Every Cleveland Neighborhood You Need to Know

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Since the collapse of its once booming industrial economy in the 1960s, Cleveland has spent some time off the radar—but this American Rust Belt city is in the midst of an exciting renaissance that has many travelers eyeing a trip. Thanks to a refreshed downtown, an enthusiastic sports culture, and an influx of top chefs and mixologists that have cultivated a food and beverage scene that is beginning to rival some of the Midwest's larger destinations, it’s safe to say the city is back and better than ever.

If you're planning to visit, there is no shortage of things to do and see in Cleveland. Aside from great new restaurants, top-notch craft beer, and a diverse arts and culture scene—all for a fraction of the cost you'd find in bigger cities—one of the best things to do in Cleveland is to explore its many unique neighborhoods. From hopping gallery scenes to delicious Italian food and even some spots you may recognize from the movies, here are the neighborhoods you shouldn't miss.

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Little Italy

Old style Neighborhood, Little Italy, Cleveland, Ohio, USA
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A taste of the Italian countryside can still be found on Mayfield Road in Cleveland's Little Italy. This charming neighborhood is filled with Victorian homes, courtyards, and brick storefronts.

Little Italy is the place to go if you’re seeking traditional Italian cuisine. Chow down on homemade gnocchi at Guarino's, which holds the distinction of being the city's oldest restaurant, and follow it up with sweet treats at Presti's Bakery. After a bite, you can explore the neighborhood’s art scene, including the Murray Hill Galleries, which has been reimagined into a collection of artistic shops, studios, and galleries.

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Ohio City

Westside Market, Cleveland

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Once an independent city, Ohio City was annexed by Cleveland in 1854. It remains one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city and offers a fascinating mix of historic and trendy places to see and visit.

The neighborhood boasts some fantastic shopping opportunities, particularly the popular West Side Market, where visitors can find food and gifts from a number of different local vendors. It's also home to notable churches, and Jim Mahon Park is known as the place to catch sunsets over the lake.

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Asiatown Cleveland

Courtesy of Asiatown Cleveland

Since the 1950s, a diverse group of Asian communities have called this small neighborhood just east of downtown home. The predominantly Chinese, Vietnamese, and Korean population is a tight-knit one and Asian culture is widely celebrated here.

Asiatown is the place to find amazing dim sum, such neighborhood staple Li Wah, as well as delicious noodle houses, like LJ Shanghai. From the restaurants to the grocers and bakers, it is a food lover's delight. If you're looking for authentic cuisine and ingredients, then you'll want to frequent this colorful piece of Cleveland.

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Waterloo Arts

Courtesy of Waterloo Arts

Just south of Lake Erie and between East 131st and East 185th streets lies Cleveland's Collinwood neighborhood. Up until the 1950s, the neighborhood, which is broken into three distinct sections, was home to large populations of Irish, Italian and Slovenian immigrants, and was an industrial hub that boasted extensive automobile and electrical manufacturing.

Today, Collinwood has been revitalized by an exciting arts and culture scene. Travelers head to Collinwood to participate in its art walks and peruse the many galleries that line Waterloo Road, and the Waterloo Arts Fest is a popular event that takes place every June.

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The Flats

The Flats, Cleveland

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One of the city's newly developed neighborhoods, The Flats is one of the best examples of the "new Cleveland." Once a booming industrial hub filled with shipyards, oil refineries, lumberyards and warehouses in the 1800s, heavy pollution and brutal weather conditions led to the Cuyahoga River catching fire in 1969, ending the area's golden age.

Today, the neighborhood had been revitalized as a vibrant entertainment district, home to upscale residences, businesses, trendy restaurants, and chic nightlife. On a sunny afternoon, you can find locals sipping cocktails and enjoying unparalleled river views at Shooters On the Water before heading to dinner at steak and sushi spot Jade. This neighborhood is very much leading the way for the future of Cleveland—after all, if The Flats are back, Cleveland is back.

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Old Brooklyn

Old Brooklyn, Cleveland
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On the west side of Cleveland, you’ll find this residential neighborhood filled with greenhouses and tree-lined streets. Old Brooklyn is home to Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and many other fun venues for families. It's also perfect for lovers of outdoor adventure—travelers can enjoy the hiking and biking trails that lead to downtown as part of the Ohio Towpath Trail.

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Gordon Square

Courtesy of Gordon Square Arts District

On the west side of Cleveland and next to Lake Erie lies Detroit-Shoreway. It too is a diverse neighborhood and home to an array of ethnic communities that have left their mark.

The neighborhood centers around the bustle of Gordon Square. This arts district is filled with shops, galleries, and events for all types of visitors. It's also home to many great theaters and a variety of eclectic dining, such as XYZ the Tavern and Toast.

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Karamu House Theater Stage - Cleveland Ohio
(© 2006 S. Mitchell; Licensed to About, Inc.)

This historically Black residential neighborhood is home to some of the city's most important African-American history. As one of Cleveland's first neighborhoods to reach a majority of African-American residents escaping the South, the neighborhood has continued to invest in and amplify the community that has made it what it is today.

Karamu House, the oldest African-American theater in the U.S., can be found in Fairfax. The neighborhood is home to the famous Cleveland Clinic and a number of historic churches.

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Shaker Square

Station sign at Shaker Square station on Cleveland's RTA Rapid Transit
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On the edge of the Shaker Heights suburb, you will find the historic neighborhood of Shaker Square. The neighborhood was designed with European markets in mind, so you will find interesting Georgian and Tudor architecture all around you.

Next to the antique district of Larchmere Boulevard, Shaker Square packs a lot into its square mile of real estate. It is the second oldest planned shopping district in the U.S. and offers a great variety of stores and restaurants to keep you busy. The Art Deco movie theater is a treasure of the neighborhood and there’s almost always an event taking place.

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Slavic Village

Slavic Village, Cleveland

Courtesy of Slavic Village Development

If you want to practice your Polish, Cleveland’s Slavic Village is the place to go. Located south of downtown, the neighborhood retains its Czech and Polish heritage year-round.

Slavic Village is known for the traditional cuisine being served at restaurants and delis throughout the neighborhood. It is also home to a nice variety of small shops, including many antique stores that are fun to browse. The red brick of the Gothic St. Stanislaus Church is eye-catching and its interior is a majestic step back in time.

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Cleveland Cathedral

Courtesy of Astrid Taran

This south side neighborhood was one of the first neighborhoods established in Cleveland. Here, you'll find Victorian homes and the largest concentration of historic churches in the U.S., including the famous St. Theodosius Cathedral, an Eastern Orthodox church best known for being featured in the 1978 Academy Award-winning film "The Deer Hunter." Take a stroll a bit further and you'll also find the 19th century Victorian home used in the film "A Christmas Story." Even if you aren't a movie buff, Tremont is an essential stop for travelers interested in architecture.

Lincoln Park is the heart of Tremont and a great place to relax or catch a summer concert. Shoppers will find plenty of stores to visit and the neighborhood boasts a great art scene. Foodies will enjoy Tremont’s restaurants, like the historic Rowley Inn, and families can look forward to the fun summer festivals the neighborhood offers.

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University Circle

Arabica Coffee, University Circle, Cleveland Ohio
(© 2005 Valdis Krebs

There are cultural opportunities throughout all of Cleveland, but University Circle is the center of it all. Here you will find endless attractions, from the Cleveland Museum of Art to the Cleveland Botanical Garden. As the name suggests, it’s also where you’ll find many of the city’s universities and colleges.

Whether you enjoy a free concert at Wade Oval or hit one of the many coffee shops or nightspots in the neighborhood, there’s always something going on. It’s a great place for a casual stroll and you’re sure to find something new on each visit.