Relocating to Cleveland? Nestled along the picturesque shores of Lake Erie, this Midwestern city offers young professionals, families, and retirees plenty of perks. Though, there are still cons to be aware of. Here are 14 pros and cons of living in Cleveland, Ohio.

Pros of Living in Cleveland

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Whether you’re moving to Cleveland or simply relocating to a different neighborhood, there are plenty of positive benefits. Here are the pros to living in the CLE!

Pro: Affordable Living Near the Water

Living near the water can often break the bank, but not in The 216! C-Town is perfect for people looking for a budget-friendly lakeside city because healthcare, utilities, and transportation costs all fall below the national average. In fact, the cost of living in Cleveland is 9% lower than the state of Ohio, but it’s also 17% lower than the national average. What’s more, housing in Cleveland is 190.7% lower than in similarly-sized Cincinnati, with a median home price of $73,700! Alternatively, if you’re looking to rent in Cleveland, prices are 30.5% lower than the national average with a median rent price of $735.

Pro: Leading Universities

Cleveland boasts top-tier higher education options, making it an ideal choice for people earning a degree. Become a CSU Viking and enroll at Cleveland State University in Downtown CLE to get your undergraduate, graduate, or master’s degree and get involved in public research. Attend John Carroll University, a private institution that offers a strong Arts and Sciences program and is recognized as one of the best regional universities in the Midwest. Get involved with over 200 student organizations, or participate in groundbreaking research in your field of choice at Case Western Reserve University, the top-ranked private research university with one of the best nursing programs in the U.S. Hone your skills in animation, game design, sculpture, photography, and more at the Cleveland Institute of Art. Or take advantage of state-of-the-art facilities while pursuing a high-quality education in music, performance, and composition at the Cleveland Institute of Music.

Pro: Accessible Public Transit

You don’t need a car to live in Cleveland! Downtown Cleveland is very walkable, and you can easily get around the Cleveland metro area with its robust public transportation system through the Regional Transit Authority. Cleveland’s RTA has an extensive network of bus routes with a rapid route, a light rail system that runs throughout the city, a ton of Cleveland bike share programs, and free trolly rides during the weekdays that provide convenient and affordable transportation in Cleveland.

Pro: Excellent Healthcare Facilities

Living in The Land includes having access to fantastic medical care. The Cleveland Clinic, a major employer and renowned healthcare provider, is recognized as the best hospital in Ohio and one of the best hospitals in the world, with specialties in urology, rheumatology, cardiology, and heart and vascular surgery. Cleveland University Hospitals is also an option to find great healthcare services, as it is ranked as one of the best regional hospitals and nationally ranked for adult specialty care.

Pro: Professional Sports Teams

The City of Champions has strong, passionate fanbases for each of its local sports teams. Make your way to Downtown Cleveland to watch the Cleveland Cavaliers (NBA) hit nothing but net at the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. Watch Calder Cup winners the Cleveland Monsters (AHL) hit the ice when the Cavaliers are off the court. Pack some snacks, grab your mitt, and head down to Progressive Field to watch the Cleveland Guardians (MLB) hit a home run. Or put on your brown and orange to cheer on the Cleveland Browns (NFL) to victory at Cleveland Browns Stadium!

Pro: Plenty of Outdoor Adventures Available

The Forest City has more than enough outdoor activities for Cleveland residents. Cleveland Metroparks has 18 metro parks, over 300 miles of hiking trails, and eight lakefront parks for you to enjoy. Plan a visit to the heart of University Circle to enjoy curated gardens and special exhibits at the Cleveland Botanical Garden. Put on your swimsuit and your sunscreen when you venture out to Lake Erie Beaches like Edgewater Beach, Euclid Beach Park, and Perkins Beach. Or take a short 30-minute ride and explore Cuyahoga Valley National Park, where you can find waterfalls, wildlife, and more.

Pro: Countless Cleveland Attractions

If you’re looking for fun things to do in Cleveland, CLE has a vibrant culture with many world-renowned attractions featuring art, history, and more. Protect wildlife and contribute to conservation efforts through exhibits like the Eagle Zip Adventure, Ben Gogolick Giraffe Encounter, or the African Elephant Crossing at the Cleveland Metro Parks Zoo. Learn about Ohio lakes and rivers, touch real sea animals in the Touch Pools, and see sharks up close in the Shark SeaTube at the Cleveland Aquarium. Make your way through the NASA Glenn Visitor Center, BioMedTech Gallery, or the Dinosaurs of the Sahara exhibits at the Great Lakes Science Center. Travel east of Downtown Cleveland to Fairfax to see one of the oldest Black theaters in the U.S. put on productions at the Karamu House. Or put on your best clothes to watch Cleveland Orchestra perform amazing pieces at Severance Music Center.

Pro: Famous Cleveland Museums

With world-class museums around every corner, Cleveland can appeal to everyone. Any music lover must stop by the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, where you can view memorabilia and exhibits of famous musicians like Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, or the Beatles. Meet a T-Rex in the Kirtland Hall of Prehistoric Life, our first human ancestor “Lucy” in the Human Origins Gallery—or explore the Reinberger Hall of Earth & Planetary Exploration—at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. Visit Adventure City, the Wonder Lab, or Arts & Parts for family fun in Cleveland at the Children’s Museum of Cleveland. Or catch rotating exhibits and various events at the Cleveland Museum of Art.

Pro: Delicious Food Scene

Cleveland has a diverse assortment of delicious bites for your consideration. If you’re looking for breakfast in Cleveland, chow down on Two Eggs with Homefries, Two Hot Cakes, or a Veggie Omelette with Cheese at Slyman’s. If you want the best Polish boys in Cleveland, head to the West Side for a Polish Boy, Chicken Pot Pie, or Chicken and Waffles at Banter. Fill up on a Meatloaf Meal, Stuffed Cabbage Roll Dinner, and the best pierogis in Cleveland at Little Polish Diner. Or sit down for a slice of Kale and Dates, Hot Stuff and Pepps, or Meat Head pizza at Boom’s Pizza.

Pro: Award-Winning Breweries in Cleveland

C-Town has award-winning breweries for every beer lover! Pair finger food with a DJ Grapefrewt Ale, Evil Motives IPA, or Mango Sour Blonde from Noble Beast Brewing Co. Find gold-medal brews like Groovy Juice, Goggle Fogger, and Bumble Berry at Fat Heads. Sip a chilled Surprise Transfer IPA, Bees and Trees Stout, or Augenblick Lager from Masthead Brewing Co. Select from a Dortmunder Gold, Commodore Perry IPA, Crushworthy, or Vibacious Double IPA at Great Lakes Brewing. Or try a Spicy Dill Pickle Sour, Persistent Caterpillar, Lizard Fuel, or ManGogh at Terrestrial Brewing.

Cons of Living in Cleveland

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While Cleveland is a great place to visit and live, there are important things to be aware of. Here are four cons to living in C-Town.

Con: Cold Midwestern Winters

Before you decide to pack up and leave for Cleveland, you’ll want to evaluate how you feel about cold weather. Since Cleveland is right next to Lake Erie, you can expect chilly temperatures and lots of snowfall due to the winter lake effect. Despite the cool temperatures, residents make the best of the weather with lots of fun winter activities. Attend the annual WinterLand and sip hot chocolate, go caroling, and celebrate the opening of the Cleveland Foundation Skating Rink with tree-lighting and fireworks. Visit the real A Christmas Story House & Museum, or bundle up and enjoy live music during the Brite Winter Festival.

Con: Varied Air Quality

The air quality in Cleveland has not always been the best. In the past, the city has even received an F rating for ozone pollution and a C for particulate matter like soot. Because of smog, those who have asthma or other allergies may be affected in Cleveland. However, the air quality has continued to improve, with the city dedicating resources toward creating a safer environment for Cleveland residents through the Clean Air Act.

Con: Safety Is a Known Concern

As is the case in many larger cities, crime can be a concern for those thinking about making a move—and Cleveland is no exception. The city has its share of concerns regarding crime and violence, and ranks safer than only 2% of the U.S. Though, this trend isn’t consistent as you move away from the city center. In fact, Cleveland suburbs offer tight-knit communities, easier access to green spaces, and more. Additionally, the city actively collaborates with multiple state law enforcement agencies to ensure the safety and security of its residents. Some of the safest places to live in Cleveland include University Circle, Berea, and more.

Con: Declining Population

Over the past few decades, Cleveland has dealt with a major blow to its population because of deindustrialization, economic shifts, and a decrease in job opportunities. Despite these challenges, city officials are making focused efforts effort to revitalize Cleveland, Ohio. An initiative to make Cleveland a 15-minute city, or an area that provides necessary amenities within a 15-minute commute from the home, is underway, with a focus on safety and convenience. There are also plans to develop and expand Downtown Cleveland by adding housing, restaurants, and more. Additionally, a proposition is underway to build a land bridge from the Cleveland Mall to the North Coast Harbor, which will help combat local air pollution and create another waterfront area in Cleveland like those of Chicago or Austin.


Moving to CLE? Life Storage offers self storage options to help you with your move. Find Cleveland self storage today!

This post was originally published 03/30/2018, and last revised on 01/31/2024 with updated information.

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