NORTHEAST OHIO: GREAT LAKES, GREAT LIFE
Discover a place where the splendor of the Great Lakes meets the heartbeat of the Midwest. Where the cost of living is low, and the quality of life is high. Where economic opportunity, cultural diversity, abundant natural resources and an unrivaled arts scene offer the ultimate work-life balance.
In Northeast Ohio, there is truly something for everyone—whether you’re young or young at heart, single or married, pursuing a career or focused on family, or just enjoying retirement.
You’ll also find a remarkably diverse population; a mini-melting pot of flavors, colors and traditions from around the world blended with the hometown spirit of America’s heartland. Add the contemporary vibe of a region on the rise, and you’ll wonder why anyone would ever live anywhere else. Welcome home!
YOU ARE HERE
When locals refer to Northeast Ohio, they’re usually talking about the region that encompasses the cities of Cleveland, Akron, Canton and surrounding suburbs—the communities that span a total of eight counties, all within about a 40-mile radius.
Cuyahoga County, with over 1.2 million people, is the most populace and sits on Lake Erie, earning itself—along with Lorain County to the west and Lake County to the east—the nickname “North Coast." Further inland, the counties of Geauga, Medina, Summit, Portage and Stark extend south along the Cuyahoga River Valley.
An outer ring of ten other counties—Ashland, Ashtabula, Columbiana, Erie, Huron, Mahoning, Richland, Trumball, Tuscarawas and Wayne—are considered part of Northeast Ohio as well.
BIRTHPLACE OF INNOVATION
Once known primarily for its expertise in traditional manufacturing, Northeast Ohio is now on the cutting edge of everything from healthcare to aerospace technology. (Yes, brain surgery and rocket science.)
This should come as no surprise. After all, this is the place where the modern three-way traffic light, the electric streetcar, the vacuum cleaner, alkaline batteries, padded bicycle seats and golf balls were invented. So were Lifesavers candy, Quaker Oats and Superman. Downtown Cleveland even boasts America’s first large-scale indoor shopping mall—The Arcade Cleveland—which opened in 1890 and is still in operation today.
The Cuyahoga Valley corridor’s history as a hub of industry and innovation dates back to the early 1800s, when the Ohio legislature voted to help New York State fund the completion of the Erie Canal. The historic waterway connecting the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes, and the subsequent Ohio and Erie Canal extending south to the Ohio River Valley, quite literally changed the course of commercial trade and transportation for the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Mid-West regions of the United States.
The Center Street Swing bridge moves back into place over the Cuyahoga River after allowing a boat to pass, while the “high fixed” Veterans Memorial Bridge looms above.
Nearly a dozen moveable bridges span the Cuyahoga River, which twists and turns through Cleveland’s Flats district on its way to Lake Erie. These giant, metal feats of engineering stand as reminders of the region’s longstanding history as an industrial powerhouse and a locus of human ingenuity.
Playhouse Square / Photo: Ken Blaze
ENVY OF THE CULTURAL WORLD
A symphony orchestra with 28 Grammy nominations and six wins. A world-renowned art museum that doesn’t charge admission. The second-largest theater district in the country, after Lincoln Center in New York. An international film festival showcasing 450 feature-length and short films from over 70 countries. And a 160,000-square-foot shrine to the birthplace of rock & roll, designed by acclaimed architect I. M. Pei. These are just a few examples of how Northeast Ohio shatters stereotypes often associated with the label “Rust Belt.”
It helps that the region boasts some of the most respected institutes and conservatories in the world, including Cleveland Institute of Music, Cleveland Institute of Art, Oberlin Conservatory and Kent State School of Fashion Design and Merchandising. On the theatrical side of things, locals are quick to brag about Academy Award winners who got their start here, such as Paul Newman and Halle Berry, along with comedians Drew Carey and Arsenio Hall. And then there’s the esteemed 20th-century playwright and poet Langston Hughes. He wrote his first play while teaching and acting at Karamu House, a groundbreaking multicultural performing arts center in Cleveland that still thrives today.
MECCA FOR NATURE LOVERS
Brandywine Falls in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park is a favorite of nature lovers in Northeast Ohio.
Bordering the 11th largest body of freshwater on the planet (in surface area), Ohio’s "North Coast" has become a nationally recognized success story and model of environmental stewardship, natural resource management and habitat restoration. Today, outdoor enthusiasts flock to the region for its diverse landscapes, numerous and easily accessible parks, abundant wildlife, and a revitalized river valley that represents one of the greatest environmental turnarounds in modern times.
Plus, we’ll let you in on a little secret: Having four distinct seasons gives you more reasons to get outside, any time of year—from biking to birdwatching to snowboarding to ice fishing. A lot of that action happens along the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail, an 85-mile, multi-purpose trail stretching from Tuscarawas County in the south all the way to Cleveland. Along the way it intersects the Emerald Necklace, a ring of public parks, preserves, riding trails, golf courses and other green spaces encircling the Greater Cleveland area and offering endless year-round fun.
SENSE OF COMMUNITY
Perhaps it’s that Midwestern down-to-earthiness, or the blend of cultures and customs that comes from a long history of welcoming immigrants. Or perhaps it’s just what happens when people of all backgrounds and beliefs come together to loyally support the same sports teams through victory and defeat.
Anyone who lives in Northeast Ohio can tell you that one of its most remarkable attributes isn’t just the substantially lower cost of living here; it’s the quality of life that comes from knowing your neighbors and local business owners, from buying produce that grown one county away and being able to walk to the library or bike to your office.
Community involvement has been a way of life in Northeast Ohio since the bar was set by John D. Rockefeller, founder of Standard Oil and the second-richest man in America in the late 1800s. Rockefeller grew up in Cleveland and was as famous for his philanthropy as he was for his wealth. Even after moving to New York, he maintained homes in Cleveland and donated generously to the community. He is buried in Lake View Cemetery on Cleveland’s east side.