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Founded in 1796, Cleveland became an industrial town with the opening of the Erie-Ohio Canal that linked the Ohio River to Lake Erie, and the city's vast iron and coal supplies made it one of the most important steel and shipbuilding centres in the country.
A sprawling mass of oil refineries, mills, and warehouses along the shores of Lake Erie, industrial success poured money into the city and wealthy tycoons built the downtown area. Today, it has outgrown its 'steel town' image and is a bustling city of green parklands and vibrant atmosphere.
Previously mocked for its heavy pollution, its industrial character has moved beyond the city limits. The downtown warehouses and factories now house trendy clubs and restaurants, while museums, and sporting and cultural events attract many visitors to the city.
The city boasts a world-class orchestra, a celebrated art museum, lively theatre district, and the restored lakefront area. Neighbourhoods buzz with restaurants and shops, and the Flats, once the industrial heart of the city, is now the booming entertainment and nightlife district of Cleveland.
Other cultural attractions in Cleveland include the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, the enormous Great Lakes Science Center and Cleveland Clinic DOME Theatre, and the professional sports arenas and stadiums of the Gateway District.
The historic Warehouse District is downtown's oldest commercial quarter and is a National Historic Landmark, with over 70 fine examples of Victorian architecture. The old warehouses are now home to music clubs, galleries and trendy dining spots.
Some miles out of the city centre are two theme parks with some of the planet's tallest and fastest rollercoaster rides at the Cedar Point Amusement Park in Sandusky, as well as the Six Flags Worlds of Adventure in Aurora.
Cleveland DJ Alan Freed coined the term 'rock and roll' in the early 1950s. Partly for this reason, Cleveland won the fiercely contested honour of become home to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.
Designed by renowned architect I.M. Pei, it is meant to be seen as an echo of the energy of rock and roll. The glass and porcelain pyramid-shaped structure is a celebration of the American institution of rock music in honour of those who have had an influential role on modern music.
There is a permanent collection drawing from the most impressive and iconic rock and roll artefacts, as well as a wide-ranging roster of ongoing and temporary exhibits. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum is dedicated to exploring the past, present, and future of the music.
The Museum augments its own massive collection of thousands of artefacts with items on loan from artists and collectors from around the world. It includes exhibits dedicated to the museum's choice of all-time top artists, including Elvis Presley, the Beatles, U2 and the Rolling Stones.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum gets particularly crowded on weekends and advance booking is required, especially during the inductions of new artists.
The Great Lakes Science Center is one of the largest science museums in the country. Located on the lakefront, its glass façade makes it a perfect match to the adjacent glass pyramid-shaped structure of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It has 375 exciting interactive exhibits, explaining subjects such as planet earth, meteorology, sports, music, environment, and technology through hands-on examples. It also contains the region's only OMNIMAX Theatre. The attraction is closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.
Cedar Point Amusement Park, located in Sandusky Ohio just outside of Cleveland, is a paradise for rollercoaster lovers. Named 'Best Amusement Park in the World' many times over, it is the only park to have four rollercoasters taller than 200 feet (61m). It is the only amusement park of its size within hundreds of miles. If those are too high, there are 13 others to choose from, along with dozens of other rides and attractions for all ages. Cedar Point also boasts an indoor and outdoor waterpark.
Though synonymous with the notorious Cleveland sports curse that saw none of the city's professional teams win a championship for 52 years, Progressive Field is a must stop for anyone who wants to appreciate this sports-crazy destination. Home to the Cleveland Indians baseball team, this beautiful outdoor stadium in downtown Cleveland was voted the best major league ballpark by Sports Illustrated. Catching an Indians game is a great way to spend a warm summer evening in Cleveland, and true fanatics can take a tour of the stadium between May and September.
The weather in Cleveland follows the Midwest seasonal pattern, but is modified quite strongly by Lake Erie, which counters the worst of the summer heat waves and makes for a milder winter season than in other northern cities. Summers (June to August) are warm and humid, with average temperatures between 60°F (16°C) and 82°F (28°C). Winters (December to January) are cold and snowy, averaging between 21°F (-6°C) and 38°F (3°C). Rainfall in Cleveland is moderate and constant through the year.
For the past 10 years, the city of Cleveland has celebrated its cultural and ethnic diversity with an annual culinary fest par excellence. The city's top chefs step out of their kitchens to compete for the 'Best of the Fest' award.
Food enthusiasts can eat their fill from a selection of diverse options from seafood to sauerkraut or Irish stew. To help keep things on the boil, the festival also features ongoing entertainment, a beer garden, and sports lounge.
The three-day Cleveland Irish Cultural Festival celebrates all things Irish, with a variety of world-class music, dancing, theatre, children's activities, shopping, art, and historical exhibits. Many Irish travelled across the Atlantic to make a new home for themselves in the United States and this festival focuses on the preservation of that link.
The layout of the city is an easily navigable grid pattern, meaning that hiring a car will be a simple way to get around Cleveland. The city is served by the Regional Transit Authority (RTA), a bus and rail system that offers good service around the city, although coverage in outlying areas is sparse.
Tourists will want to take advantage of the Bus Rapid Transit's HealthLine, which runs along Euclid Avenue and connects many of Cleveland's popular tourist attractions. Taxis are expensive and must be booked in advance by phone. Ride-hailing apps are also available.
Cleveland is a huge city with plenty to see and do. Most tourists spend their time in the downtown area, which is home to top attractions like the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Progressive Field, the Greater Cleveland Aquarium, and Jack Cleveland Casino.
Terminal Tower, the centre point of the Tower City Center, has an observation deck that allows panoramic views of the city. For art galleries and museums, Cleveland's East Side is home to the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Western Reserve Historical Society, The Children's Museum, and the Cleveland Natural History Museum.
The East Side is also home to the Cleveland Botanical Garden, while the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is located on the West Side. Families in Cleveland will not want to pass up the chance to visit Cedar Point Amusement Park, among the largest in the country and located just an hour outside of the city.
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