7.3 out of 10

Columbia-Tusculum

Ranked 5th best neighborhood in Cincinnati
39.1238105129191 -84.4389371156506
Great for
  • Clean & Green
  • Internet Access
  • Pest Free
  • Parks & Recreation
  • Safe & Sound
Not great for
  • Medical Facilities
  • Lack of Traffic
  • Childcare
  • Public Transport
  • Shopping Options
Who lives here?
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Trendy & Stylish
  • Singles

Reviews

4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"Columbia-Tusculum, a quaint neighborhood with architectural charm and historic appeal"

Columbia-Tusculum is a historic neighborhood nestled between the Ohio River and nearby hills of East Walnut Hills, Mt. Lookout, and Hyde Park. It has a unique architectural charm not found elsewhere in the city. San Francisco has its famous "painted ladies" of Alamo Square, but Cincinnati has its own "painted ladies" right in Columbia-Tusculum. These brightly painted historic homes, mainly Victorian in style, are one of the key attractions of this small community. Columbia, as it was originally called, was founded in 1788, making it the oldest neighborhood in Cincinnati.

Today, Columbia-Tusculum is a lively, vibrant neighborhood full of its own unique charm. In recent years it has gone through a renewal, with some new buildings bringing in new businesses to the area. I used to drive through this area everyday while on my way to school and then work, the main corridor of Columbia Parkway is a different landscape today than it was a decade ago.

There are a number of excellent restaurants in the heart of the Columbia-Tusculum neighborhood. One of the most famous restaurants in this area is local restaurateur Jeff Ruby's The Precinct, so named because it is housed in a former police station at the corner of Columbia Parkway and Delta Avenue. The Precinct is an upscale steakhouse attracting elite from around town and around the world. It is one of former Los Angeles Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda's favorite restaurants. The Precinct has recently been remodeled, but if you choose to dine there, make sure your bank account is full... especially if you order the $62 steak.

Other great dining spots in Columbia-Tusculum are not as pricey as The Precinct, but they offer tasty fare at my affordable prices. There is the old neighborhood stand-by of Allyn's Cafe. Allyn's is a long-time local restaurant that has recently been remodeled. They frequently feature live music and have a variety of food on their menu, including vegetarian options. The Green Dog Cafe is a newer restaurant in the area, but is a great choice for good food that is locally sourced, sustainable and organic. They offer a variety of dishes that are vegetarian and vegan. Both Allyn's and Green Dog are located on the main corridor of Columbia Parkway. Right off of Columbia Parkway on Stanley Avenue, you will find a great little dive bar, Stanley's Pub. Stanley's features super cheap drinks and live music.

Alms Park, located on Mt. Tusculum, is a gem of a park offering fantastic views of the Ohio River valley. The park includes an Italianate Pavilion, which is available to rent for special occasions. The nearby Lunken Recreation Area features a bike path, children's playground, and a nearby farmer's market.

The recent renewal of the Columbia-Tusculum area with its new businesses and new housing, has made Cincinnati's oldest neighborhood a highly desirable location which also makes the housing more expensive. However, it is conveniently situated to Downtown Cincinnati and the surrounding communities, making it an ideal place to live.
Pros
  • Nice homes
  • Eco-friendly
  • Great location
Cons
  • heavy traffic on Columbia Parkway
  • potential for flooding from the Ohio River
  • expensive housing
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 1/5
  • Medical Facilities 2/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 2/5
2yrs+

"Columbia-Tusculum: Clean, Green, and Totally Unique"

Columbia-Tusculum (C-T) was rated one of Cincinnati Magazine’s “2010 Best Places to Live” and I agree wholeheartedly. I think C-T is one of Cincinnati’s most unique neighborhoods. The colorful houses that line the streets are known as the “painted ladies” and are a big part of what defines this area. Most people will recognize C-T from their drives through the city, though not many people have really stopped to take a look around. If you do, you’ll notice that the neighborhood is rather small, but full of charm.

You’ll find some quaint local eateries, such as Green Dog Cafe and Allyn’s, as well as some other small businesses such as Moksha Yoga, eco-friendly Greener Stock, BeneFIT Studio, and Ballet Theatre Midwest, among others. In terms of homes, they’re generally much more affordable than those in neighboring Hyde Park, but no less beautiful. Architectural styles range from Victorian to Gothic Revival, and the architecture in the neighborhood’s historic district is especially beautiful.

Columbia-Tusculum is also in a really great location. It’s nestled between Hyde Park, Mt. Lookout, and East Walnut Hills, all beautiful neighborhoods with a lot to offer. Additionally, the river is nearby, and a drive along Columbia Parkway will speed you to any part of town you want to visit. For example, downtown is a short 7-minute drive away. Nearby schools include McKinley Elementary School, Kilgour Academy, the Summit Country Day, and Riverview East Academy.

Overall, C-T is known for its beautiful architecture, green living opportunities (it was home to Greenarama 2011), and other unique residential and business attributes. It’s a very safe neighborhood and seems to be improving year by year. According to its website, “Columbia Tusculum had the biggest percent increase in median home sales price from 2008 to 2009 of any neighborhood in the greater Cincinnati area” -- this statistic refers to a whopping 22.39% increase!

All in all, I highly recommend Columbia-Tusculum for professionals, singles, families, and really anyone looking to settle down in Cincinnati.
Pros
  • Quiet and pretty
  • Nice homes
  • Safe
  • Great location
  • Eco-friendly
Cons
  • Lots of steep hills
  • Not especially diverse
  • Not great nightlife
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Hipsters
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 1/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"Columbia-Tusculum: Slow down and take a look"

Columbia-Tusculum is Cincinnati's oldest neighborhood with some of the oldest homes, although most Cincinnatians probably know it as the neighborhood they zip through on their way to an eastern destination. The streets that intersect Columbia Parkway (Rt. 50) have a selection of historic homes. Somewhere along the line quite a few residents decided their homes would be cool painted in unusual color combinations like purple and blue. It's an interesting look to say the least.

There's a Community Council and Business Association (columbiatusculum.org) working to keep the neighborhood moving forward. In the hills above Rt. 50 you'll see newer homes of the sort that require an executive or local star salary to own. In 2011, Columbia Tusculum was the location of the city's first Greenarama, a home event that showcased a development of LEED certified condominiums. If the community and the developers can work out the design specifications, there will soon be a new 76 unit apartment complex on the corner of Columbia and Delta Ave.

Shopping and entertainment
If you're on Rt. 50 and miss the stop light at Delta Ave., you'll probably zoom right through the T-C entertainment and shopping district. The Precinct is certainly the highlight of the area, a must-do if you love steak. The rest of area has been growing commercially over the past few years as well. There's a plaza with a selection of new businesses.

For fitness there's a Moksha Yoga. If your kids need preschool playdates, there's a Gymboree. The Green Dog Cafe (greendogcafe.net) has a nice selection of organic, vegan and vegetarian dishes. There's also a Bruegger's Bagels for a fast food on the go.

Allyn's Cafe is across the street at 3538 Columbia Parkway. They've got outdoor seating and a multi-colored sign that advertises Cajun-Mexican food. Nearby is Greener Stock, a small green goods store.

There are no grocery stores in the immediate area, but Hyde Park Plaza Kroger and Remke/Biggs are a 10 minute drive in good traffic. There are also bars, restaurants and lots of entertainment a few minutes away in Mt. Lookout.

Recreation
Columbia Tusculum is near the river, which means it's only minutes to river-based water activities.

Lunken Airport is a five minute drive. They've got picnic areas, a bike trail an active airfield with incoming and outbound flights as well as resources for flying lessons. It's also a short drive from T-C to Ault Park and the Cincinnati Observatory.

Cincinnati Public Schools

Riverview East Academy, Pre-K-12 public enrollment, 3555 Kellogg Ave. (rivervieweast.cps-k12.org)
Cincinnati Gifted Academy, Grades 3-6, 3555 Kellogg Ave. (giftedacademy.cps-k12.org)

There are no medical facilities in the neighborhood, but city hospitals aren't that far away.
Pros
  • Nice homes
  • Quiet and pretty
Cons
  • Very little diversity
  • Lots of steep hills
  • No Grocery Store or Drug Stores
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 2/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"A nice little section of town to reside, but nothing more."

Columbia-Tusculum is mostly a residential area that is one of the nicer areas of town that is close to downtown. I house sit in this area from time to time and it has struck me as a nice, clean, and safe area to be in. From my outside observation, the people seem to be the busy type. Not unfriendly, but I would say they don't step outside their individual lives as often as other communities i have experienced in Cincinnati do. There are many unique and fun houses along the streets, and their owners stay on top of their upkeep. They look like houses I could live in one day, but certainly not something I could afford fresh out of college.

Highway 50 runs straight through Columbia-Tusculum and is the main traffic center for the area. This road has been developed in the recent years adding more businesses, restaurants and bars making the residential area more appealing and handy. Unfortunately, there is still no grocery stores or drug stores within the border of this neighborhood. So one has to dive a few miles out of the are to reach one.

The Precinct is probably the gem of the area's eating out options. This Jeff Ruby steakhouse is pricy, but from what I am told is unmatched in service and in taste for steak in the city (except for other Jeff Ruby branches, of course http://www.jeffruby.com/ )

Greener Stock is a green initiative company based right off OH-50 that is one of the only businesses that sells Green initiative products to Cincinnati. It's definitely a company striving to help establish Cincinnati as one of the most environmentally friendly cities in the USA, so for that they are worth taking a closer look at them and something unique Columbia-Tusculum has to offer. (http://www.greenerstock.com/)

Although I don't live in the area, Its easy to see that the neighborhoods are nice to take leisurely strolls in, and the people there often do. The area is very safe, peaceful and I would encourage families who want to be close to the city to look for a residence there.
Pros
  • Quiet and pretty
Cons
  • No Grocery Store or Drug Stores
  • Lots of steep hills
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Trendy & Stylish

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