Why My Friends and I are Staying in CLE+ Post Grad

After what feels like a lifetime of school, I am finally preparing to graduate from Case Western Reserve University School of Law this May. For me, it was a no-brainer that I would be sticking around Northeast Ohio after graduation—after such a phenomenal experience living here throughout my education, I couldn’t imagine starting my career anywhere else.

My classmates, Julia Miller, originally from Charleston, West Virginia, and Gabby Feuer, originally from Avon Lake, Ohio, are both also planning on starting their careers here in Northeast Ohio. If you’re considering whether Northeast Ohio might be the right post-grad home for you, we have compiled our top reasons below.

Whether you have just moved here or you’ve lived in Northeast Ohio your entire life, there is always something new to do during your free time.

Julia_Waterloo Julia stops for a photo outside of Waterloo Arts before attending a performance in the space. She has enjoyed getting to know the many arts and culture venues and events in Northeast Ohio since moving to the Cleveland area. 

Gabby grew up in Avon Lake and now lives in Downtown Cleveland. She is choosing to stay in Cleveland because there is always something fun going on. “There’s always something fun to do—there has never been a better time to live in Downtown Cleveland. Whether it’s going to a show in Playhouse Square, watching one of Cleveland’s sports teams, or taking our dog to the Metroparks, there is always something to keep us busy in Cleveland.”

Julia, who had only briefly visited Northeast Ohio before law school, agrees: While she was initially uncertain whether Northeast Ohio was for her, she got to know the region during law school and found the region had a lot to offer—enough to make up for the rough winters. “I actually wasn’t planning to stay at all initially,” she explained, “but when I received a job offer up here, I decided I would be willing, because much to my surprise, Cleveland has grown on me. Cleveland has professional sports, delicious local restaurants and breweries, and fun events and culture, like the Cleveland Flea and West Side Market.”

The best part is, it is so easy to get to know the best spots, even if you’re totally new to the area. For a crash course in dining around the near east side of Cleveland, check out the AsiaTown Food Tour: You’ll hit four restaurants in one night, enjoying a curated menu as you’re transported around the neighborhood on the West Side Shuffle. Get your bearings in Downtown Cleveland on one of several awesome Take a Hike walking tours, pedal your way through the near west side on a Cleveland Cycle Tour, or get to know the many gorgeous outdoor spaces in the region through Cleveland Metroparks’ expansive programming options.Northeast Ohio is home to some really great people: Post-grad residents can enjoy getting to know neighbors and building strong networks.

Northeast Ohio is home to some really great people: Post-grad residents can enjoy getting to know neighbors and building strong networks.

Ellen_AirportI joined volunteers with Destination Cleveland to welcome visitors at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport during the 2015–2016 holiday season.

 Northeast Ohio is home to enthusiastic residents, always ready to welcome newcomers. Where else would you be greeted with cookies and smiles the moment your plane touches down at the regional airport?

The area is also home to a number of active young professional groups, including the Playhouse Square Partners and the 20/30 Club. Plus, groups like Engage! Cleveland provide great programming for young professionals in the area—each year Engage! Cleveland hosts an entire Young Professionals Week in Downtown Cleveland.

Julia explained that people from Northeast Ohio are so enthusiastic about the region that it’s hard not to get drawn into the excitement. She explained:

I decided I’d be willing to put up with the snow to live in a city filled with people who are completely invested in making it a great place to stay.

Gabby, a lifelong Northeast Ohioan, has been similarly encouraged to stay because of the people:

“The people are great. My husband and I grew up in Cleveland, and both of our families are here. The people are friendly and go out of their way to help you out. We knew that we wanted to raise a family here and give back to the community that has given us so much.” 

Northeast Ohio is a seriously affordable place to plant some roots and begin a career.

Gabby_DowntownCLEGabby and her husband enjoy springtime on their Downtown CLE patio.

Julia and Gabby are looking forward to the affordability of Northeast Ohio as compared to other cities where they could have chosen to start their careers. “A huge decision for my husband and me as we chose where to build our life together was how far we could stretch the money that we would make,” Gabby explained. “Cleveland has a great cost of living, which allows us to live downtown—close to work and close to all of the action.”

I couldn’t agree more. Now that I am finally preparing to start my full-time career, I’ve got homeownership on my mind. While that can seem like an impossible goal for people my age in some other major cities, Northeast Ohio remains an affordable region in which to buy a home, and there are a number of resources available to help recent grads find the perfect home in Northeast Ohio. For example, the Cuyahoga County Land Bank’s BRAIN (Buying and Retaining Academic Interest Now) Program offers a discount on the purchase of a land bank home in Cuyahoga County to current students and recent graduates who agree to live in the home they purchase for at least three years.


The affordable cost of living in Northeast Ohio also means having room in my budget to indulge in the number of amazing local eateries around the region. I stopped for a photo next to the lovely Erin Guido mural outside of Mason’s Creamery on Cleveland’s near west side, my favorite local spot for a sweet treat.

Are you convinced yet? Let me know why you’re planning to stay in Northeast Ohio on Twitter, @ellenkirtner!


Ellen Kirtner
Ellen Kirtner

Ellen Kirtner is a second-year law student at Case Western Reserve University and a Kent State University PRKent alumna. When she’s not studying, you can spot Ellen browsing local markets and shops, adventuring around town on the RTA, and eating as much vegan junk food as possible.