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CityTips Guide to Cleveland

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Welcome to Cleveland, the Rock and Roll Capital of the World and one of the U.S.'s last melting pot cities. With a lakefront banked by shiny new museums and stadiums, the city has emerged from its own shadow to be the jewel of America’s "North Coast."

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Local Overview

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. Progressive Field, Quicken Loans Arena, and Cleveland Browns Stadium, along with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum and Great Lakes Science Center, are the architectural and cultural creations that define downtown's rebirth. The Key Tower, a skyscraper built since the mid-1980s, joins the 70-year-old Terminal Tower to give Cleveland a skyline that reflects both its history and its future.

The Flats

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 Howl at the Moon Saloon and McCarthy's, the Flats is where you will find Cleveland's most active nightlife. The Nautica Pavilion offers outdoor concerts by popular national acts throughout the summer, while you can find laughter year-round at Cleveland Improv. The Flats is located near the mouth of the Cuyahoga, a few meanders north of the steel belt, where a handful of refineries are still productive.

University Circle

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 Cleveland Museum of Art, the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and Western Reserve Historical Society, the neighborhood has an almost Smithsonian feel. Culture-seekers are not limited to museums. Visitors to University Circle will find Severance Hall, home of the Cleveland Orchestra and the Cleveland Play House. Those not taking in a show can rest their feet at the Chicago Deli and Restaurant.

Ohio City

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 West Side Market, each about a century old and always crowded with visitors. This area is home to many fabulous restaurants, as well as places like The Great Lakes Brewing Company, which features home brews and fine foods and is one of the more popular places for locals to gather.


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 Masonic Auditorium, once the home of the Cleveland Orchestra. The ultimate Tremont dining experience comes in the form of Lago Restaurant & Wine Bar. There are many small lodging options, such as Lincoln Inn, in this area as well.

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.


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