I wish I could transplant what is happening in Gordon Square all around the country because, not only are they engaging their own artists, […] but they are transforming a neighborhood. […]
These are the words of Rocco Landesman, a former Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts regarding the Gordon Square Arts District of Cleveland. Before we go any further, I must confess, as a current resident of Gordon Square, I’m a little biased. However, by the time you’re done reading this post, I’m confident you’ll be sharing in Mr. Landesman’s, and my, enthusiasm.
Three characteristics come to mind when I describe my neighborhood: trendy, walkable, and locale. Those from Northeast Ohio, or who have spent significant time in our region, are familiar with downtown, or the neighborhoods of Ohio City, Tremont, and University Circle; the usual list of Cleveland’s fashionable quarters. Gordon Square, however, is on the hard and fast track to making a name for itself. Gordon Square is actually a district in the larger Cleveland neighborhood of Detroit-Shoreway, on the city’s Near Westside. The arts district moniker comes from the two renovated historic theaters in the area: the Cleveland Public Theatre and Capitol Theatre, and the Near West Theatre.
Northeast Ohio’s largest art and design complex, 78th Street Studios, also calls the area home. With over 43 retail galleries, artist studios, design showrooms, and other creative spaces all beneath one roof, it’s truly a neighborhood treasure. Numerous boutiques and restaurants are rooted here as well. From Luxe Kitchen & Lounge, Toast, and Spice Kitchen & Bar serving up delicious American fare with local seasonal ingredients, to indigenous watering holes XYZ the Tavern, and Stone Mad Pub, to the hot dog haven that is the Happy Dog. The eclectic mix continues with Hausfrau Record Shop, Honeycomb Salon, and iLTHY Workshop. I apologize for the numerous other stellar venues I’m leaving out, but alas, I’ve got to highlight the other characteristics.
As I previously stated, Gordon Square is a district that’s part of the greater Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood of Cleveland. All the attractions mentioned above can be enjoyed without the hassle of having to drive from place to place. Per WalkScore.com, Detroit-Shoreway has the third highest walkability and bikeability of Cleveland’s 36 unique and individual neighborhoods. Gordon Square is at the center of this foot and pedal friendly feature. In fact, a bike lane was recently added to the main east – west artery of Detroit Avenue, which – you guessed it – cuts right through Gordon Square. Lacking two wheels? No problem! Blazing Saddle Cycle caters to the functional commuter and hardcore racer. The massive, millions of dollars of reinvestment that occurred in the area at the end of the last decade placed pedestrian friendly amenities, like widened sidewalks and visually pleasing crosswalks, as a chief priority.
Lastly, let’s talk location. The transit opportunities surrounding Gordon Square offer connection to a large number of Cleveland and Northeast Ohio amenities and attractions. From beautiful, sprawling Edgewater Park, to the Michael Zone Recreation Center Park, the nearby upbeat neighborhoods of Ohio City, Edgewater and neighboring inner-ring suburb, Lakewood. Within 20 minutes, you can be in the throes of exploring a whole new aspect of our vibrant and attractive region.
So come through and enjoy a night out in Gordon Square, a lovely area I’m proud to call home. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed!
Stephen Snitzky was born and raised in Greater Cleveland. After having studied and worked in Michigan and Virginia, he moved back to Northeast Ohio in 2010 and has been a resident of Gordon Square since 2012. He works in sales at a local software company and this is his first blog post. So please, constructive feedback is appreciated!