How Ohio City Became Cleveland's Favorite Neighborhood

| © Erik Drost / Flickr
Laura Dorwart

Ohio City, just west of the Cuyahoga River, is one of Cleveland’s oldest neighborhoods. Home to local foodie mainstay West Side Market, a six-acre urban farm, and Ohio’s oldest microbrewery, Ohio City is quickly becoming a favorite area among Clevelanders for shopping, dining, and urban living.

Ohio City was established on Cleveland’s west side in the mid-1800s. The famous West Side Market, Cleveland’s oldest food market still in operation, was built in 1912. West Side Market is still abuzz with energy nearly every day of the week, as produce, meats, cheeses, baked goods, and prepared foods from every corner of Cleveland’s diverse immigrant population are served up to the eager public. Meanwhile, the nearby Ohio City Farm, a six-acre working urban farm, provides healthy produce to locals at affordable prices.

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In the past decade, Ohio City has seen an enormous amount of growth, in large part due to its legacy as Cleveland’s brewery epicenter. Ohio’s oldest microbrewery, Great Lakes Brewing Company, has its flagship location in Ohio City, across the street from the Ohio City Farm. Great Lakes Brewing Company is known regionally for its famous Christmas ale, but locals also love to visit the brewpub to sip on their many other craft beers and snack on cheese fondue, pepper steak, and BBQ deviled eggs.

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Another Ohio City brewery, the Market Garden Brewery, has made a major name for itself for its innovative craft beers and happening beer garden. Best known for its organic Citramax IPA and award-winning Progress Pilsner, the Market Garden Brewery is open for tours and tastings all year round. They also serve upscale bar favorites and Ohio-inspired dishes such as cheddar and pierogies and lobster mac and cheese.

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Other foodie favorites in Ohio City include the Black Pig, a hotspot offering creative takes on European-inspired American cuisine and three-course tasting sessions, and Heck’s Cafe, a favorite for New American dining, handspun milkshakes, and social gatherings inside a picturesque brick townhouse. For a laid-back atmosphere or an extra-fun date night, try the Tabletop Board Game Cafe, where you can enjoy food and drinks, along with unlimited access to hundreds of board games for just $5.

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Sweets are also an Ohio City mainstay, with artisanal European pastries on sale at Farkas Pastry Shoppe. The menu at Farkas includes Hungarian and Austrian traditional desserts like buttercream tortes and nut rolls, as well as elegant Farkas originals such as chocolate rum squares and mocha mousse cups. Both vegan and traditional dairy ice cream are on offer at Mason’s Creamery. You can’t go wrong with local flavors like Cleveland whiskey, seasonal flavors including caramel apple and peppermint tree bark, and unique tastes such as lemon ginger and Ugandan vanilla.

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Ohio City isn’t all about food and booze, though. Urban explorers also buy well-priced new and used books at Horizontal Books on West 25th St., take in local and national music acts at BOP STOP with a view of Lake Erie, puzzle through an escape room at Perplexity Games, find affordable yoga practice and massage at Vision Yoga, experience glass-blowing classes and art displays at the Glass Bubble Project, and browse for vintage and contemporary clothing at Wild Cactus Boutique.

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