Neighborhood Series: Shaker Square, Shaker Heights and Larchmere

While these are three separate neighborhoods, they are only a block apart and, in a recent visit, I picked up a free newspaper where the three places are lumped together and called Shaker Square Area. Larchmere and Shaker Square are in Cleveland. Shaker Heights is a town onto itself.

The name Shaker came from the United Society of Believers (commonly known as Shakers) because they previously owned the land.

These are established neighborhoods that are up in the “heights” (Shaker Heights is a whopping 1050 feet above sea level). In fact the Rapid Transit has a train route that goes right through Shaker Square and Shaker Heights. Back in the day, Cleveland elite would board the train with their briefcases and wingtips and travel to their offices downtown.  The Rapid is still popular but the people using it now might be staffing restaurants, aides in hospitals, or college students.Shaker Area

If you want restaurants, you’ll head to Shaker Square. I walked around the square and passed at least seven places to eat but only one dress shop. So you can feast at a wonderful place like Fire, then walk past Dave’s Supermarket and go to the movie at Shaker Square Cinemas.  In the blocks radiating from the Square are multi story apartment buildings. Further out will be the bigger houses that line South Park and North Park and other tree lined streets.

Loganberry Books

Loganberry Books

For shopping, you can walk to Larchmere. In my opinion, the best bookstore in Cleveland is there.  Mainly I like Loganberry Books because of its gracious atmosphere and extensive art book and children’s book section.

I also like to shop for clothing at The Dancing Sheep and even look at antiques (gasp) in the stores that line this street.  One shop has lots of yarn for knitters. Another restores old doors and other furnishings. There are a few tired spots to eat on Larchmere but I would say they are unremarkable at best, except perhaps, Big Al’s for breakfast.

Everyone in Cleveland has been to these neighborhoods or at the very least driven through Shaker Square. They have their own events such as the Garlic Festival with grill-off competitions and music. Larchmere often has sidewalk sales and their Porch Fest.

Van Sweringen House

Van Sweringen House

The surprise is that in the midst of all this urban-ness is a quiet green space in Shaker Heights. Take the walking tour in Cleveland On Foot and you’ll pass little lakes along Doan Brook, overhanging trees, and quiet paths. Then you’ll emerge to view elegant houses built in the early 1900’s such as that of the Van Sweringen brothers of the Terminal Tower fame who laid out the plan for Shaker Heights.

Take a day to explore the Shaker Square area.  It’s another Cleveland gem.