Fast food, fast fashion, and fast talk all have one thing in common – a short attention span. Fortunately, time slows down in the Gordon Square Arts District of the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood. This lakefront Cleveland community likes to stop and take it all in.
Just west of Downtown Cleveland, Gordon Square knows you want the drinks, the eats, the shopping – and the sweets. But life is way more fun when you also step into another dimension, like an art gallery or live theater. The artisans, chefs, actors and makers of Gordon Square know just how to capture your attention in new and creative ways.
1. A Proud History
Image courtesy Cleveland Public Library/Photograph Collection
Gordon Square’s backstory is as interesting as its modern day. In the mid 1800’s, strong laborers and old-world craftsmen – from Puerto Rico, Italy, Romania and countries throughout Europe – focused their talent and determination on some big Cleveland projects. But Father Time is undefeated, and the neighborhood’s buildings crumbled over time, especially during times of economic hardship.
In the 1970’s, a diverse group of community leaders came together to gather local and federal funding to restore the heart of their community, Gordon Square. This seven-block area is now a thriving arts district and a renowned model of urban redevelopment.
2. When Arts Engage
Mix and mingle during the multi-sensory art walk Third Fridays at 78th Street Studios, the largest art and design complex in NE Ohio. Enjoy food, music and art shopping, as you explore over 60 galleries, studios and performance spaces, over two city blocks and all under one roof.
3. Theater Immersion
We all love variety, that’s why live theater at Gordon Square is offered in so many different flavors only a block apart. With five performance spaces and an independent cinema house, Gordon Square theater productions are a local asset receiving national recognition. Learn more about all of their (very affordable) theater options.
4. First Things First
Many doors in Gordon Square don’t open until noon, but you can start your day by fueling up with a vitamin-packed, cold-pressed juice or smoothie from the Daily Press Juicery and Vegan Cafe. Satisfy your wanderlust any time of day by sipping on “Passport Lattes”, part of the “flavors found wandering the world” at the Gypsy Beans & Baking Company. Handcrafted vegan and bakery bites abound in both cafes.
5. Shops Offer the Beautiful and the Unusual
Gordon Square’s shops are filled with meticulously curated items you might not find anywhere else. Turnstyle Boutique’s owner finds up-and-coming designers and chooses designs in only 4 sizes. Add handcrafted brass jewelry to that new outfit, two doors over at fragrant Oceanne Jewelry Studio and Boutique. Premium leather goods are designed, cut and sewn by hand at S.P. Leather (motorcycle jackets) and Fount (premium leather bags). Land of Plenty and Artful Living elevate the art of home and self-care. Hausfrau Record Shop and Bent Crayon Records are most interested in the ear/heart connection. Blazing Saddle Cycle is full of the best bike gear and staffed with experts in cycling and how to build a premium ride.
6. Fun Zone
A local graphic designer combined his two passions to create a unique experience for all ages, the Superelectric Pinball Parlor. Over 20 exciting machines are available, from 1950’s vintage classics to today’s freshly minted faves, for anytime visitor or competitive league play. Come for the pinball, stay for the full bar and delicious fried chicken and spring rolls.
7. Ethnic Eats
Gordon Square treasures its immigrant roots, and its ethnic eats range from traditional foods to modern flavors. Blue Habanero specializes in street-style tacos and fine tequilas. Rincon Criollo Restaurant serves the authentic flavors of Puerto Rico. Minh Anh offers Vietnamese and other Asian dishes. Indian Delight features northern Indian cuisine. Frank’s Falafel House offers Mediterranean comfort food.
8. Custom Eats
These Gordon Square kitchens cook foods to order for foodies. At Happy Dog, you choose which of their 50 toppings to pile on your hot dog and/or delicious, golden tater tots. Banter presents a curated beer and wine selection to go with your choice of their homemade sausages and poutine (pro tip: try both). Spice Kitchen & Bar prepares seasonal American meals with local ingredients from their own rural farm and on-site herb wall.
No visit to Gordon Square is complete without a sweet treat. Brewnuts’ owners combined their two passions, beer and donuts. Literally. Their colossal donuts are made with beer, and unsurprisingly go well with the many local brews they keep on tap. Maple Bacon is available daily, but nine other choices change weekly.
10. Sunsets on the Edge
There’s always a nice sunset waiting for you at Edgewater Beach and Park. Accessible by car, walking path and bike path, the Cleveland Metropark Lakefront Reservation known as Edgewater offers a Beach House bar and an amazing view of the sunset over Lake Erie.