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Epworth Avenue is home to a collection of lovely houses sitting on top of green grass and surrounded by tall, old trees. / Image: Phil Armstrong, Cincinnati Refined // Published: 5.2.18

This Westwood Resident Showed Us Around His Charming Corner Of Cincinnati

Westwood, according to several online sources, is understood to be Cincinnati's largest neighborhood. Ask 100 west siders to point to it on a map and every one of them will bury a finger northwest of Downtown. Ask 100 east siders to do the same and 99 of them will place a finger on their chin before asking if Westwood's a new boutique in Hyde Park.

East side/west side jokes aside, a Cincinnati-lover who remains clueless about Westwood isn't doing their title justice. Being a former east sider myself, I'll admit I only vaguely knew where it was until several years ago. Aside from a handful of friends and acquaintances who live, breathe, and relentlessly champion Westwood, the neighborhood shamefully remained a mystery to me.

Michael Besl, a longtime resident of Westwood and the mind behind Cincy Ceilings, kindly offered to rid me of my self-imposed ignorance. He illustrated why the neighborhood is a beautiful place to live, not only because it has a brewery and affordable living, but because it's an actual community of people who care about their home.

Having lived in Westwood nearly his whole life, Michael is a shining example of someone who understands the area on an intimate level. Despite a brief four-year stint at college and two years in both Spain and Clifton, he's called the neighborhood home for the overwhelming majority of his life. After purchasing and renovating a house on a prominent corner of the Westwood Town Center Historic District, he's chosen to stay in his hometown well into adulthood.

So what captivating factors led Michael to drop anchor permanently in his hometown? He led a two-hour guided walking tour of his corner of Cincinnati to help me understand the lens through which he sees it. No, we didn't explore the entirety of Westwood; just the Historic District. From its walkability and proximity to the city to its surfeit of attractive homes and local businesses brimming with character, Michael's choice to follow the magnetic pull of the neighborhood was easy to understand by the end of his tour.

I chronicled my journey with Michael. Head to the gallery above to better understand why Westwood is a great place to live.