Cleveland, Ohio is known for a lot of things; we’re the Rock and Roll Capital of the World, we’ve got a diverse and delicious food scene, and you won’t find more dedicated sports fans. However, what you may not know is that it’s our gorgeous buildings that cause thousands of visitors to flock to Cleveland each year. Our distinctive architecture was even featured on Fodor’s list of reasons to visit Cleveland, and for a good reason. Our city is full of history, gargoyles, Corinthian columns and, of course, beautiful homes.
We rounded up the buildings you must see at least once while you’re in the area. From the famous Cleveland Arcade to the more obscure Tinkham Veale University Center, you’ll find these architectural wonders and more on our list. So, grab your phone and get ready to fill your Instagram feed with some Cleveland history.
1407 Euclid Avenue
Located in the famed Playhouse Square of Cleveland, the Allen Theatre was originally built in 1921 as a 3,080-seat movie palace theater. It was designed by Detroit Architect, C. Howard Cane who was a master movie-palace architect in his time. A 2012 renovation transformed this historic building into an intimate, 514-seat repertory theater with superb acoustics, lighting and comfortable seating.
401 Euclid Avenue
The Arcade Cleveland opened in May of 1890 as the first indoor shopping center in America. It was designed by John M. Eisenmann and George H. Smith and financed by some of most esteemed businessmen of the late 19th century including John D. Rockefeller and Charles Brush. It is now one of Cleveland’s most popular landmarks and premier destinations for shopping and dining. You can even stay in the luxurious Hyatt Regency Hotel that occupies the top three levels of the Arcade!
1234 Bolivar Road
The Cleveland Grays is a social organization devoted to the promotion of patriotism and the preservation of the military heritage of Greater Cleveland. While they’ve had several homes from the time of their founding in 1837, today they’re located in one of the oldest standing buildings in downtown Cleveland. The breathtaking, red-bricked Romanesque Revival style armory is definitely worth the visit, and the museum inside is just as gorgeous and historic as the exterior.
900 Euclid Avenue
Photo courtesy of Heinen’s Grocery Store
This artistic building that is settled on the southeast corner of Cleveland’s most prominent downtown intersection began with a competition. In 1903, the Cleveland Trust Company merged with the Western Reserve Trust Company and the combined company launched a competition to see who would design a new headquarters. The winner was George Browne Post, a renowned architect who had previously designed the home of the New York Stock Exchange. Today, this glorious building is home to a Heinen’s Grocery Store where you can have a one-of-a-kind shopping experience.
127 Public Square
The Key Tower is the tallest skyscraper in Ohio and one of the most recognizable symbols of Cleveland. It was originally built as the Society Center and was the headquarters for the Society Corporation. The building reaches 57 stories or 947 feet to the top of its spire. If you can convince security to let you visit the top floors, you’re in for a breathtaking view of Northeast Ohio.
325 Superior Avenue
Photo courtesy of the Cleveland Public Library
The Cleveland Public Library is definitely a stunning building, but it also houses one of the largest collections in the United States — nearly ten million items. Designed by the prominent architectural firm of Walker & Weeks in 1925 with the addition of the Stokes Wing in 1997, the library’s two buildings on Superior Avenue command an entire city block.
91 Public Square
First Presbyterian Church, or the Old Stone Church, is located on the northwest quadrant of Cleveland’s Public Square. Built in 1853, it is one of Cleveland’s most famous religious buildings and has become a symbol of the city’s birth and development.
848 Public Square
Terminal Tower is a 52-story skyscraper located on Public Square downtown. It was built during the skyscraper boom of the 1930s and was the second-tallest building in the world when it was completed. While it was booted out of that spot in 1964, it remains the second-tallest building in Ohio. While you can’t go to the top of the Key Tower, you can head up to the observation deck of the Terminal Tower. On a clear day, you can see up to 30 beautiful miles of Northeast Ohio.
2230 Euclid Avenue
The Trinity Episcopal Cathedral stands across the street from Cleveland State University and was designed by architect Charles F. Schweinfurth. The gothic cathedral was completed in 1907 and added the Trinity Commons program and office space in 2002. You can make a reservation to tour this awe-inspiring structure here.
1979 West 25th Street
West Side Market is Cleveland’s oldest publicly owned market, originally opened in 1912 after outgrowing several other marketplace spaces. The gorgeous structure we know and love today was designed by the architectural firm, Hubbell and Benes and cost about $680,000 to complete. Today the market is home to over 100 vendors of all different cultures that sell the finest meats and vegetables, fresh seafood, baked goods, dairy and cheeses and even fresh flowers.
11038 Bellflower Road
Tinkham Veale University Center is a stunning, modern building at Case Western Reserve University. Designed by renowned architects Perkins+Will in 2014, this university center serves as a meeting place for students, housing plenty of dining facilities, meeting rooms and offices for student organizations. It looks like something out of a futuristic movie and is definitely worth the drive by, or maybe a fly by, so you can catch a view of the incredible grass-lined roof.
What is your favorite Cleveland wonder?
Did we miss your favorite Cleveland building? Let us know in the comments!