Filed Under Architecture

5th Street Arcades

Cleveland's Four-Season Shopping Streets

Most people know about "The Arcade" in Cleveland. Some might be surprised, however, to find out that Downtown actually had three more of these incredible structures running parallel to each other between Euclid and Prospect Avenues. Two of them, the Colonial (1898) and Euclid (1911) Arcades, stood side by side 100 feet apart, while the Taylor Arcade (1907) was located to their east. The Taylor Arcade was subsumed into Taylor's department store in the 1930s. In contrast, the Colonial and Euclid have been connected at their midpoint by a food court since 2000. The Colonial Marketplace project also led to other renovations in and around the arcades, including the opening of a Marriott in the former Colonial Hotel on Prospect Avenue.

While Cleveland's "other" surviving arcades may lack the five-story grandeur of the original Arcade (which opened in 1890), they are still unique and impressive spaces. The sheer brightness of the Euclid Arcade, with its white marble floors, white terra cotta walls, and sky-lit white barrel-vaulted ceiling is truly something to behold. The Colonial Arcade offers a different flavor, sporting an iron and glass ceiling reminiscent of the original Arcade, as well as exquisite detailing on its balcony-level walls and fixtures.

It is difficult to imagine today just how busy these arcades were in the decades after they first opened. This was an era when people came to downtown Cleveland to shop and the arcades were made to accommodate the customers. Both the Colonial and Euclid Arcades had space for about 40 stores, including retail establishments, restaurants, places for amusement such as bowling alleys and billiard halls, and professional offices. As interior spaces located away from the street, the arcades provided an escape both from the weather and the hustle and bustle of the big city. Women in particular were said to "naturally seek them out" and spent "many a comfortable day flitting from store to store." It was remarked that in the arcades "there is no noise, except the steady hum of conversation and the swish of shoes on the pavement" and "all is clean and bright."

Today, the arcades do more than merely provide respite from Cleveland winters. Restyled the 5th Street Arcades, the old Euclid and Colonial Arcades have brought back a range of distinctive shops and eateries that contribute to downtown's revival.


Euclid Arcade, Circa 1915
Euclid Arcade, Circa 1915 This postcard captures a busy scene in the Euclid Arcade. The arcade opened in 1911 and extended one block between Euclid and Prospect avenues. The impossible juxtaposition of different sizes of patrons suggests that the creator superimposed the people into an empty space in the original photograph. This particular postcard company opted to include considerable detail in the card rather than blotting out signage. Here we see the Likly & Rockett Trunk Co., and Billiards, Bowling, Cigars, indicating a mix of retail and entertainment. Source: J. Mark Souther Postcard Collection
Colonial Hotel, ca. 1900
Colonial Hotel, ca. 1900 The Colonial Hotel opened on Prospect Avenue in 1898 in conjunction with the opening of the Colonial Arcade which connected to the hotel's main lobby. One of the finest hotels in Cleveland at the time of its opening, by the 1970s the Colonial Hotel had become rundown. In 2000, however, the hotel reopened as a Marriott Residence Inn as part of the multi-million dollar Colonial Marketplace project. This project also included the renovation and connection of the Colonial and Euclid Arcades. Source: Library of Congress Creator: Detroit Publishing Company
Colonial Arcade, 1908
Colonial Arcade, 1908 Shoppers fill a sun-lit Colonial Arcade in 1908 as a boy looks on from the second floor balcony. Source: Library of Congress
Euclid Arcade, 1961
Euclid Arcade, 1961 An automobile exhibition is held inside the Euclid Arcade in 1961. Source: Cleveland Memory Project, Cleveland State University Library Special Collections
Euclid Avenue, 1934
Euclid Avenue, 1934 A crowd gathers in front of the entrance to the Colonial Arcade on Euclid Avenue in 1934. Source: Cleveland Memory Project, Cleveland State University Library Special Collections
Colonial Arcade, Circa 1913
Colonial Arcade, Circa 1913 In this postcard view of the Colonial Arcade, circa 1913, no store or office names are visible. The removal of details was a common practice among postcard printers as they tried to create what historian Alison Isenberg has called a "unified streetscape." Clearly the unified streetscape ideal extended to interior spaces such as arcades. Source: J. Mark Souther Postcard Collection
5th Street Arcades Prospect Avenue Entrance
5th Street Arcades Prospect Avenue Entrance After many years as two separately named arcades and a stint as the combined Colonial Marketplace, the complex became known as 5th Street Arcades. Source: Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0 Creator: J. Mark Souther Date: March 30, 2017


530 Euclid Ave, Cleveland, OH 44115


Michael Rotman, “5th Street Arcades,” Cleveland Historical, accessed July 21, 2024,