With scores of employment opportunities and upscale suburban neighborhoods sprouting up all the time, this region couldn’t cater more to young families. Expansion is happening quickly in these parts, but northern Cincinnati has long been home to many of the region’s most kid-friendly attractions, including Kings Island amusement park, EnterTRAINment Junction, and the Lebanon Mason Monroe Railroad. Those who love scoring great finds can get their fix at the area’s many retail destinations, from Cincinnati Premium Outlets in Monroe to home décor giant IKEA. An outdoor gem in the northern area is the Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park & Museum in Hamilton.
Despite tough competition from neighboring counties, northern Hamilton County continues to attract residents with its established communities, lush greenery, and big-name corporate employers. Known as the Mill Creek Valley, the area encompasses the neighborhoods of Sharonville (ALP $188,683, ci.sharonville.oh.us), Wyoming (ALP $396,434, wyoming.oh.us), Woodlawn (ALP $196,349, beautifulwoodlawn.us), Carthage (ALP $64,530, carthageohio.com), and Forest Park (ALP $105,985, forestpark.org). Also in the Valley, Glendale (ALP $334,906, glendaleohio.org) is known for its quirky black squirrels—both the live versions (the critters were brought from Michigan by a local businessman in the 1940s and are now thriving in the area), as well as the dozens of celebratory statues scattered throughout the town.
To the northeast, Warren County (co.warren.oh.us) residents enjoy good schools and ease of living. Mason (ALP $321,439, imaginemason.org) is one of the fastest-growing communities in Ohio, with loads of upscale homes and shopping centers that cater to working parents. The city’s Lindner Family Tennis Center hosts the Western & Southern Open, a major tennis event. The most developed township in Warren County, Deerfield Township (ALP $321,261, deerfieldtwp.com) is known for its busy strip malls and large neighborhoods. Nearby Maineville (ALP $247,306, mainevilleoh.com) is close to all the action but offers family living at a much slower pace.
Lebanon (ALP $225,063, ci.lebanon.oh.us) is one of the many gems of the northeast region. The historic downtown area attracts residents and visitors with quaint antique shops, cute ice cream parlors, and home-style restaurants. The Golden Lamb, Ohio’s oldest establishment, has hosted a number of historical figures, including 12 U.S. Presidents, and is still serving excellent cuisine to guests from all over the region.
Along I-75, neighboring West Chester (ALP $233,934, westchesteroh.org) and Liberty Township (ALP $265,130, liberty-township.com) are two thriving Butler County (butlercountyohio.org) communities. With 60,000 residents and more than 3,000 businesses, West Chester was recently ranked as one of the top 100 “Best Places to Live” by CNN/Money Magazine. Also located in Butler County, the economically diverse city of Fairfield (ALP $192,338, fairfield-city.org) offers residents an abundance of neighborhood shopping centers, as well as homes, apartments, and condos at nearly every price point.
While still largely rural, the outskirts of Butler County are becoming suburbanized as well. Expanding areas include Ross Township (ALP $165,799, rosstwp.org) and the nearby city of Oxford (ALP $210,601, cityofoxford.org), the home of Miami University.
Far out in the countryside, residents can escape the hustle and bustle of suburbia and enjoy the scenery in quiet communities such as Waynesville (ALP $237,214, waynesvilleohio.com) or Harveysburg (ALP $62,606), the town that hosts the annual Ohio Renaissance Festival. To the west, the more diverse communities of Monroe (ALP $158,202, monroeohio.org), Hamilton (ALP $158,717, hamilton-city.org), and Middletown (ALP $105,484, www.cityofmiddletown.org) are practically equidistant from Cincinnati and Dayton and feature homes at many different price points.
Average listing prices are as of March 23, 2011. Prices change regularly.Photographs courtesy of Warren County Convention & Visitors Bureau, Kings Island
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