Cleveland is a little more difficult than other towns along the Ohio to Erie Trail. There are plenty of places to stay and eat and hang out at in Cleveland. The problem stems from where the trail terminates in town.
(Please Note: There are some major construction issues in Cleveland that will be present for the next several years, presenting obstacles to the regular route. We have created a map with directions for getting around these trouble spots. Also included are directions for the “Dippers” out there that actually want to dip your tires in the waters of Lake Erie. Dippers and Construction Workaround)
UPDATE APRIL 2013 see bridge construction update here. The Abbey Avenue bridge construction is completed. The bridge is open in both directions. The new bikeway pedestrian section of the Hope Memorial Bridge is complete and open.
The trail comes to a sputtering end at the Harvard Avenue Trail Head Parking lot, in the shadows of the big blue AlCoA plant on the hill and the Harvard Denison bridge just ahead in the distance.
At this point, you are not really downtown, yet. From this trail head parking lot, the trail becomes a road route, following surface roads.
From the trail head parking lot, turn left (west) onto Harvard Avenue. You will cross the Cuyahoga River in about 200 feet. Just past the river, in another 200 feet, you will turn right at the light, onto Jennings Road (north).
There is a sports bar/restaurant at the corner of Harvard and Jennings, called Cleats. Pretty good bar food (burgers, etc.) and decent beer (Great Lakes). There is a bike rack on the Jennings road side.
The bike route continues north on Jennings. There are green bike route signs pointing you to the Tremont neighborhood. In about a half mile, the bicycle trail picks up to take you behind a large retail complex, Steelyard Commons, in homage to the once magnificent steel mills that used to stand there. There is a gigantic Walmart, Target, Home Depot, a Subway, Chipolte, Steak and Shake, IHOP and so on. The trail runs behind the complex in a fenced-in corridor along side a train yard and an old steel mill.
Just north of Steelyard Commons, the Ohio to Erie Trail route sputters again. The most direct way to downtown (as indicated on the Ohio to Erie Trail website) would have been to turn right onto Quigley, just past the shopping center, adjacent to the electric sub station. You would follow Quigley for about a half mile until you reached West 3rd Street, where you would make a left. You would follow West 3rd for about a mile, cross the river on an old lift bridge, turn right on Canal Rd., just over the bridge, go up Canal then right on Commercial, up Commercial and you would pop out right downtown, across from The Indian’s stadium.
That won’t work, however, because the lift bridge on West 3rd is closed for repairs until 2013. At least. Soooo….
Here’s the Carol and Guy approved alternate route:
After Steelyard Commons, turn left to go uphill on Quigly. There is actually a bicycle path connector that will takes you from the path behind Steelyard Commons under Quigley through two short tunnels and up the hill on the other side of the road.
Once at the top of the hill (it’s not too bad), you will be at a traffic round-a-bout. Head to your right on West 14th Street. Proceed along 14th. (There is a lot of construction going on for the next few years. From this point north, you may need to take this alternate route)When you cross Clark Avenue, your are entering the Tremont neighborhood. It’s a kind of trendy place with lots of cool restaurants and pubs along the way, especially around Lincoln Park.
Proceed the length of 14th, ignoring the “End of Bike Route” sign, until you cross Fairfield.
At this point it looks as if you are getting onto the highway ramp. There is a Greek Orthodox Church on the corner. Proceed up the ramp. At the last second there is a road off the ramp on the right- follow it. It’s just a short little connector road barely 500 feet long. I don’t even think it has a name. It will take you to Abbey Avenue.
Turn left on Abbey. (At this time there is a lot of construction and the connector may be closed. The alternate is to turn right on Fairfield, left on W11th and then left onto Abbey- in essence, just going around the block) There are some cool views of the city along this route. Also, if you were to instead turn right on Abbey, then left on 13th, a block up is Sokolowski’s University Inn- a famous Cleveland restaurant and pub with an awesome view.
Anyway, if you had turned left on Abbey, you will go under the highway and then cross a bridge, with downtown visible on your right.
Roll down Abbey until it dead ends into Gehring Avenue. Turn right onto Gehring. At Lorain Road (Route 10), you will make a right to go downtown.
When you are at Lorain and Gehring, you will notice a tall tower across the street. That’s the historic West Side Market. It’s an old-world farmers market. You absolutely must stop in. Trust me on this one. It’s huge and there is an inside market and an outside market. They are open on Mondays & Wednesdays: 7AM – 4PM and Fridays & Saturdays: 7AM – 6PM. Also in that very same area is the Great Lakes Brewing Company restaurant and bar as well as The Garden Market Brewery and many other small shops, bars, restaurants, a bike shop and a new hostel. I repeat, it’s worth a stop in this area!
Back to Lorain and Gehring: If your turned right off of Gehring onto Lorain, you will be heading into downtown Cleveland. It’s just over the beautiful Lorain-Carnegie Bridge. Notice the art deco giants, the “Guardians of Traffic,” on either end of the bridge. By the end of the summer of 2012, there should be a nice 14’ wide bike lane across the north side of the bridge. Why they didn’t put a lane for both direction, I’ll never know, but I digress.
When you cross the bridge, you will be in downtown Cleveland, across from the Indian’s ballpark, roughly in the same place you would have arrived at had the old West 3rd Street bridge been open. At this point, Lorain Road turns into Carnegie Avenue. Stay on Carnegie and pass the ballpark. Just across East 9th on your right is the Hilton Garden Inn, the closest hotel to the Ohio to Erie Trail. Turn left on East 9th to get to Lake Erie, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, Great Lakes Science Center and to explore downtown.
Also, just about 5 miles east of downtown is the world class <a href=”http://www.clevelandart.org/” target=”_blank”>Cleveland Museum of Art</a> in University Circle. CMA is always free (except for some special exhibitions) and is closed on Mondays. Also in University Circle is the Botanical Gardens, the Museum of Natural History, The Crawford Aviation and Automobile Museum, and soon, the new Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA).
It’s easy to get to University Circle from downtown Cleveland. Use Euclid Avenue, as it has been designated as a bike route with bike lanes running it’s length. Take Euclid (Route 20) out to East Boulevard. Turn left (north) on East Boulevard and all of the museums are right in front of you.
Welcome to Cleveland.
Where to stay:
The Cleveland Hostel on West 25th.
There are a lot of Hotels in downtown Cleveland with the Hilton Garden Inn being the closest to the trail.
Hilton Garden Inn
Holiday Inn Express
Where to eat:
Cleveland has an enormous amount of cool places to eat. In addition to the West Side Market, Great Lakes Brewing Company and Market Garden Brewery, on West 25th Street, there are a lot of restaurants downtown, especially along West 6th Street and in Tremont.
Tremont Taphouse, Tremont
Prosperity Club, Tremont
Where to drink beer:
Oh my, Cleveland has some breweries!
Great Lakes Brewing
Market Garden Brewery
Buckeye Beer Engine
The Indigo Imp Brewery
The Brew Kettle
Joy Machines by the West Side Market
Fridrichs on Lorain Road
The Ohio City Bicycle Coop
The Parkview. Awesome Blues, especially the Wednesday night jam. Great food, too. One of my favorite places in the city. Period. Westside
The Happy Dog. Very near the Parkview. Westside
Brothers Lounge. Blues. Westside
The Mardi Gras. Blues, Jazz. Downtown. Good food.
House of Blues Downtown.
Horseshoe Casino Downtown.