Cleveland May 20, 2019
9 Underrated Suburbs Around Cleveland That Deserve A Second Look
If you’re a longtime Clevelander, you may have noticed changes throughout the area’s suburbs in the recent past. Parks have flourished, museums grow more cherished, and an emphasis on local ingredients has popped up in eateries throughout the region. There’s now an artistic flair in many previously-uninspired communities and neighborhoods, and entire streets have enjoyed architectural revitalization and restoration. These towns and suburbs are lovely places to call home, but they’ve also become unbelievably welcoming to visitors. Plan to take a day trip or two, because these nine communities demand a visit as soon as possible.
1. Chagrin Falls, Cuyahoga County
This village is one of the tiniest suburbs near Cleveland and is home to around 4,000 residents (the nearby Chagrin Falls Township also hosts about 4,000 residents). This historic community is cherished for its New England-style charm, and, of course, its
at the center of the village. Snack on goodies at the local
or explore neighborhood restaurants... either way, you just may fall in love with this petite community.
2. Amherst, Lorain County
Though this community is only 28 miles outside of Cleveland, it almost feels worlds away. Its 12,000 residents know that their city is the historic Sandstone Center of the World, having once hosted nine sandstone quarries at the peak of production. Its charming Main Street sees plenty of pedestrian traffic thanks to its old school atmosphere, and local attractions like Hillcrest Orchard Fun Farm offer tons of seasonal fun.
3. Westlake, Cuyahoga County
Westlake is a mere 12 miles from Cleveland, and its proximity to the city is what attracts many of its 33,000 residents. This community was known as Dover Village prior to 1940, and the Village of Westlake went on to achieve city status in 1957. You can explore local culture via the Clague House Museum or Clague Playhouse, or you can taste a bit of history in a tavern or two that once served as speakeasies. Crocker Park contrasts brilliantly with the landscape of Bradley Woods Reservation, and there is truly something in this community for everyone.
4. Sheffield Lake, Lorain County
This city is rather petite in terms of both its population and its land. Roughly 9,000 residents are spread across 2.5 square miles, leaving plenty of space for a multitude of parks, including Sheffield Beach and Shell Cove Park. This vibrant community offers air-conditioned attractions as well, ranging from restaurants to a civil war museum.
5. Bedford, Cuyahoga County
The lovely landscape of Bedford includes many hidden surprises. This community of 13,000 is close to Cleveland's edge, but some of its most treasured attraction exist in the wilderness of Bedford Reservation. While the history of areas around Broadway Avenue are fascinating (as this road follows the town's former stagecoach route), Bedford Reservation's Great Falls of Tinker’s Creek boasts both beauty and history alike.
6. Grafton, Lorain County
Nestled along the East Branch of the Black River is a petite village that's overflowing with charm. The stunning Immaculate Conception Church was built in the midst of the Civil War, and cafes and neighborhood diners ensure that visitors will never go hungry. This community is the perfect place to take part in a session of
play a round of paint ball
7. Mentor, Lake County
Mentor has grown into a fairly bustling city of more than 47,000 residents, but it has maintained something of a small-town feel. The community was settled before Ohio was a state, but Mentor wasn't formally established until 1855. Interestingly, when Lake County was founded just 15 years earlier, it was known as Ohio's tiniest county. It was these humble beginnings that would go on to produce notable residents like President James A. Garfield and many professional athletes. This community is particularly famous for the breathtaking Mentor Marsh, a National Natural Landmark and treasured birding site.
8. Brecksville, Cuyahoga County
Brecksville gained city status fairly recently in 1960, though its first surveyors arrived around 1807. A notable chunk of its nearly 14,000 residents lives in neighborhoods tucked against Brecksville Reservation, Cuyahoga Valley National Park, or the Cuyahoga River. This community abounds with natural splendor and has been recognized as one of the best communities in the nation to raise a family in. Whether you're catching a performance by the Brecksville Theatre group or dining at one of the area's many restaurants, you just may fall in love with this scenic community.
9. Elyria, Lorain County
For being a busy county seat, Elyria has surprisingly humble roots. It started its life as a village with simple structures like log cabins and gristmills. Elyria clung to the Western Reserve tradition of honoring Greek classicism in its name, and it attracted new residents for years to come. While the community hit hard times in the 2000s, Downtown Elyria and many neighborhoods are enjoying revitalization thanks to efforts of groups like Main Street Elyria. Natural features like the falls of Cascade Park continue to attract visitors to Elyria today.
Cleveland’s suburbs are ever-changing, but these communities grow more darling year by year. Which of these pretty places is your favorite?
Want to explore Northeast Ohio’s more rural communities? Check out these
breathtaking countryside communities near Cleveland.