Planning a visit to Cleveland?

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Never been to Cleveland? Okay, I’ll admit that the idea of vacationing in Cleveland doesn’t sound anywhere near as glamorous as traveling to someplace like New York, Boston, or Key West. Like Detroit and Pittsburgh, Cleveland is one of those rust belt cities that is  never placed on the lists of “the top 10 cities you have to visit before you die.” But for those planning to attend the upcoming Republican convention or anyone else who has reason to visit, you’ll find that Cleveland of the 21st century “ain’t so bad.” It does, in fact, have some fabulous things to offer. So if you find yourself wanting to escape the world of politics for a while or you have some vacation time to spend here, Cleveland has plenty of top notch attractions to keep you entertained for days.

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First and foremost, if you’re in Cleveland you absolutely must visit the Cleveland Museum of Art. You may not expect to find something of this caliber in Ohio but the Cleveland Museum of Art is one of the great art museums OF THE WORLD. If you think I’m kidding, check out their website. Featuring over 45,000 works covering 6,000 years, the art collection is staggering and is housed in a spectacular facility which has just completed a huge renovation and expansion project. Special exhibits sometimes carry a fee but otherwise admission is free. Address: 11150 East Blvd, Cleveland, OH 4410. Phone:(216) 421-7350. 

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is something else you won’t find anyplace but Cleveland. Located on the waterfront you can’t easily overlook the eyecatching 150,000 square-foot structure of glass that was designed by internationally renowned architect I.M. Pei (designer of the National Gallery of Art’s East Building in Washington, DC,the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston, the Museum of Modern Art in Athens, the expansion of the Louvre in Paris and more).  Inside you’ll find 55,000 square-feet of equally bold architectural exhibition space filled with fascinating interactive exhibits and displays which showcase the many eras and stars of rock and roll from its very beginnings through today. General admission is $23.50 with various discounts available.  Address: 1100 E 9th St, Cleveland, OH 44114. Visit their website. Or read my own Rock Hall review.

Designed by renowned local architects W. Dominick Benes and Benjamin Hubbell, and designated as one of “10 Great Public Places in America,” by the American Planning Association in 2008, the West Side Market is a grand structure with a Guastavino tile vaulted ceiling that reaches 44 ft. overhead and a clock tower which stands 137′ high. Opening in 1912, the market continues to draw shoppers from all over Northeast Ohio who come to buy select meats, seafood, produce, pastries, artisan breads and more. Anything you want for the dinner table can be found here from homemade sausages to escargot to farm fresh eggs and cream filled lady fingers. Even if you’re not shopping for dinner this is a great place for just soaking in the atmosphere and grabbing a snack.  Address: 1979 W 25th St, Cleveland, OH 44113  Visit the website here.

 There are no shortage of green spaces in Northeast Ohio  and the Cuyahoga Valley National Park is one of the best. A refuge for native plants and wildlife, the park houses the winding Cuyahoga River along with forests and rolling hills. Hikers and bikers can follow the historic route of the Ohio & Erie Canal when they travel along the Towpath Trail.
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You don’t have to be a war history buff to enjoy an outing onto the U. S. S. Cod Submarine which is docked just a short walk away from Cleveland’s Rock Hall and Science Center. Not only did my father, husband, and grandson love this visit but all of the women in our group enjoyed it as well. Remaining unaltered from her wartime days, the U.S.S. Cod requires visitors to enter and exit through the original hatchways and by climbing up and down ladders. It’s fascinating to wander through and see where so many men lived and worked in such confined spaces. Address: 1089 E 9th St, Cleveland, OH 44114.

Located in the University Circle neighborhood next to both the art and natural history museums is an attraction that is not just for gardeners. A great place to visit any time of the year, the Cleveland Botanical Garden has beautiful outdoor spaces and a glasshouse that will step you into completely different climate where birds and butterflies fill the air.
Address: 11030 East Blvd, Cleveland, OH 44106. See my own recent review of this favorite attraction and visit their website.

Other great places to spend your day are the Cleveland Museum of Natural History,the Great Lakes Science Center and its Imax movie theater, or travel further afield to visit Hale Farm and Village or the Cleveland Zoo. Ohio is known for its numerous award winning wineries. Or spend a day driving along the Lake Erie shoreline to northeast ohio’s own version of Coney Island at Geneva-on-the-Lake.

Welcome to Cleveland and northeast Ohio. Enjoy your stay!

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