Home to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and 262 miles of Lake Erie shoreline, Ohio offers its over 11 million residents a great place to call home. And Ohio is consistently ranked in the top five economies in the nation, its business-friendly tax rates and capital gains rate makes it a top destination for anyone looking to relocate.
SafeWise understands why Ohioans love their home and why people want to make the move here. There are a lot of cities in the state making great strides toward being the safest around. Based on our own research, as well as the latest FBI Crime Data report from 2011, we’ve put together the 50 safest cities in Ohio, with populations over 15,000 people.
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1. Broadview Heights
If you’re looking for a great place to start or raise a family with a rich cultural heritage, look no further than Broadview Heights. Not only is it the safest city in Ohio, it was recently ranked Ohio’s top city to raise a family in because of its outstanding public schools, median income, as well as economic growth and opportunity.
The Brecksville-Broadview School District received an “Excellent,” the Ohio Department of Education’s highest rating, each year since the program’s inception in 2000. Noted for its girl’s gymnastics programs, the Brecksville-Broadview Heights High School has won 12 state championships, including nine in a row since 2004.
For anyone interested in exploring the Great Lakes region, Broadview Heights is a centrally located launching point to great American cities like Pittsburgh, Detroit, and Buffalo and just minutes away from the many wonderful sites and features offered by Lake Erie.
Just 22 miles east of Broadview Heights is Streetsboro, a suburb of Akron. Rich on history and tradition, Streetsboro is home to the Singletary House, which was the first framed house built in Streetsboro in 1828. Meticulously preserved by the Streetsboro Heritage Foundation, it serves as a museum focusing on the significance of Streetsboro, Portage County, and Ohio’s Western Reserve.
Streetsboro is an excellent place to raise a family. In fact, with just 11 students per teacher, GreatSchools rated Streetsboro Middle School one of the top schools in Ohio.
Streetsboro is also a place where `wp_posts`.siteID = 24526 AND residents take great pride in helping the less fortunate through community involvement. Each year the Streetsboro Police Department sponsors the “Fill-A-Cruiser” food drive, encouraging residents to fill a police car with non-perishable food items used to help the needy through the holidays.
You get the best of both worlds in Streetsboro. It’s a small city just far enough off the beaten path to have its own identity, yet close enough to Akron, Canton, Cleveland, and Youngstown to entice residents to explore and discover the all that northern Ohio has to offer. It’s easy to see why Streetsboro is one of the most desirable and safest destinations in Ohio.
In the 1990s Hudson decided to address two serious problems and developed their “Community First” program. The goal was threefold: Tackle drug abuse, encourage high school graduation, and promote an overall mindset for the youth of Hudson to simply make better choices.
The “Community First” group helped to create an atmosphere of better opportunities for the youth of Hudson, primarily through a focus on culture and education. Hard work and dedication to this program has yielded remarkable results for residents of Hudson, past and present.
Today, this northeast Ohio city, a suburb of Akron, has the distinction of being named one of the 100 Best Communities for Young People by America’s Promise. Its focus on education and opportunities for its youth is reflected in both personal and property crime rates well below the national average.
This affluent city is headquarters to JoAnn Fabric and Craft Store, which operates 751 locations in 48 states and maintains a huge distribution center in Hudson. In addition to being modern and progressive, Hudson has preserved many of its open and undeveloped spaces, kept historical buildings intact, and allowed trees to grow to enormity signifying the strength and beauty of the area.
Courtesy: Zach Vesoulis, CC BY 2.0
4. New Philadelphia
Located in central-eastern Ohio, about 71 miles south of Cleveland, is New Philadelphia. This small town has an established feel with its low crime rates of today, including zero murders reported in 2011, paying homage to the past. It has a thriving “Main Street,” many original buildings, and a civic pride in remembering the past while continuing to move forward.
The Tuscora Park is a central feature of New Philadelphia and features many of its original stone-work infrastructure, including gates, paths, and retaining walls. Residents and visitors along enjoy the massive Ferris wheel, as well as many of its more modern features like a miniature golf course and batting cages.
The real draw happens each summer at the Tuscora Park Amphitheater. It is host to many town events including Sunday church services, musical entertainment from local musicians, plays and other theater featuring local talent. The festivities are culminated with a concert performed by the U.S. Air Force Band of Flight. This renowned military band is one of the most critical received and reviewed bands in existence and their New Philadelphia concert must be seen to be truly appreciated for its scope and magnitude.
Courtesy: Tim Kiser, CC BY 2.5
5. Brook Park
This northern Ohio suburb of Cleveland prides itself on being the home to the 3rd Battalion, 25th Marines, 4th Marine Division, home to more than 800 Marines who know what it’s like to be deployed to combat zones.
The city’s proximity to the scenic and breathtaking Cuyahoga Valley National Park makes the U.S. Department of Interior the top employer in the city, which in turn contributes to a vibrant economy in Brook Park.
One of the most anticipated events each year is the annual Holiday Sleepover sponsored by the recreation department. Every kid, ages 8-12, is invited to spend a Friday night and Saturday morning watching movies, playing games, eating way too many snacks, and participating in tons of other entertainment and excitement. It is events like these that lead to no murders, manslaughters, or rapes reported in to authorities in 2011.
6. North Ridgeville
This west side suburb of Cleveland was recently named the fastest growing city in the Great Cleveland Metropolitan Area, and rightfully so. The 2010 census showed a 32 percent increase in population since the 2000 census. The quality of education in North Ridgeville can easily be cited as one of the primary reasons for the population boom. If you have school-aged children, or plan to in the near future, this could be the city for you and your family.
It’s reasonable to think a population boost like this would lead to increased crime rates, but North Ridgeville has low crime rates, including no reported murders or robberies reported in 2011 and just six car break-ins reported that year. Compared to national averages, these are very positive numbers, especially for a city with a population of about 30,000 people.
To top it all off, residents passed a bond initiative in 2013 to rebuild an elementary school, a middle school, and a high school stadium. Education is clearly a top priority in North Ridgeville!
Midway between Akron and Cleveland, is home to a couple of impressive distinctions. For starters, it’s the only town in the world named Twinsburg. Second, its public library is ranked #1 in the United States!
It’s also home to a unique and truly interesting festival held each year throughout the first week of August. True to its name, Twinsburg hosts the annual Twin Days Festival, billed as the world’s largest annual gathering of twins! If you’re a multiple, identical or fraternal, Twinsburg, Ohio is the only place to be each August.
The festival holds both private and public events, and all multiples—not just twins—are invited. The cities low property crime rate, including no murders reported to officials in 2011, gives visitors a real sense of security as they descend on Twinsburg each year for this festival. More than 3,000 sets of twins participate in this event each year. That’ll definitely have you seeing double!
This affluent suburb of Cincinnati was recently ranked the 42nd best place to live in America by “Money Magazine.” Its per capita income is the highest in southwest Ohio and has steadily risen census to census. It was also the first city in Ohio to erect an Ohio Underground Railroad Historic Marker as part of the 4th Annual Ohio Underground Railroad Summit.
For anyone who is a fan of the Wright brothers, or aviation in general, the 1911 Wright B Flyer Museum is a unique feature in American history. Home to the second airplane designed and flown by the Wright brothers, visitors can fly in an actual replica of the plane as part of their visit to the museum.
The town has hosted the annual Christmas in Historic Springboro Festival for the past 26 years. If holiday celebrations really excite you, then join the 70,000 visitors who come to Springboro each year for the three-day event that includes a fun run, a children’s tent, food and craft vendors, and a winter parade to ring in the holiday season! The low crime rates, including no murders or rapes and just three vehicle break-ins reported to authorities in 2011, definitely lends to the success of this great annual party.
If education is a top priority for you and your family, then Aurora, located in northeast Ohio, should be on your list of cities worth considering as a place to call home.
The Aurora City School District was designated an Excellent District by the State Board of Education, and every school in the city has earned the Achievement of Excellence award, bestowed by the Ohio Partnership for Excellence. The City of Aurora has also earned the prestigious “Schools of Distinction” award for its obvious commitment to educational excellence.
No murders or rapes and just a single car theft in Aurora reported in 2011 can, in part, be attributed to well-educated kids who feel like they will accomplish great things in life.
Additionally, it’s a beautiful city and was named a Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation. This prestigious designation is bestowed on cities that establish a Tree Board, passes a Tree Care Ordinance, and establishes a community forestry program with an annual budget of at least $2 per resident.
“Money Magazine” rated Solon, Ohio the third best places to live in the United States. This small city has an enormous tax base with major employers like Nestle, L’Oreal, and Swagelok employing thousands in the area.
Solon is also home to one of the most prestigious healthcare facilities in the world. The Cleveland Clinic operates a family health center in town, providing residents with access to some of the best healthcare in the world.
If top-rated education is high on your list of priorities, then the Solon City School District will really get you excited. Not only was it the highest achieving district in Ohio in 2012, both the Solon Middle School and Solon High School have smashed the nationwide competition in the annual Science Olympiad. Solon Middle School has won every year since 2008, with Solon High School capturing top honors in the past three events, dating back to 2011.
For a city this size, it’s remarkably low crime rates, including zero murders reported in 2011, are a testament to a residency focused on their quality of life and a strong sense of civic pride.
Image: CC BY 2.5
11. Madison Township (Franklin County)
Madison Township is a distinct city with both incorporated and unincorporated land serving the needs of its residents. Nearly half of the Township’s residents live in unincorporated portions of the city, making it a true rural/urban hybrid.
For outdoor recreation, it’s hard to beat Madison Township. Three sizeable tributaries run through the city. The Alum Creek, Big Walnut Creek, and Blacklick Creek each offer residents and visitors excellent fishing opportunities. The creeks are shallow enough for waders, but water levels do rise in the spring, offering the best chances to catch white bass.
The Madison Local School District has received the Excellent with Distinction Award—the top honor available—from the Ohio Department of Education. Schools in Madison Township consistently exceed state averages in math, reading, writing, science, and social studies as well as in attendance and graduation rates.
If the name stirs images of Ireland, then mission accomplished. The annual Dublin Irish Festival is held the first week of August in this central Ohio city, where more than 100,000 visitors come to party and take part in the weeklong festivities.
Dublin has a strong economy and is headquarters to some of the largest and most recognized companies in America, including Wendy’s, Cardinal Health, IGS Energy, and Stanley Steemer. Top employers in the city also include Nationwide Insurance, Verizon Wireless, and the Dublin City School District.
The city might be best known for its golf culture. Not only is it home to some of the most prestigious golf courses in America, its Muirfield Village Golf Club has hosted the PGA Tour Memorial Tournament each year since 1976. If fairways and greens are your thing, Dublin, Ohio might just be the sweetest city east of, well, Dublin, Ireland!
If the holiday season is something that warms your heart and makes winter the best season of the year for you, then Brunswick is the city for you. Not only does the city go all-out for the season, businesses, churches, and residents alike turn this northwest Cleveland suburb into a winter wonderland of lights and holiday décor. The goodwill and cheer is all around in Brunswick.
Brunswick is also home to the annual Police and Fire Kids Safety Fair. Hundreds of parents and children turn out each year for the daylong event, featuring more than 30 different safety activities on topics like travel safety, Halloween safety, and fire safety in the home. The effects of this are reflected in the city’s overall low crime rates, particularly crimes against others, which are well below national averages.
The Brunswick school system operates on a K-5, 6-8, and 9-12 basis, with the top rated Brunswick High School offering 10 Advanced Placement courses and honors-level curriculum in each educational discipline. It has an Excellent rating, according to the Ohio Department of Education, and part of the reason for this is the deployment of SMART boards (replacing chalkboards) in every classroom. Each teacher is supplied a laptop computer that communicates directly with the SMART board as well.
14. Upper Arlington
Anyone with children and looking for a new place to call home with find Upper Arlington the place to be. A sizeable portion of the population is children 16-years-old and younger. With such a large, youthful population it’s natural to think about crime rates. In fact, there were no murders and only one aggravated assault reported in 2011, which is truly impressive for a city of almost 34,000 residents.
Because of this youthful population, the Upper Arlington City School District placed considerable emphasis on childhood education, beginning with Burbank, its early childhood development school. The Wickliffe elementary school exclusively teaches the informal or progressive education style, which focuses less on a strict curriculum and more on the political, scholarly, and philosophical aspirations of its students.
The Upper Arlington High School continues this educational excellence through its International Baccalaureate program. Its student newsmagazine, “Arlingtonian,” has won national awards and its orchestra has won the National Cup for the top orchestra in the nation.
The safest city in southwestern Ohio, Mason is just a hop, skip, and a jump from Cincinnati and is one of its most well known and affluent suburbs. It’s also one of the most desirable cities for families and can tout its miniscule crime rates as a large part of its success. Mason ranks 13th in the “Money Magazine” Top 50 Best Places to live in the United States. CNN also places the city in its Top 100 Places to Live in the United States.
If volleys and serves are your thing, then you’re going to absolutely love the city of Mason. Competitive tennis permeates the culture of the city, which is why it’s home to the Kings Island Amusement Park, the largest amusement park and water park in the Midwest.
It’s also home to the Lindner Family Tennis Center, host of the Western and Southern Open outdoor hard-court tennis event. Open to men and women, amateurs and professionals alike, the Western and Southern Open is the oldest tennis event in America and is still played in its original city since 1899.
There’s a lot going on in Berea, from Bach to the Cleveland Browns. This west side Cleveland suburb is home to Baldwin Wallace University, a prestigious, private four year university with a focus on the liberal arts. It is best known for its Riemenshcneider-Bach Institute and the nationally renowned Theater Music program at the Baldwin Wallace Music Conservatory.
It hosts the oldest collegiate Bach festival in the United States. Founded in 1932, the festival has morphed in to a three-day cultural event, showcasing some of the best collegiate music talent in the nation. Its low personal and property crime rates, including no murders and just eight vehicle crimes reported in 2011, lets visitors attending the festival rest easy while staying in Berea.
It is also home to the practice facility of the Cleveland Browns football team of the Nation Football League. The 13-acre facility features both indoor and outdoor fields, state of the art technology throughout, and the Dino Lucarelli Media Center.
With an emphasis on both sports and culture, Berea, Ohio is a great place to call home!
Image: CC BY 1.0
17. Madison Township (Lake County)
Madison Township in Lake County is situated on Lake Erie, visible from many locations throughout the Township.
Fans of the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright are in for a real treat when coming to Madison Township. The Karl A. Staley House is a gorgeous stone-and-glass structure built in an I-plan formation. Its stunning glass façade faces Lake Erie and offers some of the most breathtaking views of the lake.
It is also home to one of the most prestigious wineries in the United States. The winery is fortunate to be centrally located in the Grand River Valley, which lends to a climate perfect for growing wine grapes in the region. It is open year round and host many cultural events including jazz festivals, classic car shows, and hot air balloon rides over the area.
This Cincinnati suburb, once known as the Floral Paradise of Ohio, has blossomed into a truly excellent family community. Pronounced DEL-high, this township is located on the Ohio River, just across from Kentucky. The city maintains more than 100 acres of developed parks, offering residents access to such outdoor activities as softball and baseball, volleyball, football, soccer, and tennis. Providing a wide variety of activities for residents is one way the city has been able to maintain crime rates well below the national average.
The first Friday in August is when the real action takes place in Delhi. Known as the Delhi Skirt Game, the police and fire departments challenge each other to a softball game while dressed in drag. It is a huge festival complete with live music, carnival games, concessions, and an impressive fireworks display to top off an entire day of fun.
Courtesy: Delhi Township
19. North Olmsted
This northern Ohio city offers its residents good employment opportunities, world class shopping, and indoor activities in state of the art facilities. Moen Incorporated, one of the world’s largest fixture and faucet companies, calls North Olmsted home. In fact, it is the worldwide headquarters of the multinational corporation and is a major employer in the area.
North Olmsted is also home to Westfield Great Northern, a 1.2 million square foot indoor shopping mall with nearly 150 stores under its roof. Whether you’re interested in shopping, dining, or watching first-run movies, Westfield Great Northern offers residents and visitors a complete shopping and entertainment experience.
The city also just announced a $2.1 million renovation of its already impressive recreation center. The improvement will add an 8,000 square foot fitness center to its existing swimming pool, ice rink, and indoor tennis center.
20. Parma Heights
This southwestern Cleveland suburb is home to an established residency, anchored by families with children typically 18 and younger. These families can feel safe here knowing there were no murders or arsons reported to authorities in 2011, which is great for a town of over 20,000 residents.
The Parma City School District is rated Excellent by the Ohio Department of Education due to its implementation of the Ohio Improvement Plan. The district’s dedication to collecting useful data, analyzing trends, and deploying improvement plans where necessary has led to a district filled with excellent schools for children of all ages.
For those who love community theater and believe it brings wholesome fun to all age groups, the Cassidy Theatre offers yearlong theater entertainment, open casting calls, and a youth theater program. This program is dedicated to teaching the fine arts of acting, musical theater, improvisation, and other workshops designed to engage and excite the youth of Parma Heights.
This affluent Dayton suburb, located in southwest Ohio, is home to the largest collection of stone houses in the state of Ohio. It is also home to the Washington Centerville Public Library, nationally recognized for its excellent community programs, attendance, and public Internet access, each playing a contributing factor to the city’s success in keeping crime well below national averages.
It is also a Certified Green Business, earned through its voluntary programs designed to reduce its ecological footprint, reduce its overall energy consumption, and to create a sustainable resource for the city.
This is also a city that takes its public safety seriously. The Centerville Police Departments hosts a free 12 week Citizens’ Police Academy course for any resident interested in public safety, and how to apply that knowledge to creating safer neighborhoods throughout the city.
There’s no question this level of community involvement plays a big role in this city’s low crime rates. In fact, in 2011 there were zero murders and no robberies reported. For a town this size, those are very impressive numbers.
For parents looking for a city offering a complete educational and extracurricular experience for their school-age students, Wadsworth is your city. It’s also a particularly safe city with violent crimes the exception and not the rule.
The Wadsworth City School District is recognized as an “AAA” district, meaning its students excel at a high level in Academics, Athletics, and Arts. It continually receives an Excellent rating from the Ohio Department of Education for the completeness of experiences offered to students, parents, and faculty alike.
It is also home to the annual Blue Tip Festival. The five-day festival offers residents and visitors a wide range of activities and entertainment, including midway games, amusement rides, an impressive array of foods and drinks, athletic competitions, and performance contests that encourage residents to step out of their comfort zones if only for a few minutes.
If tourist destinations excite you because of the wide range of employment opportunities or because you’re a people watcher, Lebanon will delight you year round. In addition to its historic landmarks and attractive downtown area, Lebanon is host to two festivals that draw visitors and participants far and wide.
Each September, for the past 32 years in fact, the city host the Annual Country Apple Festival. Rain or shine, snow or sleet, the festival promotes all things apple. Residents and visitors alike will enjoy thousands of apple donuts and fritters, hundreds of gallons of apple cider, and enough caramel apples to keep local dentists in business for years to come!
It also hosts the annual Lebanon Blues Festival in early August. The free, one-day event is a whirlwind of activity, including car and motorcycle shows, Kids Row, lots and lots of goodies to eat and drink, and as many blues bands as it can squeeze on stage for 12 hours.
Courtesy: R.P. Piper, CC BY SA 2.0
Willoughby is an awesome city for the young and old alike, this Cleveland suburb is situated on the shores of Lake Erie and is home to the prestigious Andrews Osborne Academy, is ranked 16th in the “Money Magazine” 25 Best Places for Affordable Homes, and the Lakes Metroparks Farmpark.
The Andrews Osborn Academy is a private college preparatory boarding school and day school. Its results are impressive to say the least, with students achieving and average SAT score of 1650 and 100% college placement of its students since the 1980s.
For unprecedented outdoor entertainment and activities, the Lakes Metroparks Farmpark is 36 separate parks comprising more than 8,000 acres. Visitors can fish its many tributaries and lakes, visit the nature center and zoo, hike or cross-country ski its miles of trails, and even play golf on either of its two public golf courses.
25. North Canton
This suburb of Canton is a quiet, family community and home to the private Walsh University, a member of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. Its focus on primary education is reflected in its Excellent rating from the Ohio Department of Education.
As testament to this focus, North Canton was recently awarded a multi-million dollar grant bestowed by the Governor John Kasich Straight A Fund. The North Canton School District performs at very high levels in every area of focus despite not always having the technology and facilities.
The grant will enable the school district to upgrade its technology for students and faculty alike, and will help the district meets is goals of creating portable and mobile classrooms. It will work with Walsh University’s education department to help teachers adapt to the new classroom concept.
Located on the banks of the Maumee River, Perrysburg is home to Fort Meigs, the largest wooden wall fortification in North America. Built to defend the area from British invaders, this sense of safety and security has lived on in the present, creating a city with low crime rates.
Residents and visitors alike enjoy its walkable downtown area, complete with shops, eateries, and plenty of places for cultural entertainment, and can do so with peace of mind. With no murders or rapes, two robberies, and 3 aggravated assaults in 2011, as reported by the most recent FBI crime data, it’s one of the safest urban areas in the nation.
Each September, the town hosts the Harrison Rally Day festival. Sponsored by the town’s Chamber of Commerce, this diverse community festival is designed to promote downtown shops and stores, and is complete with food and drink tasting, fine arts appreciation, a parade, and children’s games and activities throughout the day.
27. Mayfield Heights
Mayfield Heights offers residents an awesome place to live, complete with one of the nation’s most honored school districts, one of the country’s top rated hospitals, and one of the lowest tax rates to be found anywhere.
Anyone seeking a quiet community with a focus on excellence, Mayfield Heights is your city. This family oriented suburb of Cleveland is culturally diverse with its Russian, Italian, and Polish roots still a driving force in its area restaurants, shops, and festivals. It’s also a city that boasts incredibly low crime rates, including just 34 burglaries reported for the entire year in 2011. That’s a fraction of the national average for a town this size.
For complete wellness and emergency services, residents have access to the Hillcrest Hospital, named an impressive 11 times by the Thomson Reuters consumer choice survey as one of the Top 100 Hospitals in the nation. World class surgeons and healthcare providers practice at Hillcrest Hospital.
This centrally located suburb of Columbus is officially the Violet Capital of Ohio. When the violets are in bloom, there’s no more beautiful spot in Ohio!
Home to the Motorcycle Hall of Fame, the town of Pickerington hosts a major motorcycle each year, the Vintage Motorcycle Days. This three-day festival brings the most beautiful and interesting vintage motorcycles to central Ohio to be shown, ridden, and raced throughout the event. No doubt the city’s virtually non-existent crime rates, like just three reported vehicle break-ins in 2011, plays a large role in the success of this event.
Families with athletically-minded school-age children will have an opportunity to enroll in several state championship schools. Statewide championships include boys cross country and basketball, and girls basketball, swimming, and softball.
This Columbus suburb has long boasted the city slogan, “Where the Grass is Greener.” It’s hard to argue when nearly 15,000 new residents call Marysville home since 1990. It’s also hard to argue the low crime rates, which are well below the national average for a city this size, hasn’t also played a role in its growth.
The economy is vibrant and booming in Marysville, with the multi-billion dollar Scotts Miracle-Gro Company headquartered in the city. Additionally, Honda Motors has two manufacturing facilities in Marysville, including the nation’s leading producer of their most popular automobile, the Accord, since 1982.
For the past 38 years, Marysville has hosted the All Ohio Balloon Fest. The three-day event in mid-August sees thousands of visitors arrive for hot air balloon rides and displays, air shows, and plenty of outdoor entertainment including live music, plenty of food and drink, and enough fun to keep families of all ages happy from start to finish.
30. South Euclid
For anyone who likes a civically-minded residency, South Euclid needs to be high on your list of towns to consider. Its low rates of both personal and property crimes, including zero murders reported by the FBI in 2011, are the results of a community filled with residents interested in living above the fray.
Residents of South Euclid have recently joined efforts to construct a dog park, a playground with plenty of features for everyone, and a community garden with a focus on sustainability. It is one of the most walkable cities in Ohio.
The historic William E. Telling Mansion is home to the city’s public library, which is part of the nationally renowned Cuyahoga County Public Library system and offers residents and visitors a unique library experience.
Known as the Crossroads of the Nation, this Cleveland suburb is so named because it is where the Ohio Turnpike and Interstate 71 intersect. This serene city near the banks of Lake Erie has commendably low crime rates, particularly those perpetrated against others.
The city has a solid economy with several major employers calling Strongsville home. They include the corporate headquarters of Performance Materials, Pat Catan’s corporate headquarters, and a big presence from Medical Mutual of Ohio.
It is also home to one of the most beautiful botanical gardens in the country. The 16-acre Gardenview Horticultural Park has been a part of the community since 1949. It is comprised of two separate components, an English garden and an arboretum. The 10-acre arboretum has more than 2,500 unusual trees, and thousands of different flowers. The English garden features a cottage filled with plants displaying silver and gold foliage.
Many people don’t know the Appalachian foothills stretch into southeast Ohio, but Athens is nestled into them and offers visitors and residents a rich, cultural experience that includes a vibrant arts and music scene.
Since the 1970s, Athens has prided itself on its progressiveness, manifested in its several intentional communities, its support of small, sustainable organic farms, and its widespread support of alternative energy sources.
It also prides itself on being tough on crime. In 2011, the most current statistical year available, only 30 crimes against people were reported, including no murders. These numbers are well below the national averages for a city of around 24,000 residents.
It is home to Ohio University, and Jorma Kaukonen’s Fur Peace Ranch guitar camp, but it is perhaps best known for its annual Halloween Bash, billed as the nation’s third largest block party, attended by about 40,000 visitors each year!
If progressive, liberal college towns appeal to your sensibilities, Athens meets those needs and does so as one of America’s safest cities.
Part of the Greater Akron Metropolitan Area, Stow is a golfer’s dream come true. It is home to the Roses Run Country Club, which overlooks parts of the Cuyahoga River, and is consistently ranked as one of the most challenging golf course in America. For golfers who prefer a truly challenging course, Fox Den Golf Course is a top 10 public course in Ohio.
It stands to reason with all that walking done by local golfers the area would have a focus on health and wellness. In fact, the Akron Health and Wellness Center calls Stow home, and is routinely ranked in the top 100 hospital-owned fitness clubs in America by Club Industry Magazine.
For families of all ages who appreciate great outdoor activities and a focus on health and well being, Stow is just the place to call home.
Courtesy: Stow Photographer, CC BY SA
34. Springfield Township
This suburb of Cincinnati offers residents world class amenities that include state-of-the-art outdoor facilities as well as world renowned medical centers.
For anyone who loves to be in the great outdoors as often as possible, Springfield Township has 18 community parks that feature 33 baseball and softball fields, 19 soccer fields, and enough tennis and basketball courts to satisfy anyone’s need to tickle the twine or crash the net. Its low crime rates give residents every reason in the world to take advantage of these outdoor amenities.
It’s also home to three of the top rated medical facilities in the country. The world famous Children’s Hospital, the Shriners Burns Institute, and the Veteran’s Medical Center deliver the best medical care found anywhere, regardless of age, gender, and socioeconomic background.
This well-rounded southwestern Ohio city is a great place to call home. It offers a safe environment for families and singles of all ages, reporting low crime rates, like only one murder reported in 2011.
This northeast suburb of Akron offers outdoor enthusiasts a unique experience due to its inclusion in the Freedom Trail, which follows an unused railroad corridor connecting Akron and Kent, with Tallmadge right in the middle.
The eight-mile trail offer bikers, hikers, joggers, and cross country skiers a smooth, safe, and well maintained path, away from the potential hazards of urban traffic. The trail is owned and maintained by Metro Parks and provides users with breathtaking glimpses of untouched nature along the entire route.
This small community is ideal for young families, and offers a wide range of primary education experiences for K-12 students.
36. Miami Township
About 30 minutes northeast of Cincinnati lay the rural/urban hybrid Miami Township. This truly idyllic community is home to one of the most peaceful and tranquil nature preserves in America.
The Miami Meadows Park is more than 200 acres of protected wetlands, a beautiful “catch and release” fishing lake, and multi-use parks for outdoor activities such as football, baseball, and soccer. It also includes miles of walking trails, picnic shelters, and a dog park.
The slice of Americana harkens back to a day and age in our country when times were simpler and neighbors knew each other, yet remains just close enough to the big city to offer residents those amenities as well. This is evident in its impressively low crime rates, which saw zero murders or rapes in 2011. You can see why so many people choose to call it home.
37. Shaker Heights
Shaker Heights is one of the original, “inner-ring” suburbs of Cleveland. It was originally conceived as a suburban retreat from the daily hustle and bustle of the industrial business parks of Cleveland.
Comprised of nine distinct neighborhoods, modern Shaker Heights is home to the Nature Center at Shaker Lakes. Thousands of school-aged kids in the area participate each year in more than 30,000 hours of curriculum-related school programs at the Nature Center, with a focus on nature preserves, plant species, and indigenous wildlife.
The Nature Center also provides runners, walkers, and outdoor enthusiasts countless hours of year round enjoyment and use of its many trails. Don’t let the fact that it’s an inner-city suburb keep you away. Its crime rates are not only among the lowest in Ohio, they’re well below the national average for a city its size.
If you like that big city feel but don’t necessarily want to live in a huge city, Lakewood will offer you plenty of that. It boasts the highest population density of any city in Ohio, home to roughly 52,000 residents into just six square miles.
This Cleveland suburb is an original “inner-ring” city, and boasts a strong economy anchored by its downtown business district. In fact, Lakewood has thrived economically even during times when neighboring cities and much of the rest of the nation has been in economic decline.
“Travel and Leisure Magazine” ranked Lakewood a top 10 suburb in the United States, citing it as one of the “coolest suburbs worth a visit.” It’s Lakewood Park, situated on the banks of Lake Erie plays a significant role in the city’s appeal, complete with a live concert stage, a swimming pool, and a four-season public pavilion.
The city is walkable, and if this type of suburban life appeals to you, Lakewood is a hard place to say no to.
This suburb of Dayton is a great place for families of all ages, and in particular those with school-aged children. The Kettering City School District consistently meets or exceeds the requirements of the state’s 26 standardized tests, and received a rating of Excellent with Distinction from the Ohio Department of Education.
Through the efforts of local resident and professional skateboarder Rob Dyrdek and the city of Kettering, the 40,000 square foot Skate Plaza became a reality in 2005 and remains the preeminent outdoor park of its type in the area.
For those with an eye on public safety, the Kettering Police Department is the only department of its size to be accredited by both the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies and the Commission on Accreditation for Corrections. This translates directly to Kettering being one of Ohio’s safest cities. This plays a critical role in the city’s low crime rates, including zero murders reported in 2011, which is virtually unheard of in a city pushing nearly 60,000 residents.
This Dayton suburb has become home to many research and development companies, particularly those with defense contracts.
Many residents are current and former Air Force personnel stationed at nearby Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, and have parlayed their military expertise into success in the private sector. This resulted in Beavercreek becoming home to many middle-class families interested in living and working in a safe, stable environment. The military experience of its residents can also be attributed to the city’s excellent track record on crime prevention.
The city’s focus on public safety and education, economic stability, and upward mobility each play a significant role in being named to the “Money Magazine” Top 100 Places to Live in America. Beavercreek is a great choice for anyone seeking these types of public and private amenities in a city.
Situated just 20 minutes from Akron and 40 minutes from Cleveland, Kent is a true college town with local Kent State University as its largest employers and single largest influence on the city’s demographics, including politics, median age, and income.
The city offers a wide range of arts and environmental activities and festivals, including the Kent Heritage Festival every July, coinciding with typical Independence Day activities and celebrations, drawing more than 25,000 additional festival-seekers to the town.
Residents of Kent place a premium on education, which means families of school-aged children can attend schools in a great school district. The Kent City School District has been awarded the United States Department of Education’s Excellence in Education award and consistently rates as Excellent by the Ohio Department of Education.
Sound appealing to you? Kent is an awesome place to call home and ranks well behind towns of similar size in terms of property crimes.
Courtesy: JonRidinger, CC BY SA
This eastern suburb of Cleveland is situated on the south shore of Lake Erie and was recently ranked 37th on CNNMoney.com’s list of Top 100 Best Places to Live in America. With no murders reported to officials in 2011, it’s easy to see why this town of nearly 47,000 residents ranks near the top.
Mentor’s many community features have much to do with water, including the Headlands Beach State Part for sunbathers and the Mentor Lagoons Nature Preserve and Mentor Marsh State Nature Preserve. The Headlands Beach State Park hosts the annual Greater Cleveland Triathlon. More than 600 athletes from around the nation descend on Mentor in early August to swim 1,200 yards, followed by a 23-mile bike ride, and capped off with a 10k run.
Whether you like the beach or prefer the inland features of nature preserves and wildlife conservation areas, Mentor has a little something great for everyone, including the low crime rates typically seen in cities half its size.
43. Cleveland Heights
Everything in this northeast suburb of Cleveland centers on the year round activities held at Cain Park. The summer months are one long string of events, including outdoor theater, dancing, and concerts. Residents grab blankets in the evening and adorn the grassy slopes while listing to jazz, folk, and bluegrass.
The park is also great for more active events, featuring more than 22 miles of paths and trails designed for bikers and joggers alike. There are also plenty of tennis and basketball courts, a skate park, and picnic pavilions.
The major event each year is the Cain Park Arts Festival. This is a juried fine arts and fine crafts event that features over 150 of the country’s top artists. Tens of thousands of visitors come to Cleveland Heights for this respected three-day fine arts festival.
Courtesy: Hank Drake
If you love parks and outdoor activities, this suburb of Columbus, located almost directly in the center of the state will delight you. Gahanna offers more square feet of outdoor parks per capita than the rest of central Ohio combined.
Much of this space is located at the Creekside Park, home to one of the most prestigious music festivals in the country, the Creekside Jazz and Blues Festival. The three-day festival features more than 90 bands playing on five separate stages, food and drink galore, and enough family-friendly entertainment to keep everyone happy and engaged throughout. And it’s all delivered by festival organizers and the city’s public safety departments working together with a keen eye on personal safety.
Come early, though, as more than 40,000 visitors attend each day, making it one of the truly great events of summer!
45. West Chester Township
This diverse town, just minutes north of Cincinnati, boasts a strong economy with major employers like BAE Systems and GE Aviation providing thousands of jobs to residents.
Much of the economic stability of West Chester Township comes from the creation and promotion of the Joint Economic Development District (JEDD), an economic partnership struck with the nearby cities of Fairfield and Springdale.
The Township is also home to one of the wackiest events this side of anywhere. The annual Crazy Cardboard Regatta is held each year on the lake at the Voice of America MetroPark and features people-powered boats made entirely of cardboard. Some sink and some don’t, but everyone has a blast all the same!
To top it all off, it’s a city with no reported murders in 2011, the most recent statistical year available from the FBI. This is in line with is the city’s overall low crime rates, something we rarely see in cities of around 60,000 residents.
46. Goshen Township
You’d be hard pressed to find a township more culturally diverse from its metropolitan area than Goshen Township, located just 10 miles north of Cincinnati. In 2007, residents decided to reclaim Broadway Street, an old thoroughfare long abandoned at about the time cars started to replace horse and buggies. The proposed Broadway Street Nature Trail will create a beautiful, serene outdoor walking experience, working its way throughout the township.
Like several other outdoor projects including the Kathryn Stagge Marr Community Park, the Broadway Street Nature Trail is a work in progress as the community continues to enhance and improve its amenities for residents. With only two robberies and four aggravated assaults reported to authorities in 2011, it’s certainly evident that this a community that watches out for the safety of their neighbors.
The quiet lakeside hamlet, 30 miles from downtown Cleveland, is a community filled with civic pride and shows it in a unique and moving way. With just two robberies and no rapes reported to authorities in 2011, it’s easy to see how this plays a large part in Eastlake being one of Ohio’s safest cities, for residents and visitors alike.
Shortly after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, residents of Eastlake established the Boulevard of 500 Flags. The town’s Memorial Day and Veterans Day services are attended by thousands of residents and visitors and are well recognized in the area for their important contributions to the memories of those who have served our nation.
The town rallies around the services each year ensuring flags and poles are in such condition and repair as to pay proper respect to the solemn events. The Boulevard of 500 Flags is a genuine point of civic pride, and each year—spring and fall—it serves to reunite the town’s residents.
If festivals, events, and celebrations are your thing then you’ll be hard pressed to find a better place to call home than Vandalia. Whether it’s the Homecoming parade, Oktoberfest, the Star Spangled Celebration, the Air and Show Parade, the Taste of Vandalia, or the Vandalia Corporate Challenge, this suburb of Dayton never slows down.
There are dozens of other fairs and festivals that take place in Vandalia, and many of them take place at one or more of the town’s 25 parks and picnic facilities, comprising more than 300 acres of outdoor activity space.
Love to party? Does participating in civic events and festivals interest you? Vandalia will have you on the go, year round as it celebrates an incredible array of themes and holidays. It’s great to see a city with such a flair for events and festivals keep their crime rates so low. There were no murders and only seven robberies reported to law enforcement in 2011.
49. Sylvania Township
Sylvania is Latin for “place in the woods,” and this suburb of Toledo is aptly named. It’s a city that firmly believes charity starts at home and when extended to the public square can play a powerful role in a city’s perception of itself, including how residents treat each other and their property. Its zero reported rapes and murders in 2011 are testament to this.
The town is most famous for hosting the Jamie Farr Classic since 1984, the year it was established. This LPGA event, just recently renamed the Marathon Classic, established one of the most important women’s professional golf tournaments in the nation. Its importance is in the 115 children’s charities that have received nearly $7 million as the tournament’s charitable beneficiaries.
For families of all ages, Sylvania Township prides itself on its focus on education. The Sylvania School District is routinely rated Excellent by the Ohio Department of Education. Great schools and a community filled with dozens of outdoor recreation venues makes this a great town to call home.
This diverse suburb of Columbus, centrally located in Ohio, offers residents a city that respects and preserves its historic areas while focusing on advancing the newer areas of the city.
Residents have invested millions of dollars establishing its historic district of Old Hilliard as one of the most walkable communities in Ohio. Its many downtown shops and businesses are conducive to people getting to and from on foot, and have established a true neighborhood feel.
Perfect for families, Hilliard offers its residents several children’s play areas, paved and gravel pathways, picnic areas, and a community fishing pond. Newer sections of town have also benefited from investment money that has improved roadways and entirely upgraded the telecommunications infrastructure with modernity and future growth in mind.
The city broke ground on the Hilliard Station Park in the fall of 2013, which will include a water park, an amphitheater, and a community arts center. The park will also be home to one of the largest 9/11 memorials in the country, honoring first responders who paid the ultimate price after helping others.
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