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The Best Places to Retire in Ohio

Table of Contents
Big Ohio Cities You’ll Love       Charming Small Towns to Check Out Overall Cost of Living in Ohio     Retiring in Ohio: Pros and Cons

Are you considering retiring in Ohio? If you’re among those weighing options for the next exciting phase of life, the Buckeye State might not immediately jump out as the most glamorous choice. But when it comes to quality of life, financial benefits, and diverse attractions, Ohio genuinely shines. A blend of bustling urban centers and peaceful towns, it provides retirees a unique lifestyle that merges both pace and tranquility.

So, is Ohio a good place to retire? Let’s break it down. The state boasts a strategic location near the Great Lakes, offering a plethora of outdoor activities. Whether you’re an avid fisher, a hiking enthusiast, or someone who loves picnics by the lake, Ohio won’t disappoint. Its four distinct seasons, from the vibrant fall foliage to the blossoming spring, bring along a myriad of activities suitable for every weather enthusiast.

Financially speaking, Ohio’s cost of living is favorable when compared to many other states in the United States. The Buckeye State is, on average, about 11% cheaper than living elsewhere. Especially for retirees, the state’s tax policies and housing benefits are hard to overlook. Additionally, Ohio’s emphasis on community and culture ensures that senior citizens don’t just live here; they thrive.

Beyond the tangibles, it’s the intangible feel of Ohio—the Midwest charm, the neighborly spirit—that amplifies the sense of belonging. So, if you’re pondering the big question of where to settle down post-retirement, give Ohio a chance. Dive into its offerings and see how it aligns with your vision of a dream retirement.

Big Ohio Cities You’ll Love


When thinking of the best cities to retire in, Ohio might not always be the first state that springs to mind. But if you’re someone who thrives in the vibrancy of big cities, you’re in for a pleasant surprise. Ohio’s major urban centers offer a blend of cultural richness and affordability, making them desirable retirement destinations.

Columbus: As the state capital and its largest city, Columbus strikes a perfect balance between metropolitan allure and small town feel. Thanks to being the college town for The Ohio State University, the downtown area buzzes with life, hosting a mix of world-class art galleries, theaters, and restaurants. For retirees who love being in the midst of it all, Columbus is the place. Housing costs here are relatively moderate, with the average home prices hovering around $280,000.


Cincinnati: Nestled by the Ohio River, Cincinnati offers retirees a scenic view complemented by a rich history. Known for its stunning architecture and the Cincinnati Art Museum, it’s a haven for art enthusiasts. (If you visit, definitely get yourself some snacking waffles at Taste of Belgium.) The city also boasts beautiful parks perfect for leisurely strolls. When it comes to real estate, Cincinnati is surprisingly affordable, with median home prices about the same as in Columbus; well below the national average.


Cleveland: A city that has seen a renaissance in recent years, Cleveland is now among the top choices for anyone looking for metro area retirement. The shores of Lake Erie provide a serene backdrop for this bustling city. Its world-class institutions, like the Cleveland Museum of Art and the renowned Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, are just some of the attractions here. Housing in Cleveland is a steal, with the average home selling for an astounding $120,000 in August of 2023.

Each of these big cities provides a distinct flavor and atmosphere, catering to diverse interests. Whether you’re a lover of art, music, or simply enjoy the hustle and bustle of city life, Ohio’s urban centers have something special to offer. With affordable housing costs and plenty of activities, it’s easy to see why they’re quickly becoming favored spots for those looking to enjoy their golden years in style.

Charming Small Towns to Check Out

Chagrin Falls

For those who prefer the quiet allure and tight-knit feel of smaller communities, Ohio has some of the best small towns to retire in. These destinations offer tranquility, easy access to nature, and the kind of charm you won’t find in larger cities.

Granville: Often described as one of Ohio’s prettiest towns, Granville, with its New England-style charm, offers retirees a serene setting. With tree-lined streets, historic homes, and a quaint downtown area, it’s a step back in time. The town is close to several state parks, providing nature enthusiasts with ample opportunities for outdoor activities. Housing here is much more expensive, however. Homes sell for nearly $500,000 on average. 

Chagrin Falls: Named after its picturesque waterfall on the Chagrin River, this town is the epitome of scenic beauty. Known for its artsy vibe and historic downtown area, Chagrin Falls is perfect for those seeking cultural activities in a smaller setting. For golf aficionados, there are several golf courses in and around the town, making it a hit among retirees who enjoy the sport. Median home prices here are even pricier than Granville, however. Homes tend to sell for upwards of $600,000

Yellow Springs: A vibrant and artsy community, Yellow Springs is a haven for retirees looking for a unique small-town experience. With a history rooted in arts and culture, the town offers various festivals, galleries, and theaters. Moreover, its location provides easy access to nearby John Bryan State Park, ensuring nature lovers are never too far from their next adventure. Housing is cheaper here than in Chagrin falls, but still pricier than the cities. The average home sells for $485,000

Each of these charming towns offers retirees a distinct flavor, from artsy hubs to nature-centric getaways. They beautifully encapsulate what Ohio is all about: diverse, welcoming, and rich in experiences. So, if the allure of serene landscapes, state parks, and tight-knit communities speaks to you, these towns might just be the perfect backdrop for your retirement.

Overall Cost of Living in Ohio


Ohio’s appeal as a retirement haven isn’t limited to its scenic beauty or cultural hubs. One of the primary draws for many retirees is its favorable cost of living, especially when compared to other states in the United States.

According to the Census Bureau, Ohio’s median home value is a mere $220,000. That’s nearly half the national average of $410,000, making it an attractive option for those on a fixed income or working with a limited retirement fund. This affordability extends beyond just housing. Groceries, utilities, and transportation costs tend to hover below national averages, making day-to-day living more manageable.

When it comes to tax rates, Ohio paints a somewhat mixed picture. The state does levy sales taxes, which might slightly bump up everyday expenses. However, the impact of these sales taxes on your overall expenses is often offset by the various tax benefits the state offers to retirees. One such benefit is the Ohio retirement credit, a tax credit specifically for retirees, which can considerably reduce the tax burden for those living on pension or retirement income.

While it’s essential to factor in individual circumstances and specific regions within the state (as some cities might have a higher cost of living than others), on the whole, Ohio presents retirees with an opportunity to enjoy a comfortable lifestyle without the financial strain that might come with other popular retirement destinations.

As always, while general statistics provide a broad overview, it’s advisable to delve into the specifics of regions you’re considering for retirement. By doing so, you’ll get a comprehensive picture of what to expect, financially, ensuring a smooth and enjoyable Ohio retirement experience.

Retiring in Ohio: Pros and Cons

Ohio clearly offers a harmonious blend of urban sophistication and rural charm for those seeking retirement there. Its metropolitan hubs like Columbus and Cincinnati provide cultural and recreational amenities, from art galleries to downtown events. 

In contrast, smaller towns such as Yellow Springs present serene environments close to state parks and nature. Cost-wise, Ohio stands as an attractive option, especially within its cities. The state’s tax rates, alongside reasonable living costs, ensure retirees can stretch their dollars further. Additionally, the balance between housing costs and quality of life places Ohio on many retirees’ radar.

Yet, the overarching lesson isn’t merely about Ohio’s attributes. The importance of early retirement planning is always worth mentioning. The sooner you map out your road map to retirement, the more options and flexibility you’ll have, whether that’s in Ohio or anywhere else in the United States. And while starting early is a boon, it’s essential to remember that it’s never too late to strategize for a fulfilling retirement, seizing the best of what Ohio has to offer.


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