Cleveland

Downtown Cleveland by CC user springfieldhomer on Flickr

Introduction

Sitting on the southern shore of Lake Erie, Cleveland is Ohio‘s largest city and despite the challenges that it has faced in the past in relation of the trend of deindustrialization, this center has bounced back considerably since the bad old days of a generation ago.

The last two decades has seen a gradual but steady movement towards revitalization in the Cleveland area, which has made it far more appealing to the average traveler. Immigration during the region’s heyday has gifted the population with cultural diversity that is less common than in other cities in the area, and with massive entrenched wealth from this era still relatively intact, it has funded culture that ranks among the top five in terms of institutions per capita.

Whether you idolize the rock stars that are honored in this music loving metropolis, love a good stage show, or are dying to taste the culinary treats of the countless ethnicities that proudly maintain the food of their home country to this day, you’ll find it in the city by the lake.

Cleveland Playhouse Square by CC user edrost88 on Flickr

Cultural Experiences

No visitor to the Cleveland area should leave without checking out the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Being a city that has long embraced this form of music since its inception more than seventy years ago, the entire area rallied around the cause of getting this temple of rock and roll built here, and in 1995, the museum opened to the general public.

The Hall honors musicians that have defined and redefined the genre through time, from Elvis Presley to the Rolling Stones to U2 and beyond. A variety of temporary exhibits focus on different topics, but a permanent exhibit worth seeing is the “The Songs That Changed Rock and Roll”, which tracks the tunes that forever influenced and changed how artists thereafter created their music.

Enthusiasts of live theater should make the effort to take in a show at Playhouse Square. A fact that many people outside the Northeastern Ohio area don’t know is that this complex of performance spaces is the largest concentration of its kind outside New York City.

As such, this cluster of theaters is one of the few in the nation that can support a touring Broadway production, so if your itinerary missed NYC for some reason, or if you balked at the prices there, here’s your mulligan.

If pretty pictures and sculptures pique your interest, include the Cleveland Museum of Art in your exploration of Cleveland. The aspect that puts this place apart from similar institutions in the region is its impressive holdings of Egyptian and Asian art.

While these categories stand out, the pieces found here are of high quality, and are added to on a regular basis, as this gallery has one of the biggest endowments backing it in the entire country … $600 million dollars in reserve will do that!

West Side Market by CC user theclevelandkid24 on Flickr

Other Attractions

Lovers of animals will want to saunter through the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo at some point in their stay. They have the biggest collection of primates of any zoo in North America, with Monkey Island (their custom habitat) allowing for an open-range environment that allows them to live with as low as a stress level as possible. Six zones with dramatically different ecosystems and animals can be found here, making it an excellent place to go if you are traveling with kids.

Foodies will want to make a beeline for the West Side Market, a haven of artisanal foods that will delight many in this group. The fertile farmland present throughout the Ohioan countryside supplies the shelves here with fresh and high quality produce and meats, and the culinary treats from vendors of Italian, Greek, Polish, Middle Eastern, and Russian descent among others will leave you thoroughly satisfied.

Those that adore the holiday season are in for a treat in Cleveland, as the home that served as the residence of Ralphie Parker in the classic Christmas film, A Christmas Story. The Christmas Story House is now a museum that features props form the movie, and interiors that match the way it was when the film was shot all those years ago.

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