Cleveland is a major city in the state of Ohio and the county seat of Cuyahoga County. It is the 51st-largest city in the United States with its city having a population of 388,072 and the 2nd-largest city in Ohio. The people living in Cleveland are called Clevelanders. The city also has a lot of nicknames and the oldest of which in contemporary use is The Forest City.
When one thinks of Cleveland they probably think of a dying rust belt city that is past its former glory. It’s certainly what I was thinking on a recent visit for business purposes. During the visit, I stayed at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in the historic Arcade of Cleveland. That turned out to be a delightful hotel experience different from your typical downtown hotel.
While there a visit to the Rock and Roll hall of fame was in order as well as enjoying local restaurants and taking a trolley bus tour of downtown. In short, it was a wonderful experience and the offerings of the city were impressive and made me want to re-visit for a longer stay.
Notable restaurants from the visit included the following:
- Great Lakes Brewery – A great micro-brewery and restaurant with a delicious menu.
- Nuevo – Being well versed in all types, flavors, and styles of Mexican food I was a bit skeptical of how much I would enjoy the food. The good was delicious and the location on Lake Erie made for a great setting.
- Lola Bistro –A chef Michael Symon creation its rated one of the top restaurants in Cleveland. The food was great but wasn’t as stellar as I was expecting given the rave reviews. The 4th street location was fun and vibrant.
Cleveland was named after their leader, General Moses Cleaveland on July 22, 1796, when surveyors of the Connecticut Land Company laid out Connecticut’s Western Reserve into townships and a capital city. Lorenzo Carter was the first settler in Cleveland who built a cabin on the banks of the Cuyahoga River. On December 23, 1814, the Village of Cleveland was incorporated. Even though it’s near swampy lowlands and harsh winters, its waterfront location proved to be an advantage because it gives access to Great Lakes trade.
After the completion of the Ohio and Erie Canal in 1832, the area began rapid growth. The key link between the Ohio River and the Great Lakes connected Cleveland to the Atlantic Ocean via the Erie Canal and Hudson River, and later via the St. Lawrence Seaway.
In 1836, Cleveland was incorporated as a city. It nearly erupted into open warfare with neighboring Ohio City over a bridge connecting the two. Ohio City remained an independent municipality until 854 which was its annexation by Cleveland.
In the late 19th century, Cleveland became an important industrial city. It prospered being located along with numerous transportation routes as well as near large deposits of coal and iron ore. During the 1860s, the Standard Oil Company began in Cleveland by John D. Rockefeller and his partners. At the same time, steel production was also started by Samuel Mather which enhanced Cleveland’s economic importance. Twenty-eight percent of Cleveland’s workforce found work in the steel mills in 1880.
Cleveland became an important industrial center, however, its citizens sometimes suffered. Both the steel and oil companies endured difficult financial times during the Great Depression. To survive, a lot of businesses laid off workers. Roughly one-third of Cleveland’s workers were unemployed by 1933 during the third full year of the Great Depression.
In the late 1800s and the early 1900s, Cleveland became a leader in cultural and social activities in northern Ohio. Euclid Beach Park, an amusement park referred to like Cleveland’s “Coney Island” by locals opened in 1894. After seven years, professional baseball arrived in the city with the formation of the American League. The original team of Cleveland was Cleveland Blues. In 1915, it changed its name to Cleveland Indians.
The Cleveland Museum of Art and the Cleveland Orchestra were both founded during the late 1910s. In the first half of the 20th century, Cleveland played an important role in national politics. The Republican Party held its National Convention in the city in 1924 and 1936. In 1946, Cleveland Browns professional football team was formed but they moved to Baltimore, Maryland and became Baltimore Ravens in 1970.
After the Second World War, Cleveland went through difficult times. In 1950, its population peaked at almost one million people and has experienced a steady decline since that point. In 1970, the National Basketball Association awarded the city the Cavaliers which is their professional basketball team.
The United States District Court ruled that Cleveland city schools were segregated by race in 1976. After two years, it became the first city to default on its financial obligations since the Great Depression. During that time, the city was more than thirty million dollars in debt. It remained in default until 1987.
Even though it went through negative events, the residents of Cleveland still have a lot to celebrate about. During the 1990s, the Cleveland Indians emerged as one of the leading teams in the American League during the 1990s. And in 1995, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame opened.
Cleveland, on several occasions over the past twenty years, has been named an All-America City. The National Football League then awarded Cleveland a new team in which the Cleveland Browns were reborn. It also reclaimed the Cuyahoga River Valley and Cleveland once again emerged as an important economic and cultural center in the Midwest.
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Visiting the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is one of the most popular things to do in Cleveland. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame recognizes and archives the history of the best-known and most influential artists, producers, engineers, and other notable figures who have major influence on the development of rock and roll.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s eye-catching, state-of-the-art building is located on the shore of Lake Erie in downtown Cleveland, Ohio. It was established on April 20, 1983, by Ahmet Ertegun, founder, and chairman of Atlantic Records. It was in 1986 when Cleveland was chosen to be the Hall of Fame’s permanent home.
It has over six floors where the history of popular music is spread over in an atmosphere of multimedia exuberance with such rarities like the manuscript of Purple Haze written by Jimi Hendrix. It is a place that honors the rock and roll music industry’s finest entertainers. You can spend days going through all it has to offer.
The Arcade Cleveland
The Arcade Cleveland is one of Cleveland’s most iconic landmarks. It is a historic retail center where you can shop and dine in different establishments. It is also where the iconic Hyatt Regency Hotel is located.
The Arcade is the first indoor shopping center in America which opened in May of 1890. When it opened, it quickly became one of downtown Cleveland’s most popular landmarks. It was nicknamed Cleveland’s Crystal Palace.
It was the first building in Cleveland and the 9th in the country to be placed on the National Register of History Places. It has five stories which offered unique shops, services, and restaurants. It has unique finishes such as iron balconies and a stunning glass ceiling. There are also two 10-story towers attached to it where offices and businesses were housed.
Main Attractions in Downtown Cleveland
Aside from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and The Arcade, there are a lot more wonderful places you can visit in Downtown Cleveland. If you’re looking into visiting the city soon, here is an overview of the main attractions you can add to your list.
- Cleveland Museum of Art: This museum features a variety of art from around the world such as collections of American art and medieval art from Europe and Asia. It is located in 11150 East Boulevard, University Circle, Cleveland, Ohio.
- Cleveland Museum of Contemporary Art: This is more commonly known as MOCA. It features different exhibits by national and international artists as well as local artists in Cleveland. It is located in 11400 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio.
- Cleveland Museum of National History: This museum is home to some outstanding exhibits showcasing collections and research in areas from paleontology to botany. It is located in 1 Wade Oval Drive, University Circle, Cleveland, Ohio.
- Great Lakes Science Center: This science center will spark your curiosity about the science behind things such as wind and space travel. It contains a lot of interactive displays to engage visitors of all ages. It is located at 601 Erieside Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio.
- West Side Market: This is the longest-running public market in Cleveland. It features a 137-foot-tall clock tower that has stood for more than a century. You can buy here vegetables, meats, baked goods, cheese, flowers, and other specialty items. It is located in 1979 West 25th Street, Cleveland, Ohio.
- Cleveland Botanical Garden: This botanical garden contains 20 unique gardens showcasing flora and fauna from different parts of the world. It is located in 11030 East Boulevard, Cleveland, Ohio.
- Cleveland Metroparks Zoo: This is one of the oldest zoos in the United States. It features domestic and exotic animals from around the world. It is located in 3900 Wildlife Way, Cleveland, Ohio.
- PlayhouseSquare: This place features nine theaters that bring Broadway performances, dance, opera, comedy, concerts, and family shows. It is located in 1501 Euclid Avenue, Suite 200, Cleveland, Ohio.
- Case Western Reserve University – A private university that was formed in 1967 from the merger of Western Reserve University (founded 1826) and the Case Institute of Technology (founded 1880).
- Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist– The Cathedral is a historic Roman Catholic church consecrated in 1852.
- Progressive Field – Home of the Cleveland Indians. Statue of pitcher Bob Feller greets visitors at the entrance.
There are indeed a lot of things you can do and places you can visit in Cleveland, Ohio. If you’re on for fun and sightseeing, Downtown Cleveland is the best place you can go to.