There was a time when, during a 10-year span, I’d lived in 13 apartments in five different states.
Though I spent my first 22 years in Northeast Ohio, I moved to the East Coast after college graduation and spent seven years moving… and moving… and moving.
In 2014, Ohio beckoned. Following LeBron James’s lead, I decided it was time to go home. I rented a place in Cleveland’s trendy Tremont neighborhood, where I’ve lived ever since – and now that I’m here, I never want to leave.
What has me so enamored of this city? Here’s a short list, for starters.
1. The nicest people
I don’t have hard data to back this up, but of all the places I’ve lived, people in Ohio are the nicest, hands down. Chat up your barista, compliment the bartender, start a conversation with the guy checking you out at the grocery store… The stereotype doesn’t lie: People in the Midwest are incredibly friendly, and that seems doubly true of people in Northeast Ohio.
2. The best and the worst sports teams
When I moved back to Ohio in 2014, the Indians were yet another mediocre baseball team and the Cavs were just glad to have LeBron back. And the Browns? Well, they’ve always been the Browns.
Between the Cavs’ 2016 NBA Championship win and the Browns’ “perfect” 0-16 season last year, Clevelanders know what it’s like to be on top of the world and all way at the bottom of the pile, which keeps area sports fans hopeful yet humble.
We continue to be devoted sports fans, showing up for a championship parade and a parade honoring a season full of hard losses. (Did you know that the unofficial Browns’ loss parade raised more than $17,000 for the Cleveland food bank? Way to make the best of a bad season, CLE!)
3. Unbeatable housing costs
When I lived in Washington, D.C., I paid $1,400 per month for a studio apartment with a singular window, paper-thin walls, and a bathroom that could only be accessed through the closet. These days, I live in one of the Cleveland’s coolest neighborhoods in a spacious, two-bedroom duplex apartment with air conditioning, a small backyard, and in-unit washer and dryer. Rent and utilities are just about $1,200, total.
Though home and rent prices are on the rise in Cleveland its surrounding areas, it’s cheaper to live here than in many American cities – and if you’re willing to live a bit further from the city, you’ll find even better pricing.
4. So much nature!
When I lived in Washington, D.C., I wasn’t far from parks and other outdoorsy activities – but without a car, which many East Coast city-dwellers don’t have, it was so difficult to get to the surrounding rural areas that I never made it a priority.
Whether you’re a casual-stroll-through-the-woods kind of person or a hardcore hiker, the greater Northeast Ohio area is the perfect place to get your nature fix.
5. World-class health care
When I cracked my head open in New Hampshire, there was just one hospital nearby. When I lived in New Jersey, health care was so difficult to navigate that I all but gave up going to the doctor. And I never did find an orthopedist in Washington, D.C., who I trusted as much as mine back in Cleveland.
Nobody wants to get sick, but if you’re going to fall ill or get injured, well, Cleveland’s probably one of the best cities in which to do it. This city is home of two top-ranking hospital systems, the Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals. Now, when I face a health issue, I know I can find a great specialist quickly and close to home.
6. A diverse population
New Hampshire, where I once lived, is the third least diverse state in the U.S. – it was evident. Nearly everyone I met was white, and cultural events were few and far between.
In Cleveland, by contrast, estimates say communities here represent as many as 117 nationalities, evident in neighborhoods such as Slavic Village, Little Italy, and the heavily Polish Tremont.
If you want to learn more about cultures and ethnicities beyond your own, check out one of Cleveland’s countless cultural events, like the Latino Arts and Culture Celebration, the Irish Cultural Festival, the Cleveland Asian Festival, or Kurentovanje… the list goes on. You can also visit museums like the Ukranian Museum-Archives in Tremont, the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage in Beachwood, and the Hungarian Museum downtown.