Video courtesy ThisisCleveland.com
Cleveland often gets a bad rap from out-of-towners, making "The 216" one of the most under-appreciated cities in the U.S. To right this wrong, 10Best is taking a look at 10 of the most important reasons why Cleveland does indeed rock.
1. Rock 'n' roll
Elvis' custom SuperTrike motorcycle, 1975 — Photo courtesy of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum may seem obvious, but this temple to American music really is a must-visit in the Rock 'n' Roll Capital of the World. Renowned architect I.M. Pei designed the structure on the shores of Lake Erie, and within its halls, visitors will find artifacts and exhibits from rock's most significant figures and eras.
The city is also dotted with fantastic live music venues, like the Cleveland House of Blues and Beachland Ballroom, to fulfill any music lover's fix.
2. Second largest theater district outside of New York
Cleveland's Playhouse Square represents the nation's largest performing arts center outside the Big Apple. Refurbished movie palaces now host concerts, operas, ballets and Broadway-style musicals, and ticket prices are significantly cheaper than you'd find in NYC. Each year, the venues here welcome over a million guests to a total of 1,000-plus events.
3. Gorgeous Lake Erie beaches
Edgewater Beach — Photo courtesy of ThisisCleveland.com
When you think of Cleveland, a day at the beach probably isn't the first thing that comes to mind. But the beaches rank among the best parts of a Cleveland summer. Perched on the shores of Lake Erie, Clevelanders and visitors alike enjoy numerous sandy beaches – there are a total of 37 swimming beaches on Ohio's Lake Erie shore.
4. Abundant green spaces
Need some fresh air? Cleveland has it in spades. The Cleveland Botanical Garden comprises 10 acres of gardens, as well as a giant glass conservatory.
Cleveland Metroparks maintains 23,000 acres of parkland with 300 miles of recreational trails, 50 playgrounds, five nature centers and more than 750 acres of urban park space. If that's not enough, you've got the Holden Arboretum just northeast of Cleveland and Cuyahoga Valley National Park just 30 minutes to the south.
5. Sports champions
Progressive Field — Photo courtesy of Cody York / ThisisCleveland.com
It's an exciting time to be a sports fan in Cleveland, as the Cavaliers just secured the city's first pro sports championship since 1964 this season. Cleveland also has pro teams playing baseball (Indians) and football (Browns), while hockey fans can cheer on the Lake Erie Monsters, an affiliate of the Columbus Blue Jackets. Dive into sports history at the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
6. A study in architecture
The I.M. Pei-designed Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum and the Frank Gehry-designed Peter B. Lewis Building at Case Western University are just two examples of Cleveland's ever-evolving architectural offerings. Until 1967, the Terminal Tower was the world's tallest skyscraper outside New York City – part of the significant collection of art deco architecture found downtown.
7. The food, the beer, the wine
Happy Dog in Cleveland — Photo courtesy of ThisisCleveland.com
James Beard-winning chef Michael Symon is Cleveland's native son, which should tell you something about the culinary scene in the city. Little Italy is the place to go for pizza and stellar desserts, and shopping the West Side Market is a study in global flavors. The city is also home to more than 50 wineries and numerous craft breweries, including Great Lakes Brewing Company.
8. Fun festivals
Cleveland (along with the surrounding area) hosts a packed calendar of events, especially during the summer months. Travel-worthy affairs include the Hessler Street Fair, Chagrin Falls Blossom Time, Edgewater Live Series, Wade Oval Wednesdays, Feast of the Assumption Fair and the Strawberry Festival.
9. Diverse visual arts
Cleveland Museum of Art — Photo courtesy of ThisisCleveland.com
The Cleveland Museum of Art is both free and one of the best art museums in the country. Cleveland's University Circle is home to numerous art museums and galleries, including an excellent collection of galleries within the Little Italy neighborhood.
10. Cinematic experiences
The perennial holiday classic A Christmas Story was filmed in and around Cleveland, and visitors can relive their favorite scenes in Ralphie's house or even purchase their very own leg lamp at A Christmas Story House and Museum. Plenty of other films, including Happy Gilmore, Spider-Man 3, The Avengers and Captain America: The Winter Soldier were also partially filmed in the city.