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View of the Cleveland Downtown Skyline at Dusk

16 Things to Know About Living in Cleveland

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

Affordability on the Water

Looking at Downtown Cleveland over the Cuyahoga River. Photo by Instagram user @thenorthcoast

Photo via @thenorthcoast

The CLE is surprisingly affordable for a city next to a large body of water, with a cost of living that lands 11% below the national average. Rental prices are also 11% below the Ohio average, and a recent study concluded that Cleveland is the fifth most affordable city for renters in the United States! Not to mention, if you’re looking to buy a home, this Ohio city ranks number five on top housing markets to watch, with a median home price of only $99,000, which is 49% lower than the Ohio average!

Job Diversity Is a Big Draw

Photo of Key Corp Building in Downtown Cleveland. Photo by Instagram User @king_of_pics7

Photo via @king_of_pics7

Several Fortune 500 companies, large corporations, and research centers all reside in Cleveland, so there are plenty of great employment opportunities throughout the city! Progressive Insurance, which was also named one of the top workplaces in the U.S., has its main headquarters in the Cleveland suburb of Mayfield, just a few minutes outside of the city center. There’s also 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 to this day. 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, and it’s been located in Downtown Cleveland for over a century!

NASA’s Midwest Home

Aerial View of a Hangar at NASA's Glenn Research Center. Photo by Instagram user @nasaglenn

Photo via @nasaglenn

For over 80 years, NASA has had roots in the Midwest at Glenn Research Center, which designs and develops innovative technology for the future of space discovery and engineering. Sprawling 150 buildings on 350 acres, Glenn Research Center focuses research on aeronautics, propulsion technologies, biomedical science, and other studies. The teams at the 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—think of 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!

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Access to State-of-the-Art Healthcare

Exterior Photo of the Cleveland Clinic Children's Center. Photo by Instagram user @ccfpeds

Photo via @ccfpeds

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 26 years straight. 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 also houses the MetroHealth System, another large healthcare system and employer that was recently named one of the world’s most ethical companies for a second consecutive year. Cleveland University Hospitals, an affiliate of Case Western Reserve University, also ranks among the nation’s best hospitals.

Get Your Degree at Top Universities

Students Walking on Campus at John Carroll University in Cleveland, OH. Photo by Instagram user @johncarrollu

Photo via @johncarrollu

In Cleveland, there’s a wide selection of education options for anyone who wants to earn a degree. Study healthcare in 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 biomedical engineering and nonprofit management. Live close to Downtown Cleveland while attending John Carroll University, one of the best universities in the Midwest, which offers a variety of study abroad programs. If Division I athletics are your thing, become a Viking at Cleveland State University while studying business or psychology. 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 conservatories of music in the U.S.

Getting Around Is Easy (& Green)

Cleveland may be a large Midwestern city, but getting around is easier than it seems! The Regional Transit Authority is 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. Their rapid rail system is extensive and runs throughout the city—and their 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 busses citywide to make short commutes simple, and there’s even accessible paratransit options for people with disabilities. Additionally, the RTA in Cleveland is committed to protecting the environment by integrating sustainable practices through every level of operation!

It’s Rich in Cultural Diversity

Women Singing on Stage at the Karamu House in Cleveland, OH. Photo by Instagram user @karamuhouseinc

Photo via @karamuhouseinc

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. Asiatown, nestled in the heart of the city and home to a variety of authentic restaurants, is another prominent Cleveland neighborhood and hosts the yearly Asian Festival. The city even has the largest Slovene population outside of Slovenia and is home to the historic Slavic Village, where the annual Pierogi Dash takes place. In addition, Cleveland has a large Black population, and Karamu House is the oldest black performing theater in the U.S.—it’s also recognized as the best theater in the Midwest by Midwest Living Magazine!

Big City Sports with a Small City Vibe

Cleveland Cavaliers Player Going Up for a Layup agains the New Orleans Pelicans. Photo by Instagram user @dp.co__

Photo via @dp.co__

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) play. Cheer on the Cleveland Guardians (MLB)—who will be renamed following the 2021 season—at Progressive Field, which is known lovingly as “The Jake” to locals in honor of the team’s long-time home, Jacob’s Field. Join the “dawg pound” inside of FirstEnergy Stadium as you root for the Cleveland Browns (NFL) every fall. Or get your hockey fix as you watch NHL hopefuls play with the Cleveland Monsters (AHL) inside of Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse when the Cavs are away!

Balance City Life with the Outdoors

It’s easy to understand why locals call Cleveland “Forest City.” With its 18 nature reservations, 100 hiking trails, eight lakefront parks, and five nature centers, 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 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 Cuyahoga Falls. Check out what’s happening at Cleveland Public Square, which hosts events like concerts and festivals throughout the year. Learn about Cleveland’s multiculturalism at Cleveland Cultural Gardens, a hybrid between a recreational space and a place to reflect. Go back in time and visit a 19th Century castle perched in the middle of a modern park at Squire’s Castle. And don’t forget to catch a concert by the lake or have a relaxing lunch at Voinovich Bicentennial Park!

Set Sail from the North Coast

Person Paragliding Over the River at Edgewater State Park in Cleveland, OH. Photo by Instagram user @cyorkphoto

Photo via @cyorkphoto

If you’re a fan of swimming, boating, and other water activities, Cleveland may be the city for you. The North Coast is bordered by Lake Erie to the north, so there’s plenty of opportunities to get out on the water. Take your boat out from Wendy Park to go on sailing and fishing adventures. Feel the sand between your toes at Edgewater Beach, a public park that’s open in the summer for swimming, boating, and beach volleyball. Sign up for kayaking lessons so you can set out on a peaceful adventure on Lake Erie at 41° North Kayak Adventures. If you’d prefer to stay dry, you can enjoy Cleveland’s best fine dining or brunch with a view of Lake Erie at Pier W, which was awarded the Silver Spoon Award for Best Brunch.

Connect with Art & History

Cleveland has a colorful history, and the museums spread across the city are all about embracing it! Find yourself in the center of film history at A Christmas Story House Museum, which is open to visitors year-round, but definitely a favorite to stop at during the holidays! Visit Cleveland Museum of Art, which has eight rotating exhibits showcasing art from several countries and time periods. Take a day trip to the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), the only contemporary art venue in the Cleveland area. Expand your mind at The Cleveland Museum of National History, where you can learn about animals, dinosaurs, and evolutionary medicine. Connect with history on a local level at the must-visit Cleveland History Center. Or pop into other notable museums like International Women’s Air & Space Museum or Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage.

Spend a Day at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

Exterior Photo of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, OH. Photo by Instagram user @daileytribune

Photo via @daileytribune

Jutting up from the edge of Lake Erie is one of the city’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 being enshrined yearly, is filled with memorabilia throughout seven floors of exhibit space and an outdoor plaza. Marvel at rock history with hands-on exhibits like The Garage, which celebrates the birth of many rock bands. Stand under Pink Floyd’s The Wall exhibit. Or stroll through the Hall of Fame itself on the third floor. You can even host private events like a job party, conference, or have your wedding if you “Rent the Rock” for a night. Like many large museums, the exhibits are on a rotating schedule, so be sure to check out what special exhibits are coming before you go!

Kids Love Cleveland, Too

Kid Walking Through the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. Photo by Instagram user @clemetzoo

Photo via @clemetzoo

While Cleveland may be the epicenter of rock ‘n roll, you’ll be happy to hear that it’s also very family-friendly! Embrace wilderness at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, which was rated among the Top 25 Zoos in the U.S. Explore ten acres of outdoor gardens and a greenhouse that’s open year-round at Cleveland Botanical Garden. Feed your curiosity at Great Lakes Science Center, which has been recognized by the National Medal for Museum and Library Service. Book a tour of the William G. Mather Steamship, a retired great lakes freighter docked. Or take a quick drive over to Sandusky for a weekend “staycation” at Cedar Point Amusement Park, which has won several “Best Amusement Park in the World” awards over the years!

The Second Great White Way

Nighttime Photo of Playhouse Square in Cleveland, OH. Photo by Instagram user @edrost88

Photo via @edrost88

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. You can check out many Broadway touring shows like The Lion King or Frozen at either KeyBank State Theatre and Connor Palace. Film buffs should also stop by Playhouse Square, as it’s home to the Cleveland International Film Festival (CIFF). In the summertime, you can 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 with one of the “big five” orchestras in the country, the Cleveland Orchestra.

Discover Incredible, Local Eats

Plate of Barbecued Meats from Mabels BBQ in Cleveland, OH. Photo by Instagram user @mabelsbbq4th

Photo via @mabelsbbq4th

If you’re looking to live in a place with great food, Cleveland has everything you’re looking for and more! West Side Market is an indoor market and must-visit destination where you can pick up deli meat, produce, or a whole meal at one of its in-house cafes. If you’re looking for pizza, head to the historic Mama Santa’s in Little Italy and try their House Favorite Pizza or Manicotti. Make your way over to Sokolowski’s University Inn in Slavic Village and enjoy a banquet of polish food like Smoked Kielbasa and Sauteed Pierogi. Devour top-notch sandwiches like Herb n’ Twine or Fried Chicken at Larder Delicatessen & Bakery. Fill up on burgers like the Fat Guy or the Lola at Michael Symon’s B-Spot. Get a spread of BBQ meats by the half-pound with tons of delicious sides like Pork Cracklin’, Creamed Corn, and Poppyseed Coleslaw at Mabel’s BBQ. Or finish off a savory meal with sweets at Mitchell’s Ice Cream, which is known as the best ice cream spot in Cleveland!

Get Down with the Nightlife

People Enjoying a Hot Mulligan Concert inside the Agora in Cleveland, OH. Photo by Instagram user @_nathanrogers

Photo via @_nathanrogers

For a city known for its rock ‘n roll history, it’s really no surprise that Cleveland has a bustling nightlife! Live music 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 Nighttown for a late dinner and drinks with live music in the background. Get ready to laugh by grabbing a ticket to a comedy show inside of Hilarities 4th Street Theater, where you can watch comedians like Tom Poppa, Craig Robinson, Nicole Byer, and more. Drink like a rock star at one of the CLE’s many breweries like Terrestrial Brewing Company, which creates unique beers that are infused with a wide array of ingredients from lifesavers to jalapenos. Or book a tour on the BrewBus and check out the other local breweries throughout Cleveland!


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