Travel Guide: What is there to see and do in Cleveland, Ohio, USA


Cleveland is the second largest city in Ohio and represents modernization with a rustic flare. The city has a strong cultural side, with theaters, museums, and a thriving social scene in the Flats East Bank, where the Cuyahoga River and Lake Erie converge. In the 1800s, Cleveland was one of the most important canal ports in the eastern United States and an industrial center where some of the richest American entrepreneurs made their fortunes. The luxury residences on Euclid Avenue, known as Millionaires’ Row, are a testament to their wealth. Among those who lived here around the turn of the 19th century were John D. Rockefeller, founder of the Standard Oil Company, and Samuel Mather, who made his fortune in steel production and transport.

Today, the remnants of Cleveland’s historical railway and canal notoriety serve as an eclectic backdrop for a vibrant city that is turning warehouses into boutique hotels and is a prominent destination for world-class sporting events and concerts near the waterfront. Take a stroll along Cleveland’s popular Historic Warehouse District, spend an evening enjoying some of the city’s major sports complexes in the Historic Gateway District, or explore some of Cleveland’s spectacular museums.

Cleveland in Ohio, located on the shores of Lake Eyrie, made its name as a booming industrial centre for the steel and railroad industries. The winding Cuyahoga River runs through the city and you can still see the vast steel bridges that connect its east and west sides.

Much of the city has been regenerated after it suffered some disastrous setbacks in the 20 th century, including the infamous river fires that helped spur the environmental movement in the US. Crumbling warehouses have been transformed into breweries, bars and restaurants. Elsewhere, the grand old banks in Downtown Cleveland, long left empty and abandoned, have been converted into hotels and nightclubs.

The Museums

They say that the term “Rock & Roll” was coined by Cleveland DJ Alan Freed in the 1950s and you can find out more about this and other interesting facts at Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. It is housed in a fabulous glass pyramid near the lake and contains highlights about the origins of Rock & Roll and the lives of Elvis Presley, Blondie and the Beatles.

Incredible displays of electric guitars and wacky outfits worn by David Bowie and Mick Jagger sit alongside the sparkly numbers favoured by Beyoncé and Taylor Swift. Once you have had your fill of rock memorabilia, head to Level Three and check out the hall of fame, where you can vote for the next inductees.

Other cultural highlights can be found at University Circle – the location of several of Cleveland’s universities. This is where you will find the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. It has an impressive selection of dinosaur fossils and taxidermy as well as the newly opened interactive exhibition on biomechanics which is well worth a look.

Outside, there is a small wildlife centre dedicated to rescue animals native to Ohio. You’ll see bald eagles, otters, snowy owls and even a bobcat named Bob.

1 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

One of the most popular things to do in Cleveland is visit the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Designed by I.M. Pei, it is more of an experience than a museum. The history of popular music is spread over six floors in an atmosphere of multimedia exuberance, with such rarities as the manuscript of Purple Haze , written by Jimi Hendrix. It is here that the rock and roll music industry honors its finest entertainers.

Music enthusiasts could spend days going through all the museum has to offer, with permanent exhibitions and traveling national and international shows. The eye-catching, state-of-the-art building sits on the shores of Lake Erie. The best way to experience the museum is to start on Level 0, where you find the Hall of Fame Inductees, and work your way to the top.

2 Cleveland Museum of Art

The Cleveland Museum of Art features a variety of art from around the world. It has a particularly strong collection of American art and medieval art from Europe and Asia. Visitors will also find art by North American Indians as well as Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Indian, and Southeast Asian art. In addition to the permanent collection, the Cleveland Museum of Art hosts special exhibitions and events.

3 Cleveland Museum of Natural History

The Cleveland Museum of Natural History is home to some outstanding exhibits showcasing collections and research in areas from paleontology to botany. Chief among these is that of a three-million-year-old human ancestor, Australopithecus afarensis, known as “Lucy,” which was a key discovery in the field of anthropology. Perhaps more dramatic in a visual sense are the dinosaur skeletons that tower over visitors as they walk through the Kirtland Hall of Prehistoric Life. There are also many other exhibits, from geology and astronomy to gems and minerals. Children will enjoy the many interactive displays, like the “living galleries” in the Perkins Wildlife Center.