The “Rock and Roll Capital of the World”, Cleveland, is a thrilling, dynamic city full of diverse culture for visitors to dive into. Tucked between Lake Erie and Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Cleveland lets you split your time between exploring exciting urban attractions and taking advantage of the stunning natural landscape. Music lovers will also have plenty to enjoy here too.
From the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, where you can delve into the genre’s history and influence, to live music venues showcasing local talent and big-name acts, you’ll never have a dull moment. Of course, there’s plenty more to Cleveland’s culture than just rock and roll. The city is full of world-class museums and art galleries. Performing arts enthusiasts will have a ball at Cleveland’s various theatres and arts centres.
When you need a break from dashing between attractions, Cleveland’s culinary landscape is another brilliant experience. The diverse city has excellent restaurants, cafes and street food, spanning international cuisines and local specialities. A city so well known for its music scene, don’t be surprised to find incredible nightlife. Alongside live music venues and quirky clubs, there are tons of microbreweries where you’ll get a real taste of the city.
A vibrant city with so many colourful neighbourhoods makes it tricky to decide where is best for you to stay. These five areas will help you narrow down your decision. By covering the pros, cons, and attractions of each district, you’ll be well on your way to finding the perfect location for you to spend your stay in Cleveland.
Where To Stay In Cleveland
Tip: Book your airport transfer online to save the hassle.
If staying central is a priority, the Downtown area should be on your list as you’ll be right at the heart of the city, in an area bursting with life and attractions.
If you want plenty to keep you entertained without having to trek too far from your hotel, this is the perfect location for you.
Dive right into the city’s rich music heritage with a visit to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Then continue the theme with an evening at the House of Blues or one of the various other live music venues in the area.
If theatre is more your thing, see what’s on at Playhouse Square. The iconic performing arts centre is renowned for its polished productions of Broadway shows alongside a range of entertainment genres from comedy to opera.
As Cleveland’s primary entertainment hub, Downtown is also a top choice for nightlife.
Take in the live music talent with some local flavour at one of the various brewpubs around the area.
This is also the best area in Cleveland for party animals, with the largest collection of nightclubs.
But if you prefer something a little more sedate, spend your evenings working through the many excellent restaurants.
Home to Cleveland’s Asiatown neighbourhood, Downtown has a particularly diverse array of cuisines.
Downtown is home to tons of museums and galleries. And Maritime enthusiasts will enjoy visiting the USS Cod and the William G. Mather Steamship, both converted into floating museums in the Cleveland Harbour.
They’re just around the corner from the International Women’s Air & Space Museum and Great Lakes Science Center.
Conveniently clumped together, science fans can spend a full day exploring them all.
If you’re not interested in science or engineering, you may prefer a visit to something a bit more niche and offbeat, like the Cleveland Hungarian Museum or the Money Museum.
The Cleveland Grays Armory Museum is housed in one of the oldest buildings in the entire city.
Downtown is a great area for sports fans too, with Browns Stadium, Progressive Field and Rocket Mortgage Field House all in the district, there’s usually some event to check in on.
As one of the most popular tourist neighbourhoods in Cleveland, you’ll have several hotels.
However, you will have to pay for the convenience and desirability of the area, with accommodation prices generally higher than elsewhere in the city.
- The Ritz-Carlton, Cleveland
- Metropolitan at The 9, Autograph Collection
- The Westin Cleveland Downtown
- ROOST Cleveland
- Tru By Hilton Cleveland Midtown
- Guided Walking Tour: Downtown Highlights
- Cleveland Guardians Baseball Game – ticket at Progressive Field
- Rock and Roll Hall of Fame – skip the line and buy your admission ticket
- Skip the Line: Cleveland History Center Admission Ticket
- Cleveland Romance: A Walking Tour for Couples
University Circle is a lively little district to the southeast of Downtown.
Although quieter and less crowded than the city centre, the area is still bustling with life thanks to the student population of Case Western Reserve University, for which the area is named.
The student population makes this a great area for hospitality.
During the day, you will find plenty of cosy coffee shops and trendy cafes to relax in.
It’s a hub of laidback nightlife in the evenings, with tons of casual bars and brewpubs packed with friendly locals.
The little area also has many restaurants, from humble burger bars to elegant French brasseries.
Fans of Italian food, particularly, will enjoy their time here, as University Circle includes Cleveland’s Little Italy neighbourhood, so you’ll have a ton of authentic Italian restaurants to try out.
University Circle is also one of the best locations in Cleveland for anyone who loves to spend their vacations browsing around museums, as the area around the college campus has tons to explore.
The Cleveland Museum of Natural History is just across the street from the Cleveland History Centre and Crawford Auto Aviation Museum, so they’re easy to get around in a day if you’re short on time.
On the other side of the neighbourhood, you have the Cozad Bates House.
It’s the oldest building in the district and now hosts a museum exhibiting pre-civil war era Cleveland.
If you prefer browsing art galleries, you’ll be pleased to note that the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Museum of Contemporary Art are located on University Circle.
You can also visit the Sculpture Centre if you prefer contemporary, three-dimensional works.
Being closer to the suburbs than the city centre, University Circle also boasts many green spaces to escape when you’re tired of all the concrete.
The Cleveland Botanical Garden is ideal for all weather and seasons, with covered greenhouses alongside various themed gardens.
If you’re looking for a nice walk, head to Rockefeller Park.
The 2-mile-long park runs along either side of Martin Luther King Jr Drive and features over a dozen gardens dedicated and modelled after various nations around the world.
The park connects University Circle to the Cleveland Lakefront Nature Reserve, providing access to more luscious green space.
One thing to be aware of when considering staying in University Circle is that it’s not as affordable as you might expect for being outside of the city centre.
You’ll have several hotels to choose from, but they tend to sit around the higher end of the mid-range.
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Ohio City is a neighbourhood right across the Cuyahoga River from Downtown.
It’s a fashionable, chic locale, with easy access to the bustling city centre while retaining its quirky flavour.
The historic neighbourhood is packed with cosy cafes and coffee shops.
Many have unique gimmicks or draws, like the Tabletop Café, where you can pick from thousands of games.
One of Ohio City’s most notable attractions is the West Side Market, the oldest market in Cleveland and a great place to try out local produce, pick up some unique, handmade souvenirs and soak up the community atmosphere.
Ohio City is renowned as a hub of entertainment and nightlife as a whole, but it is also home to a smaller area known as The Flats, one of Cleveland’s top areas for after-dark entertainment.
It’s full of bars, nightclubs, and trendy restaurants, so it’s the perfect place to stay if you like a lively night out with a short journey home.
The Flats connect to the city centre via several bridges, many of which have historical significance or unique artistic features.
The Hope Memorial Bridge, for example, features towering art deco statues at either end, known as the Guardians of Traffic.
The various bridges are frequently recommended as some of the best spots in the city to take in stunning views of the Cleveland skyline.
Ohio City’s location provides plenty of beautiful open spaces to enjoy Cleveland’s natural landscape.
Parks and walking trails run along the winding riverbanks and overlook a lake.
Edgewater Park even has a comfortable beach popular for relaxing and swimming in the summer.
Just to the south of Ohio City, Tremont is one of those trendy, up-and-coming neighbourhoods where artsy communities rejuvenate previously industrial areas.
The area still retains a lot of its industrial edge, with lumber and scrapyards running along the south end, dotted with warehouse complexes converted into quirky shopping centres and trendy bars and restaurants.
There are quite a few small microbreweries and brewpubs here, too, ideal for a literal taste of the city.
The area leans into Cleveland’s association with rock and roll and the blues, with many southern-style restaurants serving indulgent soul food.
While Tremont is within easy reach of some of Cleveland’s top sights, it doesn’t have too many of its own attractions.
Sokolowski’s Overlook provides a good vantage point for viewing the city skyline and the George V. Voinovich Bridges.
Train enthusiasts will want to check for upcoming Midwest Railway Preservation Society events.
They host regular open house events where visitors can tour their historic railyard and ride a classic train.
Fans of the iconic festive film ‘A Christmas Story’ will want to stop by the house featured in the movie.
It has since been converted into a museum filled with props and memorabilia.
A few miles west of the downtown area, Westlake is a leafy suburb known for its upscale shopping centres, top-quality restaurants, and luscious greenery.
It’s connected to central Cleveland by several major roads and bus routes, so it’s easy to head into town when you want to.
While it’s not ideal if sightseeing in the city centre is your main goal, it’s perfect if you are looking for a more laid-back visit.
Westlake is a fantastic option if you are travelling with young children because of the green spaces that allow them to play out in the fresh air, like Bradley Nature Park and Bunns Wildlife Area or Huntington Beach.
With play areas and picnic spots, you’ll have plenty of options for fun family days out.
If you want something a little more structured, a visit to the Lake Erie Science Centre is perfect for getting kids to take an interest in the world around them.
Or take them over to SkyZone Trampoline Park to bounce off some energy.
Being well outside the city centre means you can expect much more reasonable accommodation prices.
This is an area worth considering if you need to stick to a tighter budget.
- Hyatt Place Cleveland/Westlake/Crocker Park
- Holiday Inn Express & Suites Cleveland/Westlake, an IHG Hotel
- Red Roof Inn Cleveland – Westlake
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