Just an hour flight time from New York City, Cleveland is in the midst of an art-fueled urban renaissance, building upon its long architectural and cultural heritage, while embracing the small scale industries, creative culinary scene, and high tech companies that are driving the new economy. Cleveland is after all a city built by the likes of the Rockefellers – but also with a long manufacturing and industrial history. For those seeking to revel in what Brooklyn is losing, Cleveland is transforming long fallow zones into dynamic places to live and work from the community up.
From the stunning to quirky, here are ten sites not to miss on a visit to Cleveland.
1. The Arcade Cleveland
There isn’t much in America that looks like this anymore and the Arcade Cleveland captures that turn of the century sense of wonder. The arcade, financed by Cleveland industrialists like John D. Rockefeller, Rockefeller’s partner, Steven V. Harkness, and Louis Severance, another founding member of Standard Oil, was built at a cost of $875,000 in 1890 (that’s about $23,7 million in 2016 dollars). The arcade was intended as a mercantile center, said to be the first indoor shopping center in the country, and used predominantly as office and retail space. Like an arcade in the true sense, it connects between Euclid and Superior Avenue.
The Arcade Cleveland was built atop what was a sandy Prehistoric lake and the grand staircase follows the original natural topography, Tom Yablonsky, Executive Director of the Downtown Cleveland Alliance shows us. The most stunning architectural features are the glass roof and the long interior atrium space, at 290 feet long, designed to allow in a sumptuous amount of natural light. The only arcade in the world that exceeds it in length is the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan, Italy, one of its architectural inspirations. Despite landmark designation, the first in Cleveland to receive National Landmark status and just the 9th in the country, the Arcade deteriorated over the years. A $60 million restoration took place in 2001 with the Hyatt Development Corporation stepping in as the major anchor tenant.
The Arcade Cleveland is the must stunning, but there are several more worthy of a visit just nearby. The 5th Street Arcades combines two historic arcades: The Colonial Arcade and the Euclid Arcade. And don’t miss the cluster of beautiful, restored theaters in Playhouse Square, considered the second largest theater complex after Lincoln Center in New York City.
The Cleveland Arcade is located on East 4th Street, between Euclid and Superior Avenues.