I don’t know what I expected from Cleveland, exactly.
I guess I thought the downtown would feel empty, deserted; or that buildings would look run-down or tired. Maybe that the infrastructure would be in decline (and maybe that last guess wasn’t too far off–the pavement could definitely use some work).
But for the most part I was wrong. Cleveland is cool. Downtown Cleveland seems to be in the midst of a pretty successful revitalization, with new restaurants next to storied music venues boasting big names.
Here’s what I liked: wide avenues lined with detail-rich Art Deco architecture; not one, but two (maybe more?) unpretentious vegan cafes with delicious green juices and smoothies; the East 4th Avenue pedestrian corridor with its strings of cafe lights and lovely neon signs; glorious sunsets over Lake Erie; the public parks on the waterfront by the lake and by the Cuyahoga River.
I’ve spent some time in Ohio for work this year–about one week a month, split between Cincinnati and Cleveland–and I’ve been super impressed with those two towns.
And now that it’s fall? Oof. Nothing beats fall in the Midwest. Not even this lush, foggy Pacific Northwest fall–and that’s pretty lovely.