As a new Northeast Ohio transplant, having recently moved north from Charlotte, NC, I’ve spent a great deal of time thinking and preparing for the big move. That meant more than packing boxes and changing utility companies, but also researching the Cleveland-area and how to plug myself and my family in to a new community.
While I continue to adjust to life in Cleveland, here are five tips to help you get acclimated to life on the lake.
Find your way around the neighborhoods.
Trying to make sense of all the local neighborhoods, both within Cleveland and Northeast Ohio (NEO) can be overwhelming. I recommend spending one day or one half day at a time exploring a different area so that you can get comfortable with what’s there and where it’s located.
Head to Cuyahoga Falls to walk around and have lunch, catch an Indians or Cavs game downtown and go early for a little exploring, or grab sandwiches to go from an Ohio City eatery and head to Edgewater beach for a picnic. Take your time and get to know what these neighborhoods have to offer!
Join your local library.
Joining the library is one of the best ways to get plugged into the community.
Not only does it give you and your family access to plenty of good reads, most library branches host regular community events, classes, discussions, and activities for kids. Your branch of the library might be a good place to start if you’re looking for opportunities to volunteer and meet others in your area. If you plan to set up a library account, don’t forget to bring something that demonstrates your new address if you haven’t changed your ID yet.
Try some of the great local food.
I was thrilled to learn about some of the delicious food Cleveland and NEO has to offer and was ready to dig in even before I arrived. Social Media is a great resource to learn about some of the best places to try, I have enjoyed following WHYCLE and EatDrinkCleveland for inspiration.
The West Side Market, Mitchells’ Homemade Ice Cream, Aladdin’s, Tommy’s, and any of the spots run by famous local chefs such as Michael Symon, Johnathon Sawyer, and Rocco Whalen are good places to start.
Visit your local farmers market and join a CSA.
When I found out I was moving to Cleveland, research on the local farmer’s market scene was one of the first things I did and I was pleasantly surprised to find a huge community dedicated to the availability of local produce. A quick search will pull up a huge list of options (I like the one on the Edible Cleveland site) and you’re sure to find something not too far from home or work. North Union Farmers Market is a large local non-profit with seven different weekly markets across NEO and two indoor winter markets. While City Fresh (cityfresh.org) offers weekly CSA or farm shares for pick-up across the area at 15 different locations. City Fresh is unique in that you can order week-to-week and don’t have to commit to the whole season. NEO offers some amazing local produce!
Seek out local groups and culture.
Cleveland and NEO offer numerous groups and cultural events that will fulfill all of your interests. Try searching for local book clubs, such as the three different monthly book clubs at Mac’s Books on Coventry . If art or nature are more your thing, become a member of the Cleveland Botanical Garden, Cleveland Art Museum, or any of the other wonderful art and music organizations in the area. Memberships can help connect you to unique events and others with similar interests.
The website MeetUp.com also offers a wide range of groups and opportunities to connect with new people and new places, including everything from meditation to hiking. Don’t forget to consider local professional organizations chapters, from broad to specific such as the Rotary Club or Global Shapers Cleveland.