Sitting on the shores of Lake Erie, Cleveland is about as Midwest as Midwest gets. Part of a cluster that includes Akron, Youngstown, Canton and Toledo, Cleveland is no longer Ohio's biggest city (a distinction that now belongs to Columbus), but it is Ohio's center of culture and activity.
It is hard to imagine many places in the world having undergone the type of face-lift Cleveland experienced over a 15-year period. From the 1980s to the mid-1990s, the dirty, damp and dingy steel town was transformed into a shiny new lakeside spectacle. A skyline once filled with smokestacks now boasts glowing towers, shiny stadiums and a host of modern museums and shopping centers.
Located down the hill from downtown on the very near-west side of the city, the Flats has been reborn with the rest of the city. The clean-up of the once-burning Cuyahoga River has coincided with the emergence of this entertainment district. Highlighted by such establishments as
Centered around the prestigious Case Western Reserve University, this enclave about 4 miles east of downtown is a haven for museum-goers, as well as those looking for quaint shops and cozy eateries. Home to no fewer than nine museums, including
One of the oldest neighborhoods in the Cleveland area, Ohio City was originally settled by German and Irish immigrants. Today, it's home to more than 15 ethnic groups, making it the most ethnically diverse neighborhood in the city. This was also the birthplace of football legend John Heismann. Ohio City also includes the Market Square District and the
Located about five miles from Lake Erie, directly south of downtown, Tremont is populated by mostly Greek families. This area treats you to some of the best views of downtown Cleveland and the Flats. Enjoy a show at the
East Side and West Side
Such "new" suburbs as Westlake, Rocky River, Bay Village, Strongsville and Middleburg Heights represent a good portion of the population that left Cleveland but did not go very far. This booming area continues to grow, with the sprawl continuing as far west as Vermilion and beyond and as far south as Medina. Cleveland Heights, Shaker Heights, Newburg Heights, Maple Heights, Cuyahoga Heights and Garfield Heights highlight an area of ethnically diverse communities. Newer "burbs" such as Solon, Brecksville and Sagamore Hills bridge the gap between Cleveland and Akron, which sits about 25 miles to the south. Travel east or west from downtown and you will find the signs of urban flight: strip malls, fast food stores and every other chain retailer imaginable.
Cleveland offers a wealth of different options for day tours, with everything from the serene Voinovich Park to the Cleveland Museum of Art, there is something that will interest everyone.
Great Lakes Science Center
Tour Voinovich Park, which is located near the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum and the Great Lakes Science Center, one of the largest interactive museums in the country. Dine at the local favorite, John Q's Steakhouse, then check out the contemporary artwork at 1300/Third Gallery.
North Coast Harbor
The waterfront area at North Coast Harbor offers many restaurants, like Crop Bistro & Bar, and cultural attractions, like the Steamship William G. Mather Museum. Set sail from Battery Park Marina, or enjoy the nightlife at nearby Whiskey Island Marina.
Cleveland Museum of Art
The University Circle district is home to the Cleveland Institute of Art and the Cleveland Museum of Art, which holds over 30,000 pieces from around the globe. Nearby is the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, where you can examine ancient fossils, then stop at Nighttown for a hearty meal.
Tower City Center
Browse the shops at the Tower City Center, observe Terminal Tower, Cleveland's most recognizable building, then grab lunch at David's at Key Tower. Then head to Playhouse Square and see a show at one of its many theaters, like the Palace Theatre and the State Theatre. After the show, have dinner at Lola's Bistro.
Enjoy the beautiful architecture at the Cleveland Public Library and admire the turn-of-the-century Old Stone Church. After lunch at Teahouse Noodles, do some shopping at The Arcade. Rest your weary legs and relax with a nice dinner at Johnny's Downtown.
It's always a good idea to consult a professional tour company to help plan your trip. Cast off a cruise ship, see the countryside on a train or tour downtown on the back of a trolley, the choice is yours.
Amish Country Tours:
Ridgeview Country Tours (+1 440 693 4000)
Country Coach Adventures (+1 877 359 5282/ http://www.amishadventures.com/)
Electric Transport, LLC (+1 216 394 0095/ http://www.electrictransportllc.com/segway_tours.htm)
Cuyahoga Scenic Railroad (+1 800 468 4070/ http://www.cvsr.com/)
Nautica Queen Cruise (+1 216 696 8888/ http://www.nauticaqueen.com/)
Discovery Dive (+1 216 481 5771/ http://www.discoverydive.com/)
Goodtime III Tours (+1 216 861 5110/ http://www.goodtimeiii.com/cms)
Trolley Tours of Cleveland (+1 216 771 4484/ http://www.lollytrolley.com/)
Historical and Sightseeing Tours:
Underground Railroad Tour (+1 440 245 5282/ http://www.lcvb.org/)
Discovery Tours (+1 216 531 8884/ firstname.lastname@example.org/ http://www.positivelycleveland.com/group_travel/group_packages/)
Special Interest Tours:
Haunted Cleveland (+1 216 251 0406/ http://www.hauntedcleveland.net)
Big League Tours (+1 866 619 1748/ http://www.bigleaguetours.com)
Downtown Cleveland has become a prime area for development, business, and of course, hotels. The downtown skyline has changed dramatically with the addition of skyscrapers touting big business, the largest of which is the Key Tower.
At the foot of the Tower, just off Public Square, sits the chic Cleveland Marriott Downtown at Key Center. The Marriott is just one of numerous upscale establishments within a short walk of Tower City Center, which is located atop Cleveland's main train terminal, a mere 15-minute train ride from Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. Other choices in the immediate vicinity include the luxurious Hyatt Regency Cleveland at The Arcade, Embassy Suites on 12th Street and the Hampton Inn Downtown.
Those in town for a ballgame or concert at Progressive Field or Quicken Loans Arena will find the Radisson Hotel at Gateway very convenient. The Renaissance Cleveland Hotel at Tower City Center is also near the arena, as is the Ritz-Carlton. Play-goers will find they can enjoy luxurious accommodations at the Wyndham Cleveland Hotel at Playhouse Square. Those not wanting to venture far from the airport need not worry. As with any good international airport, Hopkins is surrounded by hotels, such as the Marriott Cleveland Airport.
Cleveland has a wealth of cozy bed-and breakfasts to choose from. Closer to downtown, folks can sleep and eat at the Brownstone Inn, Clifford House, and Stone Gables.
Sheraton Airport Hotel Cleveland and Radisson Hotel Cleveland Airport are the top selections for travelers who want to stay just a short shuttle ride from the airport. Another good option is the deluxe Marriott Cleveland Airport, notable for its lush golf course and on-site restaurants.
Outside the City
Out in the suburbs, along with the standard chains, are several above-average places to lodge. On the east side is Embassy Suites. About 25 miles due east of Cleveland is the Punderson Manor State Park Resort and Conference Center, which includes several different lodging options, from rooms in the Manor House to cottages for rent. For a relaxing experience, head out to Mario's International Hotel and Spa, or try something more homey at the Emerald Necklace Inn in Fairview Park west of Cleveland.
Few cities, if any, have endured reinvention as many times as Cleveland, Ohio. Founded by Moses Cleaveland (the "a" was dropped from the city's spelling in 1831) and incorporated as a city in 1837, the city evolved from a frontier town in the 18th-century to a booming center of industry in the early 20th-century. Today it is a capital of service, technology and industry. Over the years, the city has become famous, and infamous, for many things. From the notorious burning river in the late 1960s to the current status as Rock 'n' Roll Capital of the World, with the I.M. Pei-designed crown jewel Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum on the revitalized shore of Lake Erie, Cleveland has a history that is nothing if not storied.
Shortly before it became a city, Cleveland was host to two significant historical events. In 1831 James A. Garfield was born. He would become the 18th President of the United States before being assassinated just six months after taking office. A year later, in 1832, the Ohio and Erie Canals opened, connecting Lake Erie with the Ohio River and allowing industry to thrive. Cleveland steadily outgrew its frontier infancy as steel factories and other forms of industry began dotting the landscape.
Cleveland remained a booming industry town until the early 1900s, when the Great Depression gutted the city. By 1933, a third of the city's residents were unemployed. But the Depression was only the second-worst economic quandary the city endured. The worst came in 1978, when the city became the first in America to default to the federal government. The crisis lasted nearly a decade before the city's economy became soluble again in the late 1980s.
By 1950, Cleveland's population reached a zenith of nearly 950,000. The population has steadily decreased since. Once the nation's fifth-largest city, by the year 2000 Cleveland had dropped to 23rd, with a population of 478,000. However, in 1950, as the city's population peaked, there were 1.4 million people living in Cuyahoga County, which is the same number there are today. People were just moving to the suburbs. From Rocky River, Strongsville, Westlake and Berea on the West Side, to Garfield Heights, Solon, Mayfield Heights and Cleveland Heights on the East Side, nearly everyone in the area still calls himself or herself a Clevelander.
During the last century, Cleveland laid claim to several events of national significance. Jesse Owens, the phenomenal track and field star, was born in Cleveland. He later went on to humiliate Hitler at the Berlin Olympics in 1936. In 1954 Marilyn Sheppard, the wife of a prominent local doctor, was murdered. These events surrounding the case spawned national headlines. The investigation is still going on today, and spurred two TV series and a motion picture all bearing the name "The Fugitive."
Cleveland is home to some of the country's best sports and entertainment centers. With Progressive Field (formerly Jacobs Field), Quicken Loans Arena (formerly Gund Arena), and the Cleveland Browns Stadium, new homes to the Indians, Cleveland Cavaliers and Cleveland Browns respectively, sports fans have a lot to choose from. These sporting centers also played a major role in the revitalization of downtown. Quicken Loans Arena, along with Blossom Music Center, Nautica Pavilion and The Odeon Concert Club, holds major concerts, ice shows and other various productions. Playhouse Square draws many top traveling performing shows, and Severance Hall is home to the Cleveland Orchestra, considered by many the best group of its nature in the world. Down the road in Aurora is Geauga Lake's Wildwater Kingdom, a great place for some summer fun.
For years, the Terminal Tower was the defining figure of the Cleveland skyline. It still rises above the train station, but now hosts Tower City Center, home to some of the city's best shopping. Major hotels, such as The Renaissance Cleveland Hotel, the Cleveland Marriott Downtown at Key Center, the Hyatt Regency Clevelandat The Arcade and the Radisson Hotel at Gateway surround the skyscraper. Across the street visitors will find the new Hard Rock Cafe, a sign that a city is moving forward if ever there was one. The Galleria at Erieview and The Arcade join Tower City as places where everyone visiting or working downtown can spend some time.
These days the Key Tower (also known as Society Tower), a Manhattan-style skyscraper that solidifies Cleveland's place as a major American city, dwarfs the Terminal Tower. Beneath it are other sparkling new landmarks, such as the ballparks, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum and the Great Lakes Science Center, which give Lake Erie boaters a completely new skyline. Inland, the Cleveland Metroparks system includes four parks and numerous trails that allow Greater Cleveland to maintain a country feel in the shadows of a major city. A booming golfing scene, with more than 100 public courses within a 45-minute drive of downtown, brings even more green to the city of Cleveland.
However, no spot in town epitomizes the rebirth and vitalization of Cleveland as much as the banks of the Cuyahoga River. After catching fire on June 22, 1969, the Cuyahoga was the laughing stock of America. It is now the aesthetic centerpiece of downtown and separates the business district from The Flats, home to the "North Coast's" most thriving night activities.
It has been a long time since Moses Cleaveland first set foot on the shores of Lake Erie, and Cleveland has come a long way. Judging by the advances and enhancements of the last decade or so, the city is not done yet and the future is as bright as ever.