There was a grim point in time in the city of Cleveland, Ohio, marked primarily by the decline of the steel and iron industries in the 1970's. The urban environment was largely forsaken, and you can sense it in certain city districts where abandoned warehouses are slowly starting to come back to life. The recession didn't help matters, in fact it hit them pretty hard.
As one local put it "You just had to grind it out - we grind till we shine, there's always a struggle, we always get through it."
This sense of resilience and pride emanates from all the Clevelanders I mingle with; and in this gritty meets sophisticated Ohio city situated on the banks of Lake Erie, now is the time of revitalization and renewal. Said abandoned warehouses are being transformed into loft apartments, restaurants and retail space. Downtown districts are coming back to life, seeing a 98% full occupancy housing rate, the demand has skyrocketed. Local entrepreneurs are sinking roots, while Blue Collar neighborhoods remain true to theirs, and a vibrant spirit emerges. It's an exciting time to live in Cleveland, and an exciting time to visit. What this city has to offer is sure to surprise you if you give her the chance.
Getting Here: Jet Blue is now offering direct flights from Boston Logan and Fort Lauderdale, Florida into Cleveland Hopkins International. Bostonians - with flight time clocking in at less than an hour and a half, it makes for an easy getaway!
Getting Around: A light rail system known as The Rapid connects the airport with downtown, Ohio City, and University Circle area. The downtown districts are walkable. A rental car is a worthwhile option to reach other neighborhoods.
Pictured Above (in order): The Flats District | Bridge crossing the Coyahoga River | Market Garden Brewery | Ohio City Neighborhood | The Arcade on Euclid | Fried Brussels Sprouts @ The Greenhouse Tavern | Playhouse Square (Theater District) | Carrot Agnolitti @ Lolita | World's largest outdoor chandelier(!) | Gateway District | Bacon wrapped Pork Loin @ Prosperity Social Club |
Where to Eat & Drink: This Midwestern cities food scene has long been influenced by its Eastern European roots - notably hearty fare like perogies, kielbasa and sausage. Today, the culinary renaissance is largely accredited to Cleveland born Celebrity Chef Michael Symon (James Beard Award Winner, Iron Chef America Fame). Look to future posts that will individually highlight quintessential neighborhood restaurants and bars.
Pictured Below (in order): The Arcade take 2 | Bar Cento | Black Pepper Bucatini @ The Greenhouse Tavern | Ohio City take 2 | The Mayweather Building | East 9th & Euclid Avenue | Pretzel Crusted Chicken @ Great Lakes Brewing Company | Market Square | Gateway District accommodations |
I visited Cleveland on a press trip - and I'm thrilled to have been given this opportunity. I can't wait to share with you guys some of the fun things to do here!!
This trip was sponsored by the awesome crew @ Destination Cleveland; they covered all expenses including round-trip airfare on Jet Blue, accommodations at the Downtown Residence Inn Marriot, meals, and transportation throughout the city. I am not obligated to write about this trip, all opinions are my own.