Things that make me love Cleveland

I have been meaning for awhile to write an article on why Cleveland is actually a pretty great city to live in when you think about it overall. Honestly, as Clevelanders’ I think we get too used to making or hearing jokes about our city, or fretting about our job opportunities, and the growing number of people leaving the city for greener pastures. Then one day I was perusing Brewed Fresh Daily, and caught the discussion about “Reasons to Move to Cleveland”. I had to throw my 2 cents in there, and then decided I really should be more motivated to write my mini article about what’s so great about Cleveland finally. Just last year my husband and I were part of the large number of people looking to move out of state for better job opportunities. I actually “swore” I was never going to be one of those people who gave up living here just for a job. I unlike my husband grew up here, and being my usual idealistic, rosy self had a much more positive take on the city to begin with, and a bit of a fighter spirit that the city is what you make it. But of course, with our not-so-wonderful job market, and a few years of feeling over-educated and rather “under”employed and underutilized to my full capacity I was annoyed, and frankly my husband really wanted something more challenging too. Funny enough though I think as we tried to adapt to the idea of moving for good, there were so many reasons to stay that just kept popping up. I’ve always liked Cleveland, but it wasn’t until I took a realistic look at it’s faults as well and put everything into perspective in comparison with cities elsewhere that I learned how to love Cleveland too. In true Cleveland do-or-die-trying fashion (and probably just plain luck) have both managed to find better jobs even in this market, and I think in my case being bored with my old job made me try to find enrichment throughout the city.

With all that being said, here’s a few things that I’ve really decided are so great about Cleveland. I love sitting on the lawn at Blossom during a summer Cleveland Orchestra concert, with a picnic spread out on a blanket, a bottle of wine and a card game. I absolutely love the Cleveland Metroparks along with our zoo and the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, especially the areas around Peninsula and Boston. We are so lucky to have a gorgeous park system right in our own backyard. Musically, having brought in DJ’s from around the world, and gotten their perspective on our club and music culture, we may not be on the cutting edge musically, but we’re not far behind the curve, and as far as having fun and not being snots, we’re good people. We have enough pull to get some good tours through the area, and there’s plenty of interesting local musicians. We’ve got fabulous festivals. Whether they are art festivals like the renowned Boston Mills Artfest or Cain Park Arts Festival, musical greats such as the Tri-C Jazzfest, or one of the literally dozens of great foodie fairs (Taste of Tremont, Feast of the Assumption), there’s a lot of quality things to do. Our real estate prices are pretty good, even considering the current market. How many other places in the country can you get homes for around $100 a square foot, with a great big backyard, or a brand new apartment downtown at the rents we have? Our restaurants are actually getting a lot more acclaim, but again, they’re reasonable for what we get. My own personal favorites are Momocho, Farenheit, and now Velocity on Clifton(especially dining on the patio! Besure to save room for dessert!).

I actually think E. 4th is shaping up to be a pretty nice (if touristy district) with the House of Blues, Pickwick and Frolic, the Corner Alley, and now a bevey of restaurtants. It could use a little more shopping, but I’ll cope. Speaking of shopping, that’s about the only area I wish we would catch up in more. We’re only now seeming to break out of the mold of your standard same mall stores. Granted, I realize there’s some cool districts like Coventry and Shaker Square, but as a shopping fanatic, I want bigger! We’ve even got a good sized lake to boat on, or jetski on, or even occasionally windsurf on. (It’s not the cleanest, but it’s getting better!).

A few other reasons to love Cleveland

The West Side Market
Great Lakes Brewing Company
North Union Farmers Markets
McNulty’s Bier Market
The Cleveland Museum of Art
University Circle Architecture
Parade the Circle
Playhouse Square
Market Avenue Wine Bar
Great Lakes Burning River Festival
The view from Strawbridge Plaza
The Arcade
Little Italy
The Cleveland Clinic
Little Traffic
Severance Hall

I pretty much write this blog to showcase all of the other arts and culture that makes Cleveland so vibrant, so keep posted for more!

9 Responses

  1. “…I think in my case being bored with my old job made me try to find enrichment throughout the city.”

    This is very wise.

    I’ve come to realize that you can live in a good place, or you can have a good job, but very often you can’t have both. In my case, I’ll take the place over the job.

    If you sat me in a windowless room somewhere in downtown Cleveland and said, here, lick these stamps for 8 hours a day, I could be happy with that!

  2. These are all great venues/events, but they need to be built upon, and soon! I have worked and traveled the world and just about every city has similar venues, sometimes multiplies of the same (Baltimore, for example, has not one but at least 10 “Westside Markets.”). The question we need to ask is how we going to use these venues/events to lift Cleveland (and the region) up? Why are these venues/events going to make people want to live here when every other city has the same? How are going to make these venues/events unique — raise above the competition — in a way that makes people say, “Ah, Cleveland, I want to move/live there!” Please don’t get me wrong, I am not for running away from Cleveland, I am for leveraging all that we have to make us a place where people truly want to live.

    One other thought, how many of these venues/events can Cleveland’s impoverished afford? What benefit are they to them if they are not affordable? You and I are the fortunate ones, we can afford to attend Blossom, buy a Belgian beer at McNulty’s, or pay the admission to enter MOCA, many (if not most) who live in Cleveland are not.

    Let me challenge you, now that you have decided to stay, not simply enjoy the venues/events, but to also become involved in solving those problems that made you consider leaving in the first place.


  3. Christine-a windowless room would be horrible, but I love your attitude
    Your comments made me think of two other reasons why I love Cleveland.
    1. Cleveland is very charitable. To quote a 2007 Charity Navigator study “Cleveland’s nonprofit leaders have managed their charity’s finances in a highly efficient manner: Cleveland’s charities devote nearly 84% of their budget to the programs and services they exist to provide. They’ve been able to accomplish this by keeping their fundraising expenses in check.” and in addition, “Cleveland charities’ report the highest level of assets in the nation.” People in Cleveland get involved in helping each other.
    2. Yeah, not everyone can afford a beer at McNulty’s however check over my list again, over half those things are FREE. Cleveland is a great city to find free or relatively inxpensive things to do. E.g.: Parade the Circle, Open Air in Market Square, Sparx in the city, Free CIM concerts, Mondays at the zoo, Wade Oval Wednesdays, The Museum of Art, Spaces Art Gallery, the Rockefeller Greenhouse, the beaches, the metroparks, tons of free outdoor art ferstivals, lots of free events @ Cain Park, free admission many nights @ clubs, Coventry street festival…I don’t really need to go on do I? (btw: Those with little money CAN hear the orchestra @ free concert @ Public square, MOCA has had some free preview nights.) Right there is something I think that DOES set us apart from other cities.
    As far as your challenge, I think the major problems are our economy (e.g. job opportunities) and school funding (which pretty much relates to the economy) In my opinion these issues solved in a larger way–e.g. better civic planning, the attraction of new business and industry, proper distribution of funds, smart leadership, and perhaps a little bit in part by merely improving our collective “Cleveland self-esteem” and having more confidence in the amenities of our city in relation to others–for our size we’re doing pretty well!
    Personally as far as what I do myself, I believe in supporting organizations that promote positive change or a positive image of Cleveland, taking part in charity events when possible, and donating ones time, talents, and available resources. This blog in fact is another one of my little ways to do something to help. I will say I think my husbands company may be helping in bringing new industry to the area that can help improve our manufacturing base.
    Back to the charity thing by the way, the largest chunk of Cleveland Philanthropy is the arts (and human services is second), and that’s pretty smart. If there’s one gem in this city we can use to attract business and industry, and tourists for that matter (and therefore improve our economy) it’s our solid and well respected arts. If we support the arts with financing and promotion (and attendance too I suppose!), we support our own revitalization.

  4. I can add a few more…

    hessler street fair
    wade oval wednesdays
    CMA music in the courtyard

    Those are free

    Add to those some great places to see music from musicians who don’t also have a “marketing strategy”

    The Barking Spider
    Beachland Ballroom
    The Winchester
    Cafe Limbo (also great vegetarian food)

    I’m not saying other cities don’t have equally great stuff, they do, but these are things that keep me pretty happy with staying in Cleveland.

    Plus all my stuff’s here.

  5. […] Things that make me love Cleveland « Art Addict Posted in Cleveland | […]

  6. Hi, Nice blog….I am also doing a blog that contains themes of a more positive Cleveland I feel we who want to evoke positive change in any way we can should stick together—because there are enough of the negative only types who really have a lack of civic pride and just help to escalate a Cleveland self-esteem issue, which I feel is a big challenge to overcome. I am not saying we should ignore the bad like it isn’t there—but we have to address it and do something about it…not just move to the promised land. One way to do it is by attracting a NEW population of people who see all the good, who’s minds are not tainted, and will let their talents lose when they locate to our area. We can attract them by talking good about our town on the web–spreading the true words the media ignores. Basically, we network and blogging is a great way to do it….we then can arrange meet-ups to be around such people who will patronize our city. I have a couple websites you may want to link to–mine…and another community discussion one on Yahoo for Ohio City. Let me know. If you cannot find the address I listed above in your browser window, try Googling “quality chatter” or email me at I feel we should round up all like minded people in this city and area.

  7. By the way, we have many great farm markets here…to answer to the Baltimore east and west side one last I checked…and a food coop…as well as ideas circulating to do one on the west side. Sometimes it is not about “quantity” but instead “quality” and if Cleveland can take what it already has and be the best it can be–then this is better than having a lot of nothing-and this includes a big population that is low quality–and those who only drag the town in the mud.

  8. Hey I love your post about Cleveland! Almost everytime I mention Cleveland people groan and say ‘oh not Cleveland’, it’s behond irritating, as many of those people have never been there! My fiance lives in the city of Cleveland right now and I’ll be joining him in 2009. I’m very excited to move to a new city and almost in a way start over and make new friends! I’d love to stay in touch with you, I am a jewelry artist myself. Right now I work for a big wholesale trade show full time in Baltimore MD. I haven’t let them know I’m leaving yet but it’s not for 6 more months.
    Keep the positive attidtue!
    Also check out my blog, I was just in Cleveland this weekend and went to an awesome jewelry exhibit.

  9. […] wrote an article in 2007 entitled Things That Make Me Love Cleveland, and it created a bit of net chatter. I figured now would be a wonderful time to update that list […]

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