• Erin Zaranec

The Land that I love

Updated: Nov 13, 2018

I am a 24-year-old young professional who grew up about half an hour outside of the city. When I was younger, I constantly dreamed about the day I would "escape" my hometown and Cleveland all together. I told my parents more times than they could count that I was "going to go to college away in New York" or "if not New York, just somewhere far away from here."

I was craving something different. I wanted something that felt glamorous and more exciting. Growing up, I didn't feel like Cleveland was cool, or fun, or worth visiting. I didn't understand why or how anyone would choose to stay here.

Years later, I packed up my parents car and my big city dreams took me... two counties away. I was heading to the not-so-glamorous-but-super-comfy-and-cozy Kent State University. It's there I learned that the oh-so-glam life that some of my friends and peers seemed to lead on Instagram wasn't for me.

I needed some small businesses, some brick roads mixed in with green space, some grit mixed with glam and people who would say hello when I passed them on the street. I needed a community that was easy to navigate and presented opportunities to find your niche. I needed Cleveland.

Four years at Kent State flew by and I found myself on the job hunt. I had plenty of friends looking across the country, but I focused in on the city formerly known as the Mistake on The Lake. Because, by the time I grew up and graduated, Cleveland didn't just make sense logistically, but it was cool to live in Cleveland! I planted some roots and made the city more than just a place I live... I made it home.

And, even with its grit and green space, Cleveland is pretty damn glamorous.

Here's just some of the reasons why Cleveland is truly the Land that I love:

  • It's afforable! Yes, I know the shirt you're thinking of, but it's true... living in Cleveland is well within my budget as a young professional who is still getting on her feet. I can afford to live in an adorable duplex and still have fun on the weekends while paying my bills. I can go out to grab a great craft beer or an amazing meal without racking up a $50 tab. And, there's plenty of free or super cheap events for every interest imaginable.

  • I live within 10 minutes of downtown and a beach. I love spending time by the Lake. I always took the green space that Northeast Ohio is blessed with for granted, until I had friends who were amazed by it! I can hop on the highway and be at a Cavs game in less than 15 minutes, or I can get off at Edgewater and be on a beach of Lake Erie. In the summer, I ended plenty of my nights at the Solstice Steps of Lakewood Park and on weekends I'm constantly driving in and out of downtown. The fact that I have two totally different atmospheres available to me within minutes is amazing.

  • Cleveland is a community. I wanted to start my adult life somewhere that didn't just feel like a concrete jungle. I've always described Cleveland as a "big, little city" in the sense that it has all of the attractions of a big city, but people are still so darn friendly AND it's a city that's easy to navigate. (Hello, 15 minute 'morning rush hour') I love that Cleveland is a city where I can make a difference. I can attend forums with world-class speakers, go to world-renowned art museums and join young professional groups with a national affiliation. I can join in on a local protest or gathering, attend workshops with local creatives and actually talk to my neighbors or the cashier at the checkout without getting side eye.

  • Cleveland makes art and culture accessible. Cleveland is such a wonderful community for creatives. There's so many movers and makers in the city - as proven by events like The Cleveland Flea, Wildroots, the Ingenuity Fest and plenty of other community events. What's even better? The artists and creatives in Cleveland want to share their talent! I've been to everything from calligraphy workshops to creative writing classes led by experts in their field. Can we also talk about the Cleveland Museum of Art?! (Swoon!) We have WORLD RENOWNED ART right in our backyard. And we can see it FOR FREE! How insanely cool is that?! (Clearly I am a huge fan of the art museum... please, excuse all of the exclamation points).

  • The food. The drinks. I love all of this, but my waistline pays the price for it. Cleveland knows how to eat and eat well. Check back for a blog post on all my favorite Cleveland bites and brews.

I can't spoil all my secrets now... but there's plenty more reasons why I love my life in Cleveland. Be sure to check back for updated lists, such as my favorite bars, coffee shops, french fries, and more!


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