Take a Hike Tours
May 16 – September 16, 2015
Take a Hike, presented by Dollar Bank, offers five, free, guided walking tours of five distinct neighborhoods in downtown Cleveland. Tours explore the Gateway District, Warehouse District, Civic Center, Playhouse Square neighborhood and Canal Basin Park in the Flats. Each tour lasts approximately one and a half hours in length and features actors and actresses portraying historic figures from Cleveland’s past. 17,815 people have enjoyed “taking a hike” during the last six 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 2014, the Take a Hike program was recognized with a Dominion Community Impact Award, and in 2013, the program was awarded an International Downtown Association Merit Award.
Take a Hike Tour Descriptions
Gateway District Tour
Learn about the Gateway District’s incredible architecture, such as The Arcade and the 5th Street Arcades, the East 4th Street Entertainment District, historic dime stores, such as Woolworth’s and Kresge’s, the story of Rose’s Folly, the coming NuCLEus project and more. Mayor Tom Johnson, Congresswoman Frances Payne Bolton or inventor Garrett Morgan may drop in for a visit along the way. You may wish to visit one of the Gateway District’s fabulous restaurants before or after your tour.
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. Learn about the latest Warehouse District projects, such as Small Box, a marketplace of retail shops made from converted shipping containers. 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. Plan to stay for lunch after your tour at one of the Warehouse District’s renowned dining establishments.
Convenient street parking and parking lots are available along West 9th Street and West 10th Street. Please note that construction on Public Square and St. Clair will impact metered parking on West 6th and St. Clair.
Playhouse Square Tour
Known for being the second largest performing arts center in the country, Playhouse Square 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, the awe-inspiring Dazzle the District project and the historic Statler Hotel. Visitors may enjoy special guest appearances by deejay Alan Freed or “Mr. First Nighter” Milton Krantz. See the Playhouse Square neighborhood with new eyes as you gain insight into its past, present and future on this outdoor tour.
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, beautiful 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.
Make plans to enjoy lunch after your tour at a nearby restaurant, or stay for a Lorenzo Carter Cabin Open House on select dates – June 14th, June 28th, July 12th, July 19th, August 16th, August 30th and September 13th. The Cabin will be open from 11:30 AM to 12:30 PM on those seven dates For more information about Cabin activities, call 216-206-1000.
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 Old Stone Church, Veterans Memorial Plaza, the Group Plan, the Board of Education Building, Public Auditorium, 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 near 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. Please note that Public Square is currently under construction. For information about traffic routes and detours, click here.
How to Take a Hike
Show up for a tour, and enjoy! Reservations are appreciated. (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 match the program’s grants. 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. The program 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 and Downtown Cleveland Alliance.
Program partners include Historic Warehouse District Development Corporation, PlayhouseSquare, Bob Zimmer of Keller Williams, Canalway Partners and Cleveland Magazine.
Did someone go above and beyond to make your Downtown Cleveland experience phenomenal? Consider nominating a member of the Hospitality Community (tour guide, restaurant server, hotel staff, etc.) for a Destination Cleveland Hospitality Star Award. The nomination form can be found here.
If you would like to make a donation to Historic Gateway Neighborhood Corporation’s Take a Hike program from the comfort of home, please make your check payable to Historic Gateway Neighborhood Corporation, and mail to 1010 Euclid Avenue, Suite 300, Cleveland, Ohio 44115. Historic Gateway Neighborhood Corporation is a non-profit community development corporation. Thank you in advance for supporting this valuable Heritage Tourism program!
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