As downtown Cleveland’s residential population grows, it becomes more appealing to every demographic, including empty nesters who are eager to try a walkable urban neighborhood. But meeting your neighbors can be much easier when you all have front porches and backyards and the residential streets consist of mostly single family homes. It’s a bit more challenging when your home is on the 14th floor of a high rise and you don’t have kids or schools to help you connect. So after several recent transplants asked us “how do you meet your neighbors when you live downtown” we asked friends (Denise Huck and Kalani Hirsch) who live in the Warehouse District to offer ideas that might help newcomers to create a sense of community when you are living in downtown Cleveland and we loved their answers:
- Use sidewalk patios as your “front yard” – even in chillier months, people sit outside in the sunshine to drink their morning coffee and commune with neighbors. The less you hibernate inside your apartment, the more people you will meet.
- Get to know the shop owners within a few blocks of your building. Chances are they live close by as well and often they see so many people each day that they are great connectors for the neighborhood (coffee shop barista, art gallery owner, bakery or cupcake shop owner, etc.)
- Even if you aren’t a gym rat, join an athletic club for the social outlets it provides. If you work out in the middle of the day, you will likely meet others with flexible schedules or who are not working and if you show up at 6 am or 6 pm you’ll meet the businessmen and women. A treadmill conversation can introduce you to a neighbor.
- Whether or not you enjoy the bar scene, the monthly pub crawl organized by myneighborhoodcle.com can be the social outing you need to meet others who live in the city. Although this group’s main focus is connecting residents who live in the Warehouse District, people from all over the city jump in to take advantage of this organized outing.
- The main branch of the Cleveland Public Library is not only a beautiful building, it offers lots of ways to connect, including a Brown Bag Book
Club, held at least once a month in the main reading area. They also have guest lectures (free) all year long
- Check out live entertainment in the Eastman Reading Garden in the summer months
- Downtown Cleveland Resident’s Association is a non-profit that works to create connectivity between residents, businesses, the city of Cleveland and other stakeholders. They have a Facebook page, send out email blasts, and organize events so everyone is aware of what’s going on in their neighborhood. They also lead a 5-mile urban hike almost monthly that introduces downtown residents to a different pocket of the city so they can all explore more on their own. Sign up for the newsletter on line!
- Get a dog and visit the new downtown dog park which is on the East Bank of the Flats just down the hill from the Warehouse District
- The Downtown Cleveland Alliance is the CDC (Community Development Corporation) for the downtown neighborhood and they offer a wealth of info as well. This group is responsible for the Clean & Safe Ambassadors who walk/bike the region wearing bright yellow shirts cleaning the streets & sidewalks, providing escorts to your car after dark and serve as roving information kiosks to help out-of-towners get around. Sign up for their on-line newsletter to learn of happenings, new shops opening, etc. They also welcome volunteers for everything for planning events to input on their long term strategic plan
- If you miss your backyard garden, don’t despair; there are community gardens available on W. 10th (AKA Robert Lockwood Jr Drive) and W. Superior to grow the veggies you can’t fit on your tiny urban balcony!
- Every winter the Warehouse District organizes a group purchase of tickets to see the Lake Erie Monsters hockey team play at Quicken Loans Arena and the Cleveland State University Vikings play basketball at Wolstein Center – a great way to cheer on local teams without big ticket prices
- Annual events: the first weekend of every August, W. 6th Street shuts down to vehicular traffic and throws a great block party with live music, vendors serving food, beverages, art, jewelry, etc. In July the Gateway District house tour attracts several hundred people who want to explore the idea of living downtown and the same thing happens every December in the Warehouse District for their Holiday House Tour.
- Find a passion to volunteer for: serve meals to the homeless at nearby shelters or churches, join a rowing club, join a
downtown church choir, sign up for the Cleveland Hiking Club, learn how to sail by signing up as a volunteer for one of the boats that races out of the nearby marinas, volunteer as a Playhouse Square Red Coat in the theater district – if you need help finding that passion, call Nadine Gamble, the Volunteer Coordinator (and an EA transplant to Cleveland herself) at the Greater Cleveland Volunteers and they offer a free matching service to connect your skills and interests to the most appropriate non-profit in the region.
- one fun monthly activity: join hundreds of bicyclists the last Friday of every month as they pedal off from Public Square on a surprise outing with Critical Mass Cleveland – they do it 12 months a year, the chillier months obviously have a smaller turn out (the die hards)
- Living in downtown Cleveland means you are just 10-15 minutes away from virtually any hobby you can imagine – take advantage of it and don’t stay cooped up in your apartment, get out and explore!
If your company or organization wants to know more about how Executive Arrangements can help you attract & retain the best possible talent by matching your recruits interests to the lifestyle in NE Ohio, call us at 216.231.9311.