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Real Cleveland

We've got baseball, music and Lebron. But we've got so much more, too. Find out what else makes our city shine.
Myra Orenstein
In a city that boasts world-class amenities, affordable housing, accessible public transportation and an enviable cost of living, why would anyone choose not to live in Cleveland?
Clevelanders Have Got It Good

Let’s face it: Cleveland is a bargain. Michael F. Bryan of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland reports, “According to recent estimates by the American Chamber of Commerce Research Association, it costs approximately 31 percent more to live in New York City than Cleveland.”’s cost-of-living wizard brings things into perspective. An accountant earning $40,000 in Cleveland wants to relocate to New York City. According to its estimates, New York employers may pay him $46,724 but with a cost of living 75.5 percent higher than Cleveland, he would require a salary of $70,210 in order to maintain his current lifestyle. Considering Boston? It’s only slightly better. Boston employers might cough up $44,148, but with a 22.7 percent higher cost of living, he’d have to earn $49,092.
Man Cannot Live By…

Restaurants — not homes — distinguish many great cities. When it comes to food, Cleveland cuisine can compete with the best of them. Whether it’s a stacked-high corned beef sandwich from Slyman’s, dim sum from Chinatown, hummus from West 130th or fine cuisine from any number of chef-owned and -operated restaurants, Cleveland is definitely worth writing home about.

Sergio J. Abramof is chef/owner of Sergio’s in University Circle, Sergio’s SARAVÁ in Shaker Square and president of Cleveland Independents, composed of nearly 80 locally owned and operated Northeast Ohio restaurants. He  decided to open his two signature restaurants in Cleveland because “there’s great energy in having an urban mix. These are well-educated diners who have traveled extensively. They see what’s happening in other cities and they appreciate good food.”
We’re a World-Class Act

Natives may be blasé about  Cleveland being home to world-class museums and music. But honestly, how many other cities have so many museums in such a concentrated area? Chris Ronayne, president of University Circle Inc., admits “what we love about University Circle is its proximity to everywhere and the fact that there is nothing more extraordinary in the Midwest for the collection of assets that we have within a square mile.”

Think about it. The Cleveland Orchestra, The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland Botanical Garden, Cleveland Museum of Natural History, The Children’s Museum and The Western Reserve Historical Society are all within walking distance of each other. Ronayne suggests visits to both Rockefeller Park, an area he describes as “a map of the Cleveland social landscape,” and Lake View Cemetery, “a wonderful asset where you can learn about history.”

While University Circle may certainly claim the moniker “the cultural center of Cleveland,” other areas have their fair share of attractions.
Downtown is recognized as home of the internationally renowned Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum and the Great Lakes Science Center, but did you know that the Cleveland Hungarian Heritage Society and Museum is located at the Galleria at Erieview? Or how about venturing west to view the Romanian Ethnic Art Museum or east to visit The Temple Museum of Religious Art in University Circle?
We Love Our Teams

Some cities just talk about their sports teams. Cleveland lives, eats and breathes its sports teams. Here, team wins are our wins. Their losses? Well, eventually we get over them. Up to this point, we’ve spent our seasons cheering on the Browns, Indians and Cavs. Next year we’re adding the Lake Erie Monsters, Cleveland’s hockey team, to our list.

But it’s not all about the pros. It’s also about neighbors and friends joining together, rowing on the Cuyahoga, and participating in international soccer clubs, bowling leagues and slow- and fast-pitch softball.
We Love Our Partners

If you know that tripping the life fantastic has nothing to do with being a klutz, then you know about the Cleveland dance scene.
Thousands of people have been jumpin’ and jivin’ for the past 10 years, according to Get Hep Swing founder Valerie J. Salstrom, who learned swing dancing while living in California. What began as her hobby has now become a full-fledged attraction for thousands of Clevelanders from their twenties to their forties. Classes in “social style” are available, making attending dances possible … with or without partners.

Adriana Matos and Gilberto Alvarez, partners and producers of Tropical Rhythms, lean more toward salsa and Latin dancing. The organization is a celebration of Latin American cultures but reaches out to anyone inspired by its music and celebrations. On an average Friday night, 200-350 people come to take salsa lessons and dance to a Latin DJ or live band. Their Saturday sushi and salsa nights at Mallorca and Brasa Grill have streams of people “eating and dancing and coming in and out all night,” she says.
It’s All About the Art

Cleveland Playhouse,  Cleveland Public Theatre, MOCA or SPACES Gallery — every genre of art has its place in Cleveland. Summer art festivals abound. From the first float at Parade the Circle to the artistic explosion displayed at Sparx in the City, performers and fine artists alike find their place here. Cleveland Public Art, with its never-ending list of projects, brings art to the forefront in neighborhoods across town. Its latest collaboration, an abstract sculpture, will grace South Tremont, just above Steelyard Commons. The Buckeye Neighborhood, recently designated by Mayor Frank Jackson as an arts and cultural district, is introducing a new transit-waiting environment (in connection with RTA) and the creation of a multipurpose area. “We are in the process of a neighborhood-wide public art project,” says Melissa Williams, business development director for the Buckeye Neighborhood. “We have selected the area near the bus stop as the focal point of our efforts because our festival activities are there.”

But, as Slavic Village Neighborhood Development Officer Marlane Weslian will acknowledge, Cleveland Public Art’s focus is definitely not restricted to Buckeye. Her neighborhood, with Cleveland’s first “rails to trails” conversion, encompassing a two-and-a-half-mile off-road stretch connecting two green spaces, is currently collaborating with Cleveland Public Art. The project has historical significance, visually depicting the story of the Worsted Mill, former employer of thousands of neighborhood women.
There’s a Need to Connect

Cleveland may be united by a series of bridges and overpasses, but it’s RTA that gets many Clevelanders from one part of the city to another. Connecting the East Side with downtown businesses and Cleveland Hopkins Airport, RTA has implemented programs resulting in an increase in ridership over the past four years. Companies including PricewaterhouseCoopers, the U.S. Postal Service and Baker & Hostetler LLP joined 264 other Northeast Ohio employers in RTA’s Commuter Advantage program.

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