Welcome Back to Cleveland
Written by: Cara Robbins
Photo by: Jillian VanDyke
From hidden-gem dining options to must-visit entertainment locales, this is your one-stop-shop for Cleveland’s social scene.
Being back on campus feels like a breath of fresh air. After a year of online classes, limited student interactions, and significantly less people on campus, seeing the school back at nearly full operation is exciting, overwhelming and confusing all at once. This year, not only are plenty of first-year students trying to learn how to navigate CSU and Cleveland, but also plenty of second-year students remain unfamiliar with both the city and the campus. Whether you’re new to campus or simply looking for a quick brush-up of the city, look no further than this everything-but-the-kitchen-sink breakdown of what any college student wants to know about Cleveland, including where to find groceries, places to study, places to eat, activities to be had, and sights to be seen.
This year, not only are plenty of first-year students trying to learn how to navigate CSU and Cleveland, but also plenty of second-year students remain unfamiliar with both the city and the campus.
First and foremost, you’ll need to know where you can get the everyday essentials in Cleveland. The city offers plenty of options for any budget, many of which are within walking distance from campus.
Heinen’s (900 Euclid Ave.)
The Heinen’s on the corner of Euclid Avenue and East Ninth Street is a fantastic resource for students, specifically because of its large range of food options (including fresh meat and vegetables) in a convenient downtown location. Cleveland’s Heinen’s is also considered one of the most beautiful grocery stores in America because it is located within the historic Cleveland Trust Building. While shopping, enjoy the beautiful architecture featuring marble archways, painted murals and a gorgeous stained-glass rotunda ceiling. Heinen’s can be a bit pricey when it comes to everyday grocery store finds (like brand-name snacks, for example), but it is surprisingly affordable when it comes to fresh vegetables, deli meat and cheese.
Aldi (7500 Euclid Ave. or 3586 Steelyard Drive)
Unfortunately, there isn’t an Aldi within a walkable distance from campus. There are, however, at least two options accessible by bus or short car ride. Aldi is a great option if you’re looking for an affordable alternative to Heinen’s, especially when it comes to shelf-stable food. They don’t always carry name-brand items, but if you’re looking for affordable groceries for roughly the same quality, then Aldi is a great fit for you. A great way to get to the Aldi on Euclid Ave by bus is by taking the Healthline to Stokes Windermere Station and getting off at the Euclid Avenue & East 71st Street station.
Dollar General (1701 E. 12th St.)
The Dollar General located off of East 12th Street near Walnut Street is a great resource for any students looking for an affordable place to pick up any home essentials outside of food. It’s just a short walk from campus, and because it’s designed for people living downtown in apartments, it caters specially to any needs that you may have if you’re living on-campus.
CVS (840 Euclid Ave.)
The CVS located on the corner of Euclid and East Ninth Street is another resource for students that is located in a walkable distance from CSU. Though it’s pricier than the Dollar General, it’s more likely to carry name-brand and specific items.
1900 Food and Beverages (1846 Euclid Ave.)
Because it’s located on campus, 1900 Food and Beverage is a great place to grab anything you may need on the go or in an emergency quickly. However, it can be a little pricey, especially since prices typically aren’t marked on the products.
Sometimes all you’re looking for is a quiet space away from a roommate or a noisy home to get some work done or simply relax. CSU certainly offers many study-friendly locations, but if you’re looking to take a breath away from campus or kill time between classes, the city at-large has plenty of gems that provide a friendly study space.
Cleveland Public Library (325 Superior Ave.)
The Cleveland Public Library, located on Superior Avenue past East Sixth Street, is a beautiful, expansive building with plenty of quiet nooks and crannies to get lost in. It serves as a great space to do some studying, and it also has plenty of resources to help with research. While there, make sure to sign up for a library card — it's completely free of charge.
StoneFruit Coffee (530 Euclid Ave.)
StoneFruit Coffee, located on the corner of Euclid Avenue and East Sixth Street and attached to the Arcade, may have some of the best coffee in Cleveland. If you’re looking for a relaxing and cheery environment in a central downtown location with prime people-watching, then this is the study spot for you.
Milk and Honey (1100 Superior Ave.)
Located on the corner of Walnut and East 12th Street inside the Oswald Center, Milk and Honey is a cafe that is a great choice for anyone looking for some great sweet treats to go along with their study session.
Cafe ah-Roma (2230 Euclid Ave.)
Café ah-Roma is a great choice specifically because it is located on campus and caters to CSU students, making it a great spot to grab some coffee and get some work done. Its snacks aren’t quite as good as Milk and Honey, and it’s coffee isn’t as good as StoneFruit, but its convenient location, pleasant environment, and fantastic baristas make up for this. Café ah-Roma is located on Euclid Avenue, just past East 22nd Street.
Whether it's for breakfast, lunch or dinner, most college students are always looking for a quick and affordable bite to eat. Luckily, Cleveland has a fantastic food scene, with plenty of great bites just a few blocks away from campus
Cassa (1900 Euclid Ave.)
Located halfway between East 18th and East 21st Street on Euclid Avenue, Cassa is a fantastic Mediterranean restaurant with tasty food, with possibly some of the best falafel in the city. It’s a great spot to pick up lunch or an early dinner, and is especially convenient because of its on-campus location.
Phở Thắng Café (815 Superior Ave.)
If you’re ever looking for fantastic authentic Vietnamese food in Cleveland, then Phở Thắng Café is for you. The restaurant is especially well-known for its superb noodle and soup dishes, and is located on the corner of Superior and East Ninth Street.
Addy’s Diner (530 Euclid Ave.)
Addy’s is a classic American-style diner, notably with some stellar pancakes and delicious melt sandwiches. It’s a great option for breakfast and lunch, and can be found inside the 5th Street Arcade.
Yours Truly (1228 Euclid Ave.)
Yours Truly is another classic American diner, located in Playhouse Square on Euclid Ave, halfway between East 12th Street and East 13th Street. While the food isn’t anything to write home about (especially compared to some of the other options listed here), it's a reliable option to find comfort food at breakfast, lunch, or dinner. It also provides a great atmosphere if you’re looking for a good spot to dine in.
Susie’s Soup and Deli (1701 E. 12th St.)
Susie’s Soup and Deli is pretty up front about what it specializes in: soup and sandwiches. It’s a great pick to find a quick, affordable lunch. It’s located on East 12th Street, near Superior Avenue.
UJerk (850 Euclid Ave.)
If you’re ever in the market for delicious Caribbean food with just the right amount of spices and exceptional chicken, then make sure to check out UJerk. It’s another great spot for an affordable lunch or dinner for anyone with a tight schedule. It’s located on the corner of Euclid and East Ninth Street, but make sure to keep an eye out for the door — it can be easy to miss.
Bombay Chaat (2044 Euclid Ave.)
Bombay Chaat is a perfect location to find great Indian street food, and is especially convenient because it’s located on campus, on the corner of Euclid and East 21st. It’s a good pick for anyone looking for a quick take-out meal.
Things to Do
If you’re in the city, why not make the most of it? You can find plenty of fun and exciting things to do in the city when you’re not busy with school. Best of all, what Cleveland has to offer can fit any type of budget, if you know where to look to kill some time.
Edgewater Beach (6500 Cleveland Memorial Shoreway)
The beach can be the perfect place to get away from the city, take a breath of fresh air and enjoy Lake Erie, all with a beautiful view of the skyline. The beach is free to the public, and also has the Edgewater Beach House, which can provide any type of amenity you’ll need while enjoying the lake, including food, drinks, a changing area, and occasionally live music. Edgewater is just a short drive away from downtown by car, but can also be accessed by bus. Go to the station at East 22nd and Euclid Avenue, take the 55 to Lorain Co Line, and hop off at Clifton Boulevard and Lake Avenue. From there, it’ll be about an 8 minute walk to Edgewater Beach.
The Cleveland Museum of Art (11150 East Blvd.)
Cleveland’s art museum is a fantastic resource to the city, especially because general admission tickets are always free to the public. It’s easy to waste an entire day wandering through the expansive exhibits, and it’s just as enjoyable on re-visits as it is on your first exploration. Make sure to also check out the Fine Arts Garden attached to the museum, which fills the space between Euclid Avenue and the building’s entrance. The Cleveland Museum of Art is only a short drive away from campus, but you can also get there through a quick bus ride. Pick up the Healthline towards Healthline to Stokes Windermere Station, and get off at Adelbert Road. From there, it’s about a four-minute walk to the museum.
If you’re visiting the art museum, then you’ll already be in University Circle — so make sure to check out what else the area has to offer! Among the list of things to do is checking out the Cleveland Cultural Gardens in Rockefeller Park, which you can find alongside Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. There’s also the Cleveland Botanical Garden, which has several stunning outdoor gardens and an enormous glasshouse with two separate biomes filled with animals like tropical birds, turtles, and hundreds of butterflies. The Cleveland Natural History Museum is also a great place to spend time, especially if you’re interested in checking out their observatory and star shows. Keep in mind that both the Natural History Museum and the Botanical Gardens charge for admission, unlike the Art Museum. If you’re looking for a bite to eat between all the excitement, then you’re in luck — University circle features multiple different Asian-fusion eateries and specializes in ramen.
Ohio City (West 25th St.)
Ohio City, an exciting hub on the west side of Cleveland, offers a variety of shops, restaurants and activities. Simply walking along West 25th Street will offer plenty of new experiences, including several different local breweries and the West Side Market, where local vendors will offer fresh vegetables, meat, cheese, bread, pastries and other delicacies. There’s also Tabletop, a fun café that specializes in board games, and Horizontal Books, which sells overstock books at an extreme discount. Make sure to stop by Mitchell’s Ice Cream for a sweet treat! Ohio City is a quick trip by car from campus, but you can also take the bus. Go to the stop at East 22nd and Euclid Avenue and take the 11 Quincy-Cedar to Downtown until you reach the stop at Superior Avenue and East Roadway. From there, hop onto the 22 Lorain to Westgate TC, and get off at the stop at West 25th and Franklin Avenue. Ohio City will be about a two minute walk away.
5th Street Arcades (530 Euclid Ave.)
The 5th Street Arcades, aptly named for where you can find it downtown, is a great place if you’re looking to shop from some fantastic local stores. There are several different stores particularly worth checking out, such as Coco’s Chalky Paint. This massive under-the-radar shop is situated in a beautifully decorated space, and features an art gallery, a thrift shop, a painted furniture workshop, a plant and crystal shop, and more. The Arcade also features the Tea Lab, which carries some of the biggest and tastiest selection of loose-leaf teas in the city. Be sure to also check out boutiques such as Haymarket or Intro, and grab some sweet treats from Yum Yum’s, Colossal Cupcakes, or Kernels by Chrissie. You can find the Arcade on the corner of Euclid and East Sixth St.
To Wrap Up...
As a bustling city, Cleveland can be overwhelming for new students, or for those who haven’t spent a lot of time downtown due to the pandemic. However the city is dotted with many fantastic places that should make being a student at CSU all the more enjoyable. This list barely scratches the surface of what Cleveland has to offer and hopefully will spur you to begin an expansive exploration of the city.