Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (CLE) is 10 miles from downtown, but feels closer because of its accessibility off Interstate 71. Unlike many larger city airports, Cleveland Hopkins is user-friendly. You can literally fly in, pick up a rental car and be downtown at your destination in a little over an hour. The Red Line of the RTA metro system will get you to Tower City, a major transportation hub in downtown Cleveland, in 30 minutes. Trains go approximately every 20 minutes from 4AM to 1AM the next morning. The fare is a bargain: $2.25 each way. Ten airlines use CLE, including Delta, Southwest, United and Air Canada. Burke Lakefront Airport is downtown, but it’s used mostly for corporate travel. A taxi from the airport to Downtown will run approximately $25.
The Amtrak station is conveniently located downtown near Burke Lakefront Airport and the RTA stop near the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. That’s the good news. The bad news is the infrequency of connections and the hours Amtrak goes through Cleveland. The Lake Shore Limited passes through on its route between Chicago and New York City. The Capitol Limited stops on its route between Chicago and Washington, D.C. The departure and arrival times are in the wee hours of the morning—before 6AM.
The RTA rapid train system is a quick and convenient way to get the most out of Cleveland. Once you’ve arrived in a neighborhood, you can walk or switch to the bus, also operated by the RTA. There are five lines that have well-placed stations, and the Tower City station is the hub for all rapid-transit lines.
● The Red Line runs between Cleveland Hopkins International Airport and the Louis Stokes/Woodmere Station on the east side of Cleveland. Take this line for Ohio City, Tower City/Public Square and University Circle.
● The Green Line starts at Tower City. Take this line to get to Coventry.
● The Waterfront Line goes from Tower City to South Harbor. Take this one for The Flats, North Coast Harbor (Rock and Roll Hall of Fame) and Amtrak. The Amtrak stop is by request only.
● Buses operate throughout the Greater Cleveland area and reach locations that the rapid transit doesn’t. The fare is the same as the RTAs and you can get a transfer to go between them. The BRT Healthline is a special RTA bus line that goes along the Euclid Corridor between Public Square and Louis Stokes/Woodmere Station. There are 58 stops along the way, which will get you near many places you’d like to go. Each well-lighted stop has seating and fare vending machines.
The Trolleys: Also operated by RTA, trolleys are the least-expensive downtown travel option. They’re free. There are two bus loop options. Each runs from 7AM to 7PM.
● E-Line goes to the Warehouse District, Public Square, Tower City, Fourth Street and PlayhouseSquare.
● B-Line goes mostly through the business district, but the City Hall stop will get you within a couple of blocks of North Coast Harbor and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.