Over the years as friends visited the Cleveland area, I've compiled notes with suggestions for what to do and see while in town. Since PyCon is coming to Cleveland in 2018-19 I figured it might be helpful to clean up my notes and share them as a more personalized guide from the point of view of another Pythonista. I hope you find it useful!
A Little Background
I was born and raised in Lakewood, OH, an inner-ring suburb of Cleveland. Growing up I was instilled with what I think was a common duality in the area at the time: strong pride in my city and a desire to get the heck out. I moved to the East Coast (Wilmington, DE, near Philadelphia) and didn't look back. In the 9 years I spent in DE I went back to school to finish my bachelor's degree, met and eventually married my lovely wife, and got a job doing computer stuff (with some Python!)
After a while we started talking about moving and we always seemed to gravitate toward the Pacific Northwest. We'd visit family in Cleveland occasionally and over the years we started to notice that a lot of the things we liked about other cities were here: walkable neighborhoods, locally-owned shops, great food, local beer! Plus housing was a lot more attainable (seriously, take a look at county home values...) Then in 2011 while still fully intending to move to the PNW I was given an opportunity to take a job in Cleveland and I went for it. Since moving back I've tried to treat my city as a visitor would, exploring new places and appreciating what the city has to offer.
Things to Know About Cleveland
- First, you can get the basics about Cleveland from Wikipedia of course
- Clevelanders are at once self-deprecating and fiercely defensive of the city. We get to make fun of it; you don't.
- There's a division and sort of a rivalry between the East Side and West Side which are delineated by the Cuyahoga river. There was even a "war" fought between the two sides!
- Public transit is spotty. It is reliable in areas that are served but there are gaps in the system largely due to Ohio's poor transit funding. Still, if where you need to go is on a main line, especially one of the Rapid Transit (Rail) or Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) lines, don't hesitate to use it.
- Clevelanders love superlative trivia about their city. This is something I noticed after I moved back to the area and I think it's an inferiority complex thing. Anyway, just be prepared to hear about Cleveland having the first this, biggest that, or best what-have-you.
- Yes, the Cuyahoga River did catch on fire in 1969 (though the photo you've probably seen is from 1952.) This sadly wasn't exactly unique at the time as rivers in many industrial cities caught fire on a regular basis. The reason the Cleveland fire is remembered is because Time Magazine ran a story about it. It's not all bad though because it eventually helped lead to the creation of the Clean Water Act.
Other posts will go into more detail things to see and do but for now I will give you my top 3 places to go when visiting Cleveland: