Why I’m Moving to Cleveland

Why I’m Moving to Cleveland

This is a letter to everyone who will listen. I’m writing this letter because I’m tired of your response when you hear I’m moving to Cleveland. Your single word response, punctuated with a question mark, says it all.


You don’t have to add that tilt of your head or the wrinkled brow. And if you haven’t been to Cleveland lately (if ever at all) then who are you to tilt your head, wrinkle your brow or even put a question mark on the end of the word Ohio?

So let me set the record straight. I’m not moving to Cleveland, Ohio? I’m moving to Cleveland, Ohio! If you want to add a question mark – then try asking a question.

If you ask me ‘why’ I might share with you my top nine reasons…

C ost of Living

According to a variety of website calculators including Bankrate.com, the cost of living in Cleveland, Ohio is 23.86% less than my former home of Anchorage, Alaska.  And it is between 25-59% less than many cities in New York and New Jersey. But I think the barista who recently moved there from NY, who now manages my soon to be local coffee shop, put it best… “You can live like a princess in Cleveland.”

L ake Erie

They call it a lake but it seems like an ocean, especially when you’re living where you can see it from your living room window. If you’re into water sports you’re in luck, especially since it’s the shallowest of all the Great Lakes; it warms rapidly in the spring and summer. And if you happen to like bridges, then you’re in heaven.

E conomic Development

I’m not an economist and I don’t care to read a ton of reports, but I happen to have a friend who knows what’s happening on the ground in Cleveland – and the reports are good. One fun development includes the recent addition of Food Trucks to the streets and events of Cleveland. These portable restaurants “make areas safer and more vibrant” according to Kevin (read more at Cleveland.com) and one Cleveland food truck owner recently won national recognition by finishing second on “The Great Food Truck Race” on Food Network – and now he’s about to open a brick and mortar restaurant in my new home town. Yum!

V ibrant Friends

Moving to a new city is hard enough when you don’t know the people– but I’m lucky to know several and they are all amazing. They are artists, business owners, foodies, book lovers, writers, wine drinkers, boaters, community leaders, volleyball players, dog owners, urban hikers, suburban bikers, downtown dwellers, movers and shakers. And they have each made me feel at home before I’ve even moved to town. I adore you all and I look forward to all the Clevelanders I have yet to meet.

E nergy

Unfortunately I’m not talking about green energy – but something equally important to me – and that’s the energy of the city and its people. And the energy in Cleveland is good. From the store clerks who greet you with warmth to the strangers who seem genuinely happy in their daily lives, the energy is palpable. The city even has a downtown trolley that’s “free with a smile” – and how cool is that?

L GBT Community Cruising

I bet I got your attention with that one. If ‘cruising’ is your scene then this is a great place – but I’m actually talking about an annual boat cruise where the LGBT community comes together to have fun and raise money. And it’s just one example of the events held for the community and all their friends – because everyone is invited. Just like everyone is invited to participate in the Gay Games when they come to Cleveland in 2014. And everyone means everyone – so will you come play in Cleveland?

A rt

I couldn’t write a better description, so I’m pulling this right from Insider Ohio:

“Often called “One Perfect Mile,” University Circle is the epicenter of Cleveland’s robust art scene. In just one square mile art fans will find the matchless Cleveland Museum of Art, the renowned Cleveland Institute of Art, and the avant-garde Museum of Contemporary Art. But art thrives outside the Circle too, most notably in trendy Tremont, where scores of funky galleries rub shoulders with gourmet bistros. Over in historic Little Italy, eclectic studios share cobblestone lanes with third-generation bakeries. Perhaps taking their creative cue from thriving Playhouse Square, downtown’s galleries are every bit as admired as those beyond the urban core.”

N ightlife

I’m not a party girl but I want to live somewhere with a variety of entertainment options, funky restaurants, small and large theatrical stages, coffee shops with open mics and so much more. I want choices. And yet I don’t want to have to drive great distances or fight crowds of people for a ticket. I want bigger than Brigantine and smaller than New York.  I want Cleveland – a place where it’s all downtown – which brings me to the D in Cleveland.

D owntown Digs

One thing I’ve always wanted is to live in a city where it’s possible to park your car and forget you own it. A place where I can be more pedestrian. A place where artist lofts are created in run down warehouses. A place like Cleveland. More specifically, a place like the Bradley Building, located in the Warehouse District of Downtown Cleveland. A place where my girlfriend and I just signed the lease and will be moving the first of September.

Now if you’re a person who likes a perfect Top 10 List then add an exclamation point because “Cleveland Rocks!” Then be sure to check out the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame while you’re hanging out at our new place overlooking the lake.

And thank you for removing your cock-eyed question mark from the word Ohio – unless you have first hand knowledge you feel the need to share. And don’t bother telling me about the ‘brutal winters’ – you’re talking to a girl who lived in Alaska for seven years.

Want to keep reading?
You might like: The Fun and Fear of Moving or The Journey is the Destination

310 thoughts on “Why I’m Moving to Cleveland

  1. Good arguments. Maybe Cleveland will get onto my list of possible places for us to move, too. Nice building! What apartment are you going to be in? Floor plans look cool and 12′ ceilings? Nice 🙂

    • That would be a treat – and without a doubt I recommend the Bradley Building even though I haven’t moved in yet. The manager (Phil) is AMAZING and we both look forward to chatting with him more when we finally get there.

      • Just stumble upon your blog and article… as a fellow Clevelander, I LOVE MY CITY! But getting a feel for the type of person you are, the (Warehouse District) IS NOT where you want to live!! The warehouse district is a punching ground for college frat boys every Friday and Saturday… You would be much more suited for the E.4th street area, where it’s loaded with great restaurants, and has a very downtown neighborly feel. Good luck, and welcome to Cleveland!

      • I hear you but I have to hope I will love it. I made sure to get a floor well above street level for some of the reasons you mentioned. Also… with downtown occupancy at more than 97% there were no openings on E. 4th Street which met all my criteria. But thank you for the heads up (and reality check).

    • I was born in Cleveland on the East side but have lived on the West side as well! The problem with Cleveland is the blue collar menality of the people. They are unable or unwilling to think out of the box! It was not until I left Cleveland that i was able to see that is what was holding me back. I am much better off now that I have moved, not only financially but emotionally and spiritually. At first I thought this was just me until I had met other people who managed to escape Cleveland and settle elsewhere. They see exactly what I am telling you here.

      Good luck!

      • Thanks for your perspective Robert. I hope you continue to love your new city just as I hope Cleveland continues to be a place I enjoy calling home. Good luck to you as well.

      • I think that Cleveland has grown considerably beyond that mentality in the last few years. I love it here.

  2. You’re preaching to the choir. I am the 5th generation of my family to be born in Cleveland. I grew up in a Western suburb, but went to the museum on a weekly basis for years, been to Indians & Browns games, Playhouse Square, frequented the shopping areas around the Square at the Terminal Tower and all down Euclid Ave. and practically lived at the beach growing up- about a 1/4 mile walk from my house. I even saw the Rolling Stones in concert downtown when I was 15! I still have family there and get back every so often.
    Welcome to my home town!

  3. Plus from Cleveland you can drive to: Chicago, Indianapolis, New York, Toronto, Columbus, Cinncinnati, Washington DC. Philidelphia, Boston, Pittburgh, Detroit. It is really in the center of it all.

  4. Huzzah! Welcome to Cleveland. Get to Happy Dog as soon as you can for a hot dog with a fried egg and chorizo.

    Your Downtown Neighbor

  5. I moved to Cleveland 7 years ago (from CA) and: (1) landed a 6 figure job (2) bought a house (3) met a tall, dark and handsome doctor who is an amazing latin dancer (4) married said doctor (5) had a baby and (6) bought a bigger house. Cleveland Rocks! Welcome! And may you “live like a princess” happily ever after (like me)!

  6. I agree with ya, while never being to Cleveland I love how everyone puts their own experiences or others onto your decisions. Hope you have a great time in Ohio!!!

  7. And thanks to global warming, I only shoveled my driveway twice last winter. So we’ve got that going for us now. Welcome.

  8. I moved here in 1999 after growing up in Dayton- big difference! Although I would eventually like to go to someplace a little warmer, Cleveland has been my home for a while now.
    3 weeks before you move make a reservation at Momocho in Ohio City- best homemade guac on the planet! And wash it down with a hyacinth margarita 🙂

  9. Your making me sick to my stomach! I am stuck here in the Corruption Capital of the USA “CHICAGO”! Arghhhhhh! “Been to Cleveland,,,love it”!

  10. Sounds like Cleveland is lucky to have YOU! We look forward to having you and helping you discover even more Cleveland gems. Let me know if there is anything I can do to help you connect to your new home.

  11. Welcome! If you get to wondering what the background is on this or that, check out the Cleveland Memory Project, at ClevelandMemory.org. It’ll bring you up to speed that much faster about Cleveland history. Glad you’re joining us!

    • I’m in love with the site… I’ve got 10 weeks until I move and I think I’ll spend a little time exploring before I arrive.

      “Explore Cleveland history through images and words.” – All things I love; exploration, images, and words.

  12. I adore your life perspective. I was one of those question mark, cocked-headed girls, GUILTY! I take it back! It sounds like even the prospect of moving there is giving you that cheer that seems to follow you wherever you go. I can’t wait to come visit! And, with those points, you never know, I might become a princess, too! 🙂 xoxo

  13. I am a transplant to Cleveland, I went looking for new digs within the city myself. If you are not a party girl, don’t like living in a dorm, and don’t like being accosted late at night, then don’t move to the Bradley Building or anywhere in downtown as a rule.

  14. WOW! Amazing Gail. It was great to spend time with you both and I am so excited for you girls to get here. Ya know, I am born and raised in this FANTASTIC city and I wouldn’t want to call anywhere else home. Cleveland is a very special place and it is only getting better. Congrats to you for finding the magic that Cleveland has to offer. It’s always been here, some just have to open their eyes and they will see it too. “Discover Your Champion” while you “Discover Cleveland.” Cleveland is about to take you places you’ve only dreamed of.

  15. Pingback: Cleveland Gave Me Back My Mojo « A Slammin' Adventure

  16. Nice write up! This city is only getting better and we love positivity!! Definitely check out 78th street studios on 3rd Fridays, it’s an art mecca of openings and studios in the American Greetings building in Gordon Square Arts Districts. Also you just missed a very cool event this past weekend which was Weapons of Mass Creation, an indie arts and music festival started here 3 years ago, and Cleveland does rock and gives you the opportunity to create really cool things which Chi-town and NYC is too costly to do! And I agree to an earlier comment you’ll be like 6 to 7 hours to some of the best cities in the US; DC, Chicago, Philly, NYC, and Columbus!!!!

  17. You make me want to move to Cleveland, and I already live here (in Tremont). Thanks for your fresh, positive, outside perspective. And thanks for putting Cleveland at the top of your list of places to live. If you read posts about Cleveland (mainly on Cleveland.com), there’s a lot of negativity. It’s nice to see so many positive people in one place. Cleveland is not without its challenges, but overall, it’s a great place to live. If for some reason living downtown doesn’t meet your expectations, check out Tremont. It’s a great walkable neighborhood.

    • I drove through Tremont (and had many people recommend living there) and it was alive with activity on the weekend. I”ll be sure to spend some time there for sure. Oh – and GREAT looking yard sales with lots of art and furniture in the mix. Hope they’re still out in September.

  18. Want good eats? Head to Cuisine du Cambodge (https://www.facebook.com/cuisineducambodge) for some of the most amazing Asian food around. It’s not fancy, but the atmosphere is friendly — and the family gives great pointers on things to try. It’s in Cleveland’s West Park neighborhood, at 132nd and Lorain Rd. And if you tool around the neighborhood, you’ll also find great Middle Eastern restaurants and grocers.

    BTW, I moved back after 9 years in Atlanta. Best decision ever. You’ll love it.

  19. Check out the uptown project in Little Italy. It’s an amazing area that is EXPLODING at the moment. All the famous chefs will be putting in top tier dining literally below your feet on the ground floors of the buildings.

  20. Everything is right on except “parking your car and forgetting you own it”. It’s not possible unless you live where I do, a block from Great Lakes and Daves Market, where prices aren’t too bad and you can get everythign you need. I still need to drive to Target in Steelyard and to work in Streetsboro because most of the jobs downtown are overworked overhyped bank jobs sitting at a desk all day or specialty digital media jobs. Nothing around product development.

    I’d skip the Warehouse District and go to Ohio City, I’ve done both, Ohio City is by far the best in the city with regards to food, drinks, and cost of living. I get a house for half the price of an apartment, can walk 2 blocks anywhere and have a driveway for my boat!! Not to mention the EASE of owning a dog in the city.

    Watch out for “luxury” being thrown around downtown with apartments. Luxury means in unit laundry, heated covered parking, dishwasher, concierge, wi-fi throughout the building, glamourous updated kitchens and bathrooms, apartments wired for sound, and NO CARPET!!!. Most places I’ve looked at offer nothing of the sort, and are run down out dated units that claim luxury just because they are downtown. Waterstreet is one of the WORST down there, as well as the Crittenden. I paid slightly more in a new construction high rise in a much nicer Portland before I moved back and had every amenity I mentioned above.

    I love this place, live in the city, own a boat at a Marina that is one exit away, have a good job, and it’s not too expensive if you know where to look for a place.

    • All good advice Boater. We were fortunate to find a perfect place (for us) and for us that meant no carpet so we were thrilled with the restored hardwood floors in our new digs. But I saw what you meant in other buildings around downtown. There were plenty of buildings I wouldn’t live in for many of the reasons you list – – – that, and I’m not looking to live in a Frat House.

  21. I love that you wrote this and Welcome to Cleveland! Cleveland Pride is next Saturday. Hopefully you and your girlfriend can check it out – it’s a fun event and right on the lake. If you’re there – stop by the Progressive Insurance booth, I’d love to meet you.

    • She was there last year – but alas we won’t be moving until September so don’t take it personally if we don’t stop by your booth (since we’ll be in New Jersey). Next year we are so there! Let me know if you’re attending other events. I’ll stop by.

  22. Those all all good reasons to live here. I think there are even more great things ahead for the city and the metro area!

  23. I moved to Cleveland a year and a half ago from the north east due to my work. When I accepted the job My wife and I figured we would spend a few years here and then move on to someplace more desirable, we could not have been more wrong. We both love it here. We both work in technology fields and there is something of a small boom in tech here in the city that rocks.

    The cost of living is more than a third less then it was in New England, and the City itself is very accessible. Downtown is just a 15 min drive for us and we can easily visit all the great places you listed, and don\’t forget the Great Lakes Science Center, its an amazing place.

    I hope you enjoy Cleveland as much as I have!

    • I’ve never been to the Great Lakes Science Center – but it sounds like I need to go. Don’t tell anyone, but I love ‘nerdy’ things like science.

  24. Don’t forget the Emerald Necklace and the NASA center!!! Always glad to have more cool people plugging our transplanted home.

  25. You captured the last year of my life!!! I relocated here for my husband’s job about a year ago. I’d lived/worked in many other cities along the East Coast and my friends had the same reaction – some even had trouble saying the word ‘Cleveland’. After following my exploits as I explore this great city during the past year, they’ve been coming to visit and have seen first hand everything you described. Friendly people, accessible food, arts, sports, bicycling and history. We live in Quay 55 and wake up each morning to the gorgeous lake and city view which remind us of how lucky we are to be in Cleveland – so close to so much. Welcome to my new City and glad to see you’re ready to make it yours!

  26. I live just outside of Cleveland, and while many of the points that you made in your article are true, I think that you are going to be moderately disappointed once the “newness of the city” wears off. Your article fails to take into account that Cleveland has a very high rate of unemployment, some of the highest taxes in nrtheast Ohio, people are losing thier homes all over the place to forclosures, it has a large population of underprivelaged, underemployed communitites and alot of the industry that once made Cleveland great, has packed up and moved out. The city’s highlights and nightlife,while fantastically entertaining, are outrageously over priced and I really and truly don’t know where your barista friend got the idea that you can “live like a princess” in Cleveland. Yes, Cleveland is still a great and exciting place, however, I think that you have built it up too much in your mind and I think that you should temper your expectations and anticipations just a little bit. I would hate to see reality rain on your parade of enthusiam. I love to visit Cleveland and University Circle is one of my favorite places in the city but I woudn’t expect the streets to be paved with gold and I wouldn’t expect to “live like a princess” either.

    • Reality checks are always welcome – but I do see many of these ‘challenges’ improving and given the ‘state’ of our United States as a whole… I am not deterred. But I do thank you for your perspective.

  27. I was born here, then lived in the Denver suburbs for my elementary years, then back to the Cleveland area through undergraduate (where I met my hubby, who was born in Toronto, then lived in Hong Kong for a few years, then grew up on the outskirts of NYC). After graduating from Case Western we moved to the DC area for 5 years. Our first child was a month old when we came hurrying back to Cleveland, for many of the reasons you point out. We live in Lakewood, which is a lovely compromise between “downtown” and “suburb”, very walkable and eco-conscious (we have a CSA at the gorgeous local library and a farmer’s market across the street). Be sure to check out the main Cleveland library downtown – Stokes building. It’s a real thing of beauty itself. Someone mentioned Little Italy for food, you’ll be just missing the Feast of the Assumption there (which is in August, our non-Catholic household calls it “the Feast of the Consumption” because there is just SO much food). Valentino’s is the pizza place on Murray Hill, I think someone mispelled the name above. They make hearth-baked pizza. Highly recommend the white with artichoke, add chicken if you’d like some protein on it. Mike, the owner, is often there. My husband worked there when we were undergrads and we still go back several times per year.

    Lakewood is worth the jog (or bike ride) west, we’ve got some great little funky galleries and locally-owned businesses on our two business streets – Detroit (which changes its name to Superior when it crosses the river to get downtown – there’s a bus that runs directly down that way, or the Rapid aka subway red line will take you from Tower City to the eastern edge of Lakewood at W. 117th). The Melt Bar & Grilled restaurant is here (amazing grill cheese sandwiches – if you like spicy go for the Big Popper – they also serve microbrewery drinks), though they now have two other locations too. Be prepared to wait to get a table. Smaller with less wait in Lakewood a block west of Melt is the Souper Market which has amazing fresh soups of a wide variety (almost but not quite the Baskin Robbins of soup). Lakewood is also considered one of the most LGBT-friendly places in the midwest (I’ve heard between the coasts but I think maybe Chicago might outrank us a little).

    My husband’s relatives have visited from NYC and leave with absolutely no confusion about why we’d chose to move here instead of there (especially when they find out we bought our 2000+ finished square feet with full attic and basement “2 family” not fixer-upper home with a large back yard for $127k when my husband’s parents got their NYC jobs outsourced out from under them and needed to move in with us, and while we got a good deal on the house, it’s not a unique situation – there are lots of other houses that are just as good in a similar price range). OH and speaking of 2 family houses, if you guys decide to buy in the area there are 1st time homeowner programs to look into. In Lakewood they offer downpayment assistance ($7,500 toward a condo, $10,000 toward a single family, and $14,000 toward a multifamily – at least that’s what it was back in 2006. And the mulitifamily amount is forgiven 50% after 5 years then 20% each additional year as long as you continue to owner-occupy at least one of the housing units, you can rent out the other one or more if you want). There are income limits on it, but look into it. It was well worth the hoops for us!

    And since you mentioned LGBT stuff – the Ohio State Representative for Lakewood and a bit other western parts of Cleveland is an open lesbian, I’ve known her and her partner for years, very good people.

    and last… living in Cleveland with the low cost of living increases the likelihood that you’ll be able to afford to travel to other fun places if you want, without having to worry so much about making your house payment when you get back!

  28. Awesome post and thanks so much for seeing in my hometown what I’ve seen all along! Treat it well and it will treat you well right back. I’ve been saying to my friends a lot over the last 5 years or so, “Just you wait! We’re going to be able to tell everyone ‘I told you so’ in a few years when everyone else sees the progress the “Mistake on the Lake” is making!” I love the friendliness, passion and spunk of Clevelanders and can’t wait for you to feel it. You’ll wake up one day and refer to yourself as a Clevelander without even batting an eyelash! Embrace the love for the Browns, Cavs and Indians….we love our boys even when we complain and I’d so much rather have it that way then deal with the fair-weather fans. We’ve got our problems just like any other city but you can FEEL the forward progress here. My two personal fav places to get CLE gear: http://www.cleclothingco.com/ and http://gvartwork.myshopify.com/ in case you are looking to sport your love on a tee. Welcome to our fair city and prepare to be awestruck by the sight of it rising over the horizon when you drive in…I can’t explain to you the way I feel when I see it after being away other than to just say Pride. #HappyinCLE

  29. This is such an amazing blog post! As a transplant from NC, it reflects everything I believe in and love about this area. I also happen to work for the local NBC affiliate (WKYC). We saw this and loved it so much that we re-tweeted it to our followers. If you are interested, we’d love to talk to you about having you do a 90 second on-camera version of this once you get in town. If you are, let me know at mmahaffee@wkyc.com. If not, no worries and welcome to the CLE! We’re glad you’ve chosen to call Northeast home.

    • North Carolina was my home for 26 years before moving to Alaska (then Jersey and soon to be Ohio). I bet we can swap LOTS of stories of moving from the south to the north. And yes, it will be fun to do a version on-camera and will send you a message at your email. And thanks for the re-tweet – much appreciated.

      • Would love to swap Tarheel tales with you! As much as I love CLE, I do miss NC sometimes. Please give me a shout the next time you head this way or before you move so we can set up a shoot.

  30. She will be leaving in the heart of the city! Across that apartment building is Bob Golic’s Bar & Grille. Below the building is Blind Pig and Sushi Rock. On the same street is XO Prime Steaks, Blue Point Grille, and Starbucks!

    I would have volunteered to take you and your girl around but it seems you already know the place!

    Welcome to our city! Enjoy!

  31. You must go to melt! Try and get there when they are opening, otherwise you’ll have a 2+ hour wait.

    • Yes! Melt is a big part of Cleveland and it is literally my favorite restaurant!!! But really I have lived here my whole life- I know plenty of people who say they would want to leave Cleveland and I’m always thinking, “Why?”. Despite the harsh winters (except for this past one…), and it may not be as exciting as NYC or Chicago or LA, but Cleveland has a lot to offer. I’m glad you can see the good in it, and thanks for sharing your thoughts! Welcome 🙂

  32. Welcome to Cleveland Gail & Company! I am one of those people who consider themselves and unofficial ambassador for this fair city. Looking for a dog park? Just ask. Looking where to buy vinyl records? Just ask. Looking to find the best Thai food food? Just ask. Looking for independent films? Just ask. You can find me at the local Chapter of the US Green Building Council – so green energy is important to me too.

  33. A wonderfully written opinion piece that almost makes me want to stick around my hometown instead of searching for greener pastures. Well written enough to evoke a rare moment of pride in me to be from Northeast Ohio. Oh, and Go Tribe.

  34. I live here, born and raised. Love it. Good food, nice people, cool neighborhoods, great architecture, arts & music, several sports teams, what’s not to like.

  35. Welcome to a Cleveland from a fellow “newbie” (5 years here now from NY and Boston and I love it here!). Love this post – passing along to all of my friends/family who still ask me how long I’ll be here and why i moved here.

  36. Don’t forget to check out the West Side Market, which is an amazing indoor farmer’s market that even managed to impress my in-laws from Los Angeles! I’ve lived in many different cities from Kansas to Massachusetts, but Cleveland is my favorite, by far.

    • Friends took me there on my first (and only other) swing through Cleveland last November. It was wonderful – and I hear they just celebrated their 100th anniversary.

  37. I live in England but would love to live in the Cleveland area.
    Its the friendlyist place I know.(except when I mention how I like to fish for carp) I have had 6 holidays in the Cleaveland area. Why don’t I move there I keep being told! Sorry 6ft snow in winter, too hot in summer and those mozzies. but the killer is health care cost. Here in England, its practically free.

  38. Welcome to my hometown. You’ve captured everything that Midwest cities like Cleveland offer. If you like corned beef, I can’t recommend Slyman’s (http://www.slymans.com/) enough. It’s not far from downtown and worth every bite.

  39. You forgot arguably Cleveland’s greatest asset, its music scene! Nestled right there in University Circle is the Cleveland Orchestra, one of the most highly regarded orchestras in the world!

    Beyond that and the Rock Hall, Cleveland is a concert hub for acts big and small. You can see them at The Q, House of Blues, Blossom, Beachland Ballroom, Grog Shop, Peabody’s, Nautica Pavilion, Pat’s, Now That’s Class, Happy Dog, and a range of bars and restaurants. There is also a vibrant DIY scene, and house shows.

    And lets not forget the food and drink! Cleveland is stacked with a wonderful culinary scene, as well as a number of local breweries including Great Lakes, Market Garden, the Cleveland Chophouse, Willoughby Brewing, Fatheads, and Thirsty Dog!

    And, of course, there are the sports! One of the few cities to have an NFL, NBA, and MLB team! Plus we have minor league hockey and baseball, arena football, roller derby (Burning River Roller Girls), and arguably the most robust high school sports scene outside of Texas.

    • That’s quite the list of places to see and things to do. I wonder if the Rage City Roller Girls (Anchorage, Alaska) ever make it to Cleveland to take on the Burning River Roller Girls? They might tell them a few stories of when “Captain Cleanup” made a guest appearance at a bout… but that’s a whole other story.

  40. Gail, we are so happy that you are moving to Cleveland. Come visit us at Global Cleveland when you get here. We are an organization that is trying to attract more newcomers like yourself!

  41. and we are one of the few cities with THREE great college radio stations..be sure to go left of the dial!!

    WRUW 91.1(Case Western Reserve University)
    WCSB 89.3 (Cleveland State)
    WJCU 88.7 (John Carroll)

  42. I moved here 5 years ago for work after hearing the same “Eeew, Cleveland?” responses from coworkers and acquaintances in my hometown of Columbus, OH. I must say, it was a fantastic decision. People here are incredibly friendly and welcoming to newbies, the cost of living is super low (about to buy a beautiful house I could never afford in my hometown) and the arts scene is totally vibrant and alive. Not to mention, the restaurants are excellent, and choices are endless. As others have said, you will love it!

  43. I moved to Cleveland in 2001, after 20 years in Alaska. I have to warn you that the bad parts of winter are pretty damned brutal: wet, cold wind off the lake has left me pining for a nice, crisp -25 degrees! That being said, I LOVE Cleveland, and agree with every one of your points. I would like to add P for parks. The Metropark system is amazing, with hundreds of miles of multiuse trails, Cuyahoga National Park is practically our back yard, and there is a remarkable amount of nature activity available. Welcome to Cleveland!

    • Now you’re scaring me (but you’re the only one so that’s okay) because you can draw a first hand comparison. Brrr… I get I’ll wish I kept more winter clothes. Shopping trip anyone?

      • Not intended to scare, just to prepare. It’s totally worth it, even with the winter. Just make sure you get a good coat, and keep your hats, scarves, and gloves. And keep in mind that the bad weather doesn’t usually arrive until Christmas and leaves off by the end of March, generally with some reprieve in the middle, so there is lots more good weather than bad!

        And in the winter, there are some great escapes: the Botanical Garden as Case Western Reserve University has a marvelous glass house with a butterfly garden where you can just hang out and enjoy the green.

  44. As a native Clevelander who has since moved away, I can’t begin to tell you how well you have wrapped up my hometown in this short article. I often hear people chuckle and snicker when I tell them proudly that I’m from Cleveland and I question them the same way: If you’ve never been, how can you judge? Cleveland is an incredibly diverse, complex city with a million simple pleasures build inside. Kudos to you for looking for, and seeing, what so many people just can’t recognize-that Cleveland is a bigger and better city than it will ever get credit for being. And in case you haven’t figured this out yet, Cleveland has one of the most loyal sports fan bases of any city I’ve ever been to. I love and miss Cleveland. I hope you enjoy it and continue to find more of the gems that are around the city. By far the best pizza of any city I’ve been to as well. PHENOMENAL article. Thank you for writing it.

  45. As a former Clevelander now living in the L.A. area, I sometimes wish I had never left. California’s sunny climate comes with the burden of high taxes, high cost of living, a bankrupt state that is beginning to look like a third world country, English is a second language, and corruption within the political body beholding to the unions.

  46. You know I started reading this and was thinking …”I JUST had a conversation similar to this to a nice woman I met at Starbucks”. I followed that thought with …”Oh my goodness …that IS the nice woman I met at Starbucks!” Welcome to Cleveland!

    My husband and I are very new transplants from the New York area and we are so happy to be here! Everyone is friendly…I am still taken aback when people ask me how my weekend was and seem genuinely interested in the answer. The food scene is fantastic…a great selection of food trucks, the spectacular West Side Market and really exciting world class chefs (I’m looking at you Michael Symon). I am so excited to get to know this city.

    Most exciting to me is the fact that I feel like I can make a difference in Cleveland. The city is small enough that I think people have more of a voice. It’s not completely inconceivable to think I can open a business here. It’s also not completely inconceivable to think that I can HELP others realize their dreams here in Cleveland.

  47. Welcome! I live here with my partner in Shaker Heights. Moved here from DC (after 8 years there) for a job, and really love it. It’s a great place to live, easy, inexpensive, and as an out of town friend says, “all of the advantages of a big city with none of the drawbacks.” That might be a touch optimistic, but still, the point is taken. There are far worse places to be than Cleveland.

  48. Welcome to Cleveland. Yes, you will love it here — champagne living on a beer budget, great parks, green thinking, and an vibrant arts scene that is incredible. No one has mentioned the great theaters we have. I’m a playwright who has had works done all over the country and overseas, and I’ll tell you, our theatre scene is terrific. Make sure you check out Cleveland Public Theatre in the Gordon Square Arts District, only 5 minutes from downtown.

    • Funny you should mention theatre… the theatre scene is one of the draws for both of us. Prior to my work in event planning my life was lived in the theater (and on the road on tour). It’s actually my theatre skills that led me to designing (former lighting and stage designer) and planning (former tour and stage manager) great events. And fortunately for me, my girlfriend loves to go to shows. Let me know when one of your works in being staged. I’d love to attend.

  49. ¡Bienvenidos! Our city has so much to offer; from Ohio City Burrito to Michael Symon’s numerous foodie oases, from the litany of new brewpubs to our champion Great Lakes Brewing Co., Cleveland is a feast. This year is packed with events for the West Side Market’s 100th anniversary, and of course, the Browns’ 41st attempt to win the Superbowl (they won 8 championships before this whole Superbowl thing came around). However, if you want to get out of the city on a nice day… I live in a rural area about 25min from downtown, and we have some of the most gorgeous parks and farmland within driving distance. Our town is called Chesterland, where you can pick your own delicious fruit at Eddy Fruit Farm, and in the winter cut your own xmas tree at Sugar Pines Farm. If you go a little further east, you’ll find some vast Amish country with the best cheese you can find. Oh, and if you like concerts, nobody goes on tour without a stop in Cleveland (at the very least, Columbus). I should know; I’ve played a lot of the venues. Feel free to message me with any questions…… as I am always happy to help a new member of the family CLE.

    • Chesterfield sounds wonderful. Thank you for the suggestion. I’ll be sure to add Eddy Fruit Farm to my excursions – I just love fresh fruit (and veggies). Sounds like you’re a musician… do tell more.

      • Some of the venues I played are no longer venues (I can no longer afford to blow half my paycheck on weekly concerts), but you’ll find any style of concert experience around here. One of my favorites is the House of Swing, which is a tiny jazz/blues bar in South Euclid. Opened 35 years ago by Lou Kallie, drummer from The Wild Bunch, the juke joint remains almost unchanged with his old record collection still in the back, and the patrons/bartenders ready to share stories from the nightly jam sessions he would helm.

  50. Gail – Bravo! As a lifelong Clevelander, let me be among the first to welcome you to town. You and your partner made a great decision. My hometown is a truly genuine place, an incredible place for families and there is just so much pride about this town. I think you and your partner will be very happy here. Best of luck and if you need anything, just ask someone, we are all happy to help out.

  51. WELCOME to Cleveland!!!! We love it here. Make sure that you check out our awesome new trend neighborhood (and where we call home) Gordon Square Art District. Cleveland is the best place to live for culture and diversity with a small town vibe. It is even great to commute around in too

    • I heard lost of good things about Gordon Square while I was in town this last weekend. What was it called… ‘Parade the Arts’ that just took place?

      • Discover Gordon Square Arts District was June 9, with Lolly the Trolley shuttling people to Parade the Circle, the annual art parade put on by the Cleveland Museum of Art and other University Circle establishments. Definitely not to be missed when you’re here next year! Thanks for your enthusiasm!

  52. I completely disagree.

    I moved to Cleveland about a year ago, essentially thinking the same as you, but now that I lived in Cleveland (and I actually live downtown) I can honestly say that Cleveland is a very sad city.

    Yes it has a few wonderful gems (West side market, Ohio city, Tremont, the museums, even the RTA got on my good list), but the rest of it is a city that is dying a slow death.

    Except east 4th and the Friday night W. 6th frat-boy-party-central there is nothing more in downtown. Library is nice but it is not open on the weekend secondary to cuts. Tower city is architecturally phenomenal but it is empty (1$ stores should not be found in a mall).

    When you drive from downtown east on Chester you find deserted factories, old apartment buildings that are falling apart (even in front of the Cleveland Clinic), and that’s not including the real East Cleveland which in my mind is a disaster area… looks as bad as Berlin after WWII.

    Don’t get me wrong, Cleveland has potential– if they opened up downtown to the water, if the city created boardwalks it would be an improvement. They need to bring in some economically successful industry that would drive the city. If things are not changed, in 10-15 years, Cleveland will look like Detroit.

    The way I see it, whoever thinks Cleveland is great either… lives in the suburbs (Westside/Lakewood on the West or Shaker/Cleveland Heights/ Beachwood in the east) or is delusional.

    If I had to choose again I would avoid Cleveland.

    • Bummer you feel that way – but perhaps the people of Cleveland (the current and future residents) will turn things around and have you singing a different tune in 5-10 years. But thanks for your thoughts on the subject.

    • Hi Amy,
      I’m sorry you are not experiencing the Cleveland many others are, and you are certainly entitled to your opinion, but you aren’t fully informed. I hope you’ll accept my response as one attempting to share insight, not attempting to counter your personal opinion.

      First, yes, like every urban city, Cleveland has its challenges. What is inspiring here is how these challenges are being addressed. There isn’t time to give you the point-by-point overview, so I’ll limit my comments to yours.

      You said: “Yes it has a few wonderful gems (West side market, Ohio city, Tremont, the museums, even the RTA got on my good list), but the rest of it is a city that is dying a slow death.” Downtown Cleveland’s resident population is higher now than it ever has in its history. 10,000 live downtown. Our problem isn’t “a dying city,” our problem is waiting lists. We need more apartments and more are on their way.

      You may have heard the national NPR story earlier this week reporting how companies/firms are moving back to downtown Cleveland from the suburbs. (Listen to it at http://www.npr.org/2012/06/11/154740024/a-comeback-for-downtown-cleveland). Downtown apartment occupancy is around 96 percent. Office occupancy is somewhere in the mid-to-high 80 percent range. Over $6 billion in new physical development is under construction (not planned, under construction) in Cleveland. Read more about it at http://theplus.us/en/Know/2012/June/Constructing-an-Economic-Resurgence.aspx. Several new hotels are under construction or are being renovated. Yes, we have a few areas downtown that need work. You can’t see if from your car window or the sidewalk, but in many instances there are interested parties looking at those spaces.

      You said: “When you drive from downtown east on Chester you find deserted factories, old apartment buildings that are falling apart (even in front of the Cleveland Clinic), and that’s not including the real East Cleveland which in my mind is a disaster area… looks as bad as Berlin after WWII.” You are referring to the Midtown corridor (between Public Square and University Circle). Not offense intended, but it is surprising what you are missing. Take Euclid Ave from downtown to University Circle. You will see 500,000 square feet (as much space as in Tower City) of once empty buildings now occupied with bioscience companies. Ten years ago, Cleveland had 200 bioscience companies. Today, we have 700. It’s an amazing transformation and much of it spinning out of the Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals. University Circle is the fastest growing job center in Ohio.

      Regarding the neighborhoods in that area, there is blight — no question — like most urban cores we have those challenges. What is uplifting is that the University Circle, that borders East Cleveland, is reaching out and working with its neighbors to enhance the entire area. Read about it at http://www.cleveland.com/metro/index.ssf/2012/04/fairfax_and_east_cleveland_wan.html And learn how urban farming is making its own impact in these areas: http://www.theplus.us/Know/2012/June/Revitalizing-Our-Urban-Neighborhoods.aspx

      You wrote: “Don’t get me wrong, Cleveland has potential– if they opened up downtown to the water, if the city created boardwalks it would be an improvement. They need to bring in some economically successful industry that would drive the city. If things are not changed, in 10-15 years, Cleveland will look like Detroit.” I couldn’t agree with you more, Amy. We have done a terrible job with our waterfront. That is changing. The East Bank of the Flats project comes with a publicly accessible board walk (finally!!). There are no silver bullet industries and it’s very rare for a major corporation to move, like Boeing did from Seattle to Chicago a decade ago. In a way, that’s a good thing. This region learned the hard way that depending on one industry is a bad thing. Now, we have diversified. It’s why Northeast Ohio’s unemployment rate is below the state and national average. Yes, we’ve lost 60,000 manufacturing jobs, but our manufacturing output is high as or higher than it’s ever been because of advance manufacturing. Traditional industries are being joined by an array of start ups bein incubated all over the region. Learn more at http://www.theplus.us/en/Know/2011/July/Business-Incubators-Building-Economy.aspx And see how we’re engaging new college grads with entrepreneurial opportunities at http://www.theplus.us/Know/2012/May/Entrepreneurs-in-Training.aspx

      Downtown, the new convention center is under construction and is already filling out its schedule with future trade shows and meetings (and that explains the new hotels and renovations to existing ones). Last month, 500,000 people visited the new casino on Public Square. Phase II of the casino may help address our need for more higher-end shopping downtown. Playhouse Square attracts a million people a year. The Rock Hall is booming (and showing off a recent redesign). Restaurants abound — Cleveland is now a foodie tourist destination. You may have read this week about the new designs for Public Square, making it greener and closing a major street that runs through it. Cleveland continues to invest in its core and has exciting plans for making it even better.

      We have our challenges just like every urban center. However, we’ve made enormous, tangible strides. That’s why there is such energy here. I’m sorry you seem to be missing out on it — and not every city suits every person — but the more you know, I think the more you’ll appreciate the resurgence taking place around you. I’ve only scratched the surface. Please visit ThePlus.us for more and for links to social media sites that can keep you posted on the positive developments taking place across the region.

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  54. Welcome to Cleveland! I’m born and raised in the area. First in Akron and for the last 15 years Cleveland. I can’t say enough about what Cleveland has to offer. I could go on and on. I recently moved to the Tremont neighborhood where they filmed The Deer Hunter and of course Christmas Story. You definitely need to check out the Tremont Art Walk held the 2nd Friday of every month.

  55. You also have to check out all the urban farms and community gardens – #1 in the country. Even a lavender farm in Old Brooklyn.

    • And I’ll invite my friend Denise (who I first knew in Anchorage but now lives in Raleigh, where I grew up) because she has recently discovered she LOVES goat farms.

  56. I travel around the country for business. I have yet to find a city that compares to Living in Cleveland. The cost of living is excellent compared to most cities, the arts are better than most cities, and the people in cleveland….well, thats why we have the catch phrase “Best location in the nation”. Good Luck and welcome!

  57. And that list is not even the half of it, though the energy part says a lot! I’m assuming if you’re from Alaska you don’t have any deep sports affiliations, so I hope you fall in love with the 3 pro teams here, nothing is quite like a great Tribe game on a summer night when the place is packed!

    Welcome to Cleveland =)

    • At first, my girlfriend was determined to turn me into a Jets fan… but I think orange and brown are closer to my color palette and I’m not that obsessed with who wins… so I should be good.
      I am looking forward to baseball games – haven’t been to one since the Durham Bulls home game many years ago.

  58. Hey Gail. It was neat to come across your post… Im a Clevelander through and through that left over 12 years ago for the DC area, and have been homesick ever since for everything that is Cleveland, but have to admit, with the terrible mentality here, I may miss the people there most.
    I have long had hopes of returning, and it looks like this is the year that it finally happens (both me and my partner who isnt from there, but loves it).

    The interesting thing is that your friends that you have the picture with, are also good friends of mine… So good people to know indeed (especailly if you have a pet!)

    Look forward to meeting you soon!


  59. When you get here, please go to Sunny Side Up Breakfast Nook and Boutique Gallery, 2218 Murray Hill Road in Little Italy. Also please check out Local Girl Gallery on Detroit in Lakewood. Both are great galleries (and I happen to have my jewelry there!). Welcome! We’re happy to have you!

  60. I moved to Cleveland in 1990 after graduating from college to work at The Cleveland Play House. I had the same reaction – Cleveland? The mistake on the lake? WHY? I lived in Little Italy and Cleveland Hts. Had friends that lived ‘on the West side’ – loved the night life, and arts community! Met my husband and started a family! I LOVED CLEVELAND and MISS CLEVELAND – some of the best friends I’ve ever had! We are in NC now and I don’t miss the winters but I do miss the city! ENJOY, make great memories with great people!

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  62. Cleveland is a nice place if you can handle the weather. A lot of us couldn’t. So come visit us in beautiful St. Pete, Florida. Lots of things to do and see. We’re happy to see you!!

  63. Enjoy!
    I grew up in Cleveland and lived in Tremont and Ohio City through out my 20’s! Great times. My partner got us relocated to the SW… I was never a fan of NE Ohio winters.. but you can’t beat the cost of living, culture, food, and character of Cleveland. Enjoy! be sure to check out the West Side Market, on w25h st. you will have your mind blown!

    • I adore the West Side Market already.

      Funny story: My girlfriend, just to impress me, finally took me to an indoor market in NYC yesterday – – – just to let me know Cleveland is not the only city with a great market or choices. It was especially cute because she’s was just as impressed with the Cleveland market as I was with the NYC market.

  64. Thanks for choosing Cleveland! It really is a great place to live. I moved here 6 years ago and have developed lots of hometown pride for the city I now call home. Good luck with the move!

  65. Sorry, but I left Cleveland for the NYC metro area and have no intention of coming back. Your experience in Cleveland does not match mine, and I’m absolutely loving it here in Jersey. My imcome taxes are lower, enterpise zones have stores with 3.5% sales tax, and Manhattan is right in my backyard. Oh, and I get real beaches with salt water and fresh local seafood. Can’t ask for anything more.

    • I wish you all the joy in Jersey that I trust I will find in Cleveland. That’s the beautiful thing about having choices – we can all find something that works for us!

  66. So, on a day when I’m questioning my existence, what I’m doing with my life, why I am living in Cleveland, and contemplating whether or not to move to a different state (yes, state) within the next year, I read this post and things are put back into perspective for me. I realize that haven’t taken full advantage of all that this city has to offer. Maybe my restlessness will be satisfied by seeing what I’m missing in my own town, instead of finding a new one.

    Don’t get me wrong, I adore living here. I’m a block away from the Gordon Square Arts District and while the neighbors are noisy, the culture is rich and the people are loving. I recommend dropping by the Blank Canvas Theatre in 78th Street Studios. The shows there are beyond excellent!

    I just wanted to say thanks for reminding me of why I love this town. Good luck with the move and welcome home!

    • I read your comment last night before leaving the apartment of two good friends… and I read it out loud because I had been trying to explain to them the joy I was feeling as a result of all the comments and good wishes.

      You are why I take the time to write. Thank you!

  67. Awwww…..you’re making me homesick! We were suppose to move back this coming August, however, it’s been postponed a year. Not sure if this has been covered in the comments above (I read most, but not all)….if you want to fit in there are two things to remember: don’t ever call the field where the Indian’s play “Progressive Field” ~ it’s “The Jake” or “Jacobs Field” and never call Quicken Loans Arena “The Q”…it’s “The Gund”!! I’m not sure if you’re a sports fan, but Cleveland takes it’s sports very seriously!! So if you’re a LaBron James fan…….well….you might just want to keep that to yourself! LOL! Have a blast in our city! Cleveland Rocks!

  68. Love your list–and welcome to Cleveland! I moved here in the mid-90’s (after college) and when my marriage fell apart, there was no question in my mind that I was staying here. (I ended up buying a house in Lakewood.) The combination of big city amenities and friendly, small town feel in Cleveland just can’t be beat. I’m a lifer. 🙂

  69. Gail,

    Welcome to Cleveland! It’s wonderful to hear of someone who’s coming here not just willingly, but enthusiastically. I only hope you’ll be able to maintain that sense of enthusiasm after you’ve been here for a few years. God knows we could use it.
    Here’s the thing: All (well, most) of those wonderful qualities people have talked about in their posts—the affordability, the ease of getting around, the variety of culture and entertainment, the friendliness of the people—are true, in my experience. But the other posters failed to mention the fact that Cleveland and Cuyahoga County are in the grip of a long-term death spiral.
    The city of Cleveland has lost more than one in six of its residents just since the year 2000. That’s a greater percentage than any city except New Orleans (which had the minor matter of Hurricane Katrina to cope with.) And this was after the decade of the 1990s that also saw Cleveland supposedly become “hot,” with a lot of new housing built and many high-profile projects, such as new stadiums for all the city’s sports teams and the rock hall. Those were supposed to spark Cleveland’s “comeback” in the same way your other responders say the medical mart and the downtown casino are supposed to do so today.
    Go further back to 1980, (which happens to be the year I arrived here) and you see Cleveland has lost more than 30% of its population. Cuyahoga County, meanwhile, lost more than 8% of its population just between 2000 and 2010, and 14.5% since 1980.
    It’s true that a lot of those people just moved to adjoining counties, but it’s also true that a lot of them have left the region entirely, taking with them money and jobs and brainpower, making it even harder to attract new people and jobs. (Did you know that only about 11% of Cleveland residents have college degrees?) Hence, the death spiral. (Maybe you should have read some reports and investigated Economic Development a bit more? ☺)
    Many of the qualities that make this area attractive to your other posters (and to me) are the result of this population exodus. Fewer people means less competition for housing, which means lower prices. It means fewer cars on the streets and highways, and so easier to get around. Unfortunately, it also means fewer people to support sports teams (the Indians have the lowest attendance in the major leagues) and the arts. (The Cleveland Ballet moved because it could no longer support itself here financially.)
    Something else I think—or maybe I should say “fear”—you’ll discover after you’ve been here a while is the pervasive culture of mediocrity and incompetence in many aspects of life—government, media, architecture, higher education, and sports teams, to name some of the most prominent. The Plain Dealer has won one Pulitzer Prize in its history, and watching local TV news shows will make you throw up if you have an IQ north of 80. Case Western Reserve, the region’s best-known university, is ranked 38 by U.S. News. The last time a Cleveland professional sports team won a championship was 1964.
    These aren’t quality of life issues, exactly, but they are reasons to wonder sometimes whether the people who make fun of Cleveland might have a point. They might also explain why the Plain Dealer publishes a full-page article every Sunday in which someone who has moved to Cleveland explains why they like it here. I mean, where else does a newspaper think it has to boost its readers morale in that way?
    I know a lot of your other posters will disagree with me and call me a Cleveland-basher. (For what it’s worth, I moved here from elsewhere, left, and chose to return to get married and raise a family here.) Possibly the things I’ve discussed here won’t affect you or bother you in the way they have so frustrated me. But I wanted to share a perspective that’s different from what you’ve gotten from your other posters. Having said that, I wish you the best of luck and sincerely hope you’ll be happy here.

    • Reality checks are welcome when dressed for the party – and I appreciate that yours arrived wearing kind words. I’ve had a few show up dressed in foul language and/or abusive undertones and refused them entry. But what I found counter-productive in their denied comments, I find supportive in yours – so thank you. (I’m happy to show the entire picture, lest people think me naive.)

  70. kevin mentioned your blog post at meeting tonight, and I went upstairs and IMMEDIATELY googled it. looked really familiar. then I realized that I bookmarked your site after searching for it and reading a couple posts on my cell phone (not the best way to check out a blog) because your car was parked outside my building a couple weeks ago — I was intrigued by your license plate. welcome to cleveland! and yes, while there is that certain frat boy element (especially on weekends), don’t kid yourself — there are LOTS of different kinds of us warehouse districters down here. look for my husband walking the boxer and perverse beagle! yay! thank you for your great post!

    • And thank you for checking out my bumper… seriously! I keep thinking I’ll probably take that off one day but I just can’t imagine when.

      See you around the neighborhood this fall!

  71. Be sure to check out Barrio, A Cookie And A Cupcake, The Mutt Hutt (doggie day care) and Churned ice cream. All in Tremont. You won’t be sad! Oh also Kollective Gallery in Cleveland Heights!

  72. You must check out http://www.urbanohio.com If you want information or help on downtown living, events happening around the area, updates on all the new development, information on apartments, etc…that is your website. Welcome!

  73. Not sure how I stumbled upon this article – but just letting you know W.6th in the warehouse district kinda went down hill in recent years – during the day it’s awesome, but come Saturday night, it’s kind of a scary scene – the clubs turned very seedy and people hang out all over that street at night cat calling girls, etc. Not a place I would want to live, just saying from woman to woman. There are really cute neighborhoods close to the city with a city feel – Gordon Square District is up and coming, Tremont, and Ohio City just to name a few. Good luck.

  74. I grew up in Cleveland proper then moved to many other cities big and small all over the US. Cleveland has it’s good points but I noticed you posted all pictures of Cleveland in the summer. Cleveland summers are by far the BEST. However there is a dark side to this city by the lake and it’s exactly that… that big beautiful lake, mixed with that icy northern air is absolutely unbearable unless you are coming from well…. Alaska. I’ve been to Anchorage, and it is amazing too! Still, a nice place to visit, not to live 365 days out of the year. To each their own but as every city has it’s great points, they absolutely have their bad ones too. Unfortunately the 8 months of winter is unbearable for me, and the over all attitude of the people that have lived there for an extended period of time show it clearly. A Jekyll and Hyde city at best just like the weather! Different strokes for different folks. I like it where I live, summers can get hot but then again I heard it’s been in the upper 90’s in Cleveland lately so…..yeah. Simply put, Cleveland has it’s great AND horrible points but if weather is an issue, this is not the city for you and while others may love it, some may look at it like a prison. I guess, it’s all just personal perspective 🙂

  75. This gave me goosebumps!! It will be nice to have someone like you here. I know you won’t be disappointed..you are moving to a great place. I love having four seasons here & everyone one of them is beautiful & amazing in thier own way:) I wish you the best of luck on your new journey!!!

  76. You’re moving here at a great time for Cleveland and, specifically, a great time for downtown’s renewal. I have been an admittedly biased resident/advocate for Cleveland for close to 10 years and can say that in 2-3 years Cleveland will top the list of model cities in the country for urban redevelopment. Hopefully, you will enjoy your stay here and inspire your readers to make the move.


  77. I Moved to Cleveland form the San Francisco Bay Area almost a year ago. I got the exact same “Ohio?” question with the head tilt you did. I must admit it was lonely at first since unlike you i knew no one. But that quickly changed and in no time a lot of the people I’ve met seem to me like friends I’ve known for years. It is a fantastic place with the best park system I have ever seen and a lot of things to do. Only thing i don’t like…..THE DAMN HUMIDITY! Snow i can handle, but damn was i surprised when the summer hit.

  78. I’m also a Clevelander from Anchorage! You’ll miss the small things like the mountains and seeing moose in your backyard, but Cleveland is awesome. You’ll love it here.

    • Mountains for sure. Everyday in Anchorage was like someone has installed a new movie set backdrop. Moose in the path I’m biking around the corner – not so much!

  79. You are such an angel for writing this. I am considering moving to CLE for a promising job, but all the negative talk was putting me off. We need more people like you to write about the cool things they have done a year after they completed the move to CLE. Please find some one like that and beg them to write!

  80. Sorry I’m so late to comment on your wonderful blog. I just wanted to clarify “boaters” comments about transit in this city. There will in fact be a major new transit center about a block from where you live, so you can go virtually about ANYWHERE from your resisidences, include Steelyard Commons, which has a specially designed covered bus stop of its own (and I see lots of people using it all the time). Healthline runs and a few buses run through the city 24/7. Also, for my 2 cents, landlocked Portland is nice, but it’s museums, orchestra, etc., are not even in the same league as Cleveland’s.

    • Wonderful to hear… I can’t wait to get to know the routes. Maybe I’ll “plan” a few unplanned adventure days where I just get on a bus and see where it takes me. (Having first done my due diligence and not ending up somewhere I never would have wanted to go).

  81. I’m so glad you are moving here. As President of the Cornell Club of North East Ohio and a strong supporter if the internship program, Summer on the Cuyahoga, I am proud of you and am here to help you in anyway I can. Welcome to Cleveland. I hope you are OK with me sharing your insights with the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

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  83. I happened to stumble on your blog that was shared from a friend’s facebook page. I too moved here from another city, and couldn’t be happier with the transition.

    Since my move to this amazing city, I have started a new hobby (brewing my own beer, and enjoying the incredible craft beer scene in Ohio City), lost 45 pounds (you’d think these first two things would not go hand in hand…), and met the love of my life who even agreed to marry me.

    I hope Cleveland treats you as well as it did me. Best of luck!

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  85. This is so refreshing to read. I’ve always loved Cleveland and now that I’m living in Columbus OH.. I realize how much better Cleveland is. In various different ways! I hope to get there someday soon!

    I would love to ask a bunch of questions so I’d love a reply back through my email that I submitted. That would be awesome!

  86. Gail – I’m a native Clevelander who has lived all over the country and will be returning in September as well! Happy to meet up as well – maybe you need an “official” Meet Up for the folks on this blog – “Everyone Meet Gail and Partner” sort of thing … it’d be fun for all of these CLE+ people to be in one room – the positive energy might create some new things!

    • Agreed. We will be moving back in September as well (contacted you previously Gail). Finally closing on a house at beginning of Sept. and will be back at least part time till the end of the year at which point it will be full time residents. Would be great to meet the other transplants and boomerangs!

      • Hi again Will. Glad to hear you’re coming back. I know our paths will cross since we share friends… but a “Calling all Cleveland Transplants and Boomerangs” sounds like fun!

  87. Ok, another girl just made a face, gave a long pause and said “Cleveland?, why?” so I jumped at the opportunity and said “Affordable, awesome restaurants, Chicago style downtown, nice people, plus I was afforded a sweet job offer, what’s not to like about this?”.. she was a little taken aback about the violent defense and said “sounds like you have it figured out, we’ll drop by when we pass by CLE!”

  88. I just found your blog after my husband and I decided that we’re moving to Cleveland in May of next year. For him, it’s moving home; for me, it’s another adventure and yet another long distance move. I have come to love the city for so many reasons, and I find new stuff every time i visit. My latest trip took my to Sokolowski’s (Polish cafeteria) in Tremont… and I would highly recommend it!

    I am brimming with excitement and counting the days until we can ditch Raleigh with its slow Southern accents, friendly palmetto bugs, and severe lack of culture. Four years here have been too many.

    I added your blog to my RSS feeds and I look forward to reading about your adventure!

    • I look forward to meeting you after your move so we can swap stories of Raleigh as well as Cleveland. I spent 26 years in Raleigh (before moving to Alaska then New Jersey and now Cleveland) so I have a few I can share about being south of the Mason Dixon line… and those dear old Palmetto Bugs may be but a memory now but I can still see their beady eyes staring at me in the dark.

      Thanks for adding me to your feed. I’m gearing up to write more about Cleveland but right now it’s all boxes and packing which is pretty boring so I’m keeping it on the down low. It should ramp up soon.

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  92. Hi Gail and welcome to Cleveland. I grew up on the West side but I have lived in Cleveland Heights for more than half my life now. (The East/West divide is a Cleveland phenom that you will soon discover, if you haven’t already!) There was a time in my twenties when I was very active in the local theater scene and working a lot in Playhouse Square. I just assumed that I would eventually end up relocating to NYC or Chicago as so many of my peers had already done. But then I met a lovely man, also a native Clevelander, and we instead ended up staying here and raising a family. There were quite a few years where I resented Cleveland, resented missing out on the excitement that I had envisioned for my life, resented people making fun of my home town. But I had a gradual awakening to the fact that I LOVE Cleveland like I love my family members. This town is full of treasures large and small and I can honestly say that I would now never think of living anywhere else. A few of my favorite things that I hope you will have a chance to check out:

    Lakeview Cemetery. Located at the top of Little Italy and bordering both Cleveland Heights and East Cleveland, it is an amazing place to walk and get a history lesson on Cleveland’s years of being home to millionaires and Presidents. If you climb to the top of the Garfield monument, you get a panoramic view of downtown and the Lake that is quite beautiful, especially at this time of year.

    Unique Thrift stores. There are several located in the Cleveland area- the closest one to you is probably the location on Lorain Avenue, just west of the West Side Market. Every Monday is half price day on everything in the store, and with growing kids I shop there a LOT! Someone told me that they have Unique stores in Chicago as well, but I don’t know if that is true or not.

    Nates Middle Eastern Restaurant. Located a few doors down from the West Side Market on W. 25th Street. Order a shish tawook sandwich with extra garlic sauce on the side and an order of fatoosh and prepare to be happy. Yum!

    Coventry Road in Cleveland Heights.

    North Chagrin reservation, part of the Metroparks (aka the Emerald Necklace). Great for hiking, sledding etc. Just gorgeous this time of year.

    I am writing too much but the list is long! Again,Welcome, and may you come to love our town as we do!

  93. I just wanted to send a huge “thank you!” your way for not only doing the exact opposite of just about every website I could dig up about “The Cleve”, but for also making me feel a bit more at ease about moving there. My fiance is a Cleveland native (I’m from San Diego) and we’re about to head back to be closer to family after moving to Colorado for a little over a year. I’m a google fiend, so I spend a good chunk of my time digging into the endless abyss of search results trying to learn a little more about my future home. Now, I did spend a couple days in Euclid, OH before we made the drive out here, and coming from California I actually liked the change in scenery from what I saw, but I didn’t really get a chance to see much.

    Anyway, I’m rambling. What I’m getting at is I experienced the same “What’s in Ohio?” or “Ohio!?” reactions as you have when I announced to locals and family that I was moving yet again, from what I could dig up, the city seems to get a real bad rep, and I know better than to put too much faith into b.s. Forbes “worst” lists and random forum posts from bitter/unfortunate ex-residents who present themselves as the lone representatives of an entire state..then again, I probably sound the same when I talk (rant) about my hometown!

  94. wow…… THANKS so much I am thinking of moving to cleveland and your story made me smile. I got all the same looks etc that you write about from people who have never been there WTF

  95. I wish you would write a direct letter to my husband, who refuses to consider the idea of our family moving to my hometown. He, like most people, just don’t get it! All Ohio needs to be perfect is allowing gay marriage – then I will feel safer moving my kids there, for here in Washington state, gay people finally have the right to have my rights …

    • Thanks for your comment Robin. Perhaps you can direct your husband to my article or any one of the recent articles speaking about the cool-ness factor of a place that use to be not-so-cool. Or maybe plan a visit (in the spring) and make sure it’s chock full of fun things to do.

  96. I am moving there myself next year from Toronto, Canada. Clevelanders are the main reason why we picked the city, I had been to more than 50 cities around the world myself, I found Clevelanders the most friendly of all. Education is also really great, I want my kids to be part of the system. Yes, cost of living is also a factor, it is 60% cheaper than Toronto.

    I also like the cultural aspects – great museums, science center, theatres and the lakes, and it is also within driving distance to other cities like Columbus, Pittsburgh and Chicago.

    I can’t wait to move there, and we will really enjoy our life, yes, we would be living like a king compared to what we have up here in Toronto.

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  98. Hi. I grew up in Cleveland and moved to Phoenix 10 years ago. We are moving back to Cleveland within then next few months and can’t wait. You are correct about the people and the energy in Cleveland. Phoenix has been an eye opening experience and has made us truly appreciate Ohio, it’s people and it’s climate.

    Now if I can only find a job there. lol

  99. Thanks for a lovely post. If you haven’t already done so (and you remember where you park your car :)) take a drive around the City on the Emerald Necklace — start in Bay Village and cruise east to at least North Chagrin… The Chagrin River Road alone is worth the drive. Hope your experiences so far live up to your expectations.

    • Thank you – after the week I’ve had a nice drive would do me some good. I have made it to a few of the areas but not all along the “Emerald Necklace” (love that name).

  100. Thank you for this great article! I’m in the process of moving to Cleveland and after reading this, it makes me feel that I’ve made a right decision.

  101. Hi! That was so spot on! I actually just moved here a month and a half ago. Moved for love , but Love didn’t work out.
    I also got the same cock eyed response when I told people I would be moving to Cleveland from LA. Anyhow Ive been making the most of it and meeting some really cool people. This coming from someone who knew NOBODY else but her ex boyfriend. I look forward to exploring more and I had never heard of the emerald necklace before either.
    The arts scene is def amazing! Oh and you may already know this but the Cleveland museum of art has a
    n after-hours mixx thing the first friday of every month. You should check it out! Have a fantastic week and thank you for that post.
    Blogging is such a good way to channel energy!

    • You should also check out the Cleveland New in Town (or Not!!!) Meet Up group. Roller Skating this Thursday night…

      The Cleveland New In Town (or NOT ! ! ) Meetup Group

      Cleveland, OH
      2,013 Members

      Welcome to the Cleveland New-In-Town or Not group.We are a group of fun and friendly people looking to meet new friends and create great friendships. Our mission is to intro…

      Check out this Meetup Group →

  102. Hey, love your post, and yeap I’m thinking about an Ohio adventure, maybe Columbus, but who knows.

    We are looking for better job opportunities and quality of live, we have a 3yr old, and the criminality and higher costs of life is pushing us out if Puerto Rico. So, will see when a job opportunity becomes a reality, I’m already looking at home prices, schools and state information. Wish me luck!!

  103. Oh goodness. Reading the article itself was fantastic enough to make it easier on me to decide to move to Ohio [college grad wanting to get out of Jersey] but the comments made it so much more easier to make my decision. It seems like the community is absolutely friendly and all open arms.

    • We are a crazy bunch, but we are really friendly and there is a TON of stuff going on in this town. There isn’t a day in the week that you can’t find fun, free activities. Heck, I don’t think there’s a day in the week that you can’t find a farmer’s market! Join us!

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