The complete guide on the best hotels in Cleveland, aka The Land. No matter your interests, travel style, or budget, there is a Cleveland neighborhood with the perfect accommodation for you.
Congratulations on your choice to visit the city of Cleveland. This mid-sized city located in Northeast Ohio has a mixed reputation, and unfortunately ends up being the butt of jokes all too often.
Your decision to visit means you have excellent taste in beer and food, and that you are able to ignore the negative connotations the city sometimes gets. Those characteristics are valued in Cleveland.
It’s true that the Cuyahoga River caught fire in 1969, and yes, Clevelanders will likely hear about it forever. Being Cleveland though, we ignore the haters and instead use it as fuel to do things like name a beer after it and create a festival called “Burning River Fest”.
Of course, I would be remiss to not include all the jokes about our sports woes! Go ahead and laugh about those because they are mind boggling and just down-right depressing to even Clevelanders.
Despite all that negativity, Cleveland is truly a great city. For one, it’s located on Lake Erie, with stunning views to rival any other Midwestern city. Plus, a visit to Cleveland is warranted to check out its impressive brewery scene and amazing restaurants.
There are variety of neighborhoods and hotels in downtown Cleveland and its surrounding areas, so there are plenty of options that are central to the action and near popular tourist attractions. Keep reading for the best neighborhoods to visit in Cleveland, the best hotels in Cleveland, and general travel tips for getting around and things to do in the city.
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The Best Hotels in Cleveland, Ohio By Neighborhood
Those not familiar with Cleveland often don’t realize there is more to it than just its downtown. In fact, Cleveland is divided into various neighborhoods, each offering their unique atmosphere, restaurants, bars and attractions. Here are five great neighborhoods to check out, and what each one has to offer.
Use the following Cleveland neighborhood guide to decide for yourself where to stay for your trip.
With good accessibility to a lot of Cleveland’s best sights, Gateway actually encompasses a lot of things.
This is where you will find the sports stadiums where the Indians and Cavs play. This is also where you can find E. 4th, or Cleveland’s showcase neighborhood. If you ever watch any sporting event on TV where Cleveland is playing, you’ll likely see a shot of them panning E. 4th. It’s actually a great street to check out for both restaurants and nightlife.
For a sophisticated culinary experience, check out Iron Chef Michael Symon’s Lola Bistro and Chef Jonathon Sawyer’s Greenhouse Tavern. For drinks, Butcher and the Brewer is a trendy brewery serving small plates, and Society Lounge makes handcrafted cocktails in a dark speakeasy type space.
Where to Stay in Gateway
Hotel Cleveland Gateway – If you're looking for cheap hotels in Cleveland, Ohio, this budget boutique style hotel is a great jumping off point for visitors who are in town to see the Indians or Cavs play ball. At the moment, it is in the process of transforming into Hotel Indigo, so visitors may notice some construction going on.
That being said, for the price, a stay at the Hotel Cleveland Gateway is worth it for the close proximity to E. 4th and E. 9th Street, where many of the best downtown Cleveland restaurants and bars are located.
Hyatt Regency – Located in The Arcade, one of Cleveland’s iconic historic buildings, a stay at the Hyatt Regency offers a peak into Cleveland’s pre-economic crisis opulent past. The Hyatt is located on Euclid Avenue, right at the tip of E. 4th Street, so there is plenty to do as soon as you walk out the door.
For a caffeine buzz, Rising Star Coffee Roasters in located right in The Arcade. If you leave the building on the Superior Avenue side, take a right for a one-minute walk to Ohio City Burrito. Of course, if you head out on the Euclid Avenue side, all the restaurants and bars of E. 4th are right at your disposal.
The Ritz-Carlton – The Ritz-Carlton is a famous upscale brand, and it’s by far one of the best Cleveland hotels in the luxury category. Professional athletes and celebrities are known to stay here while in town. And, if you're looking to go big, this is one of the best hotels to choose if you're looking for quality Cleveland hotel suites.
The Ritz-Carlton is connected to Tower City, another one of Cleveland’s iconic historical buildings, as well as a major contributor to its skyline. This hotel offers convenient access to the Gateway area, with Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse only a six-minute walk away.
The Ritz has its own highly rated restaurant, TURN Bar + Kitchen. However, if you’re looking to branch out, the Ritz is also right next to the Warehouse District, where you can find some of Cleveland’s craziest nightlife. For a tamer experience, visit the high-end seafood restaurant, Blue Point Grille, or have a more laid-back evening out at Bar Louie.
A stay in Playhouse Square means a ritzier experience in Cleveland’s historic theater district. You’ll notice the change in neighborhood as you drive down Euclid Avenue underneath the huge welcome sign and glimmering chandelier.
This may be Cleveland’s most famous neighborhood, as Playhouse Square is the second best theater district in the nation, with only New York’s Broadway in front of it. To even be mentioned in the same sentence as Broadway is saying something!
Besides theater, there are nice restaurants over here as well, including the Bin 216 wine bar and Adega in the Metropolitan at the 9 hotel. More good news - Playhouse Square is still perfectly walkable to just about anywhere else downtown. Of course, in rain or wintery weather, you can conveniently order an Uber.
Where to Stay in Playhouse Square
Hampton Inn Cleveland Downtown – Yes, I know. There is literally nothing that sounds exciting about a stay at your run-of-the-mill Hampton Inn. However, this particular Hampton Inn offers locational benefits that its other chain hotels don’t.
Located on the corner of E. 9th Street and Superior Avenue, the Hampton is just a half mile walk to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. If you’re willing to walk about another quarter mile, you can easily reach the E. 9th pier for gorgeous lake views and a photo op at the Cleveland Script Sign.
Another option is to head east from the hotel on Superior Avenue and go to Masthead Brewing Co. for some of Cleveland’s best beers.
Crowne Plaza Cleveland – This moderately priced hotel is located right as you enter Playhouse Square and see the beautifully lit up sign right in front of you. If you're seeing a play during your time in Cleveland, this is the perfect place to stay. The best theaters will only be a couple minute walk from your lodging.
While the Crowne Plaza is located on Euclid and is walkable to the other areas of downtown Cleveland, there are some great spots to check out right next to the hotel as well. Yours Truly offers one of the best breakfasts in Cleveland, while Hofbräuhaus Cleveland is the perfect brewery to party it up Oktoberfest-style.
Metropolitan at the 9 – This swanky downtown Cleveland hotel is new to the city and has already made a name for itself due to its famous and infamous residents, like Johnny Manziel. As luxury hotels in Cleveland, Ohio go, the Metropolitan has a good mix of everything with its quality of stay, value, and design.
The Metropolitan boasts highly rated Mediterranean restaurant Adega, Azure Rooftop Lounge, and a cocktail lounge in an old bank vault called *drumroll please* Vault. If you like to stay somewhere with a glitzy feel, or the type of place that would declare itself “iconic”, the Metropolitan at the 9 is for you.
Great for nightlife, The Flats neighborhood offers waterfront bars and restaurants with unmatched views in all of Cleveland. I recommend taking advantage of these, as anything waterfront in Cleveland is a desirable place to be!
Plus, this area has only grown in popularity and attractions in recent years. The Flats have been revitalized with new luxury apartments, a Vegas style pool and club called FWD Day + Nightclub, and loads of other trendy restaurants and bars.
It’s the place to be at night, with watering holes like Punch Bowl Social, Shooters on the Water, and BeerHead. There is a diverse offering of places to go for late night socializing over a cocktail, no matter if it is a rum and coke, upscale martini, or craft beer.
Summer nights are the best time to stop down here for waterfront ambiance. The Flats neighborhood is also in close proximity to Cleveland’s Warehouse District, which is another cool spot for bars (although the club scene pretty much dominates everything). If you want to dance the night away, the Warehouse District is the place for you.
Where to Stay in The Flats
Stay Alfred at Flats East – For a unique lodging option in The Flats, book Stay Alfred at Flats East apartment. Their two available units offer stylish modern amenities, including a rooftop deck and full kitchen. They even have a 2 bed/2 bath unit that would be perfect for a family needing space and the option to cook at home.
As the units are located on the east bank of the Cuyahoga River, there are gorgeous water views that are especially enjoyable on a bright summer day. Two places to check out near the units are the Big Bang Dueling Piano Bar and Dante’s Inferno, a casual Italian and craft pizza joint belonging to James Beard nominated Chef Dante Boccuzzi.
Drury Plaza Hotel – While this hotel is a wee bit outside of The Flats, it’s only about a mile away (aka a very quick Uber ride or short walk). Unfortunately, while The Flats have a lot of nightlife options, the surrounding area tends to be more apartments and condos than hotels.
However, the Drury Plaza Hotel comes in at a great price point, has excellent reviews, and is located in a really nice area of downtown. It's also considered one of the best Cleveland boutique hotels.
Its location on E. 6th Street is quiet and calm, yet still walkable to everything in downtown Cleveland. It’s a great jumping off point to get to The Flats, with it basically being two turns away on some of Cleveland’s least busy roads.
Aloft Cleveland Downtown – The only true hotel right on the East Bank of the Flats, Aloft is the best option for lodging in this neighborhood.
Aloft Cleveland Downtown has a couple of its own restaurants, BOLD Food & Drink with a traditional American menu and Lago, a modern Italian restaurant. However, the biggest perk of Aloft is being the best hotel in Cleveland that's in close proximity to the water. Not to mention, the added perk of walkability to great nightlife in The Flats.
Like The Flats, Ohio City is one of Cleveland’s best areas for nightlife. I’m personally more likely to go out here over The Flats since there's more history and less pretentiousness.
One highlight of this area is its numerous breweries. Ohio City is a great place to do a brewery crawl in the evening, as the best craft beer spots are all so close to each other.
This includes the likes of Great Lakes (the most famous in Cleveland), Market Garden (newly expanded), Nana Brew (basically Market Garden’s younger sibling), and some newbies like Hansa and Bad Tom Smith.
One of my favorite spots to check out during the wee hours of the night is ABC Tavern. It's a true dive bar with your typical well drinks, but also offers desperately sought-after fried food following a night of mucho cerveza.
Where to Stay in Ohio City
The Cleveland Hostel – The area’s first and only hostel, the Cleveland Hostel offers a chance to visit the city on a poor student’s budget. Anyone could find something to like about this simple lodging option.
Like many new businesses and apartments in Cleveland, the hostel was built in a refurbished historical building, which always adds a unique touch of Cleveland’s culture and past.
There are both private and shared rooms available in this character-filled space. The Cleveland Hostel amenities include a shared kitchen, Passengers Café on the first floor, and rooftop deck with killer views of downtown.
Clifford House Private B&B – If you want to stay somewhere a bit old and crusty, but walkable to some of the trendiest spots in Ohio City, this is the place for you. Just kidding – the house is actually a beautiful brick structure originally built in 1868 and has loads of charm.
The owner, who lives at the property, has kept the furnishings classic but has added touches like exposed brick walls and locally made art. He also makes breakfast each morning using locally sourced ingredients.
In addition, The Clifford House Private B&B offers unrivaled access to the main drag of W. 25th Street, with places like Westside Market, Great Lakes Brewery, and Town Hall right at your fingertips. If I was visiting Cleveland as a tourist, I’d probably stay here because I love old places like this.
Renaissance Cleveland Hotel – The Renaissance is one of the best hotels in Cleveland, and is often used as a wedding venue due to its elegance. This one is just a tad outside of Ohio City, but you literally cross a bridge and you’re there in 5 minutes. Plus, the bridges over the Cuyahoga River offer great views of the city – especially at night.
The hotel is located in Cleveland’s historic Terminal Tower. This is a great central downtown location with other popular neighborhoods, such as E. 4th Street and the Warehouse District, in walking distance to the hotel.
On a nice day, you can walk right out of this hotel into Cleveland’s Public Square for some green space, views of the Old Stone Church, or a healthy lunch at REBoL.
This Cleveland neighborhood offers both history and culture. A downside of staying over here is that you are further out from downtown and it's not the easiest neighborhood to get to. The upside is that there is a lot to see and do over here, so you might never want to leave anyway.
If Cleveland has any old money, back from the early Rockefeller days, this side of town is where it can be found. In fact, there used to be a four mile stretch of Euclid Avenue called Millionaire’s Row, which was lined with as many as 250 mansions. At one time, Cleveland was wealthy and thriving as the sixth largest city in the country.
But seriously, how boring. I’m glad that we’re now known for much more fun things like good food and breweries. Plus, we’ve always had the Lake Erie shores to brag about, and today they’re much cleaner and bragworthy… ok, sorry, end of Cleveland pride tangent.
Lastly, as the name suggestions, there are in fact universities over here. Both Cleveland State and Case Western University are in or near University Circle. University Circle is also where the world-renowned Cleveland Clinic can be found. To this day, there is still wealth on this side of the city, but it has evolved over time with Cleveland’s economy.
Where to Stay in University Circle
DoubleTree by Hilton – The Tudor Arms Hotel – Not just your average DoubleTree, the Tudor Arms Hotel was built in 1933 and is perfect for those who want to step back in time to when Cleveland was in the midst of industrial prosperity.
This is one of the best hotels near Cleveland Clinic and Case Western Reserve University, which is perfect if you’re in town to visit either of those places.
The Tudor Arms Hotel is also just a half mile walk to famous Cleveland landmarks such as the Cleveland Museum of Art and Severance Hall where the Cleveland Orchestra plays.
Courtyard Cleveland University Circle – The Courtyard is your standard choice for visiting University Circle. Moderately priced, it is well located for those in town to visit Case Western Reserve University. It’s also ideal if your goal is to immerse yourself in Cleveland’s highbrow cultural scene.
What really makes this hotel stand out is the fact that it is walking distance to Cleveland’s Little Italy. Definitely check out this tiny neighborhood for scrumptious traditional Italian cuisine and adorable little shops and bakeries.
The Glidden House – One of the best Cleveland luxury hotels (and one of the most unique places to stay in Ohio), this accommodation goes above and beyond what is considered “boutique”. As is the case for many of the most intriguing places in Cleveland, the Glidden House is located in a historical building built in 1910, which used to be a posh private home.
A few major perks of paying the price to stay here are its proximity to various Cleveland sights, complimentary breakfast each morning, and their local & contemporary art collection.
The Glidden House is located more or less on Case Western University’s campus, and is basically across the street from the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, Cleveland Museum of Art, and Cleveland Botanical Garden.
Severance hall is a close neighbor, requiring just a couple more minutes of walking. If you want to have the ultimate cultural experience in Cleveland, Glidden House is hands down the place to stay.
How to Get Around Cleveland
You’ll find that Cleveland is actually very easy to get around. The only exception is when there is a large event happening downtown, in which case it’ll be a total mess.
Cleveland’s downtown is pretty small, and normally not very traffic filled. Rush hour downtown is a different story, but if you are staying there you shouldn’t have to worry about it.
In general, if you visit Cleveland and only plan to visit in and around downtown, you will not need a car. You’ll be able to either walk or Uber to everything. That being said, if you plan to do any day trips, you will definitely need to rent a car.
While Cleveland does have public transportation, including buses and the train (aka the rapid), it is not very extensive and more geared towards commuters.
The only time using the rapid would make sense for a visitor is if you're taking it from the airport into Tower City downtown. Otherwise, using it will likely prove more inconvenient than anything else, and I’d point any visitor towards Uber instead.
Top 10 Sights in Cleveland, Ohio
E. 9th Pier
This expansive pier is a tranquil waterfront spot right in downtown with awesome city views. Stop in at Nuevo for a margarita while watching Lake Erie glitter in the sun.
If you want to explore more of Cleveland's historic waterfront, this is a great walking tour to learn more about the history.
A Cleveland landmark since the 1800s, Westside Market features numerous food stalls that are worth browsing. You can find anything from steaks and fresh fish to gourmet popcorn. Steve’s Gyros is a popular stand that has been featured on the Food Network.
Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
The name speaks for itself, but obviously the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is where legendary rock stars have their legacy cemented into history. The entrance was designed by the late I. M. Pei, who also designed the entrance to the Louvre. If you're a music enthusiast, this is a must-see attraction in Cleveland.
Grab your tickets to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame ahead of time here.
You don’t need to see a show to enjoy this glitzy area, although you may want to see what’s playing. Cleveland gets the best of the best when it comes to shows, including Hamilton and The Lion King. If you’re not keen on shelling out the big bucks for this, you can still admire the large chandelier on Euclid Avenue for free.
Cleveland Metroparks Zoo
The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is the perfect place to bring the kids to use up some of that energy! There’s a wide range of exhibits that even adults could enjoy, and the hilly paths will certainly give you a nice workout.
Beer lovers rejoice! The Cleveland brewery scene is hot right now, with new ones popping up throughout the city all the time. Try your hand at the Cleveland Brewery Passport, where you can get stamps for visiting up to 30 breweries.
If nothing else, check out Masthead Brewing Company for the best beer, Great Lakes for a quintessential Cleveland experience, and Collision Bend to sip a brew along the Cuyahoga River.
If you're looking for a good craft beer tour in Cleveland, I'd recommend hopping on this one.
Get a little crazy and explore some plant life during your trip to Cleveland. This welcome retreat into nature boasts 10 acres of gardens and an 18,000 square foot Glasshouse filled with exotic plants. If you need to de-stress and escape traffic and luxury apartment construction, this University Circle oasis could be for you.
Cleveland Script Signs
These are the perfect photo spots to remember your Cleveland trip. You can find the script Cleveland signs throughout the city, the highlight being their amazing skyline views in the background. Popular sites include the E. 9th Pier, The Flats, and Tremont.
E. 4th Street
This is one of Cleveland’s most popular streets for dining and entertainment, day and night. An evening date could be spent at Iron Chef Michael Symon’s Lola, his most upscale restaurant. On the contrary, he also has his newer barbecue restaurant, Mabel’s, right next door for a more casual experience.
Entertainment options include a concert at the House of Blues, bowling and drinks at Corner Alley, or a show at Hilarities comedy club. However, my personal favorite entertainment option is the unpredictability of going to Zocalo for dinner and drinks – the bizarre experiences I’ve had there really keep me on my toes.
This green space in the center of downtown is where you can see the grand Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument, built in honor of the Civil War. There are plenty of benches in the vicinity for relaxing with lunch or a book. You can easily find food options nearby, with the newest one being REBoL, serving nutritious bowls.
3 Best Day Trips from Cleveland
Drive down Lake Road to Vermilion
For stunning lake views, take the long way west via Route 2 and Lake Road for a little over an hour. Your destination, Vermilion, is a nautical lakefront town filled with great restaurants and an assortment of tiny shops.
Wine lovers should stop in at The Wine Vault for a wide selection by the glass or bottle. Those seeking ambience for a romantic evening should head to Chez Francois, an incredible French Restaurant on the Vermilion River.
Drive a little inland, and you’ll find wineries, orchards, and many fresh produce stands.
America’s Roller Coast! A hour-long highway trip from downtown, Cedar Point is a world-famous theme park that has been setting records, such as the tallest or fastest rollercoaster, since I can remember.
It’s the perfect place to spend a fun-filled day with your significant other or chase thrills with the whole family. On a hot day, another option is heading to Soak City right next door for some waterslides and pool time.
You can grab your tickets for Cedar Point ahead of time here.
About an hour east of Cleveland, this lakefront village is surrounded by wineries worth a day trip to explore. It’s the perfect peaceful retreat for those looking to escape the city for the day. Warning – it may or may not be filled with bachelorette parties.
What to Pack for Cleveland
About the Writer
Theresa is the creator of Fueled By Wanderlust, a blog dedicated to affording travel and planning trips while holding down a full-time job. Theresa did not start traveling until her mid-twenties due to some pesky student loan debt. However, with careful budgeting, she was able to pay that off and has since travelled more and more each year.
PRACTICAL INFO FOR CLEVELAND
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