Take a Hike Tours
May 15 – September 16, 2014
The Take a Hike Program, presented by Dollar Bank, offers five, free, guided walking tours of five distinct neighborhoods in downtown Cleveland. Each tour lasts approximately one and a half hours in length and features actors and actresses portraying historic figures from Cleveland’s past. 13,600 people have enjoyed “taking a hike” during the last five seasons. Mind you, “taking a hike” is more like taking a leisurely stroll.
Entertaining and educational, these tours offer visitors and residents alike the opportunity to learn about the history, culture and future plans of each tour area. Geared towards adults, the tours also offer younger audience members the chance to explore Cleveland in a whole new way.
In 2013, the Take a Hike program was awarded an International Downtown Association Merit Award.
Take a Hike Tour Descriptions
Gateway District Tour
Learn about the Gateway District’s historic dime stores, such as Woolworth’s and Kresge’s, the incredible Arcade, which was modeled after the great light courts of Europe, the East 4th Street Entertainment District, Rose’s Folly, the Caxton Building and more. Mayor Tom Johnson, Congresswoman Frances Payne Bolton or inventor Garrett Morgan may drop in for a visit along the way.
The tour meets inside the doors on the Euclid side of the Arcade. Suggested parking can be found across from Quicken Loans Arena between Huron Road and Prospect Avenue, in the parking garage of 200 Public Square on Superior Avenue or in the 515 Euclid garage at the corner of East 6th Street and Euclid Avenue.
Warehouse District Tour
Admire breathtaking architecture as you learn about the historic Garment District, hardware industry and beautiful Victorian-style buildings of Cleveland’s First Neighborhood. Home to fabulous restaurants, a vibrant nightlife and close to 3,000 residents, the Warehouse District is a charming and lively neighborhood. Tour attendees may have the pleasure of meeting John D. Rockefeller or Levi Johnson along the tour route.
Convenient street parking and parking lots are available along West 9th Street and along St. Clair from West 3rd to West 9th.
Known for being the second largest performing arts center in the country, PlayhouseSquare boasts even more than incredible theatres. Learn about the past grandeur of Euclid Avenue, renowned department stores, such as Halle’s, Bonwit Teller and Sterling Linder, important social clubs, such as The Union Club, Star Plaza and the historic Statler Hotel. Visitors may enjoy special guest appearances by deejay Alan Freed or “Mr. First Nighter” Milton Krantz.
Convenient parking is available across from the Hanna Theatre on East 14th Street or along Euclid Avenue near PlayhouseSquare’s theatres.
Canal Basin Park in the Flats Tour
Enjoy tales from the early days of Cleveland while learning about Moses Cleaveland, the Cuyahoga River, bridges, the historic B&O Rail Station and plans for a 25-acre park and the extension of the Towpath Trail. Be sure to bring your camera for some stunning photo opportunities. Mary Kelley may share stories of her husband, Alfred Kelley, the father of the Ohio & Erie Canal, during your tour.
Settler’s Landing is the lovely brick patio at the intersection of Superior Avenue and Robert Lockwood Jr. Drive. Take Superior Avenue down the hill into the Flats (Eastern Bank), and where it dead ends is where you begin your tour. Suggested street parking is located along Superior Avenue between West 6th and West 9th or along West 9th or West 10th Streets. Simply walk down the hill to the meeting point. There are parking lots along Robert Lockwood Jr. Drive, south of Settler’s Landing, although these may be unattended on Sunday mornings.
Civic Center Tour
Learn about the Group plan, Old Stone Church, Veterans Memorial Plaza, the Board of Education Building, Public Auditorium, the Great Lakes Exposition of 1936 and 1937, Cuyahoga County Courthouse, the Cleveland Convention Center, the Global Center for Health Innovation and much more. Architect Daniel Burnham and Coach Paul Brown, the first coach of the Cleveland Browns, will be featured on this tour.
Street parking can be found in the surrounding area on West 3rd, Frankfort and St. Clair. There are various parking lot options near West 3rd. Upon arrival at the tour meeting location, enter Old Stone Church through the doors on Public Square.
How to Take a Hike
Show up for a tour, and enjoy! Reservations are appreciated but not necessary. (If we know to expect large numbers of attendees, we will arrange for a second tour guide to be available.) Groups of ten or more should call 216-771-1994 in advance. Donations are encouraged to help fund future tours. Tours take place rain or shine. Comfortable walking shoes are recommended. And, don’t forget to bring along your water bottle on hot days.
The parking meters downtown are free on Saturdays and Sundays. They are also free after 6 PM on weekdays. Please read all parking-related signage on streets carefully to avoid getting parking tickets, especially in construction areas.
Take a Hike is presented by Dollar Bank. Take a Hike is supported in part by the residents of Cuyahoga County through a public grant from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture. The tours also receive generous support from Ohio & Erie Canalway.
Program partners include Historic Warehouse District Development Corporation, PlayhouseSquare, Bob Zimmer of Keller Williams, Downtown Cleveland Alliance, Cleveland Magazine, Ohio Canal Corridor, and WDOK Cleveland’s New 102.
Two Special Tours
A special abbreviated lunchtime Take a Hike tour is scheduled for Thursday, May 15th at 12:30 PM as part of Downtown Cleveland Alliance’s Downtown Cleveland Employee Appreciation Week. Meet at 12:30 PM in the Arcade (401 Euclid Avenue) and “take a hike” on Euclid Avenue during your lunch hour! On this quick, half an hour tour, you will gain new insight into the Arcade, 5th Street Arcades, 668 Euclid Avenue and the 9. Limited number of spaces available on this special tour. Admission is free. RSVP to Kelly at 216-771-1994 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
A special Canal Basin Park tour is scheduled on Saturday, May 17th at 9 AM as part of River Day, which is coordinated by Friends of the Crooked River. Meet at 9 AM at Settler’s Landing RTA Station (1025 West Superior Avenue.) Learn about the settlement and growth of the city as fueled by the building of the Ohio Canal. Discover the ongoing activities to celebrate that history by recreating the historic Towpath into a Trail and by creating an anchor park at the site where the canal once poured into the Cuyahoga River. Call 216-771-1994 with questions.
Private Group Tours
If you are interested in making special arrangements for a private group tour of the Gateway District, please contact Kelly Lange. Private tours are offered for groups of twenty to forty people and last approximately one and a half hours in length in exchange for a donation of $200 to Historic Gateway Neighborhood Corporation.
Cleveland History Resources
The Cleveland Memory Project
A searchable database presented by Cleveland State University Libraries
Cleveland Public Library
Check out Cleveland books, programs, classes and more.
Cleveland Historical App
Free mobile app that puts Cleveland history at your fingertips
The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History
A joint collaboration of Case Western Reserve University and the Western Reserve Historical Society
Western Reserve Historical Society
Society that preserves and presents the history of Northeast Ohio
Audio walking tours for your iPod, MP3 player, computer or other audio device