Growing up in Mumbai, India, I really didn't know anything about Cleveland. I'm not sure I had ever even heard of it until I moved here for college. If you had asked me where I would have wanted to move after college, Cleveland wouldn't have registered in the Top 5, or if I'm being really honest, not even the Top 10. But then I fell in love with someone from here, who was (and still is) a passionate advocate for his hometown. He showed me all its unique qualities, and when I finally moved here 11 years ago, I very quickly fell in love with Cleveland too. So in ode to the newest Downtown Cleveland video (that features some, ummm, familiar faces), I decided to share the 5 things I love MOST about this city.
1. The people: This is such a cliche, but its true. So, a lot of Clevelanders are natives. Meaning, they grew up here, and even if they moved away, they came back. They still have close friendships from high school, and while it may seem intimidating to break into a friend circle that goes so far back, I've found that Clevelanders are some of the friendliest people I've ever met. If you don't believe me, consider this: When I moved to Cleveland, I knew 2 people other than Nick. Today, I have a huge circle of friends, including a substantial number that I met via social media!
2. Its easy to live here: Insane winter notwithstanding, it is actually really EASY to live here. My commute into work each day is a whopping 15 minutes. And this includes the time i have to wait for the bus. 95% of everything I do occurs in a 10 mile radius from my house, including places like the Art Museum and theatre. The cost of living is relatively low, and its not really difficult to have experiences that are outrageously expensive in other cities. Want to go to a major league sporting event? No problem. Plenty of tickets available under $50/each. Want season tickets? You can get them. Want tickets to a concert? You can probably get them in presale (which is basically accessible to anyone). See what I mean?
3. Its an all-season city: There's plenty of summer activities (enjoy the lake and water-related activities), but there's plenty to do the rest of the year too. Enjoy clambakes, bonfires, and apple-picking in the fall. Endless holiday parties (open to the public), Christmas concerts at The Cleveland Orchestra, The Cleveland International Film Festival, tobaggons, snow-shoeing and Jump Back Ball will fill your Winter. And springtime calls for a HUGE St. Patrick's Day celebration, road races, and the start of baseball season.
4. Culture: There's no shortage of art galleries in the City, but beyond them, we have some truly world-class cultural institutions. Both the world-renowed Cleveland Orchestra and Cleveland Museum of Art have programming designed specially for the under-40 set, but those aren't the only two cultural venues. There's MOCA, and the Western Reserve Historical Society, and the Natural History Museum just embarked on a massive renovation. And let's not forget about the Broadway shows that come here each season!
5. Its easy to give back: There are literally hundreds of non-profits in Cleveland, many of which have YP boards, which are pretty easy to join and give back. In fact, there are plenty of institutions that really need your ideas and energy. I mean, obviously, they'd love a financial contribution, but there are plenty of institutions that are not pay-to-play. And for the most part, if you're interested and motivated, you will find a Board that meets what you're looking for.
Now, back to this Downtown Cleveland video I mentioned earlier: each year, Downtown Cleveland Alliance commissions a video that celebrates all the awesome things about Cleveland. This year, I make a few appearances in it, sharing some of the things I love to do here! ENJOY!