If you're thinking of moving to Cleveland, you've picked the right time. Cleveland's on the up-and-up, transforming previous economic decline into urban revival and inventive energy.
The city’s shell is falling away and unveiling its unique food scene, culture, and outdoor ventures waiting to be discovered.
If you’re considering a move to Cleveland, we’re your friendly Cleveland movers, and we’ve put together information about life in Cleveland and the best neighborhoods in the city to help make your decision easier.
In the 1920s, Cleveland was America’s 5th biggest city, neck and neck with New York, Chicago, and Philadelphia. But like every other state in the country, Ohio has lost thousands of manufacturing jobs since 2001. And in Cleveland, a region relying heavily on its manufacturing industries, this change left large gaps in the city’s job opportunities and population.
In addition to this heavy hit, Cleveland has suffered a significant population loss since the 50’s due to a variety of reasons. Many historians attribute Cleveland’s slump to the mass migrations of locals to new suburbs, local political turmoil and the departure of a dozen fortune 500 company headquarters.
Today, however, Cleveland is regaining some of the shine it had in the early twentieth century, and people are noticing. In 2018, National Geographic named it one of the 21 best places to visit, and it was one of just three US cities to make it on the list.
George Stone, editor-in-chief of National Geographic, explained the reasons behind their list, saying, “The travel story of our time is about American urban renewal. Few cities exemplify this as does Cleveland.”
Cleveland is home to two top-ranking hospital systems.
Jobs in health care employ the highest number of people in Cleveland.
A large percentage of the Cleveland workforce is employed in education, whether it’s through the Cleveland School District (the largest in the region) or one of the many higher education institutions such as Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland State University, Oberlin College and others.
Downtown Cleveland is serviced by a good network of highways, but the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority provides residents and visitors with an assortment of transit options. Here are some of your best bets for getting around town:
To give you some clarity, we’ve briefly highlighted some of the best neighborhoods Cleveland has to offer. If you’re interested in a more in-depth description of these neighborhoods and many more, make sure to check out our other guides: “Best Suburbs in Cleveland,” “Best Neighborhoods in Cleveland,” “Best Neighborhoods for Families in Cleveland,” and “Best Up-and-Coming Neighborhoods in Cleveland.”
If any area of Cleveland is booming, it’s Tremont. This area defies cookie-cutter and is an eclectic mosaic of creative, local businesses, one-of-a-kind shops, and unique restaurants and bars. Pressed against the edge of the Cuyahoga River, Tremont sits directly downtown and blocks away from the Lake Erie shoreline.
This neighborhood just west of Cleveland and on the banks of the lake is a perfect spot for families, especially families who love outdoor activities. Rocky River proudly presents its beautiful homes, quiet and safe streets, and proximity to downtown’s action. Its highly-rated schools are ranked second in the entire state of Ohio.
Lakewood is great for families, singles, millennials, and young professionals alike. This inner-ring suburb features homes with yards, parks, and walkable sidewalks. Lakewood is full of energy and has the densest population between NYC and Chicago.
This little city sits just 20 minutes east of downtown Cleveland. The area is well known and highly sought after by Cleveland-dwellers looking for a space to settle down. The area’s vibrant community offers safe residential areas, excellent schools, and a great shopping and restaurant scene.
Detroit-Shoreway has become a hot-spot since the development of an arts district in the heart of this neighborhood, Gordon Square. The neighborhood is now packed with millennials and young professionals. And the new Battery Park development added luxury and modern condos to the area’s housing options.
Cleveland has a blend of many cultures, ethnic neighborhoods, churches, food stores, festivals, and restaurants. Even Cleveland’s signature sandwich, a coleslaw-and-french-fry-piled sausage dog, reflects the cuisine of Polish-Americans who made up Cleveland’s largest nationality group in the 20th century.
A few of the prevailing areas in Cleveland that display the colorful cultural blend of this city include:
The region offers a unique art scene that reflects the city’s diversity as well as its history. In spring, residents gather for the Cleveland International Film Festival. Summer brings the colorful Parade the Circle event thrown by the Cleveland Museum of Art. And the IngenuityFest in the fall features exhibits, installations, and dance acts alongside adult beverages and live music.
Known as the rock-and-roll capital of the world (the term ‘rock and roll’ was actually coined by the Cleveland-based DJ Alan Freed in 1952), Cleveland is the fitting home to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The city doesn’t skimp out on music venues either. There are nine theaters on Playhouse Square alone and indie-music venues throughout the region, like Beachland Ballroom.
Cleveland has also become a destination for food and outdoor recreation. Locals fill up on craft brews and farm-to-table bar food at Noble Beast Beer; pastries, coffee, and brunch at Lucky’s Cafe; small plates at Salt+, and the list of good local food goes on. If you're a mountain or BMX biker, Ray's indoor MTB park will soon become a treasured destination.
The city also offers the freshwater Lake Erie, National Parks, underwater archaeological sites and over nearby 30 islands with hiking, caving, jet skiing, parasailing, restaurants, shops, and bars all of their own.
So far, you’ve seen a lot of Cleveland’s pros. But like any area, living here has its share of drawbacks as well. Here we list a few advantages and disadvantages of living in Cleveland to help you decide whether a move to Cleveland is the right choice for you.
Pro: Plenty of things to do
As you’ve seen, the city offers great eateries and drinkeries, world-class art, sporting events, concerts, museums, outdoor recreation destinations, and cultural and community festivals.
Pro: Low cost of living
With two extremely competitive hospital systems, food grown close to the city, an adjacent clean water supply, an accessible public transportation system, and super inexpensive housing, Cleveland is quite affordable.
Con: Racial segregation
If you’re familiar with Cleveland, you may know that the city can feel racially split between the west and east sides of town. And while Cleveland is behind the curve at addressing this issue, there are, thankfully, efforts being made now.
For example, the extensive Transforming Cleveland plan acknowledges Cleveland’s need for growth and lays out the steps that will improve race relations and curb bias in the city.
Con: High Tax Rate
While Cleveland's real estate may be cheap, you can expect ot be taxed rather heavily on it. The effective property tax rate in Cleveland is 1.6% in 2020 according to data from the Tax Foundation, the average effective property tax rate in New York City was 0.88% in 2020, while in San Francisco it was 0.59%, and in Detroit it was 2.20%.
In some areas of Cleveland, such as Shaker Heights, you can expect to pay $3,772 per $100,000 of assesed home value.
Pro/Con: The weather
You get to experience all four seasons in Cleveland, but that includes a very heavy winter and snow storms.
Interested in learning more about the city? Feel free to tailor your research and dive more deeply into Cleveland topics that appeal to and relate to you.
City of Cleveland Official Site - This site provides helpful information about local government, services and businesses, resources for residents and visitors, and current city news.
Cleveland Metroparks - This source maps out the 23,000 acres of parks and 18 reservations in the city.
This is Cleveland - This site handles the more fun topics on Cleveland, like the best things to do, best places to eat and drink, and where to stay in the city.
Cleveland Jobs - This source offers listings of various jobs sorted by category of titles and industries.
With the resources and info above, we hope you’re off to a great start in finding your next home. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your potential move, that’s OK. Moving can feel like a long process. What we’ve provided will help alleviate some of your anxiety and enable you to decide if Cleveland is the right place for you.
If you decide to take the plunge, get in touch. We know some people who might be able to help.
Book movers online near you.