The city was originally part of Marble Cliff, one of the first suburbs of Columbus, which settled as a community in 1890 and incorporated as the "Hamlet of Marble Cliff" in 1901. Grandview Heights became a separate village in 1906, and a city in 1931.
Grandview Heights maintains its own police and fire departments and an independent school district. Its neighbor, Marble Cliff, contracts with the city to provide these to its own residents.
Grandview Heights is often remarked upon as being a small insulated city very close to downtown Columbus and has one of the smallest school districts in the greater urban area in terms of student population.