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Looking for a way to get some fresh air, have fun with the whole family and enjoy our beautiful city now that the holidays are over? While being able to find pleasure in this cold and cloudy time between ringing in the New Year and waiting for the first spring flowers to bloom may seem difficult, a pandemic-proof way to safely — yet enjoyably — have a fun Cleveland winter is exploring Downtown’s best architectural beauties.
From Playhouse Square to the Warehouse District, Downtown is home to a stunning array of historic buildings with gorgeous details and captivating designs. Throw on a hat and some gloves, get your camera ready, and don’t miss out on leading your own self-guided walking tour of downtown’s most beautiful buildings. Along the way, be sure to grab a drink, meal or local gift from one of Downtown’s many Clean Committed businesses and restaurants
Image © Ian Meadows
This unique V-shaped building was constructed in 1896, having housed medical offices, banks and retailers, and now is a residential apartment complex. Sometimes referred to as Cleveland’s Flatiron Building, the Osborn Building is a beautiful and striking structure that connects Playhouse Square with the Gateway District.
Image © Cody York
Just a short walk from the Osborn, Grays Armory is Cleveland’s own castle. Built in 1893 by the Cleveland Grays, a private military company, the building has a storied history of patriotic service and grand special events in addition to its impressive fortress-like appearance.
Known today for being the home of Heinen’s grocery store, this stunning 1907 building is most famous for its impressive rotunda. The basement of the former bank has also been transformed into the Vault, a bar and cocktail lounge. The building is not only beautiful from the exterior, but the interior turns grocery shopping into a memorable sightseeing experience.
Across the street from Heinen’s, this iconic 1902 building at the corner of Euclid Avenue and E 9th Street is recognizable by its curved corner and red exterior. Designed by Famous Cleveland architect Levi Schofield (who also designed Public Square’s Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument), this grand structure is now home to retail, restaurants, a hotel, and residential apartments.
Image © Hyatt Regency Cleveland
A historic Cleveland landmark and undeniable architectural beauty is the Arcade. One of the nation’s first indoor shopping malls, this 1890 structure is characterized by its two nine-story buildings linked with a five-story arcade — featuring a breathtaking 300-foot foot long glass skylight. Be sure to take a stroll through the building from Euclid Avenue over to Superior Avenue for the next stop.
The Main Branch of the Cleveland Public Library consists of the historic 1925 Main Library Building, the contemporary 1997 Louis Stokes Wing, and the scenic Eastman Reading Garden that sits in between them both. The exterior beauty of the library is hard not to fall in love with, and the interior spaces are just as captivating.
Arguably Cleveland’s most famous and iconic landmark, Terminal Tower’s recognizable spire towers above Public Square. This 52-story skyscraper opened as the second-tallest building in the world when it was completed in 1930. It is now home to shops, offices, a transit hub for the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority, and recently completed apartments.
Bonus: Don’t miss the nearby Cushing Building (1874) and May Company Building (1915) along Euclid Avenue. These beautifully restored buildings are now both home to ground floor retail with apartments above. They feature gorgeous exteriors and architectural details in addition to their rich histories.
One of the oldest buildings in Downtown Cleveland, Old Stone Church was dedicated in 1855 and built from local sandstone. Tiffany-stained glass windows, a towering steeple and stunning interiors distinguish the structure as one of downtown’s most historic and famous landmarks.
Image © Aerial Agents
This architecturally detailed 1875 structure reflects the beauty and grandeur of Downtown’s Warehouse District neighborhood. The ornate exterior and arched windows highlight the building’s historic charm. An impressive four-story atrium can be found inside the building, as well.
With a narrow width of only nine feet, the Hart Building may be small in appearance, but has big charm and beauty. Built in 1853 and transformed into residential units in the 1980s, this is one of Downtown’s most discreet, yet gorgeous, structures. Back when the Warehouse District was in its industrial heyday and neighborhood land was at a premium, this building was squeezed into its small plot of land to maximize space.
These ten buildings are just some of the many stunning structures you can find strolling through Downtown Cleveland. This winter, get outside, get downtown and get immersed in the architectural beauties that await you around every corner.
Be sure to share your self-guided tour photos and highlights on social media with #ThisIsCLE.