Cleveland's earliest settlers chose this area for their cabins, but the swampy lowlands along the Cuyahoga River caused so much illness that most soon migrated to higher ground. The Flats ultimately were left to commerce and industry. In the 1970s and 1980s, the area enjoyed a new vitality as nightclubs and restaurants sprouted up. The Flats has crested from its peak of entertainment dominance in the 1990s, but it's still one of Cleveland's primary entertainment districts.
The area is home to a few dozen bars and restaurants, several marinas, an outdoor amphitheater, pleasure cruise outfits, and boardwalks and patios along the riverfront.