Cleveland Cultural Gardens, a collection of 31 individual gardens that represent the different ethnic and community groups that make up greater Cleveland, is located on a narrow 50-acre strip along East and MLK Blvds. between Lake Erie and University Circle. The gardens, begun in 1916, are a lovely visual depiction of Greater Cleveland's diversity.
The Cleveland Cultural Gardens are carved out of a 50-acre strip in Rockefeller Park, a 254-acre park created in 1896 on land donated to the city by industrialist John D. Rockefeller.
The first cultural garden, a Shakespeare Garden, was begun in 1916. In 1926, the editor of the Jewish Independent, Leo Weidenthal, conceived of the idea of cultural gardens to represent the city's different communities.
The majority of the gardens were built in the 1920s and 1930s with money and labor from the WPA as well as the local ethnic communities. By 1939, there were 18 gardens. Today, the Cultural Gardens include fountains, decorative ironwork, and over 60 sculptures.
The 31 different cultural gardens include African-American, American Indian, British, Chinese, Czech, Estonian, German, Hebrew, Hungarian, Irish, Italian, Polish, and Slovenian gardens, among others. The newest garden is the Syrian garden, which opened in 2011.
Visiting the Cleveland Cultural Gardens
The Cleveland Cultural Gardens are open to the public from dawn until dusk. Admission is free. There is a parking lane alongside most of the gardens. The Cleveland Greenhouse, another free attraction, is located at the north end of the park. Miles of hiking and biking trails snake through Rockefeller Park alongside the gardens.
Cleveland Cultural Gardens
East Blvd. and Martin Luther King Blvd., between E 88th St. and Euclid Ave.
Cleveland, OH 44108