Cleveland rocks – and not just because it’s home to the famed Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Once there were steel mills and shipping facilities along Lake Erie and the Cuyahoga River Valley, but now water sports and waterfront views have replaced factories and loading docks. An urban renewal program cleaned up the industrial zones, created exciting entertainment venues, and brought new sports stadiums to the city. Visitors and residents will find multiple cultural institutions, a variety of restaurants and bars, and abundant green space.
With a population of 388,812, Cleveland is Ohio’s second largest city after Columbus. Cleveland has an urban feel, but still maintains a small-town atmosphere among 23,000 acres of parks and nature preserves. Downtown is home to University Circle, a concentration of educational and cultural institutions including Case Western Reserve University, the Cleveland Botanical Garden, Cleveland Museum of Art, and the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.
Residents love the low cost of living, and all are welcome in one of Ohio’s most diverse cities. Welcome to Cleveland!
Living in Cleveland, OH: What to Know Before Moving to Cleveland
Although Cleveland has just over 388,000 residents, the greater Cleveland-Elyria Metropolitan Area is home to over 2,059,000 residents. The city spreads out 78 square miles along the southern shores of Lake Erie.
Pros and Cons of Cleveland
Every metro area, no matter the size or its location, has its positive and negative features. Cleveland is no exception.
- Arts and culture
- Historical interest
- Growing job options
- Revitalized downtown
- Attractive neighborhoods
- Industrial areas
- Economic cycles
- Higher unemployment rate than the national average
- High crime rate
- Cloudy, wet climate
- Property Tax: The average property tax rate for Cleveland is 2.296%. This rate is higher than the Ohio average of 1.55% and the national average of 1.21%. Property taxes on a house worth $ 54,200, the median home value, would be $1,244.
- Sales Tax: The sales tax rate for Cleveland is 8%, slightly higher than the US average of 7.3%.
- State Income Tax: The state income tax rate in Ohio is 5.5%, also higher than the US average of 4.6%.
It’s an excellent time to buy in Cleveland. The median home value is $54,200. In the last ten years, homes have appreciated 20.75%. However, Zillow forecasts a -1.6% drop in home values in late 2019-2020. The median home price is currently $82,500, and the median price of homes sold is $68,000. With all of the home pricing statistics falling well under $100,000, the Cleveland housing market is extremely affordable. The median age of Cleveland real estate is 74 years old. Homeowners make up 55.6% of the Cleveland population.
The median city rent price is $900, while the Cleveland metropolitan area median rent price is about $200 higher at $1,100. The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Cleveland is $644; the average rent for a two-bedroom apartment is $794.
Cleveland’s least expensive neighborhoods include Industrial Valley, Woodland Hills, Glenville, Goodrich-Kirkland, Riverside, Stockyards, North Broadway, Fairfax, Jefferson, and Puritas Longmead.
Cost of Living
Many people are attracted to Cleveland because of its affordability. The cost of living index is 77.1, or 22.9% lower than the national average index of 100. The housing index is 27.2, groceries 93, health care 82.3, and utilities 94.9, all falling below the state and national averages. The median household income is $26,179. Although paychecks are lower than many other US cities of a similar size, your money will go farther due to the low cost of living.
Only transportation and miscellaneous expenses like clothing, dining out, and repairs are slightly more expensive than the national average. Compared to the US index of 100, the transportation expenses index is 105, and miscellaneous expenses index is 104.4. With all the natural and cultural amenities that Cleveland offers its residents, the city is an excellent choice if you’re looking for an affordable city that offers a vibrant lifestyle.
Weather and Natural Disasters
Cleveland gets some form of precipitation, on average, 149 days per year. The city gets 38 inches of rain and averages 54 inches of snow per year – nearly double the national average of 28 inches of snow per year.
The sun shines about 166 days per year in Cleveland, below the US average of 205 sunny days.
Summer highs average about 82 degrees Fahrenheit, with average winter lows of 22 degrees. You can expect the most snowfall in December, January, and February. The most pleasant months of the year are June, August, and September, with high temperatures in the 70-85 degrees range.
Move.org rates Ohio 29th in the country for the amount of money spent on cleaning up and repairing after a natural disaster. Flash flooding, flooding, heavy snow, and tornados proved to be the costliest natural disasters in Cleveland. Check out Cleveland’s Emergency Preparedness plans for natural disaster threats. Learn what your risks are and how to be best prepared before a natural disaster threatens.
Economy and Job Market
Previously a manufacturing center, Cleveland has evolved into a service-based economy and has seen the job market increase by 1.0% over 2018. However, future job growth over the next ten years is predicted to be 21.4%, which is lower than the US average of 33.5%. As of March 2019, the unemployment rate in Cleveland was 4.5% and appears to be trending down. The unemployment rate across the state was 4.2%, while the national rate was 3.6%.
The median household income of a Cleveland resident is $26,179 a year, well below the US average of $53,482 a year. Cleveland’s top industries are automotive manufacturing, banking and finance, electric and lighting, food processing, health technology, information technology, management of companies and enterprises, oil and gas, paints and coatings, and metal production and fabrication.
The city is the headquarters of 11 Fortune 500 companies, both industrial and non-industrial, including National City Corp, Eaton Corp, Parker Hannifin Corp, Sherwin-Williams Co, KeyCorp, Nacco Industries, American Greetings Corp, Ferro Corp, Medical Mutual of Ohio, Applied Industries Technologies, and Lincoln Electric Holdings. Cleveland is also home to nearly 150 international companies from 25 different countries.
The best industries in which to find a job in Cleveland are:
- Automotive: This industry is predicted to grow by 19% by 2024.
Steel: Installation of new oil pipelines has boosted demand for steel throughout the state.
- Agriculture: The state’s food and agriculture sector accounts for 14% of Ohio jobs.
- Manufacturing: Whirlpool, which produces 1.5 million Kitchen Aid mixers and blenders per year, bases half of its US employees at the company’s Ohio plants.
- Aerospace: The state’s aerospace industry has an annual economic impact of more than $8 billion.
Traffic and Transportation
Clevelanders commute for an average 24.1 minutes, just below the national average. A ranking of worldwide traffic jams shows that Cleveland is third-least congested among 146 large urban areas.
Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA) operates public transportation in Cuyahoga County, of which Cleveland is the county seat. This network includes rails, trolleys, buses, and a bus rapid transit system or BRT, all of which cost $2.25 one-way. Locals refer to Cleveland’s trains as ‘Rapids.’
The city has earned a strong walk score of 60, a transit score of 45, and a bike score of 50. A system of bike trails helps cyclists navigate the suburbs and the south coast Lake Erie. Cyclists can park their wheels at the convenient downtown bike station.
What To Do
Cleveland is perhaps best known as the home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum designed by the world-renowned architect, I.M. Pei. The spectacular 150,000 square-foot museum, located on the shores of Lake Erie at North Coast Harbor, features seven floors, four film theaters, and ever-changing exhibits. As Neil Young said, “rock and roll is here to stay” so once you’ve learned all there is to know about the Elvis or the Beatles, explore the other side of Cleveland – its parks, art, restaurants, museums, and so much more.
- Cleveland Botanical Garden. Enjoy 20 unique gardens, experience rainforests, and desert biomes, and walk along a shady wood boardwalk. Children will enjoy the hands-on Hershey Children’s Garden.
- Cleveland Metroparks. Explore 18 preserves spanning more than 23,000 acres with more than 300 miles of trails, eight golf courses, eight lakefront parks, and a nationally-acclaimed zoo.
- Cleveland Zoo. The zoo hosts the most extensive collection of primates in the United States and is famous for its rainforest exhibit, which has a simulated tropical rain storm.
- Cleveland Museum of Art. The collection includes more than 61,000 objects which span 6000 years. It’s one of the top comprehensive art museums in the nation and admission is free.
- The Museum of Contemporary Art in Cleveland (MOCA). Worth seeing just for the mirrored glass skin of the exterior, designed into a hexagon that evolves into a square at the top, MOCA houses an impressive collection of contemporary art.
- Cleveland Museum of Natural History. Established in 1920 as an education, research, and collections development center, the museum also includes a Planetarium. The museum now houses over 4 million specimens of paleontology, archaeology, zoology, ornithology, and mineralogy.
- West Side Market. A popular stop for shopping or dining. Over 100 vendors sell foods from around the world, plus high-quality local produce, flowers, baked goods, cheese, and meats are available daily.
- Great Lakes Science Center. Exhibits, programs, camps, and a dome theater will keep you and your family engaged all day. Next door to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, this museum is a National Historic Landmark. The center includes the Steamship Mather Museum with the USS Cod Submarine Memorial. The submarine is the only sub in history that performed a submarine-to-submarine rescue. Guided and self-guided tours are available.
- Playhouse Square is in the downtown arts district, the largest theater district in America outside of New York.
- With the city built on Lake Erie, you’ll have easy access to many kinds of water sports. Relax on the beach, swim, paddleboard, go fishing or sailing.
- There’s plenty to interest sports fans in Cleveland. The city is the proud host to NFL, NBA, and MLB teams. See the Cleveland Browns at First Energy. Basketball fans will want to check out the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena. And the Cleveland Indians play downtown at Progressive Field. The city also hosts minor league and college sports teams.
Schools and Universities
Cleveland public schools spend $19,984 per student, well above the average school expenditure of $12,383 in the US. There are about 15.6 students per teacher in Cleveland schools.
The Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) includes 105 schools: 68 K-8 schools, 39 high schools, and the International Newcomers Academy and Whitney Young Leadership Academy. The district is the second largest school district in Ohio and serves Cleveland, Bratenahl, Linndale, Newburgh Heights, and parts of Brook Park and Garfield Heights. To find your neighborhood school, go to https://www.clevelandmetroschools.org/domain/14.
CMSD has an open enrollment policy that allows families to apply for schools outside their neighborhood. The application process begins in early spring. Parents may submit choices by visiting Student Registration at ChooseCMSD.org or by contacting Student Assignments at 216-838-3675.
Cleveland is home to several colleges and universities.
- Case Western Reserve University is an independent research university located in University Circle. Over 5,000 undergraduate students and 6,000 graduate students attend the university. Founders established Case Western in 1967 by combining two longstanding institutions: Western Reserve University and Case Institute of Technology. The university is well known for its medical, business, dental, law, nursing, and biomedical engineering programming schools.
- The Cleveland Institute of Art is a premier art and design college offering 16 majors. The student body includes 620 undergraduates. It was named one of the best colleges for art in America, ranking 15 of 433 institutions.
- Cleveland State University (CSU), founded in 1964, is a public research institution with more than 17,000 students, ten colleges and schools, and more than 175 academic programs. According to the Brookings Institution, CSU is ranked number 18 in the US among public universities that fulfill the dual mission of providing upward mobility and conducting impactful research. US News & World Report consistently lists CSU among America’s Best Colleges and Universities.
- The Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM) is one of just seven independent conservatories of music in the United States, and one of three devoted exclusively to classical music performance. More than half of the members of The Cleveland Orchestra have an association to CIM as members of the faculty, alumni, or both.
- Bryant and Stratton College – Cleveland‘s downtown campus offers associate’s and bachelor’s degrees in a career-ready format through over 20 different academic programs.
Cleveland was ranked number nine on the USA Today’s 25 Most Dangerous Cities 2019 list. In 2017, Cleveland experienced 107 homicides and nearly 6,000 violent crimes. The violent crime rate was 69.2 violent crimes per 10,000 residents or 1,557 per 100,000 residents.
Bestplaces.net ranks crime on a scale of 1 for low crime to 100 for high crime rates. For Cleveland, violent crime is 72.5, well above the US average of 22.7, and property crime is 74.5, also well above the US average of 35.4. You can refer to the crime map on the bestplaces.net link above to see which areas of the city have less or more crime.
- Electricity — Clevelanders have a choice of two power companies: 1.) Cleveland Power, call (216)-664-4600 or go to cpp.org to complete an online query. 2.) Illuminating Company, Complete an online form at https://www.firstenergycorp.com/help/making_service_requests/starting_service.html
- Water — Cleveland Water. For general customer service inquiries, call (216) 664-3130 or email email@example.com.
- Gas — Dominion East Ohio Gas. To establish new service, convert to use natural gas, or upgrade your equipment and get a larger meter, call 888-619-0786 or email OhioConstructionSupport@DominionEnergy.com.
- Waste — Cleveland Division of Waste Collection and Disposal collects trash from 155,000 Cleveland homes as well as city buildings and public areas. For more information, call (216)-664-3711 or go to http://www.city.cleveland.oh.us/CityofCleveland/Home/contact/department?code=90 to complete the online email form.
- Cable and internet — Providers include AT&T, Dish Network, Direct TV, Spectrum, Viasat Cox, and WOW.
Best Neighborhoods in Cleveland, OH
You’ll likely choose a neighborhood depending on the kind of lifestyle you’re hoping to find. Urban, suburban, historical, views of the lake, or in the heart of the cultural hub — it’s up to you. Cleveland has an impressive variety of neighborhoods offering an array of lifestyles at affordable prices.
One of the best neighborhoods in Cleveland and the top community for young professionals, Downtown is home to a varied mix of restaurants, stores, parks, and a world-class performing arts center. Downtown is located on Lake Erie and is home to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as well as other examples of unique architecture, from the art deco Terminal Tower to the Gothic-style Trinity Cathedral.
Public Square is a popular gathering hub. In the summer, the fountains and the green space draw crowds. In the winter, residents can ice skate on the square. Visit Heritage Park on the Cuyahoga River for a great view of the skyline and river traffic. You might see the Center Street Bridge swing open to admit a large ship.
Hungry? Wander down East Fourth Street, the heart of Downtown Cleveland’s dining scene. Are you looking for a celebrity chef? Visit Lola, Iron Chef Michael Symon’s restaurant. For great food as well as interesting architecture, try Marble Room Steaks & Raw Bar. Go to District for a cocktail named for a Broadway play. Or try Punch Bowl Social for food, drinks, rooftop patio – and bowling.
- Population: 12,572
- Median Household Income: $47,663
- Median Home Price: $159,040
- Median Rent Prices: $1,043
Something to try: Head over to Heritage Park and watch the water traffic on the Cuyahoga River.
With its tree-lined streets, Victorian homes, and many churches, Tremont is one of the oldest parts of Cleveland. This charming neighborhood overlooks the downtown area; about 28% of residents own their homes.
In Tremont, you’ll find art around many corners. Browse the many galleries and look for the murals that decorate the area. Or find one of the six Cleveland script signs and take a selfie. This neighborhood is also home to A Christmas Story House, the Victorian home where the Christmas classic was filmed. It’s restored and open for tours. For dining spots, you’ll find everything from ethnic to more formal options.
Don’t miss Sokolowski’s University Inn, a Cleveland institution. This family-run restaurant has been serving Polish and Eastern European food since 1923. Feeling grumpy? Then Grumpy’s Café is the place to lift your mood with their comfort food at breakfast and lunch. Try Japanese at Ushabu, or New Orleans style at Bourbon Street Barrel Room. You can even take your cat out for coffee at Cleveland’s first cat cafe Café AffoGATA.
- Population: 8,484
- Median Household Income: $42,014
- Median Home Price: $171,249
- Median Rent Price: $770
Something to try: Visit A Christmas Story House and Museum.
Aptly named for its direct access to Lake Erie, affordable housing, and shops, restaurants, and bars just a stroll away, it’s no wonder Edgewater is one of Cleveland’s most popular neighborhoods. Home to Edgewater Park, run by Cleveland Metroparks, Edgewater is an urban oasis with two beaches, a pier, trails, and pavilions for picnics and events. In the summer, concerts and parties are on the agenda, but you can almost always find a quiet place to sit and relax.
Stroll past the mansions along Edgewater Boulevard that give this neighborhood its personality. Grab a bite at Don’s Lighthouse, a landmark restaurant, and an excellent place for a nice meal or a drink. Try Luxe Kitchen and Lounge for Mediterranean and Italian food and hand-crafted cocktails. Finish off your evening with a visit to Sweet Moses Ice Cream, an old-fashioned soda fountain and treat shop.
- Population: 8,864
- Median Household Income: $35,908
- Median Home Price: $118,166
- Median Rent Prices: $693
Something to try: Watch the sunset from Edgewater Park.
With one of the lowest costs of living in Cleveland, Kamms Corners is a walkable neighborhood located on the western side of the city. The area has a distinctly suburban feel, and home ownership is high in with 69% of residents owning their homes.
At the corner of Lorain Avenue and Rocky River Drive is the neighborhood’s iconic landmark, a general store and post office built by Oswald Kamm in 1875. The buildings still retain their historic exteriors.
The area is also home to quirky shops and that reflect the neighborhood flavor. Kamms Corners is lively year-round. Enjoy the summer farmers market and events like The Hooley, which celebrates the area’s Irish history, plus festivals celebrating Romanian and Greek heritage. On cold winter evenings, numerous cozy Irish pubs and eateries, many with live music, fill up with friendly patrons.
Try West Park Station for good food and live music. Hatfields Goode Grub offers a casual menu. Saharas Restaurant offers Mediterranean cuisine. Craving deli? Check out Joe’s Deli, a neighborhood institution. Or go to the Jackie Chen Dragon Tower Restaurant for tasty Chinese food.
- Population: 18,513
- Median Household Income: $52,443
- Median Home Price: $118,630
- Median Rent Prices: $650
Something to try: Stroll down Lorain Avenue and window shop at the unique array of stores.
Ohio City is just west of Downtown on the Cuyahoga River. Rated the second most walkable neighborhood in Cleveland, 24% of residents are homeowners.
This neighborhood is best known as the location of the West Side Market, constructed in 1912. The market is home to over 100 locally-owned businesses that sell a vast array of foods from around the globe. In addition to the famous market, Ohio City is home to two microbreweries and an active locally-sourced food scene. Foodies – or just hungry residents – always find a lot to satisfy their tastes. Try The Plum Café & Kitchen, the family-friendly Tabletop Board Game Café, and unique bars like Porco Lounge & Tiki Room.
- Population: 10,546
- Median Household Income: $34,582
- Median Home Price: $144,122
- Median Rent Prices: $645
Something to try: Check out the Cleveland Museum of Art satellite gallery, Transformer Station.
Goodrich-Kirtland Park is on Cleveland’s east side along Lake Erie, bounded by I-90, East 55th, and Euclid Avenue. Almost all residents – 96% – rent their homes. The area is famous for notable landmarks such as St. Nicholas’s Byzantine Church and the Goodrich-Gannett Neighborhood Center. Begun as a settlement house in 1914, the center continues to offer social services for the community.
Sadly, many foreclosures have hurt this neighborhood. Some properties are unkept and vacant, which the median home price reflects. However, one can purchase upscale lofts with 12-foot ceilings and roof decks in historical brick buildings for $250,000. Goodrich-Kirtland Park is a neighborhood that will change over time as slowly but surely, investors purchase and renovate properties. Hopefully, this neighborhood will once again sparkle.
Asiatown straddles the boundary between this neighborhood and downtown Cleveland. It’s home to the Asian Town Center, featuring Korean and Vietnamese restaurants and a Chinese grocer. Experience the area’s Asian heritage with a visit to Bo Loong Chinese Restaurant, Phusion Café for a Taiwanese menu, or Saigon Grill for Vietnamese cuisine. Try Maries Restaurant for Eastern European fare or Slymans for American pub-style food.
- Population: 7,973
- Median Household Income: $22,085
- Median Home Price: $23,112
- Median Rent Prices: $798
Something to try: Choose an Asian restaurant and glimpse this neighborhood’s roots.
At six square miles, Old Brooklyn is the largest neighborhood in Cleveland city limits and offers residents a blend of the urban and suburban. This community is south of Downtown in an area bounded by Brookside Road, Brookpark Road, Ridge Road, and the Cuyahoga River. Residents are a blend of renters and buyers — 44% rent while 56 % own.
Old Brooklyn’s most famous landmark is the Brookside Reservation, the oldest park in Cleveland and an outdoor hub since the early 1900s. Hike, walk, cycle, picnic, or enjoy the green space and wildlife. The Reservation connects to the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. Visit the rhino, otters, red foxes, giraffes, and other zoo residents. Admission is free Mondays between Memorial Day and Labor Day for all Cuyahoga County and Hinckley Township residents.
Satisfy your sweet tooth and sample an Ohio classic at, Jack Frost Donuts. From classic flavors to donuts topped with cereal, the shop offers more than 200 varieties throughout the year. Visit the Old Brooklyn Cheese Company and take home some unique and locally-made artisanal treats. Be adventurous and check out Lucy, the first Ethiopian restaurant on the west side.
- Population: 33,558
- Median Household Income: $38,966
- Median Home Price: $75,722
- Median Rent Prices: $734
Something to try: Take a hike at the Reservation then stop at Dina’s Pizza & Pub, located in an old gas station, for a beer and pizza.
Detroit – Shoreway
Detroit Shoreway is located two miles west of downtown on a bluff overlooking Lake Erie. In this neighborhood, developers have transformed blocks of overlooked buildings into a model for urban redevelopment. Murals embellish historic brick buildings, and storefronts are revitalized.
Nature lovers flock to this area. Lake Erie and Edgewater Beach are only a ten-minute walk from this neighborhood via an all-purpose path. Wendy Park has a kayak launch and is a popular birding spot, host to 260 species of birds. Migrating monarch butterflies float through the area in the fall and spring. Nearby Whiskey Island is popular with boaters. Edgewater Beach offers fishing, swimming, and stunning views.
You’ll also find the Cleveland Public Theatre in this neighborhood, a local theater with diverse programming that’s committed to supporting home-grown artists and professionals.
Detroit-Shoreway hosts a wide range of restaurants. Try Happy Dog, the local gourmet hot dog emporium. Or visit Banter for craft beer, fine wine, and Canadian poutine with sausage. Check out Il Rione Pizzeria for New York style pizza or Spice Kitchen + Bar for farm to table cuisine.
- Population: 15,982
- Median Household Income: $31,361
- Median Home Price: $90,005
- Median Rent Prices: $687
Something to try: Make plans to go to Dyngus Day, an annual Polish celebration that takes place the Monday after Easter.
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