Cleveland City Guide
The city of Cleveland is located in the US state of Ohio towards the north eastern part of the state on the southern shore of Lake Erie and near the mouth of the Cuyahoga River.
Cleveland was founded in 1796 and due to its strategic location near the Erie-Ohio Canal; that links the Ohio River to Lake Erie; it went on to become an industrial powerhouse that hosted industries like shipbuilding and oil refining. Industrial activity gave birth to several tycoons in Cleveland who have contributed massively to the growth and development of the city’s key areas.
However, over the years, heavy manufacturing declined and with it Cleveland also shed its gritty, industrial image and became a bustling metropolis equipped with various green spaces, trendy clubs, restaurants, mega malls, museums and other cultural attractions that draw many visitors to its erstwhile industrial shores. The development is evident for vacationers who can trawl around the The Rock and Roll Music Hall of Fame or laze around in the many gardens.
Where to stay in Cleveland
Cleveland real estate growth was initially influenced by the proximity of water bodies such as Lake Erie and the Cuyahoga River.
In general, the west side of Cleveland grew to become more industrial in nature and came to be inhabited by a predominately working class population while the east side of the river came to be occupied by a wealthier and more educated populace. The city’s Downtown area around Public Square soon became the financial district and railroad hub of the city.
Downtown Cleveland continues to be the epicenter of the city that is home to several sporting and cultural attractions like Progressive Field, Playhouse Square and the theater district along Euclid Avenue as well as other neighborhoods like the historic Warehouse District and Flats Village.
Additionally, Downtown Cleveland also contains a large concentration of diverse Cleveland hotels including most of the luxury hotel properties in the city. Downtown Cleveland offers a popular accommodation choice for visitors to Cleveland though the University Circle district located on the west side of the city is also a favored choice as it offers a plethora of reasonably priced hotel options along with discount hotels and other budget accommodation choices.
Places to see in Cleveland
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
The ‘rock and roll’ hall of fame is perhaps Cleveland’s most prominent vacation attraction. The term ‘rock and roll’ itself was coined by a local Cleveland DJ, Alan Freed in the early 1950s and it is for this reason that this homage to the American music form of rock and roll is based in Cleveland.
This museum is housed in a glass and porcelain structure that is situated in downtown Cleveland and was designed by world famous architect I.M. Pei in 1993 though the museum opened its doors to the public in September 1995.
The extensive permanent collection of the museum features thousands of rock and roll artifacts that honor music’s brightest and biggest names like Elvis Presley, the Beatles, U2 and the Rolling Stones along with a host of new artists as the museum endeavors to explore the past, present and future of music.
The Great Lakes Science Center
The Great Lakes Science Center is located on the shore of Lake Erie, housed in a glass fronted building which complements the glass structure of the close by Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The Great Lakes Science Center is one of the largest science museums in the US and offers 375 interactive exhibits that relate to various subjects like planet earth, sports, music, the environment and technology. The Great Lakes Science Theater hosts the only OMNIMAX Theater of the region as well.
Cleveland Museum of Art
The beaux-arts building that houses the Cleveland Museum of Art in downtown Cleveland was established in 1916 and it hosts one of the world’s best art collections representing each continent, each time period and each genre of art.
The artworks of great masters like Picasso, Monet, Rodin, Pollock, Van Gogh, Cassatt as well as the works of local Cleveland artist George Bellows are featured in the museum’s extensive permanent collection. This is a must visit place for art connoisseurs and aficionados on Cleveland vacations.
The Playhouse Square complex is Cleveland’s cultural powerhouse that is made up of five theaters – the Allen, the State, the Ohio, the Palace and the Hanna.
This theater complex is the second largest cultural center in the US after New York City’s Lincoln Center. All these theaters stand side by side on Euclid Avenue though the Hanna stands half a block away on 14th Street.
These theaters were established in the 1920’s when they showed silent films and theater productions. Nowadays, they host various entertaining acts as well as classic movies along with the annual Great Lakes Theater Festival.
Progressive Field is the home of the Cleveland Indians, the city’s professional baseball team. The Progressive field stadium opened in 1994 on the site of the former Jacobs Field stadium. The stadium is a prominent attraction for baseball fans who frequent Cleveland for vacations.
Cleveland Botanical Garden
The Cleveland Botanical Garden is the nation’s oldest civic garden that dates back to 1930 and extends over 7.5 acres. This garden is divided into various smaller gardens like the herb, the wildflower, the rose, the perennial and the Japanese gardens, which hosts 3000 species of trees and shrubs. The Cleveland Botanical Garden also has a garden library that aims to teach youngsters about gardening besides offering information to visitors on horticulture and landscaping.
Best time to visit Cleveland
The weather in Cleveland follows the Midwest seasonal pattern though it is influenced greatly by Lake Erie that tempers the effects of heat waves and causes the snow during winters; especially on the east side of the city.
Generally July is the warmest month in Cleveland and is characterized by average temperature highs of 71.9 °F (22.2 °C). January is the coldest with average temperatures of 25.7 °F (-3.5 °C).
Based on these weather patterns, it can be surmised that the best time to visit Cleveland is during summer and early fall when the weather is best suited.
Getting around in Cleveland
If you are planning to fly down to Cleveland, we suggest you try out the cheap air tickets available with us. Once you land there, the airport is well connected by public transport and reaching to your destination is no difficult task.
Cleveland has a mass transit system, which in 2007 was elected by the American Public Transportation Association as the best in the US. Cleveland’s mass transit system is operated by the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA) and comprises of public buses and a rail system, which features both light and heavy rail systems.
In 2008, the RTA also introduced a system of rapid transit buses collectively known as the Healthline. They were named so by the Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals, who purchased the naming rights for the project, which was known as the Euclid Corridor Transportation Project since it operated along Euclid Avenue from downtown through University Circle. The public transport system in Cleveland also features taxis but these are usually expensive.
Having said that, car rentals in Cleveland are always an option for those who want to drive around the city on their own during Cleveland vacations.
Where to shop in Cleveland
Clevelanders are known to be enthusiastic shoppers. It is no wonder then that the city and its suburbs, host a plethora of shopping malls, specialty stores, antiquing enclaves and outlet stores that attract tourists and locals alike.
Great shopping options can in fact be had all over the city. Cleveland’s city-center hosts several large shopping malls like the Tower City Center (a mixed-use facility housed in a converted train station), the Avenue, the Galleria at Erieview and the Arcade; the last mentioned shopping mall dates back to 1890 and is one of the oldest shopping malls in the country. The eastern half of the city in the meanwhile offers shopping haunts like the upscale Beachwood Place Mall that hosts outposts of department stores like Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue and Dillard's, as its anchor tenants along with approximately 140 other stores. Also located on the eastside of Cleveland are other popular shopping locales in the form of malls like Legacy Village, Eton Center and the Great Lakes Mall.
The western half of the city is equally well-equipped with shopping options and hosts malls like Crocker Park, the Parmatown Mall and the Great Northern Mall. Also located here is Cleveland’s historic West Side Market, a farmer’s market cum gourmet store that offers culinary delights from around the world along with much fresh produce. This section of the city also has much to offer for shoppers who enjoy antiquing as it is home to treasure-filled districts like the Lachmere Boulevard Antiques District and Lorain Road, both of which host several antiques stores that offer antique furniture, rare books and toys, glassware and artworks and other collectibles. For those shoppers who enjoy outlet shopping, Cleveland offers two bargain-filled shopping destinations in the form of its Aurora Farms and Prime Outlets at Lodi malls.
Where to eat in Cleveland
Cleveland is home to a dynamic dining scene and the city hosts a wide-variety of restaurants that offer a veritable smorgasbord of local and international cuisines. Such is the variety of foods on offer, that visitors to the city are often known to marvel at abundance of choice available. Moreover since the dining landscape is ever changing and evolving, the list of its ‘best’ and most highly-rated restaurants also changes often. Currently some of the ‘best’, not to be missed restaurants in Cleveland include eateries like Bac Asian American Restaurant and Bar, Luxe Kitchen and Lounge, Aldo’s (Italian), The Flying Fig(American, Vegetarian), Lola(New American), Fat Cats(International), Etna (Italian) and Mia Bella(Mediterranean).
Nightlife in Cleveland
There’s plenty to do in Cleveland at night and the city is home to scores of bars, cocktail lounges, live-music venues that guarantee a fun night on the town. Popular nightlife haunts in Cleveland currently include spots like Velvet Tango Room, Tremont Tap House, Market Avenue Wine Bar, The Hi-Fi Club and the Foundation Room(both live music venues), the Winking Lizard Tavern and the Society Lounge.