LIVING HERE: Southern Suburbs

Brecksville's Community Center and Human Services Center offers a wide range of programs for residents.

• Population: 13,632
• Median Household Income: $93,409
• Median Home Value: $284,494
Located halfway between Cleveland and Akron, this suburb along the Interstate 77 corridor offers both convenience and country living. While the town is over 200 years old, homebuyers will find a large stock of newer ranch, colonial and craftsman-style houses on spacious lots. Sherwin Williams recently announced that Brecksville will be the home of a new research and development center. The city’s biggest draw, however, is the 3,000-acre Cleveland Metroparks Brecksville Reservation and the adjacent Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Approximately one-third of Brecksville’s 20 square miles, in fact, is parkland featuring rocky gorges, waterfalls and woodlands teeming with native wildlife. For more information, contact City of Brecksville, 440.526.4351,

• Population: 19,227
• Median Household Income: $85,339
• Median Home Value: $241,528
This growing suburb 15 miles south of Cleveland gets an A+ overall grade from for its highly rated schools, family-friendly amenities and ample options for homebuyers. Residents have a strong sense of community here, taking pride in local programs and attractions like the Greene Acres Community Garden, Spotlights Community Theater and the city's 3,000-square-foot Splash Park. Broadview Heights is also conveniently located near Interstate 77 and the Ohio Turnpike, making it an easy commute to both Cleveland and Akron as well as points east and west. For more information, contact City of Broadview Heights at 440.526.4357;

The annual Home Days Celebration turns the center of Independence into pure fun. / Photo: City of Independence

• Population: 7,124
• Median Household Income: $93,443
• Median Home Value: $248,751
Upscale residential housing, low real-estate taxes, one of the most robust business corridors in the region and the character and charm of a small community attract homebuyers as well as business owners to this centrally located suburb. Independence extends south from the I-77/I-480 interchange, 12 minutes from downtown Cleveland and 15 minutes from Akron. The city’s civic and recreation facilities offer a variety of community activities and programming year-round. Many services, from transportation and weekly hot lunches for seniors, to after-school programs and summertime childcare, are offered at little or no cost to residents. Independence also boasts the 50,000-square-foot Cleveland Cavaliers practice facility, 14 hotels and a portion of Cuyahoga Valley National Park. For more information, contact City of Independence at 216.524.413;

• Population: 15,587
• Median Household Income: $64,539
• Median Home Value: $180,097
Middleburg Heights is a landing place for people of all stages of life, with a strong business community and quality housing options that offer a wide range of prices and styles. Just three miles from Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, with easy access to Interstates 71, 480 and 80 (The Ohio Turnpike), Middleburg Heights is proud to have once played a role in the Underground Railroad. Pearl Road (Route 42) was the area’s first route on which runaway slaves could travel to Cleveland and then escape by boat to Canada. Today, the city takes pride in its designation as a “Tree City USA,” which it has earned from the National Arbor Day Foundation every year since 1996. And in 2020, the Middleburg Heights Recreation Department received the First Place Award of Excellence from the Ohio Parks and Recreation Association for the third time in four years. For more information, contact City of Middleburg Heights at 440.234.8811;

North Royalton
Heasley Soccer Fields are used by North Royalton's sizable rec leagues and travel teams. Consisting of three large fields, they are divided into smaller fields for younger age groups.

• Population: 30,302
• Median Household Income: $66,189
• Median Home Value: $193,100
Nineteen miles south of downtown Cleveland, North Royalton is a vibrant community in which to live and work. It is close to several major highways including I-77, three miles east, and I-71, three miles west. Nine percent of North Royalton is made up of parkland, which consists of the Cleveland Metroparks, a skate park, two basketball courts, six tennis courts, five soccer fields and nine baseball fields. North Royalton also features a newer YMCA and a contemporary, light-filled branch of the Cuyahoga County Public Library. For more information, contact City of North Royalton at 440.237.5686;

• Population: 44,744
• Median Household Income: $77,849
• Median Home Value: $232,580
Fifteen miles southwest of downtown Cleveland, Strongsville is vibrant suburb that blends a bustling business community with small-town charm. Here you’ll find distinctive neighborhoods, abundant shopping, 2,400 acres of green space, excellent services, top-notch schools and active civic groups. The Mill Stream Reservation, part of the Cleveland Metroparks, offers lake and river fishing along with trails for hiking, biking and horseback riding. But its most unique attraction may be the Chalet, which features twin toboggan chutes that provide wintertime thrills and chills. For more information, contact City of Strongsville at 440.580.3100;

Valley View
Thornburg Station and the Towpath Trail in Valley View. / Photo: Tom Bower

• Population: 2,006
• Median Household Income: $86,071
• Median Home Value: $249,684
Known as “The Small Community Under the Big Bridge,” the village of Valley View is a lively and historic community that extends south from the famous Valley View Bridge, an impressive structure 212 feet above the Cuyahoga River and 4,150 feet long. Valley View is proud to work in partnership with Cuyahoga Valley National Park, whose northern end lies within the village, as well as Cleveland Metroparks, Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railway and the Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail. Residents enjoy access to miles of hiking, biking and outdoor recreation along the Towpath Trail. Valley View is part of the award-winning Cuyahoga Heights School District. For more information, contact Village of Valley View at 216.524.6511;