Cleveland Introduction Walking Tour (Self Guided), Cleveland

The City of Cleveland dates back to 1796 when the Connecticut Land Company laid out the area into a township. They named the new town after their leader, General Moses Cleaveland.

With its waterfront location, the city became a major center for trade and commerce over the next few decades. When the railroad arrived in the area in the mid-19th century, the town began to evolve into a central industrial hub. In the years leading up to the Civil War, Cleveland was also a stop on the Underground Railroad for slaves seeking freedom.

Modern Cleveland has its roots in the early 20th century, seeing much of the growth that has made the city one of the busiest in the Great Lakes region after World War II. Some of the buildings with impressive architecture include the Cleveland Trust Company Building, the Cleveland Arcade, the Terminal Tower, the Cuyahoga County Courthouse, and The Old Stone Church.

First-time visitors to Cleveland will surely notice its wealth of memorials and monuments. One of them is the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument on Public Square. Another iconic attraction, the USS Cod Submarine Memorial, allows visitors to interact with the vessel's artifacts easily.

You'll also enjoy walking along the Cleveland Mall, which frequently hosts public art displays and is close to many of the city's top landmarks. Another attraction you wouldn't want to pass up is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which introduces you to some of music's best and brightest.

Take this self-guided walking tour to savor all the sights that Cleveland has to offer.
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Cleveland Introduction Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Cleveland Introduction Walking Tour
Guide Location: USA » Cleveland (See other walking tours in Cleveland)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 9
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.8 Km or 2.4 Miles
Author: JohnB
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Cleveland Trust Company Building
  • Cleveland Arcade
  • Public Square
  • Terminal Tower
  • Old Stone Church
  • USS Cod Submarine Memorial
  • Cuyahoga County Courthouse
  • Cleveland Mall
  • Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
1
Cleveland Trust Company Building

1) Cleveland Trust Company Building (must see)

The Cleveland Trust Company Building is a 1907 building located in downtown Cleveland. The building is a mix of Beaux-Arts, Neoclassical, and Renaissance Revival architectural styles. The building is famous for its artistic exterior sculpture, beautiful interior stained glass dome and mural paintings. When completed, the four-story Cleveland Trust Company Building was the third largest bank building in the United States.

The exterior sculpture was done by well known Austrian-born American sculptor Karl Bitter. Named Finance, the sculpture depicts a female goddess of commerce and finance seated on a throne, while other gods bring her the products of land and sea to sell.

The dome of the building consists of numerous panels of stained glass. The double-paned glass panels depict an intricate, repetitive, green and yellow floral pattern. A series of small lights, set in bronze rosettes, illuminated the dome from below at night.

The walls inside are decorated by murals designed and painted by American painter Francis David Millet who later died in the sinking of the RMS Titanic on April 15, 1912. Millet named the set of the 13 murals "Development of Civilization in America". Each mural was 15.5 by 4.5 feet in size and each was given its own name, such as "The Norse Discoverers", "The Puritans", "Exploration By Land", "LaSalle on Lake Erie", "Father Hennepin at Niagara Falls", and etc.

To ensure that the paintings could be seen from the ground floor 40 feet below, Millet designed them to be simple, with broad fields of deep blue, deep green, and bright red. Each mural used the same color scheme, and the horizon line in each mural aligns with the horizon line in the adjacent murals.

The Cleveland Trust Company Building is arguably the most beautiful old banking building in the US and a long time Cleveland landmark. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.

Today the first two floors of the building is occupied by Heinen's Grocery Store. It is worth the time to step in the store to look at the beautiful stained glass dome and murals even if you do not plan to buy anything.
Sight description based on wikipedia
2
Cleveland Arcade

2) Cleveland Arcade (must see)

The Cleveland Arcade stands out as one of the oldest shopping centers in America, having been built in 1890. This building is the first in Cleveland to achieve National Register of Historic Places listing status. Besides being an amazing place to visit, the mall has an impressive list of retailers. Some of the options include Prosperity Glass, Essential Wellness, and the Arcade Art Gallery.

The Arcade has some great dining choices to consider, including Pizza216, Boney Fingers BBQ, Zen Cuisine, and 1890 restaurant. If you want to indulge yourself, be sure to check out Chocolate Bar, Campbell's Sweets, or Cathy's Creamers. You can also grab a cup at Rising Star Coffee.

There are also regular events at The Cleveland Arcade that you'll want to enjoy. This shopping center is in the heart of the Entertainment District, and you might be able to catch some live performances. Holiday-related activities also take place here that you'll want to check out.
3
Public Square

3) Public Square (must see)

The Public Square includes two of Cleveland's most popular attractions: Public Square, and Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument. The Public Square is the city's premier outdoor event venue, hosting some of the city's most popular yearly events, complete with a natural amphitheater and speakers' terrace. Some of the most popular past events have included The Color Run, Yoga on the Green, and Flamenco in the Square.

Rebol Cafe and a water fountain are some of the most popular highlights of the park. There is also an ice rink, as well as a walking promenade.

The Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument is also on the Public Square and a popular attraction at its own right. The monument dates to 1894 and commemorates soldiers and sailors from Cleveland who died in the Civil War. Four groupings along the esplanade area outside the monument commemorate the artillery, cavalry, infantry, and naval units. Sculptures found inside the monument commemorate events during the war, including the emancipation of the slaves.
4
Terminal Tower

4) Terminal Tower

The Terminal Tower is one of the most noteworthy buildings in Cleveland, having been completed in 1930. This building has 52 floors and was the tallest building outside New York City until 1953. During its history, this building has served as an office building and a residence. The building's 42nd floor has an observation deck, allowing views up to 30 miles away.

This tower's exterior has 508 LED lights that can feature lighting themes for holidays and to show support for causes. Red, white and blue is commonly seen on federal holidays, while red and green are in use during the holiday season. Color themes for causes have included red for heart disease awareness, pink for breast cancer awareness, and rainbow colors in honor of GLBT causes.

There is shopping available in the lower floors of the tower, and visitors will also find some restaurants representing several cuisine types. A movie theater allows visitors to catch a movie while in the area. There is also a walkway to Progressive Field and Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse from the building.
5
Old Stone Church

5) Old Stone Church (must see)

The Old Stone Church in downtown Cleveland has been a fixture of life in the Public Square area since 1820. Daily tours of the church are available between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. If visitors arrive in between these times and find the door closed, they can ring the doorbell for a staff member to let them in.

This church's style is known as Victorian Romanesque, features a barrel-vaulted ceiling, oak and mahogany paneling, and a large balcony. Inscriptions and symbols on the chancel walls feature gold stenciling. The stained glass windows are noteworthy, and four of these are Louis Comfort Tiffany-designed, dating back to the early 20th century.

The church has a parish house that contains some additional areas of interest, such as an art gallery and chapel. The parish house area also hosts a columbarium, where church members have opted to have their cremains interred in a tranquil setting.
6
USS Cod Submarine Memorial

6) USS Cod Submarine Memorial (must see)

The USS Cod Submarine Memorial features the docked U.S.S. Cod, which enjoys National Historic Register status. Self-guided tours are available, allowing you to gain an appreciation for the sailors that served on this vessel. This submarine is permanently docked on Lake Erie, and you will enjoy the lake views as you visit this area.

This submarine is one of the most well-preserved vessels open to the public. The ship features original hatches and ladders instead of having had doors and staircases installed. Preserving these original features has helped maintain the submarine's quality and structural integrity.

Visitors can rotate a five-inch deck gun, which volunteers will mock-fire for visitors. Another feature that visitors enjoy is the Mark IV Torpedo Data Computer, which has been fully restored. The volunteer crew will even fire up the submarine's working engines on occasion to demonstrate how effectively they work.
7
Cuyahoga County Courthouse

7) Cuyahoga County Courthouse

Cuyahoga County Courthouse dates to 1906 and features a Beaux Arts style. The exterior uses pink granite sourced from Milford, Massachusetts. Arched and recessed windows and doors with protruding keystones. Fluted Ionic columns and arched windows are over the front entrance, allowing a lot of natural light into the building.

Bronze statues of Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson, designed by Austrian-born American sculptor Karl Bitter, greet visitors at the front entrance. Daniel Chester French statues of Edward I and John Hampden are also present, as well as a statue featuring Alfred the Great. This artwork highlights the importance of the legal system dating back to ancient times.

In addition to statuary and friezes, the courthouse is also host to impressive murals that depict the application of the law from ancient through more modern times. Marble halls help provide more of a sense of grandeur and reflect the natural lighting beautifully. When you visit this courthouse, you'll come away with a new appreciation for what goes on in courts.
8
Cleveland Mall

8) Cleveland Mall

The Cleveland Mall is one of the examples of City Beautiful design that readily draws attention. This area of the city is a long park in the downtown area and came into being as part of the Group Plan in 1903. The Mall found its spot in the National Register of Historic Places in 1975.

Some of the city's most important civic and government buildings flank this area, including the Cleveland City Hall, the Cleveland Public Schools Board of Education building, and the Cleveland Public Library. The southern part of the Mall is known as Veterans' Memorial Plaza, and the War Memorial Fountain is nearby.

Public art displays are also an important part of public life at the Mall. Examples of past displays have included neoclassical urns designed to show the wind's impact from the lake, as well as native grasses accompanying fabric sculptures. You never know what types of unique works you might see next.
9
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

9) Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (must see)

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is one of Cleveland's most iconic attractions. When you go through this museum, you'll be introduced to rock and roll's long, diverse history. The Ahmet Ertegun Main Exhibit Hall uses a combination of interactive exhibits, feature films, and plenty of music to enjoy, as well as reading materials.

Stopping by the official Museum Store is a great way to browse through the perfect souvenirs to take home. You can grab a quick bite at the All-Access Cafe before checking out the other exhibits in this area. The Backstage Stories exhibit provides a closer look at what life is like on the road. You can also see shows on the Klipse Stage.

A display dedicated to guitarist Les Paul is one of the most popular collections in the museum, allowing for a lot of interaction. The Hall of Fame, the museum's signature attraction, features a Signature Gallery, with such notable names as Whitney Houston, Depeche Mode, and the Notorious B.I.G. The Hall also features galleries dedicated to new inductees and those who have recently died.

The museum is host to a full-size replica of Pink Floyd's The Wall, which mirrors what the band used at their Berlin performance in 1990. You might even have the chance to catch at a performance at the Foster Theater.

Why You Should Visit

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is a great place to enjoy interactive experiences that let you learn more about your favorite artists in-depth. You will have chance to catch live shows or learn more about the backstage experience.

Tips

Access the Your Tour feature on the Hall's website from your phone to decide what to see first.

Walking Tours in Cleveland, Ohio

Create Your Own Walk in Cleveland

Create Your Own Walk in Cleveland

Creating your own self-guided walk in Cleveland is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Museums in Cleveland

Museums in Cleveland

Cleveland has some of the best museums in the mid-west US. The Museum of Art, Dunham Tavern Museum and the Museum of Natural History are just a few of these extraordinary places. Discover Cleveland’s great museums on this self-guided tour.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.2 Km or 1.4 Miles