Skip to Content

Industrial Revolution: The Stylish Rebirth of Cleveland

Article by Melissa Liebling-Goldberg 12.12.2017

With a rich history of industrial innovation, Cleveland is boldly pushing into the future while never losing sight of the past.

Cleveland is riding higher than ever, from its championship-winning sports teams to newly opened public spaces to buzzy, revitalized neighborhoods. And it’s all built on the area’s industrial roots, stemming from the days that Standard Oil headquarters made the Ohio city its home. Former factories are taking on new identities as art galleries, while architectural gems are getting new lives (and tenants) as makers and artisans start up local businesses. Experience the best of this vibrant city at these five destinations.

The Playhouse Square’s lights are silhouetted against a blue sky.

Industrial Chic: 5th Street Arcades

Once a vital part of the city’s culture, the beautiful 5th Street Arcades had fallen behind over the years. With a makeover in 2012, the glass-domed arcades are finding enthusiastic new crowds to shop the local retailers filling the century-old space. And that’s hardly the only draw to downtown Cleveland these days. The area is rediscovering its roots, with a Prohibition-worthy speak-easy setup at the Society Lounge and restaurants by James Beard Award-winning chefs like Michael Symon and Jonathon Sawyer.

A bridge’s brightly-lit arches connect the east and west sides of Cleveland.

Downtown Delight: Public Square

A newly renovated park right in the heart of downtown, the Public Square was designed to maximize space for the public and is home to everything from an ice rink and an open lawn to a walking promenade and a burbling water fountain. It’s also home to plenty of activities and events, including yoga, farmers markets and concerts. To make the most of your time there, pick one of three picnic basket options from The Ritz-Carlton, Cleveland to take out with you.

A graceful fountain statue towers over a public square in downtown Cleveland.

Farm Fresh: West Side Market

Since opening its doors in 1912, West Side Market has housed local food merchants in a beautifully airy space, making it the oldest municipal market in Cleveland. In addition to having almost 100 vendors, the market has become a hub for the bustling Ohio City neighborhood. Walk a few blocks from the market to Hingetown, a micro-neighborhood that’s receiving national attention for the boom of interesting small businesses. Get a freshly brewed cup of coffee at Rising Star Coffee Roasters, housed inside a former firehouse turned multibusiness space, or take a tour of the Great Lakes Brewing Co.’s brewery and have dinner next to the brewpub’s grand mahogany bar where the “untouchable” Eliot Ness once drank.

Electric Eels: Greater Cleveland Aquarium

Even family-friendly destinations are part of the city’s resurgence and industrial makeover, with the Greater Cleveland Aquarium taking up residence in an 1892-built streetcar electric plant. With giant steel girders framing the stingray pool and jellyfish tank inside a former smokestack, the watery wonderland makes inventive use of the space to delight the hundreds of thousands of visitors welcomed there since the 2012 opening.

Aquarium with colorful fishes.

Quitting Time: TURN Bar + Kitchen

With its recent 18-month renovation, The Ritz-Carlton, Cleveland continuously pays homage to the city’s history with a color palette inspired by Lake Erie along with reconfigured public spaces that make a splash at street level with a sleek design. At TURN Bar + Kitchen, you can enjoy the steam whistle announcement at 5 p.m. that signals the start of happy hour, complete with inventive craft cocktails served by apron-clad bartenders. With an interior design drawn from the city’s steel-lined past, the all-day space embodies the combination of the city’s true grit with forward-thinking ingenuity.

Plan Your Stay In Cleveland

  • Cleveland

    Location CLEVELAND, OHIO

    Experience Finest luxury hotel in heart of downtown Ohio

    • Minutes away from Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum
    • Views of the city, Lake Erie or the Cuyahoga River
    • Indoor access to Tower City Center's shopping, dining and movies, Quicken Loans Arena