By Plane -- Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (tel. 216/265-6030; www.clevelandairport.com) is 10 miles south of downtown. Major car-rental companies are housed at a central off-site lot; pick up the free shared shuttle bus, which stops just outside baggage claim. It's an easy 20-minute drive into the city; take I-480 to I-71 north to I-90 into downtown.
If you're not renting, the most convenient way to reach downtown from the airport is via the RTA Red Line. For $1.50 per person, the 20-minute ride will deliver you at Tower City Center, in the heart of downtown. Taxis are available outside baggage claim exit 2; expect the fare to run about $40 (plus tip) to downtown. More than 30 limousine services run between downtown hotels; with Hopkins Airport Limousine Service (tel. 800/543-9912 or 216/267-8282; www.gohopkins.com), the per-person, one-way fare runs about $65.
By Train -- Amtrak (tel. 800/USA-RAIL [872-7245]; www.amtrak.com) provides daily service from Chicago (trip time: 7 hr.), New York (12 hr.), and Washington, D.C. (11 hr.), to its downtown station, 200 Cleveland Memorial Shoreway, across from the Great Lakes Science Center (tel. 216/696-5115).
By Car -- The principal highway routes into Cleveland are I-77 from the south (Akron), I-80 or I-76 from the east (Youngstown and Pittsburgh, both connecting with I-77 north near Akron), I-90 from the northeast (Buffalo), I-71 from the southwest (Columbus), and I-80/90 from the west (Toledo). Both I-77 and I-90 will take you right into downtown Cleveland.
Contact Positively Cleveland, the new name for the Convention and Visitors Bureau of Greater Cleveland, in the historic Higbee Building, 100 Public Square, Ste. 100, Cleveland, Ohio 44113 (tel. 216/875-6600). The staff will answer your questions and can sell you discount tickets to the city's main attractions. You can even get iPod-friendly guides to the city (www.cityprowl.com).
The Cleveland + (Plus) information hot line (tel. 888/323-2787) is helpful, as is the hot line for hotel reservations and information (tel. 800/321-1004). Another useful site, especially for news and the latest sports and entertainment coverage, is the Cleveland Plain Dealer's www.cleveland.com.
Cleveland's major attractions are concentrated in two areas. Downtown is where you'll find most hotels, government buildings and corporate headquarters, the major sports arenas, and attractions such as the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Playhouse Square Center. University Circle is about 4 1/2 miles east via Euclid Avenue; this leafy district is home to Case Western University (hence the name) and most of the city's major cultural institutions. Plans are underway to link the two enclaves via a redeveloped Euclid Avenue Corridor. Public transportation (with new hybrid-electric buses), tree-lined sidewalks, retail developments, and apartments are going up as part of this $325-million urban renewal project, which celebrated the conclusion of the first phase with the completion of the "Health Line" bus route down Euclid Avenue in October 2008.
The Gateway and Warehouse districts are an easy walk from Public Square. You can also walk to North Coast Harbor and down to the east bank of the Flats (as long as you don't mind the steep slope), or take the RTA rail's Waterfront Line. You'll want to drive or take a taxi to the west bank of the Flats. Ohio City has its own RTA stop on the Red Line. (For RTA information, see directly below.)
The Greater Cleveland Rapid Transit Authority (RTA) rail system is not extensive. Visitors usually stick to the main Red Line, which travels between the airport and University Circle, with stops at downtown's Tower City Center and Ohio City, and the Waterfront Line, which connects Tower City with the Flats and North Coast Harbor. In addition, RTA buses cover five downtown loop routes from Public Square. For complete information, call the RTA Answerline at tel. 216/621-9500, or check out its website at www.gcrta.org.
You don't need a car downtown, but it's convenient to have one if you'd like to really explore. The cost of taxis will negate what you save by not renting, and a 20- or 30-minute wait for a summoned cab is common, especially on evenings and weekends. Driving is also easier than using the RTA rail system to travel between downtown and University Circle.
If you still want to use a cab, try Yellow Cab Company of Cleveland (tel. 216/623-1500) or Ace Taxi Service (tel. 216/361-4700). The flag drops at $2.25 for the first 1/6 of a mile, and $2 for each additional mile.
Emergency and urgent-care services are available at Metro Health Medical Center, 2500 MetroHealth Dr. (tel. 216/778-7700; www.metrohealth.org). The closest 24-hour pharmacy to the downtown area is the Walgreens at 117th Street and Detroit Avenue (tel. 216/227-0819), a few miles south in suburban Lakewood. Sales tax is 7.75% and hotel tax is 15.25%.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.