Should We Stay or Should We Go: The Case for Cincinnati

I’ve lived in Cincinnati for three years. Like many families here, a job (I’m looking at you GE, P&G, UC, etc) is what brought us here. My husband, Collins, matched here for residency with the UC Emergency Medicine program. He will complete his training in June of next year which means that we are currently in the thick of interview season, hoping to sign a contract within the month. No pressure…

With my family in Vermont and my husband’s in South Carolina, we had never considered staying in Cincinnati past residency. Now it’s three years later and we both are hesitant to leave. I think there are four elements that are essential to make a place desirable: Community, Nature, Amenities, and Investment. Here’s how Cincinnati meets each of these for our family.

Community

This one is hands down the easiest. When we moved here, we didn’t know anyone, and now I have more friends here than anywhere else. Our church (shout out to Mariemont Community Church!) is largely to thank for this. It has been an incredibly welcoming and transparent community and has been a great example for me that you get out what you put in. The more I put myself out there and got involved, the more familial and connected I felt. Which I know is like, so obvious, yet so many of us are hesitant or skeptical, or both. So we don’t, and we miss out.

The other huge piece to community for us has been Collins’ residency program. We hit the jackpot with his class; every person, spouse included, have been a remarkable addition to life here.  They are some of our closest friends. To have other people that understand such a big part of our life has been a gift to us. And even better when those people are equally able to talk about life around a bonfire as they are to go out in OTR until the wee hours of the night after the work Christmas party.

I’m in the position now that I actually feel spread too thin, with friends. That there are literally so many cool women in this city that I don’t have enough time to dig in as much as I’d like to with each of them. And not just, “Oh, let’s get a drink sometime!” I mean like, let’s do life together and talk about tough stuff and fun stuff and you’re cool with me dropping my kids off at your house at a moment’s notice”. Um, yasssss please. Too many friends. That is not a problem; that is a big time blessing. And one that’s not nearly as common as I thought.

Nature

To be fair, Cincinnati is in an unfairly weighted fight when it comes to this. You can’t compete with the charming beauty of the Green Mountain state, nor with the stunning beaches of the Carolina coast. However, I will say that for being from an unsuspecting state, Cincinnati city parks have SO MUCH to offer! And that’s not even including the many places that are within driving distance. What I like about Cincinnati is that you can live in the city, but in 5 minutes can be on the South 80 trail and feel like you’re another world away. Best of both worlds.

Amenities

Ok, so this sounds like I’m talking about the way hotels offer wifi and extra towels. But a city’s amenities are a much bigger deal than that. One of the perks of Cincinnati is it’s size in that it’s big enough that these amenities are abundant and accessible, yet I don’t have to feel like I live IN a city. I peacefully reside in our Madisonville neighborhood that’s homey and relatable with a great mixed demographic of people from different backgrounds. Within a couple blocks of me, there is both a Maserati dealership and a walk-up beer/cigarette/lotto stand. I love the dynamic cross-section that creates. Another thing I love about what Cincinnati has to offer is that for a night out, my husband and I could go to a major league ball game or choose from a long list of hip, magnificent restaurants. In addition to that, it only takes me at a maximum 25 minutes to get to literally any store I could want to get to, and that includes traffic time. IKEA, Trader Joe’s and TJ Maxx, these are the things that dreams are made of.

Investment

Now I’ve only been here for three years, but even I have seen how much the different areas of this city are being revitalized and developed. In my small neighborhood alone the estimate of our house has gone up astoundingly. To stake your claim in an up and coming neighborhood is appealing by anyone’s standards and the trajectory continues to only rise. It’s an exciting transition to watch, old being reborn into something new. But aside from the obvious financial investment of living here, the investment of our time and in our relationships is hard to beat. We’ve brought our first two children home to this house. We’ve celebrated birthdays and anniversaries and gone through the formative, yet fun journey of residency in this house.

In only three years, we’ve made history in this city. And though you can’t put a price on being near family, Cincinnati has put its name on the map and mastered a feat by making us consider our options. So if you’re thinking about moving (or staying) here, I say go for it; it’s a gem hidden in plain sight. As for me and mine, it’s anyone’s guess if all this keeps us here or not.

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