Car Free Journey: Cleveland, IL


What to Do After You Arrive

The Cleveland Regional Transit Authority’s (RTA) service area covers 59 municipalities and more than 460 square miles. Travelers can be transported virtually anywhere in the area without destroying the environment – or their bank accounts. For RTA routes, schedules, and fares, visit, or call (216) 621-9500 anytime. (Live customer service reps are available weekdays: 7 a.m.-6 p.m., and Saturdays: 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. (All times are Eastern time.) One-day passes cost just $5.

Public Square, the home of the historic Terminal Tower/Tower City Center, is Cleveland’s city center where nearly all RTA rail and bus lines meet. RTA offers three types of transportation – the heavy-rail Red Line to Cleveland Hopkins International Airport; the light-rail system of Blue, Green and Waterfront lines from downtown to the eastern suburbs; plus 700 buses and trolleys on hundreds of routes. Once you reach Public Square, you can get nearly anywhere in the Cleveland area on one or more RTA routes.

Our visit this weekend will briefly introduce you to 4 parts of Cleveland: Downtown Cleveland, Ohio City, University Circle, and Shaker Square plus the Larchmere Antiques District. All of these neighborhoods, except Shaker Square/Larchmere, have places to stay within walking distance.

DESTINATION: Downtown Cleveland

• HOW TO GET THERE: Just about every mode of RTA transportation connects on Public Square – Rapid heavy- and light-rail trains, buses, Healthline, Smile & Ride, etc.

• Sports Lovers? Enjoy a major league baseball game at the Cleveland Indians’ Progressive Stadium (a 10-minute walk from Tower City station on the Red, Green or Blue rail lines), or an NFL football game at Cleveland Browns Stadium (West 3rd Street station on the Waterfront Line).

• Rock Music Lovers? Spend the day at the one and only, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum ( Take time to see John Lennon’s report card, Little Richard’s stage jacket and Jim Morrison’s Cub Scout uniform. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum is dedicated to exploring the past, present and future of the music and the cultural context from which it emerges. If you are here after May 13, visit The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum’s latest exhibit, Women Who Rock: Vision, Passion, Power.

• With the family? Your kids will love the more than 400 hands-on exhibits, while they participate in science-related live demonstrations at the Great Lakes Science Center. Families love watching thrilling life-like movies in the six-story-high ONNIMAX theatre, too.

The newest exhibit at the Science Center is Facing Mars, a fun and educational journey to the exotic world of Mars. Kids can become an astronaut for a day and experience what it’s like to walk on Mars at reduced gravity and discover the effects of motion sickness in a cool spinning chair experiment. The exhibit runs now through Sept. 5, 2011.

Afterwards, take a stroll through the Steamship William G. Mather, a 618-foot historic Great Lakes freighter.

• Theatre Lovers? A highlight of your visit can be a show at one of Playhouse Square’s theatres. Choose from opera, dance, concerts, a Broadway show, or a play.

• Are you a foodie? Get to the East Fourth Street Entertainment District. Quickly becoming a nightlife destination of choice, this narrow brick street is packed with upscale eateries and entertainment. While on East Fourth, take in a show at the House of Blues, laugh along with your favorite comedian at Hilarities, bowl at the upscale Corner Alley, savor a pint at Flannery’s or dine at Chef Michael Symon’s Lola.

• Downtown Hotels include: Cleveland Marriott Downtown, Crowne Plaza Hotel, Hampton Inn, Embassy Suites Downtown Cleveland Hotel, Renaissance Hotel, The Ritz-Carlton, Cleveland, and Hyatt Regency Arcade

DESTINATION: Ohio City: a great place to enjoy a sip of beer and a visit to a special market

• HOW TO GET THERE: Red Line (Rapid heavy-rail train) – West 25th/Ohio City stop

• Perfect for the beer lover, Ohio City is a gentrified neighborhood on the west side of Cleveland that is quickly becoming a great spot for a frothy pint.

• You’ll have fun visiting the West Side Market. Built in 1912, the indoor/outdoor West Side Market was where turn-of-the-century immigrants found their native foods and spices. Today, it features 180 booths with the freshest selection of fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy, produce, bakery, ethnic foods and international delicacies.

• Spend your overnight stay in Ohio City at one of Cleveland’s finest urban bed and breakfasts – the J.Palen House.

DESTINATION: University Circle: The outstanding choice to enjoy the arts

• HOW TO GET THERE: Healthline (bus) – Adelbert, Cornell or East 115th stops

Or: Red Line (Rapid heavy-line train) – East 120th stop

• Just four miles from downtown Cleveland, University Circle is the most concentrated square mile of arts and culture in the nation, home to more than 20 artistic and cultural venues Combined with neighboring Little Italy, there are many options in the area from which to choose. This is an incredibly youthful neighborhood with direct walking access to each of the institutions.

• Established in 1913, the Cleveland Museum of Art is one of the few major museums in the United States that still offers free admission to its permanent collection. Known for its breadth of art, including Monet, Renoir and Dali, this museum recently scored on AOL’s list of “Top 10 Museums in the US for Families.”

• Do you love classical music? If you are here from September-May, don’t miss a concert by The Cleveland Orchestra at Severance Hall: one of America’s most beautiful concert halls.

• The Cleveland Museum of Natural History contains over four million items — everything from fossils to dinosaur skeletons to diamonds. It even has a big section devoted to Ohio’s natural history, such as Ohio gemstones and Native American tribes who used to live in Ohio. This two-story museum is a beautiful blend of traditional and interactive galleries that show kids of all ages how history and art connect with the natural world. While there, check out the Shafran Planetarium, which features repeating 35-minute presentations throughout the day.

• The Western Reserve Historical Society’s museum showcases the cultural history of the Western Reserve, the original Connecticut territory that includes present-day Cleveland and much of Northeast Ohio, through collections of rare Cleveland artifacts, maps and special exhibitions. Also included is the Chisholm Halle Costume Wing, one of the top-ranked costume collections in the nation which showcases garments from the late 1700s to the present.

• The Cleveland Botanical Garden is a combination of indoor exhibits housed in a magnificent glasshouse and ten acres of diverse outdoor gardens. The spectacular Glasshouse includes two major exhibits, the Costa Rica Rainforest and the Madagascar Spiny Desert. There are also several beautiful outdoor gardens, including a rose garden and Japanese tea garden, for your exploration. Children will love the Hershey’s Children’s Garden, a kid-friendly exhibit with signs and pictures at kid level and fun features, like a barn and a tree house.

• You won’t want to leave this area to sleep. Fortunately, you don’t need to. Two good overnight choices here are the Glidden House, and The InterContinental Cleveland.

DESTINATION: Shaker Square + Larchmere Antiques District

• HOW TO GET THERE: Blue/Green/Waterfront Line (Rapid light-rail train) – Shaker Square stop

• Looking for a great afternoon girlfriend getaway? Shaker Heights and Larchmere open themselves up to being one of the hottest spots for a girlfriend getaway. Shaker Square has the feel of a historic downtown, with its two light-rail Rapid Transit Lines, coffee and ice cream shops, choice restaurants and six-screen cinema. Stroll one block north to Larchmere Boulevard to discover an arts and antiques district with independently-owned shops, galleries, bookstores and restaurants.

• Enjoy both Hollywood and independent films in the former Colony Theater (now Shaker Square Cinemas) with its unique art-deco interior, plaster curves, shiny chrome trip, pastel colors and Authur Crisp mural. Also, find new, used and rare books at Loganberry Books on Larchmere Boulevard.

• Larchmere Boulevard is a revitalized stretch of road, now home to some of the areas most well-known antique collectors and vendors, classic eateries and specialty shops. Find out why Larchmere proclaims itself to be Cleveland’s Art and Antique District.

• Grab a Cleveland Independents Deck of coupons for several locally owned eateries

For help planning your visit to Cleveland, visit or call 216/875-6680, or (toll-free) 1/800/321-1004.

About Car Free America and Steve Atlas, “Car Free Journey” author

Car Free America’s reports and e-books focus on the needs of non-drivers and anyone who wants to drive less. Our 1st e-book, Car Free at the Beach, spotlights 20 beaches throughout the United States that you can enjoy without a car.

Since the 1980’s, I (Steve Atlas) have been promoting and exploring car-free living. I’ve joined several transit advocacy groups, and wrote a special report, “Now it’s safe to Take Your Hands off the Wheel” that showed why driving less makes sense for anyone—no matter where they live.

As I continue to research alternative lifestyles, where car ownership is unnecessary, I realize that there is little information available about where this can be accomplished.

E-mail me at with your ideas, suggestions for future reports and newsletter articles, and any comments about how we can make better. And don’t forget to visit our other website: for more ideas, information and success stories.


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