The Oldest Indoor Shopping Mall Is in This Ohio City

The Arcade in Cleveland
The Arcade in Cleveland | © MK Feeney / Flickr
Laura Dorwart

You can still shop at the first indoor shopping mall in the U.S. The Arcade, in Cleveland’s historic downtown district, is a 19th-century landmark and remains one of the most picturesque shopping and dining destinations in Ohio.

In 1890, the nine-story Arcade was constructed on Cleveland’s East 4th Street by the Detroit Bridge Co. and two developers, who modeled it after Milan’s famous Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. The Arcade, which was partly financed by John D. Rockefeller and other highly respected investors for $875,000 (a massive sum in the late 19th century, which would amount to around $24 million today), was the first indoor shopping mall in the U.S.

The mall quickly became a notable destination for fine dining, luxury services, and high-end shopping, and for its stunning aesthetic, complete with a sprawling 300-foot (91.4-meter) glass ceiling and skylight made of 1,800 panes of glass, two attached 10-story office towers, and gold-finished iron balconies from which shoppers could enjoy picturesque views of the lengthy, narrow floors below lined with boutiques. Accordingly, it was the first building in Cleveland to be included on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975.

The Arcade

In the latter part of the 20th century, The Arcade began to decline. Profits fell, and parts of the building started to fall into disrepair. It underwent renovations for the first time in 1939 to reinforce the building’s structure and beautify one of the entrances. Still, The Arcade began to be less of a hot spot for wealthy Cleveland locals, and many feared the domed architectural jewel would be torn down.

After a massive campaign from locals and investors who didn’t want to lose the historic architectural beauty, The Arcade underwent a $60 million renovation in 2001. Its original glass ceiling and iron railings, both of which make the building a favorite for photographers and weddings, were kept intact, and The Arcade is instantly recognizable from its earliest images.

- embed -

Today, the top floors of the Cleveland Arcade house the Hyatt Regency Cleveland, a fine hotel with a classic retro bar and 293 spacious rooms. The lower floors more closely resemble the original arcade and are home to a number of shopping and dining destinations, including an international art gallery, several boutiques and gift shops, a photography studio, and a clothing store.

Martinis, famous peanut butter hot chocolate, and a full menu of comfort food are available at the Chocolate Bar on the first floor, as is a full-service food court that features pizzas, sandwiches, and coffee for local businesspeople on lunch breaks and daily shoppers. Cleveland’s Tower City Center, another historic shopping and dining center, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame are within walking distance.

The Arcade is especially stunning at Christmas, with the banisters strung up with twinkling lights and pine garlands, and a giant Christmas tree serving as a looming centerpiece on the main floor. Still a favorite of tourists and locals alike, The Arcade makes for a perfect stop along a holiday shopping trip for photo ops and gift hunting. It’s also a relaxing day destination before a night out at the nearby House of Blues, the East 4th Entertainment District, or Playhouse Square—a theatre and arts hub.

culture trip left arrow
 culture trip brand logo

Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip

meet our Local Insider


women sitting on iceberg


2 years.


It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.


I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!

culture trip logo letter c
group posing for picture on iceberg
group posing for picture on iceberg

Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.

map of volcanic iceland trip destination points
culture trip brand logo
culture trip right arrow
landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.