We invite you to explore the Harbor and Bridge Street where you’ll find a unique combination of history, great dining, gathering spots, shopping, recreation, and iconic sights like the one-hundred-year-old Lift Bridge.
BOOM TO BUST … In the late 1880s Ashtabula Harbor was one of the busiest ports in the world with thousands of immigrants from Scandinavia and Western Europe unloading ships of iron ore heading for the mills in Youngstown and Pittsburgh. Bridge Street was filled with bars and brothels and earned the reputation, along with Calcutta and Shanghai, as one of the three roughest ports in the world!
By the early 20th Century, automation had largely replaced manual labor and the Harbor had gone from Boom to Bust. During the next one hundred years, the Harbor and Bridge Street slowly but inexorably slid downward.
BOOMING AGAIN … Early in this century, new stores and restaurants began to appear on Bridge Street. A community organization was formed that adopted a mission to become a regional destination for tourism, recreation, and entertainment. Bridge Street, at the confluence of the Ashtabula River and Lake Erie now offers a collection of restaurants, shops and experiences that is unequaled in Northeast Ohio.
Our restaurants range from fine dining to casual family fare. A Cleveland food critic wrote that the Harbor has the best dining between Cleveland and Erie. All restaurants are owner-operated; no chains. All of the shops on Bridge Street – clothing, art gallery, gifts and wine, homemade chocolates and ice cream, popcorn, antiques and wood crafting, and more – are owner-operated, no chains. Most are housed in 1880 buildings.
As you stroll along Bridge Street, check out the plaques on each of the buildings which detail the history of the building.
Bring your bathing suit and rent a kayak or water bike from Harbor Yak. Or enjoy the two nearby beaches. Or rent a charter boat for some of the best walleye and perch fishing in the U.S.A.
Take the steps or drive to Point Park to watch the huge Great Lakes freighters unload or pick up their cargo.
THERE’S SOMETHING FOR EVERYBODY ON BRIDGE STREET.
ENJOY YOUR EXPERIENCE!