Westerville, OH, might not be top of mind when you think of Ohio or Columbus suburbs. This town nestled in both Franklin and Delaware counties is a hidden gem with endless activities, sights, and fun that can draw in travelers for a weekend or become home for decades. A historical centerpiece known as the "The Dry Capital of the World" for its strict prohibition laws, Westerville, OH, has since become a close-knit midwest town once named to the "Top 5 friendliest Cities in America."
In this blog, we're going to discuss all things Westerville, Ohio. From its history to the things you must do and see, this tiny town in the heart of Ohio is a hidden gem many love calling home.
The History of Westerville, OH
Around 1810, people of European descent arrived and settled in what is now the Westerville area. In 1818, dutch settlers Matthew Westervelt and brothers Peter and William Westervelt moved from New York state to the area. Matthew Westervelt donated land to build a Methodist church, and the area was renamed in his family's honor.
In 1839, the Blendon Young Men's Seminary was chartered in Westerville, OH, and one of its first trustees was Matthew Westervelt. The Church of the United Brethren in Christ bought the seminary in 1846. They reformed the seminary, renamed Otterbein College, after the church's founder Philip William Otterbein a year later. It still stands today in Westerville as the private Otterbein University.
The "Dry Capital of the World"
The temperance movement was strong in the 1850s, and many towns across America were establishing themselves as "dry towns." Westerville was no different. The town's motto remains "The Dry Capital of the World."
While alcohol is now sold in Westerville, the city has held onto its roots by maintaining several historical buildings from the 1800s. The Hanby House, for example, is a historic home that was once used as an Underground Railroad stop.
Notable Westerville, OH Residents
Westerville has also been home to many famous residents, including actors, inventors, and composers.
Many famous sports figures have come from Westerville, including gold medalist Gabby Douglas, Former world champion Buster Douglas, NFL #1 Draft Pick KI-Jata Carter, and numerous Ohio State Buckeyes like Andy Katzenmoyer, Nick Vannett, and Kaleb Wesson.
In recent years, Westerville has been named one of the "Top Five Friendliest Cities in America" by Forbes Magazine and CNN Money. The city was also ranked the "#15 Best Place to Live in America" by Money Magazine in 2009. Westerville was once named America's best suburb by Movoto in 2013. With its regular notoriety, Westerville is a prime OH real estate destination today.
Uptown Westerville is About 20 minutes and 15 miles from downtown Columbus. The town's population is just under 40,000 and filled with people of all ages and races, making it a diverse and ideal place to raise a family or settle when retired.
Education in Westerville
Westerville is served by the Westerville City School District, which has 16 elementary schools, four middle schools, and three high schools, Westerville South, North, and Central. The district also offers several private and charter school options.
Higher education is also abundant in Westerville. Otterbein College (Now renamed Otterbein University,) a private liberal arts institution, was founded by the United Brethren Church in 1847 and is now home to over 3,000 students. The United Brethren Church later merged with the Methodist Church, forming the United Methodist Church, and Otterbein is still affiliated today.
Today Westerville offers other higher education institutions, including Hondros College, The Ohio State School of Cosmetology, The Columbus State Westerville Center Branch, and Fortis College.
Notable Things to do and See in Westerville
The things you can do in Westerville, OH, are endless. From shopping to site seeing, dining, and entertainment, your time in Westerville will be filled with memories and excitement.
Let's look at some of the notable things to do and see in Westerville, OH.
Westerville Parks and Recreation
Westerville is situated on 6,000 acres of parkland, including city parks, metro parks, the Hoover Reservoir, and over 44 miles of walking trails. Some of Westerville's notable parks include:
• Alum Creek Park North - This sprawling park is home to a playground, shelter house, fishing pier, breathtaking sites, and paths to explore
• Heritage Park - A historical park that includes the Hanby House, the site of the former Central College for Women, and the Wigwam Picnic Area
• Inniswood Metro Gardens - One of Central Ohio's premier botanical gardens, Inniswood features over 26 theme gardens on 123 acres
• Hoover Reservoir Park - This park offers over 12 miles of walking trails, fishing, boating, and picnicking shelters for those looking for adventure
• Millstone Creek Park - Great for families and is home to a playground with swings, jungle gyms, and other play structures, a shelter and eating pavilion, and also the Westerville Community Center
• Blendon Woods Metro Park - Blendon Woods is one of the 20 metro parks in the Columbus and Franklin County Metro Park system. With over 600 acres, this park is perfect for a day of hiking, fishing, picnicking, and spotting wildlife, including turkeys, ducks, and more
Westerville's Uptown District is home to many unique restaurants with mouthwatering menus. Check out some local favorites and get a sense of the culinary flair Westerville, OH, has to offer!
• Agapé - A local favorite, Agapé is a restaurant specializing in Mediterranean dining, focusing on organic and fresh ingredients. Popular items include rice bowls, pita sandwiches, salads, and hummus
• Pasquale's Pizza & Pasta House - A cozy Italian eatery serving up classic dishes from chicken parmesan to calzones and pizza, as well as fresh salads and sandwiches
• Arch City Tavern - A gastropub focusing on seasonal, local ingredients. The menu features items such as grass-fed burgers, wood-fired pizzas, and fresh salads
• Uptown Deli and Brew - A relaxed deli in the heart of uptown Westerville, OH, serving up sandwiches, wraps, soups, and salads, as well as a variety of beer on tap
• Barrel & Boar - A warm and casual smoked BBQ establishment serving succulent meats, hearty sides, and a full bar of beer and cocktails
Shops in Westerville
Westerville is also home to several unique shops where you can find the perfect souvenir or gift for friends and family.
• Cinda Lou Shop - A must-see when in Westerville, OH. This eclectic shop is filled with an ever-changing mix of vintage finds, new arrivals, and handmade treasures. You never know what you'll find at Cinda Lou, but you can be sure it will be special
• A Twist on Olives - A unique shop specializing in, you guessed it, olives! They offer a wide variety of olive oils, vinegar, and spices
• Pure Roots Boutique - A hip and artistic store with a focus on handmade goods that are both new, old, and rustic
• Anthony Thomas Chocolates - A classic chocolate shop with a wide variety of chocolates, caramels, and truffles to satisfy any sweet tooth
• Birdie Books and Cafe - A book lover's dream come true. This bookstore also has a cafe serving up coffee, tea, and light snacks. The perfect place to curl up with a good book
• Captivating Canines - "A Different Kind of Pet Store" offers your faithful fur companion premium foods, treats, and toys. Proceeds also help to support local shelters
• Stone & Sparrow - A woman-owned and staffed local boutique focusing on stylish yet classic pieces for women and men. In addition to apparel, they have accessories and gift items
Many businesses also call Westerville home, including Cheryl's Cookies, the T. Marzetti Company, and Mac Tools.
Art, Culture, and Entertainment in Westerville, Ohio
Creativity is alive in Westerville! With local art exhibits, galleries, and museums, visitors get a feel for how culture is embedded in the community and the town's population.
Westerville Art Galleries and Museums
Have some time to kill and want to be inspired? Check out some of these local art galleries:
Entertainment in Westerville, OH
Want to take in some local music? Check out a concert at the Alum Creek Amphitheater, Westerville Parks & Rec Civic Theatre, or Otterbein Summer Theatre.
How about taking in some performance art? The Otterbein University Dept. of Theatre & Dance regularly delivered inspiring performances. Music your thing? The Westerville Community Bands has been committed to bringing Westerville, Ohio, and the surrounding community, the pleasure of quality music, made together and has a concert schedule you can find here.
Sports in Westerville
Want to check out a sporting event or get involved in some recreational sports? Westerville was named "Sportstown, Ohio" by Sports Illustrated. With over 1,300 recreational opportunities from the city's recreation department, there is an activity for everyone!
Would you rather sit back and watch? Westerville is a quick drive to many professional sports teams and a high-level Division 1 University! Columbus is home to several professional sports teams, including the Blue Jackets (NHL), the Crew (MLS), and the Clippers (MiLB). The city is also home to The Ohio State University Buckeyes, with several Division I sports teams that compete at the highest level.
Splash down at the Highlands Park Aquatic Center
The Highlands Park Aquatic Center is a great place to cool off during the hot summer days. This public aquatic center offers a variety of activities for people of all ages, including swimming, sunbathing, and playing in the water park.
The aquatic center has a large pool perfect for swimming laps or playing games with friends. They also have a smaller pool for children with a slide, a lazy river, and other fun features. The water park is open during the summer months and is a great place to cool off on a hot day.
The 4th Friday Tradition
Westerville is also home to the "Fourth Friday" tradition. This monthly event takes place on, you guessed it, the fourth Friday of every month in Uptown Westerville. Local businesses stay open late and offer specials and promotions. There is also live music and other entertainment throughout the evening.
Westerville's Music and Arts Festival
The annual Westerville Music and Arts Festival brings in over 18,000 visitors to the city each year. The festival features countless artists, live music on multiple stages, food from local vendors, and much more. The festival takes place in July and is a great way to enjoy the warm weather and experience all that Westerville offers.
Westerville, Ohio Real Estate
Westerville, Ohio, is a great place to call home. Many have taken notice, with several wonderful homes for sale in Westerville, it's no wonder families, professionals, and even out of staters are jumping at the chance to buy real estate in the area. With plenty of amenities, things to do, and a central location, Westerville has something for everyone.
Areavibes.com, a national website that ranks the best places to live in America, details why Westerville is so appealing to buying a home. On Areavibes, Westerville has a remarkable overall "livability" score of 95. This ranks Westerville as the #12 ranked city in the USA, 99% higher than any other area. This ranking takes into account many factors, including amenities, cost of living, housing, schools, employment opportunities, and more.
Here are some reasons to consider real estate and homes for sale in Westerville, OH.
Westerville is a village that values education, and that's a must no matter where you live. Three high schools, and several lower schools, rank highly in the state of Ohio. Nationally, Westerville City Schools' test average is 51% higher, and the city's high school diploma rate is 16% higher.
As we discussed earlier, Otterbein University, a highly regarded liberal arts institution, is also right in Westerville, offering post-secondary options.
Higher Home Ownership
Westerville has the highest homeownership rates in the state of Ohio, with over 75%. Why is this important? Studies have shown that areas with higher homeownership have lower crime rates and a stronger sense of community.
Westerville is also an affordable place to buy a home. The cost of living in Westerville is very reasonable, especially when you compare it to other locations in Ohio or across the country.
Westerville has everything you need and more. With over 30 parks, great shopping and dining, and plenty of entertainment options, Westerville is a beautiful place to call home.
There are plenty of reasons to consider Westerville as your next home. With its central location, a strong sense of community, excellent schools, and exceptional amenities.
Westerville is also a great place to find employment; many companies are proud to call the "Dry Capital" home. The city's unemployment rate is 48% below the national average, and there are plenty of job opportunities in the area.
Household income and income per capita are also well above the national average.
Low Crime Rates
Westerville is a close-knit, safe community filled will friendly neighbors who make safety a priority. This becomes obvious when you look at the crime rate in the city vs. others.
Total crime in Westerville, OH is very low; total crime is 26% lower, violent crime is 76% lower, and property crime is 16% lower than national averages.
As you can see, there are many reasons to buy a home or real estate in Westerville.
Final Thoughts: Find What You're Looking for in Westerville, OH
We have covered a lot, from local history to the best place to grab a bottle of olive oil to local events and why Westerville is a great place to live. We hope through our information, the message is clear: Westerville is a hidden gem in the heart of Central Ohio. With something for everyone, it's the perfect place to visit for a day, weekend, or even a lifetime.
If you're thinking about making a move to Westerville or just want to learn more about this hidden gem in Central Ohio, contact us to learn more! We are happy to guide you in your pursuit of owning a home in this wonderful city.