- Alex Kolesar
Pros and cons of Shaker Heights Ohio
Shaker Heights is a hyper planned community located 8 miles southeast of downtown Cleveland and was founded back in 1911 by the Van Sweringen brothers. In this article, I will be discussing the pros and cons of what it is like living right here in Shaker Heights Ohio. I will cover things to do, diversity, food, taxes, cost of living, and much more!
Pro #1 - Shaker Heights has a ton of stuff to do!
Van Aken District
The first place that I highly recommend checking out is the Van Aken district which is actually Shaker's downtown. The Van Aken district, which cost around $100 Million, is an upscale, modern place, that’s super fun and perfect for hanging out with friends and family. They have everything from gourmet pizzas to sushi, craft beer to specialty coffee, and an outdoor patio that stretch 21,000 square feet!
"William J. Van Aken was Shaker Heights first Mayor!"
Now, if you head all the way over to the west side of Shaker Heights, you also have Shaker Square which was actually designed by the founders of Shaker Heights, the Van Sweringen brothers. This is the oldest shopping center in Ohio built in 1927 - 1929! This is a busy shopping center that offers a bunch of shopping and restaurants. It was originally laid out as a traffic circle, but to accommodate parking, the circle was later changed into an octagon.
Now back over to the Van Aken District, right across the street you have an amazing rock climbing facility. This is the closest rock climbing facility around, others are located in or near downtown Cleveland. I’ve been here a few times and Fox 8 News, Kickin' it with Kenny, actually did a special on it.
Right down the street from Shaker Rocks, you also have Thornton Park which offers a lot to the community. There are so many ways to enjoy being outside any time of year. In the cold snowy months, residents catch chilly thrills on the sledding hills or, head indoors to the indoor ice skating rink. When the temperatures rise, batting cages, volleyball, tennis, basketball and even a skatepark is available!
Golf- Shaker Heights Country Club
Golf in Ohio is huge because it gives us an excuse to get out the house and enjoy the beautiful summers that Ohio has to offer. The Shaker Heights Country Club is a family-oriented country club located just east of Shaker Square, in the heart of historic Shaker Heights.
A championship 18-hole course designed by the legendary Donald Ross awaits. The golf facility includes a driving range, putting green and two chipping areas. There is also a 6-lane, 25-meter pool with diving board, a state-of-the-art fitness center, and an outdoor bar.
Pro #2 - Diversity
Shaker is a very diverse community and is actually ranked as the #6 most diverse city in the Cleveland area with 70% of the residents saying diversity is the one phrase that describes Shaker Heights. You’re gonna see different people from all walks of life here. Diversity not only allows different kinds of people to come together, but it also brings in various functions into a city, consequently enhancing globalization. In my opinion, where the diversity really shows is in the local food.
Pro #3 - Food
YESSSSS! I am a foodie and Shaker Heights has amazing food and tons of options. My favorite thing about the food scene is the diversity. Of course you have your big chain restaurants, but where Shaker really shines in the food culture.
Lebanese - Boaz Fresh Lebanese
Mediterranean - Brassica
Hungarian - Balaton
Brazilian - Batuqui
Indian - Saffron patch
I could go on and on about all the different places that Shaker has to eat. If you want to check out other places to eat at in Shaker, click here.
Pro #4 - Best town to Raise a Family
Shaker Heights Wins “Best town to Raise a Family” in 2020 parent choice awards. The neighborhoods are super walkable, exceptional schools, tons of parks, and in my opinion, the perfect mix of suburban and urban living. On the main road, it’s going to be busy. Tons of traffic and it's loud so you feel like you’re in a big city. Then you hop onto a side street and you have nice and quiet neighborhood. The difference is night and day!
Con #1- Not a Ton of Business in Shaker Heights
You have your mom and pop shops, restaurants, shopping plazas and even a Cleveland Clinic hospital, which is nice to have in your back yard, but there are no large business and this means a lot of people have to commute to jobs located in other cities. The average work commute in Shaker is 25 minutes which means most people are traveling to Cleveland for work. In addition to that, having large business presence in a city really helps pay a significant portion of the local taxes. If the city is not able to gain revenue through taxing the large businesses, unfortunately that money has to come from somewhere....
Con #2 - Cost of Living
Shaker does have the second most expensive tax rate in all of the Cleveland Metro at 4.01%, just behind Cleveland heights Ohio. Cleveland Tax Rate. If you don't know, thats high! Id say the average property tax rate here in Northeast Ohio is around 2%-2.5%.
The Average home in shaker is around $250,000 which is slightly above the national average. Shaker does have 9 different district to live in with all of them varying in price. Seems like everything in Shaker Heights is diverse, from the people, to the restaurants, down to the housing market.
The cheapest homes to buy are the condos, the cheapest one that sold for $7,000! Of course, you get what you pay for. The cheapest area is Moreland with an average price of $72,000 and the most expensive is Malvern with an average price of $512,000. In the cheaper areas, a lot of the homes are colonials stacked on top of each other so you don't get much breathing room between you and your neighbors. In the more expensive areas, homes are going to be 2,500+ square feet on at least half an acre. So the cost of living in Shaker is definitely a little more expensive.
Con #3 - Traffic
Shaker isn’t a huge city but its densely populated with 27,000 residents. Now the one thing that pretty unique about Shaker is that you’ll notice along Streets like Van Aken, Shaker Blvd, Moreland Blvd and Warrensville center rd, is that there are these huge apartment complexes and condo that tower over the streets. This makes the streets feel claustrophobic.
Because there is so much traffic, most of the main streets are one ways and you also share the roads with the RTA train as well. In Shaker, there isn't any overnight parking from 2am - 6am, but during the day, the streets are full of parked cars that you have to avoid. My first time to the city I got a little lost and overwhelmed. There are people walking everywhere, cars flying around me, and then you got a train that you have to worry about! Like any big city though, you’ll get used to it, just be safe and read the street signs.
Con #4 - Crime
Is Shaker Heights Dangerous?! Like all big cities, you're going to have your good and bad areas. You know the saying, "once you cross over the rail road tracks" you’re in a different neighborhood? Here in Shaker, that term isn't entirely true, but it does hold some weight. You have the blue line that runs along Van Aken and according to this crime map, the most dangerous areas are found below the RTA blue line tracks.
If you’re curious on looking up this crime information on your own, click here. The crime map is updated weekly!
Shaker Heights is a gorgeous city with a ton of character, you can see it in the buildings driving down the street. There are plenty of family friendly places and events and you are a 20 minute drive to almost anything you need. If you have any questions, make sure you reach out to me so I can help find you that perfect place to call home!