Stepping Out: Cleveland

Cleveland is back!

This city, nestled against Lake Erie, was once the sixth largest in United States. The loss of its manufacturing base beginning in the 1960s put Cleveland on the brink of urban decay, and it is now the 45th-largest city in the country. In the last 10 years, however, Cleveland has been thriving, as businesses—many in the health sector—have been attracted by economic opportunity and the region’s livability. (Cleveland’s nickname is the Forest City, for all the greenery.) This growth was punctuated in 2013 with the opening of the million-square-foot Cleveland Convention Center.

Business travelers will not lack for entertainment options. Cleveland is rich in culture and history and offers a bustling social scene.

One culturally significant area is University Circle, located four miles from downtown. Spanning about one square mile along the Euclid Corridor, it is home to top-class institutions like the Cleveland Museum of Art, which houses more than 43,000 works and boasts a large collection of Asian and Egyptian art known around the world. And a recent $350 million renovation and expansion project increased the gallery space by 33 percent. Other University Circle attractions include the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, the Cleveland Botanical Garden, and Case Western Reserve University.

Theater buffs may be surprised to learn that Cleveland has one of the most robust performing arts scenes in the nation. Playhouse Square, located downtown, is the second-largest theater complex in the country and holds more than a thousand performances and events per year. Cleveland is also well-known as the home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which recognizes some of the most influential names in the music industry. For those who want a quieter evening, the world- renowned Cleveland Orchestra is regarded as one of the “Big Five” American orchestras.

Make your way to Ohio City, one of Cleveland’s oldest neighborhoods, for a wealth of dining and shopping choices. At the historic West Side Market, more than 100 independent vendors sell fresh meats, cheeses, fruits, vegetables, baked goods, and more. Many of Cleveland’s chefs do much of their shopping at the market.

Also in Ohio City is R/S Boutique, a lifestyle boutique specializing in trendsetting design—including stylish art, clothing, and stationery—at affordable prices. For other locally made accessories and quirky gift items, Salty Not Sweet has everything from jewelry to handmade candles and soaps.

Clevelanders take pride in the city’s reputation as no-nonsense and blue-collar, but they also know how to cut loose. After visiting Ohio City, be sure to see its sister neighborhood, Tremont. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Tremont is home to many of Cleveland’s top restaurants and art galleries.

For happy hour, head to Fat Cats on 10th Street. Celebrity chef Michael Symon’s Lolita is one of the most admired restaurants in the area among both locals and out-of-towners.

Don’t overlook the Tremont nightlife. The Velvet Tango Room, a wildly popular cocktail lounge with a decidedly luxe interior, serves up creative cocktails and live jazz. This refined and classy spot reminds patrons that “you can never be overdressed.” DW


Cleveland Museum of Art

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Cleveland Orchestra

West Side Market



Velvet Tango Room

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