SPARX City Hop Promises Fun Romp Through Downtown and Surrounding Neighborhoods This Weekend

click to enlarge SPARX City Hop Promises Fun Romp Through Downtown and Surrounding Neighborhoods This Weekend
Meghan Tinker
With the days of warm weather coming to an end, are you starting to look for reasons to get outside? Well, the 13th Annual SPARX City Hop is a perfect excuse to do just that. From 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. this Saturday, Sept. 19, nearly 20,000 visitors are anticipated to participate in this year’s SPARX.

“Cleveland is the cornerstone of culture in our region, and every year SPARX enables attendees to experience our ever-evolving urban core,” says Joe Marinucci, president and CEO of Downtown Cleveland Alliance. “This year, ‘City Hoppers’ have the chance to explore Downtown and our surrounding neighborhoods that are home to unique studios, galleries and cultural institutions, from the Superior Arts District to Tremont.”

Guests can ride free, guided trolley tours to neighborhoods and districts including Ohio City, Tremont, the Gateway District, Playhouse Square, Campus District, Superior Arts District and Asia Town. You’ll have an opportunity to get out and explore each neighborhood’s galleries, nonprofits, restaurants, bars, small businesses and more.

“As Downtown Cleveland continues to attract businesses, visitors and national attention, it’s important to show that Downtown and its surrounding neighborhoods are rich in art and culture,” explains Marinucci. “SPARX is all about helping Clevelanders and visitors experience this arts and culture scene.”

To begin, stop by the main hub, located under the GE Chandelier in front of Playhouse Square. In addition to an information station, the central hub includes live music and performance art. Visitors can also explore Playhouse Square’s historic theaters through free, behind-the-scenes, guided tours.

SPARX offers three trolley routes:

City Hoppers aboard the Superior Arts District, Campus District and Asia Town route will travel to artists’ studios in both the Artcraft Building and Tower Press Building in the Superior Arts District. The Campus and Superior Arts Districts are participating in PARK(ing) Day on Superior Avenue. During this annual, worldwide event, artists, designers and community members transform parking spaces into temporary public parks with pop-up retail and live art. Additionally, Asia Town Center offers a variety of activities; including live music, live model drawing, an art competition, poetry readings and a flea market.

The Ohio City and Gateway District route includes a trip to Market Square Park for the Cleveland Bazaar, Cleveland’s longest running independent craft show (formerly known as Bizarre Bazaar). Additionally, stop by Transformer Station to explore selections from the permanent collection of the Akron Art Museum through its current exhibition, CHOICE. Live music at various stops includes performances of upbeat funk, swamp pop and Americana pre-war country blues. At the Gateway District’s 5th Street Arcade, City Hoppers will join in a pop-up sidewalk party featuring live art demonstrations and a sneak preview of this year’s IngenuityFest.

And then there’s the Tremont route. Riders land in the neighborhood whose high rent long ago forced out most of the artists and galleries who made it so popular and successful in the first place. You wouldn’t know it during SPARX City Hop, though, because the event is intentionally scheduled at the same time as the Tremont Arts and Cultural Festival. The event features fine art, handmade jewelry, food vendors and more at Lincoln Park. Musical performances include folk acoustic rock, instrumental classical violin and urban avant-garde. Aside from the retail and dining options, look for Tremont standouts, such as Doubting Thomas Gallery (856 Jefferson Ave.), House Tremont (2338 Scranton Rd.) and Steven Mastroianni’s studio gallery, Mastroianni Photography and Arts (2687 W. 14th St.).

For trolley routes, schedules and day-of-event details, visit

(SPARX City Hop)
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