. 
  9. ^ Full News

External links

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