Downtown Cleveland

Downtown includes several distinct neighborhoods wherevisitors can find hotels, restaurants, bars, nightlife and a variety of architecture. Learn about each area in this city guide to Cleveland. Mix and match - downtown is highly walkable. Or, find a favorite and stick with it.

Still not sure? Visit our buds over at the Downtown Cleveland Alliance, who have a passion for all things downtown.

Campus District

Cleveland State University, Cuyahoga Community College and St. Vincent Charity Hospital anchor this neighborhood just east of Cleveland’s central business district.

The area has taken on a refreshed look lately with major campus investments, at CSU in particular. New modern academic buildings, renovated mid-rises with street-level restaurants and shops, and apartments now line Euclid Avenue.

Visitors can find entertainment at The Wolstein Center, which hosts many concerts. Nearby, the Gothic 1907 Trinity Cathedral houses an art gallery and schedules a spring brown bag concert series featuring everything from jazz to classical music.

Civic Center District

This is where you’ll find Public Square, the heart of downtown Cleveland along with the city’s most iconic skyscraper Terminal Tower.

Terminal Tower is a 52-story building that houses the Horseshoe Casino Cleveland, a shopping mall, a movie theater, The Ritz-Carlton Cleveland, Renaissance Hotel and offices.

[INSIDER TIP: Terminal Tower glows at night. Want to light it your favorite color? Shoot them a request via twitter @TowerLightsCLE.]

Right outside, also on Public Square, you can’t miss the historic Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument. Opened in 1894 to commemorate local Civil War contributions, the monument includes a free mini-museum inside.

A few blocks north, “The Malls” offer a grassy oasis in the middle of downtown. In warm weather, it’s a popular lunch spot for office workers and convention center attendees. It’s even been known to attract Frisbee players and sunbathers. An elegant memorial to more recent war veterans, The Fountain of Eternal Life, watches over it all.

East 4th Street

With its strings of overhead lightbulbs, patio seating and ever-present street life, pedestrian-friendly East Fourth Street exudes a come-hither draw that’s hard to ignore. This concentrated chunk of commerce is the result of a tenacious developer’s effort to redevelop a tawdry block of vacant and struggling storefronts into the city’s newest entertainment and housing district. The New York Times called it a “prime example of 21st-century urban redevelopment in the Midwest.”

See a concert at the House of Blues. Laugh along to touring comedians at Hilarities. Bowl at the Corner Alley. Savor a pint at Flannery’s or dine at Iron Chef Michael Symon’s flagship restaurant, Lola. It’s also a good place to find souvenirs. The CLE Clothing Co. sells T-shirts your friends might actually want to wear.

And, if nothing else, stop down to visit us at the Cleveland Visitor Center located on the northwest corner of East Fourth Street and Euclid Avenue.

Gateway District

The Gateway District attracts swarms of locals and visitors downtown for major concerts and professional baseball, basketball and hockey games - plus all the eating, drinking and celebrating (or commiserating) that goes on before and after those events. It’s also home to many downtown hotels, more than 60 restaurants and bars, and shopping.

Quicken Loans Arena (home of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Lake Erie Monsters) and Progressive Field (home of the Indians) opened in 1994 amidst blocks of historic buildings. The sports complex investment was one of the city’s biggest economic development projects ever.

Gateway’s latest renewal effort, which took hold with the rebirth of East 4th Street, continues to spread along adjoining streets. The neighborhood is livelier than ever thanks to a major bump in the number of former offices and stores turned into condominiums and apartments.

Make sure to look up and around while in Gateway. The architecture in this neighborhood is some of the best in the city with restored buildings along Euclid Avenue and historic indoor shopping malls, including the wow-worthy 124-year-old Arcade.

Check into free Take a Hike! guided walking tours of the neighborhood from May through September. The city’s public transit agency, RTA, also offers trips year round aboard its green trolley buses – free with a smile.

NineTwelve District

Formerly known as the financial district, this neighborhood includes office buildings mixed with cool downtown residences and fun lunch spots popular with the 9-to-5 crowd.

From May through September, check out a food truck gathering called Walnut Wednesday. More than 15 food trucks line up along Walnut Avenue at East 12th Street and local bands play in the adjoining Perk Plaza.

North Coast Harbor

North Coast Harbor includes Cleveland’s most notable attractions. The I.M. Pei-designed Rock and Roll Hall of Fame & Museum, Great Lakes Science Center and FirstEnergy Stadium, home of the Cleveland Browns, sit side-by-side along Lake Erie.

Other points of interest include the U.S.S. Cod World War II submarine, the Goodtime III sightseeing boat, the Steamship William G. Mather, and the International Women's Air & Space Museum.

Voinovich Bicentennial Park juts into the harbor off East Ninth Street Pier and makes for impressive skyline photo opps. The area perks up for football games and summer events, such as Ingenuity, a one-of-a-kind art and technology fest.

RTA’s rapid transit line and free green trolley buses stop here.

PlayhouseSquare

The big marquees and blinking lights let you know you’ve arrived in PlayhouseSquare, Cleveland's official theater district. This collection of glamorous, restored theaters draws well over a million visitors annually for Broadway shows, concerts, dance performances, opera and two in-house performing groups, The Cleveland Play House and the Great Lakes Theater. Aside from New York’s Lincoln Center, this is as big as it gets in the United States.

Make a night of it. The neighborhood includes restaurants, such as the sleek Cowell & Hubbard, a free Cleveland State University art gallery, and Star Plaza, an outdoor spot to lounge.

Major neighborhood renovations are in store for 2014, including a 20-foot tall LED chandelier with more than 4,600 crystals that will hang over the intersection at East 14th Street and Euclid Avenue.

RTA’s Healthline, a bus rapid transit route, connects this neighborhood to the Historic Gateway Neighborhood and Public Square, as well as points east including University Circle.

St. Clair-Superior Neighborhood and Asiatown

At first glance, many of the buildings in the St. Clair-Superior neighborhood are non-descript and, frankly, slightly foreboding. But don’t be fooled. Step inside. This is where you’ll find the area’s most authentic Asian food and an up-and-coming arts scene.

Fill up on dim sum, pho, sweet steamed buns and exotic fruit smoothies in AsiaTown, then go shopping for everything from cans of curry paste and Buddha statues to silk purses. Locals often site some of their favorite spots including Superior Pho, #1 Pho, LiWah, Seoul Hot Pot and Bo Loong. But, don’t just take our word for it – got out and explore on your own.

Artists also have been drawn to the neighborhood by its wealth of gritty, old warehouses and their large, relatively inexpensive live/work spaces.

Check out schedules for Zygote Press, which hosts printmaking exhibitions, artists’ talks and print sales; the Cleveland Flea, which fills area buildings and parking lots with art, clothes, jewelry, furniture, knick-knacks and fresh food; the ArtCraft Studio, which hosts artist open houses; and The Morgan Conservatory, which offers paper making workshops.

Other not-to-miss events in this area include the Cleveland Asian Festival (May) and The Cleveland Kurentovanje (March).

The Flats

The Flats are just that, the flat areas on both sides of the Cuyahoga River Downtown. There’s an east and a west side, as well.

For decades, the land’s proximity to the river, Lake Erie and railroad tracks have made it the place to be for manufacturing and industry. (If your timing is right, you can still see huge freighters navigating the river’s sharp oxbow turn.) In the 1980s and 90s, the Flats took on an additional personality as an adult fun zone with beaucoup bars and nightclubs.

Now, the Flats are in the midst of a multi-million-dollar makeover into a made-from-scratch waterfront neighborhood with restaurants, bars, shops, apartments, condos, offices and even a boardwalk with complementary green space.

New choices, including the Greater Cleveland Aquarium, Aloft Hotel and a bounty of high-end restaurants, have joined old favorites including Shooters casual waterfront restaurant and the 5,000-seat Jacobs outdoor concert pavilion. See this morphing mix of grit and revitalization by car, by water on the Nautica Queen or Goodtime III, or by bike.

Warehouse District

Back in the mid-19th century, this neighborhood housed warehouses for hardware, marine and garment businesses, as well as offices for the then-mighty iron, coal, railroad and shipping industries. Nowadays, many of the Victorian-era buildings may look the same on the outside, but are filled with steak eaters, wine drinkers, club crowds and loft dwellers.

The area—which covers roughly eight square blocks—is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Its conversion into an entertainment and housing district took hold in the late 1980s and 1990s and continues today. The Warehouse District is one of the most popular residential areas downtown, with historic renovations and new luxury construction.

Check out the district’s annual street festival in August featuring live music and a ridiculous amount of incredible food.

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