In 2012, I was about to attend a conference in Cleveland, Ohio and was looking for recommendations for things to do. My friends from Pittsburgh talked a lot of smack on Cleveland. I was also guilty of doing this. Besides the ridiculous rivalry between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Cleveland Browns, I was hanging on to outdated recollections of the city I visited in the 90’s when I was just 14 years old. What I remember were mostly buildings that were run down, abandoned, or dirty looking. I heard it referred to as “the mistake on the lake.” What I wasn’t taking into consideration was that I didn’t live in Pittsburgh until I was 18, and the truth is, Pittsburgh was underdeveloped and run down as well, I just didn’t remember it that way. Now that I’ve gotten to know both cities better, I’ve come to think of these two places as rustbelt sister cities.
Just like Pittsburgh, Cleveland has a rich industrial history that includes steel, oil and automobiles. I’m sure you are familiar with the name Rockefeller. Instead of the Carnegie family of Pittsburgh, Cleveland had the Rockefellers who grew up in Strongsville, a suburb of Cleveland, and started Standard Oil which was the largest oil company in the United States. I won’t bore you with all the historic facts on Cleveland. My main point is that it’s similar to Pittsburgh in its industrial history and growth.
Euclid Avenue was known as Millionaire’s Row and had over 300 mansions. Above is John D. Rockefeller’s mansion.
If you didn’t already know, I relocated to Cleveland at the end of October to live with my partner. She owns a successful boutique in Lakewood. My decision to make the move here was both difficult and easy. Difficult since I love Pittsburgh and I knew I would miss my friends, but I was looking forward to making a home with my girl. I’ve lived in Pittsburgh a total of 15 years but have moved a lot so I was ready to try a new place.
The Arcade inside the Hyatt Regency
Cleveland skyline, Lake Erie
West Side Market in Ohio City
The best things I’ve discovered about Cleveland so far:
The spectacular art museum that is always FREE to visit
Buying or renting large properties is incredibly affordable
Development is happening at a steady pace, but there’s still space for young businesses to grow
The food scene is pretty amazing
I live near a beach and it’s beautiful
The Emerald Necklace, which is the large hiking and multi-use trail of Cleveland Metroparks is incredible
The West Side Market is Cleveland’s oldest market and I might like it even more than Pike Place in Seattle.
I’m still exploring!
My favorite ghost sign so far
Cleveland Art Museum’s digital wall
Mural by artist RAE of Pawn Works
Power plant by the coast
Terminal Tower, photo by Coville Photography
I love the sunsets here
When I met my partner Rachel, one of the first things she said to me was how wonderful she thought her city was and that she couldn’t wait to show me around. I was curious about Cleveland, but never thought I would move here. Over time I started to fall in love with the different qualities of the city. I love their historic past and how they came back from a hard struggle to what you see today. There’s something so charming about living in a city of underdogs. There are are lot of creative people here filled with hope and optimism. Pittsburgh will always have my heart but it’s easy for me to feel at home here. People are friendly, there’s a lot to explore, everywhere you turn there’s beautiful architecture, there’s a great art scene, the city is culturally very diverse, and I’m excited to put some roots down.
Steeltown Anthem will continue but in addition to Pittsburgh, I will also be featuring Cleveland. I hope to show all of you the things I’ve come to love here. Perhaps it will inspire you to get in your car and make the 2 hour trip.