When I was younger, I counted down the days until I could move out of Ohio. I made no secret about it.
But life happened, and my daughter and I were forced to relocate to Cleveland. Or so I thought.
I have lived in Chicago. I have been recruited for positions in Atlanta and Phoenix. Cleveland is not an easy sell. But I chose to stay in Northeast Ohio.
I won’t lie. I don’t live in the city of Cleveland. But I know plenty of families that do. My daughter and I live in the suburbs, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t able to reap the many benefits of residing in Northeast Ohio from our expansive two-bedroom apartment just 25 minutes west of downtown. The area boasts top-ranked schools, reasonably priced housing and many other factors helped me decide to put down some roots here.
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1. Being part of a Renaissance
Cleveland may be widely known for its burning river and its industrial mass exodus. But Northeast Ohio is experiencing a great rebirth, thanks to dedicated residents like acclaimed chef Michael Symon and Cleveland Councilman Joe Cimperman, enterprising startups and LeBron James. For the last decade, the region has remade itself. Cleveland is truly a comeback city, and I want my daughter to be an active participant in its success.
2 . A greater sense of community
Part of the reason why I believe Northeast Ohio businesses are thriving is because residents believe in supporting each other. Clevelanders take care of their own. We are a metropolitan area with a small-town vibe. We patronize local shops, keeping our money close to home. We befriend our neighbors and watch each other’s homes. We are committed to seeing our city succeed.
3. Rock the minivan or walk the walk
Time spent with family is precious. Who wants to miss out on all the fun because of an extreme commute? No matter where you choose to live in Northeast Ohio, your proximity to work, school, play and world-class healthcare is only a few minutes away. Whether you live on the west side, east side or downtown, you’re likely within 30 minutes from your destination. Live downtown? Walk to buy groceries under a stunning Tiffany glass dome. Break an ankle after jumping off a swing at the playground (Yes, this happened to us.)? An orthopedic doctor can see you at one of several area emergency rooms focused on children. Live in the suburbs? You are a short drive from the hustle and bustle of the city. Our region is manageable and accessible.
4. Parks double as our backyard
Clevelanders don’t have to sacrifice city living for green space. Urban dwellers and suburbanites alike have access to vast trails, rivers and lakes with our nearby parks. Hike the Cuyahoga County National Park. Zip line in the Cleveland Metroparks. Paddleboard in Lake Erie. Our commitment to these natural resources earns us the right to keep our city’s nickname, The Forest City.
5. Variety of no-cost family fun
Never mind that the region’s cost of living is consistently 10% below the national average – talk about good for the checkbook. But with the area’s renewed energy comes a plethora of activities, perfect for those families wanting to explore our city on a budget. The Cleveland Museum of Art offers visitors a chance to view its collections for free, including a family-friendly space called Studio Play. Every year, thousands of Northeast Ohioans descend upon downtown Cleveland for a free community concert performed by the Cleveland Orchestra, complete with fireworks. You can enjoy moon cakes at the Cleveland Asian Festival, celebrate the holidays at Winterfest, or get sticky at the annual Duck Tape Parade and Festival. The city’s unique events flaunt Cleveland’s diverse residents and rich cultural amenities.
Everyone wants the best for their families. The best place to raise children is in a loving, supportive home. You can decide to raise a family anywhere. But some places, like Cleveland, just make it easier.
Monina Wagner is community manager at the Content Marketing Institute, where she leads the organization’s social media efforts. She is responsible for the day-to-day execution of social content, which includes content creation, strategy and influencer relations. Monina began her storytelling career in broadcast journalism, where she oversaw newsroom staff and daily news operations for over a decade. Since then, she has helped implement numerous award-winning social media and media relations campaigns. Tweet her at @MoninaW – but be warned, she hates auto DMs.