The Ultimate Guide to Moving to Cincinnati

A low cost of living, great beer, and a host of diverse community festivals make Cincinnati a great place to live—here’s what you need to know before moving.
Written by Abbey Orzech
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
Before moving to Cincinnati, you’ll want to make sure you consider every aspect of Cincinnati living. While there is a major beer scene, great schools, and a low cost of living, you’ll also have to content with a significant crime presence and reliance on personal vehicles.
Situated between the Little Miami and Great Miami Rivers, picturesque Cincinnati, Ohio was once inhabited by the Shawnee people who were forced out by European colonizers beginning in the mid-1600s. The area became a significant river port in the 1800s and has since transformed to become the German beer and fare-loving, Bengals-supporting, affordable metro area it is today.
In many ways, Cincinnati is a great place to live. A low cost of living, a highly diversified job market, and unique foodie and cultural experiences are some of the major pulls, but there will more than likely be some aspects that turn prospective residents off. 
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What you need to know about Cincinnati before you move

Nearly reaching 80 square miles in size, the Cincinnati metro area houses a population of 2,214,265 people. The city is in Ohio but mere miles from the Kentucky border, Cincinnati sees tons of folks milling about during their daily routines. 
Big fans of football, beer, cultural events, and affordable housing may love it, but anyone averse to high humidity, below-average salaries, and personal vehicle dependence may not.

1. It’s among the most affordable cities in the country 

If you’re considering the move to Cincinnati from places like Chicago, New York, or San Francisco, you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Cincinnati’s overall cost of living comes in at a roomy 84.6—a whole 8% less than the national average (100) and eons below living in other big cities. 
What does that mean in terms of things like housing, food, and healthcare? You can find a one-bedroom apartment in the city for $1,373, or a one-bedroom apartment out of the city center for just $1,120
Cincinnati’s housing costs are about 48% lower than what you’ll find in Chicago. You’ll also enjoy about 5% lower food costs, 8% lower healthcare costs, and 11% lower transportation costs
Grab your morning coffee for $3.90, your happy hour pint for $4.75, and your morning after McDonald’s meal for $7.79. Most things in Cincinnati lean towards affordable—in fact, US News ranked it the 22nd most affordable place to live in the country. 

2. Diversified job market, from libraries to Fortune 500s

Cincinnati is not necessarily one of those cities that is totally reliant on just one or two job sectors. While the major Fortune 500 companies like Kroger and Procter & Gamble do contribute heavily to local employment and economic stimulation, residents have a wealth of other opportunities to choose from. And the unemployment rate is lower than average at 7.1% vs the national 8.7%. 
Health care workers are needed in the city’s eight hospitals. Science, business, arts, cosmetics, industrial machinery, textiles, and food careers can bloom. And don’t forget about the impressively sized library system that employs hundreds of people across 40 branches
You may be thinking—what’s the salary like for a librarian or any of these other jobs? The average salary in Cincinnati is $53,650 a year, which is just below the national average. This city is on the affordable side, it’s true, but the lower annual salary and $9.30 minimum wage leave almost 25% of the population at or below the poverty line
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3. There is a high chance you’ll be a victim of a crime

For all the good Cincinnati may have to offer, there can also be a lot of bad. According to
Cincinnati’s analysis on Neighborhood Scout
, this city has one of the highest crime rates in the country
Most of the crime committed is property crime—you have a one in 205 chance of getting your vehicle stolen, so maybe brush up on vehicle anti-theft deterrents—but there are also potentially alarming chances of violent crime encounters, one in 113 to be exact. Your chances of becoming a victim of any crime in Cincinnati is one in 22, and there are a reported 117 crimes committed per square mile
Every sizeable city has increased crime rates, so don’t let this be the absolute teller of your Cincinnati future, but it’s definitely something to consider. 

4. Great schools and plenty to do make this city very family-friendly

The median age in Cincinnati is 38 years old, so there are many family-oriented folks with school-aged children in the area. With 128 public schools, 211 private schools, and 12 colleges and universities, many of them highly rated, there is a big education pull in the Cincinnati area. 
But it’s not all school and no play for Cincinnati’s families. Those looking for fun outings can visit the
Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden
, road trip to nearby
Kings Island
Great Wolf Lodge
, or catch a game at the Red’s home field
Great American Ballpark
There are also a ton of community cultural events that enhance both education and entertainment opportunities! There’s the Greater Cincinnati Chinese Cultural Exchange Association’s mid-autumn
Moon Festival
with lantern displays, music and dancing, and delicious mooncakes.
Cincy Music Festival
is the oldest and largest R&B festival in the country and has seen legends like Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, and Earth, Wind, and Fire. The annual
Cincinnati Pride
welcomes and celebrates the LGBTQA+ community with music, food, drinks, and drag queens.
Asian Food Fest
Cincy Cinco
celebrate the wide diversity of Asian and Latin American cultures, food, and music. It seems like you’ll never be bored! 

5. If you don’t have a car, get a car

Like many places in the US, there is not a comprehensive public transportation system in Cincinnati. In fact, if you’re not moving around the city center, there is an abysmal lack of public transit options available to you outside of Uber/Lyft or car rentals. 
The good news, though, is if you have a car you’ll be set on getting around. Cincinnati has three major interstates (71, 75, and 275) nearby that can take you through or out of the city or state quickly. Keep an eye on your gas tank though and be prepared to fill up with higher than average fuel prices, currently resting around $4.51 per gallon of regular gas.

6. Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? The climate is temperate, anyway

Cincinnati sits at an almost-in-the-south, almost-in-the-north geographical location and so sees a relatively temperate climate. Wintertime temperatures sit around 33°F and you’ll exist among a gray, damp chill. In the summer, you’ll experience high humidity from the surrounding rivers but daytime temperatures typically land around a comfortable 74°F
All-in-all, the weather doesn’t get so extreme that you’d have to return your tickets to see the
Cincinnati Shakespeare Company

7. Enjoy a three-way, no one will judge you

The Cincinnati “three-way” comes as shredded cheese and chili on top of spaghetti
Although this won’t be everyone’s favorite dining experience, it is certainly a Cincinnati delicacy that has stoked decades of chili rivalry throughout the state and is probably worth a try. If Cincinnati chili isn’t making your belly grumble, don’t worry! There are a lot of other great foodie spots to try, particularly in Downtown and Queen City
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Does Cincinnati live up to its stereotypes?

Cincinnati may not be your dream location if you’re totally turned off by the above-mentioned details. But if the idea of a three-day
Oktoberfest Zinzinnati
with all the lederhosen, good beer, and wiener dog racing you can handle, or the highly diverse job market, or the low cost of living intrigues you, then stick around. 
With so many people living in the area, you’ll be sure to find your circle. Just be sure to sport orange and black on Bengals game days or beware of the sports fanatic heckles. 
Now, let’s get into what it would actually take for you to pack up and move to the US News #1 choice for the best place to live in Ohio.  
Key Takeaway You’ll enjoy a low cost of living, unique food experiences, and loads of cultural events in Cincinnati, but keep in mind the high crime rates and need for a car.

Finding a place to live in Cincinnati

First things first when you move anywhere, you’ll need to find a place to live in Cincinnati. 
Happily, there are over 70 unique neighborhoods for you to choose from! And remember that low cost of living that keeps getting mentioned? It’ll serve you well when searching for a home to buy or an apartment to rent as Cincinnati has lower than average home prices and is considered the #1 most affordable city in the US for one-bedroom renters
Not sure where to start looking for your next home? Check out these Cincinnati neighborhood staples:
  • Most affordable neighborhoods: Clifton, Hyde Park, Mt. Washington, Oakley, Pleasant Ridge
  • Best neighborhoods if you’ve got kids: Kenwood, Loveland, West Chester
  • Best neighborhoods for foodies: Over-the-Rhine, Downtown, Queen City, Northside, Walnut Hills
  • Best neighborhoods for outdoor recreation: Riverfront, North Central, Aurora, Price Hill
It will help you get a better vibe of your prospective neighborhood if you do a bit of online research first, then, if possible, spend a bit of time there. Plan a visit where you can explore the area and its offerings to decide if you can see yourself living there! 
Pro Tip RE/MAX notes that Cincinnati has the fastest-selling homes in the country, so if you find a place you love put an offer on it quickly! 

Moving to Cincinnati checklist

After you select the right neighborhood for you and your lifestyle and find the right house or apartment, you can start preparing for the big move! To help the moving processes run more smoothly and your brain processes run less stressfully, follow these Moving To Cincinnati checklists:

Before you go

Before you move, make sure to: 
  • Do your research on
    Cincinnati moving companies
    . Choosing the right one can make your move as seamless and stressless as possible while also meeting your budget. 
  • Pack your belongings. The right moving company may be able to help you with that, or you can politely ask a friend.
  • Give your landlord, utility provider, insurance provider, and any other relevant party proper notification that you’re moving.
  • Consider shipping your car to Cincinnati if you’re coming from a long way away and don’t want to take a cross-country road trip.

After you get there

You’ve arrived safely and have begun your unpacking, but you’re not quite finished! Make sure you check these boxes too:
  • Update the registration and insurance for your car if you have one. 
  • Update your mailing address, healthcare, and voting registration.
  • Look into renters or home insurance plans to protect your belongings and save you from having to shell out major moola down the line. 
  • Pull out a map (or bring one up online) and mark down points of interest for future exploration! You’ll want to find your favorite coffee or lunch spot ASAP.MORE:
    Tips for moving out of state

How to save on car, renters, and home insurance in Cincinnati

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There isn’t a definite answer to this question, unfortunately. It will depend on your personal preferences and needs! If you are looking for a city with a low cost of living, plenty of job opportunity, mild weather conditions, and unique cuisine, Cincinnati may be worth the hassle of moving. If, on the other hand, you don’t want to face a high crime rate, below average salaries, or a lack of public transit, it may not be worth it.
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