The abandonment of downtown actually preserved its bounty of Victorian and turn-of-the-century commercial and residential structures. When the preservation and retrofitting of these buildings became fashionable two decades ago, civic leaders and private investors established an ambitious plan to reinvent Cleveland.
Since block after block of downtown has been renovated, attracting corporate ventures and drawing suburban dwellers into the city's trendy dining, sports, arts, and entertainment districts. It's taken longer for downtown to attract full-time residents, but slowly, condos and lofts have begun to open.
When visiting Cleveland, it makes sense to stay downtown, where the bulk of the best hotels are - this also puts you within walking distance of several key attractions, a number of good restaurants, and the esteemed theaters of Playhouse Square. But to take advantage of the city's wealthy of up-and-coming neighborhoods, plan to arrive by or rent a car, and to spend some time exploring the areas east and west of downtown.
The Lay of the Land.
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Ohio's second-largest city, Cleveland population , hugs the south shore of Lake Erie, in the northeastern section of the state. It's situated at the confluence of Interstates 80 and 90, which merge here on their way westward before diverging again in Chicago; Interstate 77 runs south from Cleveland into Appalachian West Virginia, and Interstate 71 runs southwest to Columbus and then Cincinnati.
Cleveland has a relatively compact, walkable downtown that's only recently begun to see an increase in residential living; most of the city's residents live in neighborhoods to the west and east along the shoreline, and increasingly to the south.
Close-in neighborhoods like Ohio City and Tremont, which only decade or two ago struggled, have lately blossomed into hubs of trendy dining and shopping as well as popular places to live - both have a strong LGBT presence. Driving Distances. Driving distances to Cleveland from major cities and points of interest are:. Flying to Cleveland. Cleveland-Hopkins International Airport is 14 miles southwest of downtown and is served by most major airlines, with direct flights throughout the Midwest and Eastern Seaboard as well to a few international destinations, such as Cancun and Punta Cana, Dominican Republic , plus a handful of direct flights to major West Coast cities.
Here's a calendar of some of the top events in Cleveland throughout and Resources for gay travelers to Cleveland. The Cleveland-based Gay People's Chronicle has coverage on the local gay scene, and the alternative newsweekly, Cleveland Scene is strong on dining, nightlife, the arts, and local issues. Additionally, you'll find further information on the city's gay scene at the Cleveland About.
Cleveland's renaissance has occurred largely downtown, which is quite walkable. To the north is Lake Erie, fringed by the Memorial Shoreway. University Circle, a district on the east side, contains the top museums, as well as Case Western Reserve University. The gayified suburbs of Lakewood, to the west, and Cleveland Heights, to the east, are at opposite ends of the city.
Downtown, Warehouse District, and the Flats. Downtown Cleveland is home to a number of vintage buildings that date to the time when native son and Standard Oil baron John D. Rockefeller presided over one of America's most formidable business districts. The wealth of early 20th-century buildings, entertainment and shopping districts, and renewed tourist interest has given downtown a new energy, although some blocks are still a bit downcast.
The latest development, Horseshoe Casino , is in the heart of downtown, on the south side of iconic Public Square - it has no hotel on-site but is close to several, and visitors to this nearly ,square-foot facility will find more than 2, slots, 65 table games, a poker room, and several restaurants.
Action has always revolved around Public Square , a regal park of fountains and statuary over which looms the focal point of the downtown comeback, City Tower Center. This story complex serves as a hub for the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority commuter rail system.
Stroll east from Public Square to reach the Playhouse Square Theater District , a revived complex of 10 theaters and performance spaces, most of them historic several offer tours. It offers an invigorating tour of music and pop culture during the past half-century, with such colorful memorabilia as Janis Joplin's psychedelically painted Porsche.
Next door is the Great Lakes Science Center, with its touch-friendly exhibits, and just beyond lies the mammoth Cleveland Browns Stadium. You can walk a short distance north from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame museum to scenic Voinovich Bicentennial Park , which affords fine views of Lake Erie as well as the downtown Cleveland skyline and is the site of Cleveland Gay Pride celebration each June. The recovery of the Flats , the district along the Cuyahoga River, has been one of Cleveland's more impressive magic tricks, although the neighborhood has ebbed and flowed a bit in terms of energy over the past couple of decades.
This industrial area west of and down a steep slope from downtown was once the domain of grain-processing plants. Some factories still thrive along the river, but the plants and warehouses closest to downtown have largely been converted into rowdy and straight nightclubs and restaurants. One of the most impressive developments in the Flats has been the conversion of the old Powerhouse building into Greater Cleveland Aquarium , giving the neighborhood a marquee attraction.
Up the steep hill from the Flats, on the northwest edge of downtown, is the historic Cleveland Warehouse District , which when it emerged as a dining and clubbing destination in the '90s had a significant gay presence. The district is now more the domain of clubs and restaurants catering to straight revelers from the suburbs, but these SoHo-like, cast-iron structures do contain some good restaurants as well as some beautiful loft-style apartments and condos.
Ohio City. Most of the businesses in Ohio City are along West 25th Street, near the junction with Lorain Avenue, which is also lined with several restaurants and shops, and also Fulton Road. Just southwest of downtown Cleveland, historic Tremont was laid out in the s and prospered through much of the 19th century and early 20th centuries, growing into a popular place to live among the city's many Eastern European immigrants. As Cleveland's fortunes waned after World War II, Tremont lost its luster as well as much of its population, but the neighborhood has undergone a swift and stunning renaissance since the s.
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