Home to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, countless sporting venues, artsy entertainment districts and expansive urban parks are all the things that make Cleveland a great vacation prospect. Sitting atop Lake Erie, the city also has a rich maritime history and was a hub for a busy trade industry in its heyday. The cityscape also reflects the same as you can find a vibrant waterfront and numerous red brick warehouses that have been masterfully restored to house trendy bars, cafes and eateries as well as art galleries housing local talent.
A vast city, Cleveland has grown over the past years both in terms of developmental projects and area (having amassed independent municipalities over the years). But with an efficient public transport system anchored by The Rapid transit lines and highly walkable avenues, no part of town remains off limits. All of that really widens your options in terms of choosing an area for your accommodation. And that's where we step in. Here, we have listed some of the best neighbourhoods of Cleveland and what they might have in store for you traveller!
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The busy city centre is the heart of Cleveland, with many of the region's iconic establishments being in the vicinity. The central Progressive Field, home to the Cleveland Indians baseball and the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, which hosts NBA games are among the top attractions for local fans and sports enthusiasts. Downtown Cleveland is also home to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which commemorates not only some of the biggest names of the music industry but also the city's long association with the genre of music. The exhibits in the beautifully constructed halls of the building are something you will definitely regret missing.
But the city centre's appeal is not just limited to the fields of music and sports; whatever your interest might be, there's a place for you here. There's the Great Lakes Science Centre, the Women's Air & Space Museum and a maritime museum housed in a freight ship, all sitting right atop Lake Erie making the waterfront worth a full day trip itself. Close by is the city's very own China Town, home to an eclectic mix of eateries ranging from delis and taverns to chinese and middle eastern restaurants. The eclecticism bleeds into cityscape as well, as you are bound to come across modern architectural wonders and majestic gothic structures walking around in the same block!
Downtown Cleveland, as the designated central business district, is one of the most well connected parts of the city. The International Airport offers direct taxi services to the neighborhood, making it easily accessible for global travellers as well. Hotels are in plenty and offer a nice range in terms of budget options; you will come across some of the biggest names in the hospitality business as well as independent boutique hotels.
While technically still a part of Downtown Cleveland, the neighborhood of The Flats warrants a special mention. An up-and-coming entertainment district, it lies in the eastern end of Downtown Cleveland and is surrounded by the meandering Cuyahoga river on three sides. The Flats was envisioned as a mixed-use space offering modern entertainment options; and with continuous redevelopment projects coming in, the neighborhood today is one of the liveliest party venues in the city. Nightclubs and bars dominate the area, but you can also find restaurants with live music and open mics hosting local comics and other performers. Most of these establishments stay open till late so if you're looking to enjoy Cleveland's nightlife, this is the place for you.
The waterfront also offers a range of opportunities, including picturesque broad-walks as well as ferries and water taxi rides across the river. You can also always head back into the city centre, which is at a stone's throw from the area. In fact, some of the major draws of Downtown are just adjacent to The Flats. The Cleveland Arcade, the landmark indoor shopping mall housed in a Victorian building is only about a 5 minute drive and is a must visit for its wide array of merchandise stores and dining options. The Waterhouse District, another historic shopping centre that also blends into the overall vibe as it has many of the city's best indie boutiques, designer stores and some wonderfully decorated coffee shops.
Like mentioned before, the Flats is an extension of Downtown making it fairly easy to access (the Detroit Avenue leads straight into the neighborhood). Hotels in this part of town can be expensive, so unless you're looking for a luxury stay, you might want to try and find a more reasonably priced apartment of homestay nearby.
Cross over the Cuyahoga river and you will find yourself in the vast neighborhood of Ohio City. And for all the talk about the fine restaurants and diners in Downtown, it is here that Cleveland's gourmet industry really shines. The central thoroughfare of 25th West Street is lined with fashionable bistros, vegan restaurants and some great fine dining options to choose from. The street also has a large number of the city's famed craft breweries and beer gardens, making it a great place for not just a fulfilling lunch meal but also your evenings drinks. Walk around the neighborhood, marvelling at the repurposed buildings until you arrive at an eatery of your liking.
Ohio City is also one of the oldest parts of the city so there's a lot of things to do and see around the neighborhood. The Transformer Station gallery space, the John's Episcopal Church and the building of the Carnegie Library are all testament to the rich historic and architectural heritage of Cleveland. Also talking of which, the National Register of Historic Places landmark of West Side Market is also located in Ohio City. The 19th century marketplace is centred around a stunning Neo-classic and Byzantine brick complex and has several food stalls selling a wide variety of products including speciality foods, gelatos and fresh produce.
Ohio City, even though a little outside the city centre is fairly close to most major landmarks and the city's main transport hubs (with the Cleveland airport being a 20 minute car ride away). You won't have to sweat out too much for a hotel as there plenty of great options to choose from.
The other riverfront neighborhood in Cleveland, Tremont has an alternative appeal and a largely boho vibe. The neighborhood witnessed an influx of eclectic crowds, comprising immigrant population, young artists and writers, hipsters, all looking for affordable housing near Downtown. And that marked the beginning of Tremont reinvigoration. The neighborhood has since become a hub for entrepreneurship and innovative businesses and artists. And today, it is the city's go-to place for the artistically inclined. Street art, graffiti and open air exhibits lend a boho vibe to this largely residential district. And you are also bound to come across modern art galleries and experimental studios at just about every corner. Tremont then, is definitely one of the places that warrant a walking tour outside of the city's historic quarters.
The lively vibe can be experienced on the neighborhood's streets as well, Tremont hosts several street fairs, arts and music festivals and guided street tours. The monthly Walkabout Tremont tours showcase the best of the neighborhood's local talent and cultural diversity. And even if you miss the tour, make sure to pay a visit to Tremont's cultural attractions including the Christmas Story House, The Movement Project Studio, Ukrainian Archives Museum, the Doubting Thomas Gallery among others. The 1913-built St. Theodosius Orthodox Cathedral is one of the most significant landmarks as it stands out for its Neo-Byzantine and Slavic architecture amidst the otherwise urbane cityscape.
Tremont is fairly close to the Downtown centre and is easy to access by road. The George V. Voinovich Bridge connects the two neighbourhoods over the Cuyahoga river. For travel within Tremont, you might want to consider getting a rental bicycle; the neighborhood also has a few cycling tracks running along the riverfront. You can even catch a glimpse of the sprawling Downtown skyline during your morning rides here. Hotels and homestays here are some of the nicest in all of Cleveland.
The compact eastern neighborhood of University circle is one of the most laid-back parts of Cleveland. And that's mostly in part due to the presence of plenty of shady avenues, green spaces and even a small lagoon that are all perfect for day outs and quick family picnics. The expansive Forest Hill Park is centred around the stunning James A. Garfield Monument, while the walking trails of Amber Park are quaint and lead up to the Fairhill Road Historic District, another popular visiting spot in this part of the town. Talking of popular visiting spots, the Severance Hall, home to Cleveland Orchestra is also located in the vicinity. Just a stone's throw from the hall is the Wade Oval park, a small open space that hosts live events and concerts.
That's not to say that the neighborhood is bereft of activity. The streets surrounding the Euclid Avenue are bustling with Gen Z crowds, as there's a few university campuses nearby. Students from the Cleveland Institutes of Art and Music crowd the busy plazas, as well as the causal restaurants and coffee houses that dominante the gourmet industry here. The exhibit halls at these institutes are worth a visit on their own, as they showcase some of the best local talents in makeshift exhibits. And if that doesn't do it for you, make sure to head over to the Cleveland Museum of Art, the city's iconic exhibit hall housing over 45000 exhibits from fields of music, art, literature and film all under the same roof!
University Circle is about a 15 minute ride from Downtown Cleveland, with the Euclid and Chester Avenue connecting the two. The neighborhood is a little farther out east from the airport but taxi services are still easily available. The big hotels around here can be a little pricey but there's also a few inexpensive options and homestays that you look to explore.
That's our complete list for the neighborhoods from this American North Coast city; take your pick and get packing for you next trip! Until next time, traveller.