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View of the Cleveland Downtown Skyline at Dusk

16 Things to Know About Living in Cleveland

Considering moving to Cleveland? The North Coast is a great Midwestern city to call home thanks to its diverse selection of outdoor activities, world-class theater district, renowned healthcare system, and more. Check out these 16 things to know about living in Cleveland!

Live in an Affordable Lakeside City

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The CLE is surprisingly affordable for a city next to a large body of water, with an overall cost of living that’s 6% below the national average and housing costs at 17% lower. The North Coast is also a great place for renters, as recent data determined that Cleveland ranks in the top ten most affordable U.S. cities for renters! On the other hand—if you’re looking to buy a home, this Ohio city ranks as one of the hottest housing markets, with a median home price of $118,000, compared to Ohio’s average of $263,000. In addition, Cleveland has a number of financial assistance programs, which support low-income senior citizens and disabled homeowners by assisting with out-of-pocket healthcare and utility costs.

Access State-of-the-Art Healthcare

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Greater Cleveland offers some of the most universally-praised healthcare clinics on the globe! Cleveland Clinic is consistently ranked one of the world’s best hospitals and has been named the best hospital for cardiology and heart surgery for 28 years straight. It’s also been named one of the world’s most ethical companies 13 times. Not only is Cleveland Clinic world-renowned, but it’s also the leading employer of the Cleveland Metropolitan Area and a pioneer of many medical breakthroughs like bypass surgeries and face transplants. Cleveland is home to the MetroHealth System as well, which is recognized as the top Ohio hospital for rehabilitation care. And Cleveland University Hospitals, an affiliate of Case Western Reserve University, ranks among the best hospitals in the nation.

Find Diverse Job Opportunities

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In addition to the many employment opportunities in the city’s renowned healthcare industry, Cleveland residents can find jobs within a variety of other industries thanks to the city’s Fortune 500 companies, large corporations, research centers, and local businesses! Progressive Insurance—which was named one of the top workplaces in the U.S.—has its main headquarters in the Cleveland suburb of Mayfield, just 25 minutes from the city center. Apply to work at American Greetings, the world’s second-largest greeting card company, which was established in Cleveland in 1906 and is a leading employer in the area today. Those in the financial industry can find employment options at KeyCorp, headquartered at the iconic Key Tower. Or if you’re looking for something a little different, there’s Sherwin-Williams, one of Cleveland’s oldest homegrown brands, which has been located in Downtown Cleveland for over 150 years!

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Pursue a Degree at Top Universities

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There’s no shortage of education options for anyone who wants to earn a degree in Cleveland. Study with one of the best nursing schools in the U.S. at Case Western Reserve University, a top-ranked private research university that also specializes in fields like biomedical engineering and nonprofit management. Attend John Carroll University, one of the best regional universities in the Midwest, which also offers a variety of study abroad programs. If Division I athletics are your thing, become a Viking at Cleveland State University and choose from over 200 programs. Unleash your creativity at the Cleveland Institute of Art, a premier design institution with programs centered around game design, illustration, and a world-renowned animation program. Or if you want to become a professional musician, study at the Cleveland Institute of Music, one of only seven independent music conservatories in the U.S.

Make Use of Cleveland Public Transportation

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Getting around this Midwestern city is easier than you might think, thanks to the Regional Transit Authority, a sustainable resource for the people of Greater Cleveland. The city’s historic rapid transit, known as “The Rapid” to locals, includes both bus and rail services that promise fast travel and timely departures. This rapid rail system is extensive and runs throughout the city—and the red line has rail services from Tower City Center to Hopkins International Airport every 15 minutes, making it a perfect solution for those who need to travel often. On weekdays, the RTA runs free trolley buses citywide to make short commutes simple. The RTA system is also ADA-compliant, and there are even accessible paratransit options for those who cannot ride the fixed routes. Additionally, RTA in Cleveland is committed to protecting the environment by integrating sustainable practices through every level of operation!

Explore NASA’s Midwest Home

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For over 80 years, NASA has had roots in the Midwest at the Glenn Research Center, which designs and develops innovative technology for the future of space discovery and engineering. Spanning 150 buildings on 350 acres, Glenn Research Center focuses research on aeronautics, propulsion technologies, biomedical science, and other studies. The teams at Glenn Research Center played an active role in both the Mercury and Apollo programs in the ’50s and ’60s—so the next time you think of the Apollo 11 moon landing, know that part of it is due to Cleveland’s impact on space exploration! Best of all, thanks to NASA’s continued passion for education and outreach, you can book a tour of the facility and learn a thing or two about air and space history right here in the Midwest!

Enjoy Rich Cultural Diversity

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Living in Cleveland offers more than the typical Midwest experience when it comes to ethnic diversity and cultural festivals. The city has its own Little Italy, populated with pizza shops and neighborhood festivals rooted in Catholic traditions, like The Feast of the Assumption. There’s also AsiaTown, home to a variety of authentic restaurants and hosts world markets and live cultural performances at the yearly Asian Festival. The city even has the largest Slovene population outside of Slovenia and houses the historic Slavic Village, where the annual Pierogi Dash takes place. Additionally, Cleveland has a large Black population and cultural destinations like Karamu House, which is “the nation’s oldest Black producing theatre” and hosts a variety of community programs that speak to the African American experience—like For the Culture Fridays and Karamu Comedy Shows.

Balance City Life with the Outdoors

 

It’s easy to understand why locals call Cleveland “The Forest City.” With 18 nature reservations and tons of hiking trails and lakefront parks, Cleveland’s green spaces drape around the edges of the city—which is why the Metroparks refer to their series of parks as the “Emerald Necklace.” Hike around Euclid Creek Reservation and enjoy the peaceful sounds of a wooded river in the middle of an urban oasis. Take in the sights and sounds of the Rocky River Reservation, where you can explore forests, meadows, and wetlands. Visit Cuyahoga Valley National Park, which spans 33,000 acres and is home to the Brandywine Falls. Check out what’s happening at Cleveland Public Square, which hosts outdoor Cleveland festivals and concerts year-round, including Square Sounds and Food Truck Tuesday. Learn about Cleveland’s multiculturalism through statues and monuments, or enjoy music and dance performances at Cleveland Cultural Gardens, a hybrid between a recreational and reflective space. Go back in time and visit a 19th-century castle perched in the middle of a modern Cleveland park at Squire’s Castle. And don’t forget to catch a live performance by the lake, play some bocce ball, or have a relaxing lunch at Voinovich Bicentennial Park!

Set Sail from the North Coast

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If you’re a fan of swimming, boating, and other water activities, Cleveland is the perfect spot for you! Lake Erie borders Cleveland’s North Coast, so there are plenty of opportunities to get out on the water. Take your boat out from Wendy Park to go on sailing and fishing adventures right by Downtown Cleveland. Feel the sand between your toes at Edgewater Beach—a public beach located in scenic Edgewater Park open for swimming, boating, and beach volleyball. Sign up for kayaking lessons so you can set out on a peaceful adventure on the stunning coastline of Lake Erie at 41° North Kayak Adventures. Or enjoy the best brunch in Cleveland with a view of Lake Erie at Pier W, which partners with local fishermen and farmers to provide a unique fine-dining experience.

Connect with Art & History

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Cleveland has a colorful history, and the city’s museums embrace that! Find yourself in the center of film history at A Christmas Story House & Museum, which features original props and memorabilia from the iconic film and is a favorite stop during the holidays. Visit The Cleveland Museum of Art to experience rotating exhibits showcasing art from several countries and time periods, ranging from Modern Japan to Ancient Egypt. Take a trip to the Museum of Contemporary Art (moCA), the only contemporary art venue in the Cleveland area. Explore artifacts in archaeology, physical anthropology, botany, and evolutionary medicine at The Cleveland Museum of National History, Ohio’s largest natural history museum. Connect with Cleveland history on a local level with a collection of museum objects, manuscripts, and genealogical records at must-visit Cleveland History Center. Or pop into other notable museums like the International Women’s Air & Space Museum, Baseball Heritage Museum, or Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage.

Spend a Day at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

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Jutting up from the edge of Lake Erie is one of Cleveland’s architectural standouts and a defining location for the city—the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. The eternal home of rock and roll’s most famous entertainers, with new artists enshrined yearly, is filled with memorabilia across seven floors of exhibit space and an outdoor plaza. Marvel at music history with hands-on exhibits like The Garage, which highlights classic instruments used by renowned artists like Les Paul, B.B. King, and Jeff Beck. Stand under Pink Floyd’s The Wall exhibit, which mirrors the band’s iconic Berlin performance in 1990. Stroll through the Hall of Fame itself on the third floor to see the latest inducted legends. You can even host private events like a work party, conference, or wedding if you “Rent the Rock” for a night. And remember to check the schedule of events for incredible live music, DJs, local vendors, and more.

Experience Cleveland with the Family

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While CLE may be the epicenter of rock ‘n roll, you’ll be happy to hear that there are also plenty of family-friendly things to do in Cleveland! Support conservation and see more than 600 different species of animals at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, which was rated among the Top 25 Zoos in the U.S. Explore ten acres of outdoor gardens like the Hershey’s Children’s Garden, Woodland Garden, and Madagascar Glasshouse at Cleveland Botanical Garden. Visit an experimental bubble laboratory, a tranquil play space for infants, a theater where kids can put on their own productions, and much more at the Cleveland Children’s Museum. Feed your curiosity by seeing films on a giant dome projection system at the Cleveland Clinic DOME Theater, or engage in monthly events for kids like April is Space, May is Energy, and June is Water at the Great Lakes Science Center. Book a tour of the William G. Mather Steamship, a historic 1925-built Great Lakes freighter. Or take an hour-long drive over to Sandusky for a weekend “staycation” at Cedar Point amusement park, which has won several awards over the years, recognizing it as one of the Best Amusement Parks in the U.S.!

Root for Big-City Teams in a Small City

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Even though Cleveland may not be considered a major sports market, the passionate fanbases for its local sports franchises make it feel like one! Head over to Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse to see the Cleveland Cavaliers (NBA) swish buzzer-beaters. Get your hockey fix while NHL hopefuls play high-octane games with the Cleveland Monsters (AHL) inside of Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse when the Cavs are away! Cheer on the Cleveland Guardians (MLB) as they hit home runs at Progressive Field, known by locals as “The Jake” in honor of its original name of Jacob’s Field. Or join the “Dawg Pound” in the Cleveland Browns Stadium every fall and root for the Cleveland Browns (NFL) to score game-winning touchdowns.

Explore World-Class Performing Arts

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In the CLE, the live arts and entertainment options are hard to beat! Theatre lovers will be in heaven down at Playhouse Square, which boasts 11 theaters and is the second-largest theater district in the country, just behind New York City’s Broadway. Check out many Broadway touring shows like The Lion King or Frozen at either KeyBank State Theatre or Connor Palace. Film enthusiasts should also stop by this area, as it’s home to the Cleveland International Film Festival (CIFF). In the summertime, groove at Tri-C JazzFest at Playhouse Square, a three-day-long music festival devoted to the art and culture of jazz. Catch a performance from Cleveland Ballet, which often performs at the Mimi Ohio Theatre. And be sure to experience musical excellence at the Severance Music Center with one of the “big five” orchestras in the country, The Cleveland Orchestra.

Discover Incredible Local Eats

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Want to live in a place with great food? Cleveland has everything you’re looking for and more! Stop in to pick up deli meat, produce, or a whole meal from local vendors like Mediterra Bakehouse or Meister Foods at West Side Market. If you’re searching for the best pizza in Cleveland, head to Little Italy to try Pepperoni, Sausage, or Mushroom Pizza—or branch out with a Meatball Sandwich—at historic Mama Santa’s. Make your way over to Slavic Village and partake in Fish Fry Fridays with a Petite Shrimp Basket, Beer Battered Cod, or White Fish Fillet Dinner at Red Chimney. Devour top-notch sandwiches like the Pastrami Reuben or Fried Chicken at Larder Delicatessen & Bakery. Sit down for a high-quality steak dinner featuring cuts like the Boneless Ribeye, Prime NY Strip, and Executive Filet at Cleveland Chop. Get a spread of BBQ meats by the half-pound with tons of delicious sides like Loaded Fried Potatoes, Creamed Corn, and Poppyseed Coleslaw at Mabel’s BBQ. Or finish off a pint of Cleveland ice cream with flavors like Caramel Sea Salt, Toasted Pistachio, and Wildberry Crumble at Mitchell’s Ice Cream!

Get Down with the Nightlife

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For a city known for its rock ‘n roll history, it’s really no surprise that Cleveland has a bustling nightlife! Concert lovers can catch a show at Beachland Ballroom or The Agora Theatre, or even check out up-and-coming artists at The Grog Shop. If you’re hungry, stop by Music Box Supper Club for food and drinks with live music from local artists. Get ready to laugh by grabbing a ticket to a comedy show inside Hilarities 4th Street Theater, where you can watch comedians like Russell Howard, Michelle Wolf, and Dustin Nickerson perform. Visit one of CLE’s many breweries, such as Terrestrial Brewing Company, which creates unique beers like their Enlightenment sour and Big Black Furry Creature From Mars IPA. Or grab some of the best cocktails in Cleveland, with freshly squeezed juice and sophisticated syrups at the nostalgic Society Lounge.

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Pinterest Image Living in Cleveland, OH: 16 Things to Know

About Mike Beutler

Mike Beutler is a writer and digital content specialist who transitioned to self storage in 2020 after several years in the airline industry. His travels cultivated a passion for exploring cities across the U.S. and abroad and inspired him to learn more about practical insights for urban living. With 14 moves under his belt, both locally and cross-country, he also has a passion for minimalism and organization, and sharing tips to help others make any space feel like home while staying organized.