Oftentimes, I take my lunch at the Galleria at Erieview, on W. 9th and St. Clair in downtown Cleveland. As I work second shift, my lunch often falls around 4 or 5 pm, and I can catch the tail end of food court shops before they close. My personal favorite is the Greek place, Flaming Gyros. I might be reaching here, but Flaming has the best gyros and the best lunch deal in town: 1 gyro; fries; pop - $6.
The cheap lunch is one benefit. The other is the serenity of a near dead mall. After researching a tad, I found that the Galleria had it's heyday in the late '80's (it was built in 1987) and early '90's, when it actually functioned as a shopping destination for suburbanites. The multiple, offset glass barrel vaults add a level of class to the place, as well as a reference to the system of arcades that connect Superior to Prospect.
The Galleria has definitely seen better days. On a weekday at 5 pm the place is virtually deserted. The only sound is the constant hum of HVAC and the occasional cough from a person at the other end of the mall. At this time, most shops are closed, closing, or never actually close -- the Galleria has lots of gallery spaces, the gates of which never seem to come down. My personal favorite is the Friends of the Cleveland Huletts. The organization has a small corner shop on the upper level that displays pictures of various huletts and their idea to move the huletts to the lake shore near the Rock Hall. I recommend checking out their scale model of the plan. The Huletts' friends have excellent model craft.
A smattering of offices have taken residence in the section of the mall closer to the Erieview Tower. Walking past, I havae considered entering into one of the design offices -- particularly StudioTh!nk -- but decided against it, for it may be awkward. I find the occupation of former retail space with office space quite interesting. I am trying to get my friends at POST to lease a storefront in the Galleria and for use as a makeshift office. A vacant food stand with red and black checkered tiles would be great for their needs.
More than anything, I appreciate the Galleria because it provides a quiet respite from the city outside. I understand that quietness and desolation is at a premium in Cleveland. But as far as a place to go downtown, to consider Cleveland's more recent history, and to explore one of its forgotten nooks, come to the Galleria.