Did you know? The design of the Arcade—one of downtown Cleveland’s greatest architectural treasures—was thought to be so daring and advanced when it was built that no local firms bid on the project. Consequently, the Arcade was built by the Detroit Bridge Company.
"I didn’t realize…" is exactly what people are saying who have attended “Take a Hike,” the Historic Gateway Neighborhood Corporation’s free, 90-minute walking tours which highlight five distinct areas of downtown Cleveland. During these tours, fun facts are joined by a knowledgeable tour guide and surprise visits from actors portraying prominent figures from Cleveland’s past.
The "Take a Hike" program originally began as informal tours led by request. With Project Support funding from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture since 2009, Historic Gateway has been able to create a program of organized tours that occur several times weekly and include actors that bring the tours to life.
Now in the fifth year of the program, more than 10,000 residents and visitors have enjoyed the "Take A Hike" experience. After taking the tour, one Illinois resident said, "it was my first trip to Cleveland…I did not expect such a clean, revitalized, friendly downtown."
Hikers, who enjoy Cleveland’s relatively flat terrain and the pace of a leisurely stroll, can experience downtown on five different tours including the Gateway District, the Warehouse District, PlayhouseSquare and the Canal Basin Park in the Flats. For the Fifth Anniversary, a special, fifth tour is added featuring Civic Center.
On the hikes, guests meet such famous characters as Paul Brown, the first coach of the Cleveland Browns, and discover the steps of Cleveland's first lighthouse on West Ninth Street in the Warehouse District.
The Take a Hike tours utilize 11 actors and actresses to portray several different roles—right downtown in the midst of everyday life. Enhanced by costumes and character studies, the actors portray people historically significant to Cleveland. Picture the first coach of the Cleveland Browns interacting with hikers with the stadium in the background—this ties together the experience of the tour and makes it memorable.
A hiker from Medina commented, "This is something we would have done in a city we were visiting like Washington D.C., Boston or Chicago. We never thought about doing it at home. We learned a lot and loved it! Our tour guide was very knowledgeable…and the surprise actors were great!"
Don’t miss out on the opportunity to Take a Hike in Cleveland—the tours run from May 15 to September 15, rain or shine. For the tour schedule, meeting locations and more information, visit clevelandgatewaydistrict.com.
Gateway District Tour - Every Thursday at 6 p.m.
Warehouse District Tour - Every Saturday at 10 a.m.
PlayhouseSquare Tour - Every Tuesday at 6 p.m.
Canal Basin Park in the Flats Tour - Every Sunday at 10 a.m.
Civic Center Tour - Every Wednesday at 6 p.m.