Ohio's capital is probably best known as the seat of Ohio State University – the third largest university in the country with more than 56,000 students. But this college town is also a city in its own right, bustling with businesses, lively neighborhoods and cultural diversity, and located in the very center of the state. Here's the scoop to help you find Columbus apartments that fit your budget and tastes:

The basics
The cost of living in Columbus is lower than the national average, and the vacancy rate is pretty high at about 5.5 percent. The average rent across all housing types in Columbus is about $720 per month, while one-bedrooms cost $690 on average and two-bedrooms cost approximately $820. The city proper is relatively compact, at 223 square miles, but a car is a necessity here. When planning your move, consider that the Columbus area has about 17 colleges, so moving in the fall when all of the students are moving in might not be ideal. Also, like other Midwestern cities, you're likely to find lower rental rates here during the chilly winter months.

The neighborhoods
Columbus as a whole is great for young professionals, and many people end up staying to work at the four Fortune 500 companies headquartered here. These are some of the best neighborhoods for young people:

  • German Village: This neighborhood just south of Downtown is filled with historic homes, excellent restaurants and great nightlife. It can be a bit pricey, but the nearby Brewery District is cheaper and just as awesome.
  • Victorian Village/Dennison Place/Peach District/Clintonville: These neighborhoods are the reason Columbus is often called the "San Francisco of the Midwest." They're ideal for apartment living, busy, diverse and thankfully not saturated with college students, even though they're not far from OSU and the arena district.
  • Old Towne East: This residential neighborhood near downtown is culturally diverse. It has a fabulous art scene, excellent pedestrian walkways and is fairly inexpensive.

Insider tips

  • Columbus is very diverse and you can find some great ethnic food here – in fact, it has the second largest Somali population in the country.
  • Don't expect to drive immediately before the start or after the finale of a home football game – the whole city shuts down and the streets are packed. It's also not advisable to move during this time, so check your calendar first!