central business district of Cleveland, Ohio, United States

Downtown Cleveland is the city's central business district and is undergoing a period of substantial residential growth, bringing with it new options for dining, nightlife, and other attractions. Downtown is bordered by the Cuyahoga River in the west, Lake Erie in the north, and extends east to include Cleveland State University. The southern edge is less well-defined, but most visitors will not have a reason to go south of the baseball stadium. Downtown Cleveland is also home to the tallest building in Ohio, the 947 foot (288m) tall Key Tower.

View from Lakefront
The Mall

Downtown contains several major neighborhoods of interest, including:

  • E. 4th St. – A narrow street partially converted into a pedestrian walkway featuring some of the city's best restaurants and bars
  • Warehouse District – 19th-century warehouses and offices converted into retail and residences, home to many bars and nightclubs
  • Playhouse Square – Cleveland's theater district, the largest in the US outside of New York. Featuring broadway shows, concerts, and other live events
  • Flats East Bank – The east bank of the Cuyahoga river has been completely redeveloped. There are restaurants, bars, an outdoor night club, and an Aloft hotel.
  • Gateway District – Home to two of Cleveland's professional sports arenas, Progressive Field and Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse
  • North Coast – Home to most of the museums downtown, as well as Cleveland Browns Stadium
  • The Mall – A massive open-air public space consisting of large open lawns and pavilions. Also includes the Cleveland Convention Center and Global Center for Health Innovation.

Get in edit

Map of Cleveland/Downtown

For information on getting to Cleveland, see Cleveland#Get in.

Downtown is easily accessible by car and transit. Most of Cleveland's freeways converge toward downtown. Traffic is usually relatively light for an urban area outside of typical weekday commuting hours and special events. Parking in garages and surface lots is plentiful and generally inexpensive compared to larger cities. Street parking is available on some streets. Many hotels and restaurants offer valet service.

By public transit, the RTA Red Line goes between the airport and downtown (Tower City) in approximately 30 minutes. Be sure to check the RTA website as frequent west side track maintenance often necessitates replacing part or all of the route with buses on weekends, which can add several minutes. Most of RTA's bus routes originate downtown, near Tower City, upstairs from the Red Line station.

Cleveland's Amtrak, Greyhound, and Megabus stations are all in the downtown area.

See edit

The Cleveland Arcade has been a luxury shopping spot since the Victorian era.
  • 1 Public Square. A historic 10-acre plaza in the center of downtown Cleveland. Free.    
  • 2 Global Center for Health Innovation (Medical Mart), 1 St Clair Ave NE. M-F 8AM-5:30PM. Open to the public to showcase the state of the art in medical technology. Free.    

Historic buildings and architecture edit

  • 3 Terminal Tower Observation Deck, 50 Public Sq, +1 216 736-7646. Sa noon-5PM, Su noon-4PM. It was the second tallest building in the world when it was built in 1929. Now it's the second tallest building in Cleveland. The building was constructed as the main railroad terminal in Cleveland, and serves as the main hub of the RTA Rapid Lines (below the retail mall levels). Go to the Terminal Tower's observation deck on the 42nd floor to observe the surrounding environs (particularly, Lake Erie, the winding Cuyahoga River, and the juxtaposition of downtown against industrial uses to the south and west). The observation deck is only open on weekends. $5.    
  • 4 The Arcade, 401 Euclid Ave, +1 216-696-1408. Built in 1890 and designed by John Eisenmann. The construction was financed by John D. Rockefeller, Marcus Hanna and several other wealthy Clevelanders of the day. The cost of the project was approximately $875,000 - today it would be impossible to replicate. The inspiration of the project is said to be the Vittorio Emanuele in Milan, Italy. Although pedestrian arcades exist in several North American cities, few - if any, compare to the grandeur of the Arcade in Cleveland. The Arcade was the first building in Cleveland to be placed on the National Register of Historic Places. The structure features a five-story atrium with extensive metal decorative work. The top floor features gargoyles which circle the entire atrium area. The structure includes the famous skylighted atrium as well as two nine-story towers, one each on Euclid Ave and Superior Ave. In the past decade, the structure was renovated as a Hyatt Regency Hotel.    
  • 5 Hope Memorial Bridge (Lorain-Carnegie Bridge). Named for the father of Bob Hope, the famous actor/comedian who grew up from early childhood in Cleveland (though born in London). Hope Sr. worked on its construction. The bridge is framed by four art deco pylon sculptures known as the Guardians of Traffic portraying the evolution of forms of ground transportation. The sculptures are the source of the local baseball team's new nickname. In addition to a large number of jack-knife and lift bridges along the Cuyahoga, one of the world's few remaining "Swing Bridges" is still in use, connecting the east and west banks of the Flats entertainment district.    
  • 6 Key Tower, 127 Public Sq (Rockwell Ave at E Roadway). The tallest building in Ohio, and second-tallest between New York City and Chicago for that matter, designed by Cesar Pelli.    
  • 7 Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument, 3 Public Square, +1-216-621-3710. 10AM-6PM. Designed by prominent Cleveland architect Levi Scofield, this 125 ft tall monument and sculptures honors Cleveland-area Civil War veterans. Free.    

Museums edit

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame - A glass pyramid suspended over the lake. The interior is filled with mementos of rock stars and their greatest hits.
  • 8 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, 751 Erieside Ave (drive north on East 9th St exit until you reach the Hall of Fame -- if you drive into Lake Erie, you've gone too far), +1 216 781-ROCK (7625). Summer: Su–Tu 10AM–5:30PM, W–Sa 10AM–9PM; fall and winter: Thursday–Tuesday 10AM–5:30PM, Wednesday 10AM–9PM. Located at North Coast Harbor, this glass pyramid was designed by noted architect I.M. Pei and houses a massive collection of rock and roll memorabilia. Cleveland was home to the first Rock concert, the term "Rock and Roll" was coined by a Cleveland DJ and many of the music genre's icons used Cleveland as their springboards. As Rock Inductee, Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin, has been paraphrased - to become a rock star in the U.S., first, you have to be loved in Cleveland. Adults: $23.50, seniors (60+): $21.25, children (ages 9-12): $13.75, children (8 & under): free.    
  • 9 Great Lakes Science Center, 601 Erieside Ave, +1 216 694-2000. Summer: M-Sa 10AM-5PM, Su noon-5PM; winter: Tu-Sa 10AM-5PM, Su noon-5PM. An interactive science museum with exhibits on topics including clean energy, aerospace engineering, and biomedical technology. Also includes the Steamship Mather, a Great Lakes freighter built in 1925, and an IMAX Dome theater.    
  • 10 Steamship William G. Mather Maritime Museum, 601 Erieside Ave (Next to the Great Lakes Science Center), +1 216-694-2000. Tu-Sa 11AM-5PM, Su noon-5PM. A retired Great Lakes bulk freighter that has been restored as a museum.    
  • 11 USS Cod, 1089 E 9th St. 10AM-5PM. A World War II-era submarine open for tours May through September $12.    
  • 12 Federal Reserve Bank and Money Museum, 1455 E Sixth St. M-Th 9:30AM-2:30PM. Exhibits about the history of economics and money in the historic Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. They have a 23-ft money tree, tours, and many interactive exhibits. Free.    
  • 13 Cleveland Police Museum, 1300 Ontario St, +1 216-623-5055. W Th 10AM-2PM. A collection of Cleveland police gear and crime scene artifacts from the 1800s to the modern era. Some of the artifacts include plaster castings of murder victim faces, an early police call box, and artifacts from the Kingsbury Run murders. Has a small gift shop.
  • 14 International Women's Air and Space Museum, 1501 N Marginal Rd, +1 216-623-1111. 8AM-8PM. A museum dedicated to the preservation of the history of women in aviation and space and the documentation of their continuing contributions today and in the future. Free.    

Art edit

Cleveland has a rich artistic history. In addition to its museums of art, the city boasts a vibrant art community with galleries scattered throughout its trendiest neighborhoods.

Free Stamp with Rock and Roll HOF in background
  • Cleveland Public Art. Headquartered in Ohio City, this non-profit organization sponsors art projects throughout the city, including the spires and vegetable wall near Progressive Field, the murals on Tremont School, and the Wade Oval gate at the Cleveland Botanical Garden.
  • 15 Free Stamp. This controversial piece of pop art, in Willard Park to the east of City Hall, was commissioned in 1982 and designed by artists Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen.    
  • 16 ArtCraft Building, 2570 Superior Ave.
  • 17 The Bonfoey Gallery, 1710 Euclid Ave, +1 216 621-0178. M-Th 8:30AM-5:30PM, F 8:30AM-5PM, Sa 9AM-3PM (closes on Sa at noon during summer). A contemporary art gallery with rotating exhibits that has been in business since 1893.

Do edit

Sports edit

With 4 stadiums downtown, chances are good that there will be at least one sporting event going on during your visit.

Progressive Field
  • 5 Cleveland Guardians baseball (Progressive Field), 2401 Ontario St (downtown NE corner of Ontario St and Carnegie Ave), +1 216 420-4636. The Guardians, renamed from Indians after the 2021 season, play in Progressive Field, a gem of a ballpark in Major League Baseball. $8-85.    
  • 6 Cleveland Browns football (Cleveland Browns Stadium), 100 Alfred Lerner Way (W. 3rd St., north of the highway), . The old Browns went to the birds, but the Dawg Pound carries on the tradition of the NFL's staunchest fans! While they haven't won a championship since 1964, and didn't pick up a playoff win after "The Move" until the 2020 season, most Browns fans remain loyal. Tailgating parties in the nearby parking lots may be more popular than the games themselves these days. Tickets for most games can be obtained cheaply on resale sites.    
  • 7 Cleveland Cavaliers basketball (Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse), 1 Center Ct (SE corner of Huron and Ontario), +1 216 420-2200. Cleveland's most successful sports franchise as of late with five division titles since 2009 and a league championship in 2016... though now rebuilding after LeBron James took his talents to the Left Coast. $10-500.    
  • 8 Cleveland Gladiators arena football (Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse), 1 Center Ct (downtown SE corner of Ontario St and Huron Rd and is connected to Tower City and the Rapid via a walkway).    
  • 9 Cleveland Monsters Hockey (Lake Erie Monsters Hockey), 1 Center Ct (downtown SE corner of Ontario St and Huron Rd and is connected to Tower City and the Rapid via a walkway), +1 216 420-0000. AHL affiliate for the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Gladiators and Monsters both play in Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.    
  • 10 Cleveland State Vikings, 2000 Prospect Ave (Wolstein Center). The sports teams of Cleveland State University, members of the Horizon League with various sports throughout the year. Cleveland State University competes in baseball, basketball, crew, cross country, fencing, golf, ice hockey, lacrosse, rifle, soccer, softball, swimming and diving, tennis, track and field, volleyball, and wrestling.    

Sporting events edit

  • Cleveland Marathon. Long-distance runners gather from around the globe each spring to Rock 'n Run downtown. Rock parties are held at the end of the marathon.    
  • MAC Basketball Championships. The Mid-American Conference of NCAA Division I college basketball holds its annual men's and women's championships in early March at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse to determine the conference's automatic entries into March Madness (the NCAA tournament) for men and women.
  • Greater Cleveland Sports Commission. Every year Cleveland hosts major national and international sports events.

Buy edit

Tower City Center
  • 1 Tower City Center, 230 W Huron Rd, +1 216 771-0033. Downtown Cleveland is home to Tower City Center, a large urban complex, a retail mall, hotels and the Terminal Tower. Shops range from high-end to standard mall franchises. The food court has great views of the river. Tower City is connected by walkway to the Tower City Amphitheater, Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse and Progressive Field, and the federal courthouse. Rapid Transit lines head west to the airport as well as through University Circle and suburbs to the east, so anyone arriving from the Rapid will walk through the mall.

    Tower City has been struggling with the loss of many of its upscale tenants, but it remains one of the largest shopping areas downtown.
  • 2 5th Street Arcades, 530 Euclid Avenue. Historical buildings featuring a variety of mostly local shops.
  • 3 Night Market (Rockwell Ave at E. 21st). 5PM-11PM. Based on traditional Asian night markets, features local craftsmen, food vendors, and bands. See website for dates.
  • 4 Galleria at Erieview, 1301 E 9th St, +1 216-861-4343. Another complex downtown that includes a popular lunchtime foodcourt. It hosts art galleries and art events.    

Eat edit

Budget edit

  • 1 Heinen's Downtown, 900 Euclid Avenue. A grocery store in the rotunda of a historic bank building, also has a wide variety of prepared foods, an espresso bar, and a wine bar on the 2nd floor balcony.
  • 2 Walnut Wednesdays (E 12th and Walnut). 11AM-1:30PM. A gathering of food trucks every Wednesday, May-September

Mid-range edit

  • 3 Mallorca, 1390 W 9th St, +1 216 687-9494. Excellent Spanish and Portuguese food.
  • 4 Pickwick and Frolics, 2035 E 4th St. Classic American with comedy and dinner theater shows.
  • 5 Pura Vida, 170 Euclid Ave. A wide variety of cuisines with numerous vegetarian and vegan options.
  • 6 Mabel's BBQ, 2050 E 4th St. Michael Symon's "Cleveland style" BBQ.
  • 7 Barrio, 503 Prospect. Downtown taqueria with build-your-own tacos and margaritas.
  • 8 Butcher & The Brewer, 2043 E 4th St. As the name suggests, they brew their own beer and cut and cure their own meat.

Splurge edit

  • 9 Blue Point Grille, 700 W St Clair Ave, +1 216 875-7827. Classy seafood and a large wine list.
  • 10 Johnny's Downtown, 1406 W 6th St (Warehouse District), +1 216 623-0055. Upscale Italian with live piano music.
  • 11 Sans Souci, 24 Public Square (Tower City). French and Mediterranean inspired food in the Renaissance Hotel
  • 12 Red: The Steakhouse, 417 Prospect Avenue. Classic white tablecloth steakhouse. Named one of the top 10 steakhouses in the US by Playboy.
  • 13 Alley Cat Oyster Bar, 1056 Old River Rd (Flats East Bank). Upscale seafood with a view of the riverfront.

Drink edit

East 4th Street
  • 1 House of Blues, 308 Euclid Ave (E 4th St).
  • 2 Wilbert's, 812 Huron Rd E (Gateway district). Live blues music.
  • 3 Winking Lizard Taverns. Area chain known for its World Tour of Beer, as well as solid local food.
  • 4 Society Lounge, 2063 E 4th St. Speakeasy-style bar with craft cocktails and tapas
  • 5 Wild Eagle Saloon, 921 Huron Rd. Self-serve beer dispensers, live music, and games.
  • 6 Masthead Brewing Company, 1261 Superior Ave E, +1 216 206-6176, . Tu-Th 11AM-10PM, F 11AM-1AM, Sa 1PM-1AM. Restaurant/brewery in historic part of town. The building is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Sleep edit

The Hilton in Cleveland

Budget edit

Mid-range edit

Splurge edit

Connect edit

The main branch of the Cleveland Public Library. Branches dot the city.
This district travel guide to Downtown is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.