Downtown Cleveland City Guide
Discover Cleveland and its thriving downtown like a local with my insider city guide. From picture-perfect moments to delicious dining and unforgettable sights, this carefully curated collection will show you the best of what Downtown has to offer. With this guide as your starting point, you’ll never miss a beat during your exploration. Don’t settle for just a taste of the city – dive in and experience it all!
North Coast Harbor
If you’re visiting Downtown Cleveland, be sure to add the North Coast Harbor to your itinerary! This little strip along the Lake Erie coast may be small, but it packs a big punch when it comes to things to see and do.
Step into the world of music history and visit the iconic Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in one of Cleveland’s coolest buildings.
Get ready for some hands-on fun at the Great Lakes Science Center, where you can explore an array of exhibits covering science, NASA, and even the human body – it’s perfect for all ages!
Take in breathtaking views of Lake Erie and downtown Cleveland from the lovely Voinovich Bicentennial Park. This lakefront pier offers plenty of space for picnics and relaxation, with a huge grassy area perfect for kicking back and enjoying the views.
North Coast Harbor Photo Ops
Take a walk around town and keep an eye out for Cleveland’s iconic Script signs! There are several to spot, but one of the best is this one with a stunning view of the downtown skyline. It’s definitely a must-see for locals and visitors alike.
FOR THE Music Enthusiast
Step inside an awe-inspiring building and immerse yourself in a treasure trove of historic music memorabilia. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is not only filled with amazing exhibits, but its unique architectural features, such as glass windows and one-of-a-kind building shapes, make it a photographer’s dream come true.
Amazing Lake + City Views
A must-visit destination for anyone looking to enjoy stunning views and outdoor recreation. Located along the lakefront, this park offers breathtaking panoramas of Lake Erie and the downtown Cleveland skyline. Take a stroll along the pier, have a picnic on the lush green grass, or simply relax and take in the views.
Where to eat
There aren’t many restaurants in this general area, but you are close to many of them in other areas of Downtown. There’s a Mexican restaurant called Nuevo Modern Mexican & Tequilla Bar on the pier and Simply Vintage Bakery & Café within the Harbor Verandas apartments.
The Flats | Cleveland Downtown City Guide
Get ready for some fun along the winding Cuyahoga River in The Flats! Whether you head to the East Bank or West Bank, you’re sure to have a good time. No visit to Downtown Cleveland would be complete without checking out this historic neighborhood.
The Flats have a rich history as a hub of entertainment in the city. In its heyday, revelers would line Old River Road, eager to party the night away at one of the many bars and concert clubs. While it experienced a decline over the years, The Flats have undergone a revitalization and are once again a top destination for fun and excitement.
Split by the crooked Cuyahoga River and connected to Lake Erie, The Flats are divided into two areas: the East Bank and the West Bank. The East Bank boasts new construction, including apartments, a hotel, trendy restaurants and bars, and a scenic river walkway. Meanwhile, the West Bank is home to concert venues, an aquarium, apartment buildings, and businesses, offering a rich mix of history and modern attractions. Come and experience the exciting rebirth of The Flats for yourself!
East Bank Flats
The East Bank Flats, once a bustling party destination, have regained their liveliness with the recent development of hotels, restaurants, apartments, and businesses.
Immerse yourself in an evening of fun at Punch Bowl Social, a 27,000-square-foot entertainment hub with games ranging from bowling to billiards, karaoke rooms, delicious dining options, and a stunning rooftop deck.
Enjoy live music at The Odeon Concert Club or take a leisurely walk along the Cuyahoga River on the fairly recently-constructed riverwalk.
If you’re feeling adventurous, head to FWD Day & Nightclub, located right on the riverbank, for a swim or a night of dancing by the pool, perfect for summertime revelry.
East Bank Flats Photo Ops
Unique + Historic
Capture stunning photos of the Cuyahoga River’s bridge network, designed to allow boats to pass effortlessly through. These structures provide a picturesque backdrop, particularly against the backdrop of a breathtaking sunset.
The Flats Sign
The Flats East Bank sign, perched atop the East Bank apartments, offers a unique photo opportunity. This vintage-inspired sign is the perfect backdrop to capture memories of your visit to the area.
tWINKLING River Views
Take in the breathtaking views of the Cuyahoga River with a leisurely stroll along the new river path, added as part of the East Bank renovation. With the option to dock your boat, this scenic path is the perfect way to soak in the natural beauty of the area
East Bank Flats Eats
Every kind of bar entertainment you can think of from bowling, darts, vintage arcade games, and food.
A brewery right along the river with amazing views, beers, and great eats.
Coastal eats in a casual breezy decorated spot right along the river.
Bagels, sandwiches, and more at this fun bagel shop complete with swing seats in warmer weather.
Local musician Machine Gun Kelley’s pink-themed coffee shop & cafe
West Bank Flats
The West Bank of the Flats has yet to be renovated but doesn’t lack charm. Music venue, killer views, an aquarium, and more.
Indulge in a dinner and a show at the Music Box Supper Club, a one-of-a-kind venue along the West Bank.
Get ready to rock with your favorite bands at Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica, with the Cuyahoga River as a stunning backdrop.
Step into a magical underwater world at the Greater Cleveland Aquarium, housed within an awe-inspiring industrial-style building.
For a unique dining experience, set sail on Lake Erie with a dinner cruise aboard the Nautica Queen. Enjoy a delicious meal with breathtaking views of the lake.
West Bank Flats Photo Ops
You’ll find a wealth of photogenic scenes along the West Bank of the Flats. From charming vintage bridges to quaint old buildings and delightful hidden surprises, this area is a treasure trove of photo opportunities.
Unofficial CLE mascot
Discover the unofficial mascot of Cleveland – The Guardian of Traffic – standing watch on one of the city’s bridges. On the East Bank, I stumbled upon delightful miniature versions of the Guardian of Traffic, adding to the fun of exploring the area.
Located near Shooter’s, a vintage jackknife-style bridge covered in vines is a well-known spot among Cleveland photographers. Make it your next photo destination and use the picturesque bridge as a stunning backdrop for your pictures.
Capture the stunning beauty of Cleveland at night with a photo of the vivid blue Shoreway Bridge and the twinkling lights of downtown. The vibrant lights of the city reflected on the river create a magical and picture-perfect scene that is not to be missed.
West Bank Eats
A unique venue along the river’s edge where you can get dinner while watching live music.
New brewery on the outskirts of the West Bank of the flats. Patio, huge industrial interior, food, and of course beer. Can’t wait to check it out.
This has been our go-to takeout spot for Italian food for a while now. Pizza and pasta, yum.
East 4th Street
Discover E4th Street, a must-visit destination in my Downtown Cleveland city guide. This once-neglected street has undergone a major transformation and is now one of the city’s most sought-after spots for food and entertainment. With a variety of top-notch restaurants and exciting entertainment options, it’s the perfect place for a romantic date night or a fun evening out with friends.
Indulge in a night of bowling, dining, and cocktails at The Corner Alley.
Laugh the night away at Hilarities with a comedy show.
Experience the power of music at The House of Blues, where you can enjoy a night of live performances and fun.
Savor a delicious meal on one of the many patios along the street, surrounded by the lively atmosphere of this thriving neighborhood.
East 4th Street Photo Ops
East 4th Street has become one of the best spots for photo ops in town. The zig-zag of lights and signage makes for great photographs and on any given weekend you’ll find a wedding party posing for the shot.
Bright City Lights
The twinkling lights and unique signs create a stunning backdrop for your photos. And on weekends, it’s not uncommon to see wedding parties capturing memories in front of this vibrant backdrop.
With a diverse array of cuisine options, there’s something for everyone. From Cajun to Asian, you can indulge in a range of flavors and dishes. The food here is not only delicious, but it’s also visually stunning, making it perfect for capturing those mouth-watering shots on your camera.
full of history
The buildings on East 4th Street are truly one-of-a-kind, and one, in particular, caught my eye – the building occupied by Mabel’s BBQ. I couldn’t help but wonder why there were no windows, adding to the building’s intriguing allure.
East 4th Street Eats
Don’t miss out on these other great spots in the area:
Discover Playhouse Square, the largest theater district outside of New York City, featuring ten theaters, delicious dining options, and stylish living spaces.
Have a memorable night out with dinner and a show at one of the theaters or simply marvel at the stunning largest outdoor chandelier in the United States. Visit the official Playhouse Square site for more info here. This is definitely a spot on my Downtown Cleveland City Guide you’ll want to visit.
Playhouse Square Photo Ops
The outdoor views aren’t too bad, but the interior hides some incredibly beautiful interiors.
Brite City Lights
The vintage signage, illuminated entryways, and visually stunning playbill announcements all come together to provide stunning views that are a must-see for any visitor to Cleveland.
The outside of the theaters in Playhouse Square may not look like much, but once you step inside, you’ll be amazed by the breathtaking beauty of their interiors. Every detail is stunning.
Largest in the USA
At one point in time, it held the title of being the largest outdoor chandelier in the world, but now it’s just the biggest one in the US. It’s a quirky and photogenic landmark that’s worth capturing on camera.
When you visit Downtown Cleveland, Ohio, the historic Gateway District will be the first thing to greet you. This is where you’ll find the baseball and basketball arenas, a castle-like armory, and an old cemetery.
Take a walk through the Erie Street Cemetery and immerse yourself in history.
Catch a Cleveland Guardians baseball game at Progressive Field (which locals still refer to as Jacob’s Field).
Watch the Cleveland Cavaliers play at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse (which is still called “The Q” by the locals).
Explore the historic Grays Armory, which resembles a castle and is located in the heart of downtown Cleveland.
A unique venue along the river’s edge where you can get dinner while watching live music.
New brewery on the outskirts of the West Bank of the flats. Patio, huge industrial interior, eat, and of course beer. Can’t wait to check it out.
Enjoy brunch, lunch, and dinner along The Cuyahoga and Lake Erie on Cleveland’s dinner cruise.
Nine Twelve District
A unique addition to my Downtown Cleveland City Guide is the Nine Twelve District. Once known as the Financial District, this part of Downtown now mixes cool, new residential and hotels, trendy restaurants, and the coolest grocery store in town. Its uniqueness makes it a great addition to my Cleveland Downtown city guide.
Stop by Heinens on Euclid & 9th, a local grocery chain housed in the stunning old Cleveland Trust building, featuring a gorgeous glass-enclosed rotunda. It’s the most beautiful grocery store you’ll ever see.
Treat yourself to a staycation at the chic hotels, The 9 or The Schofield.
Enjoy the convenience of being just a short walk away from Playhouse Square, E4th Street, and North Coast Harbor.
Need a staycation or a great place to stay while in town? Check out my post on our NYE Staycation at The Schofield Hotel
Nine Twelve Photo Ops
In the heart of the city lies some beautiful images waiting to happen.
Stained Glass Grocer
Visit the downtown Heinen’s rotunda for an unforgettable grocery store experience (look up!)
Photograph your brunch as you eat it in a cute little tent at Bett’s, whose interior looks just as good as the food.
Built to Last
Oh, the details
Marvel at the variety of architecture from NeoClassical to Modernist, to Brutalist-style, and take photos
Nine Twelve Eats
Beautifully designed interiors and delicious food. This is so much more than just a hotel restaurant.
part of The 9 hotel, The Garden of Eden boasts amazing rooftop views for cocktails and light eats.
Another modern and cool hotel restaurant that is found inside The 9.
A spacious brewery just on the outskirts of the Ninetwelve district
When exploring downtown Cleveland, Ohio, don’t miss a visit to Public Square, the beating heart of the city. This bustling hub connects you to many of the must-see destinations on your list and has recently undergone a revitalization, making it an idyllic place to take a break and soak in the city atmosphere.
Make your way up to the Terminal Tower Observation Deck for stunning panoramic views of Cleveland.
Pay a visit to the Soldiers & Sailors Monument, honoring those who served in the military.
Try your luck at Jack Casino, housed in a historic downtown building that fans of “A Christmas Story” might recognize.
Spend some time in Public Square, which is a must-visit spot. In the summer, cool off in the splash pool, or, during the winter, lace up your ice skates and enjoy the lighted winter wonderland.
Make A Splash
Reflective splash pad
The green space in the heart of Public Square has been recently transformed, featuring a large splash pad that offers stunning reflections of the square.
Birds Eye View
eye in the sky
Take in the breathtaking views of downtown Cleveland from the 42nd floor of the Terminal Tower. This observation deck is a hidden gem that many locals don’t even know about.
A Bit Of History
Pay tribute to the veterans of the American Civil War with a visit to the monument honoring Cuyahoga County’s Navy, Artillery, Infantry, and Cavalry.
Explore Cleveland’s historic Warehouse District, the city’s first neighborhood, and a National Historic Landmark. Originally a residential area, it transformed into a commercial hub after the Civil War, and today it boasts an eclectic mix of Victorian-era architecture, residential buildings, businesses, and entertainment. With over 70 buildings spanning 43 acres, the Warehouse District is a must-see destination for those interested in history and architecture. Visit the district’s official website for more information.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my Downtown Cleveland City Guide! Are you a business in the neighborhood and want to collaborate, or did you have an update on something I shared here? Contact me. Be sure to check out my other Cleveland Ohio Neighborhood Guides below!