Cleveland: Like No Place Else

With attractions like a gigantic rubber stamp sculpture and the house where A Christmas Story was filmed, this city on the shore of Lake Erie is like no other.

By: Douglas Trattner

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland, Ohio

Cleveland Clinic

In addition to being among the top medical centers in the world, Cleveland Clinic is the second largest private employer in Ohio, with about 37,000 workers. The main campus alone consists of 40-some buildings spread across 140 acres near University Circle. Annual revenues for this economic powerhouse approach $4.5 billion. And to protect the visiting dignitaries, Cleveland Clinic maintains its own police force. 

Lake Effect Snow

When frigid arctic air travels south across the relatively warm Lake Erie waters, it picks up moisture, freezes it and dumps it in the form of snow on driveways throughout the Snow Belt. The conditions needed to produce this meteorological phenomenon -- unfrozen Great Lake, proximity to prevailing arctic winds -- are unique to few places. Lucky Cleveland.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum

This iconic 150,000-square-foot shrine to rock 'n' roll has become every bit as recognizable as the Louvre. And die-hard musicologists would argue that its contents are every bit as precious. Fans travel far and wide to take in the museum’s groovy collection of memorabilia, ephemera and interactive displays.

PlayhouseSquare

Cleveland’s five grand vaudeville-era theaters were moments from the wrecking ball in the 1970s. Since that time all have been restored to their previous luster and today, PlayhouseSquare is the second-largest performing arts district in the nation. Nightly these stages and numerous smaller ones are host to Broadway musicals, ballet, singer-songwriters and Shakespeare.

University Circle

Crammed into a walkable square mile known as University Circle is one of the highest concentrations of “eds, meds and arts institutions” in the country. Visitors to the area will find Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland Botanical Garden, Cleveland Museum of Natural History, Severance Hall (home to Cleveland Orchestra), Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland Institute of Art and University Hospitals, to name a few.

A Christmas Story House

Who didn’t root for adorable Ralphie Parker to get his Red Ryder air rifle for Christmas in the movie A Christmas Story? When one obsessive fan learned the Tremont neighborhood home used in the movie was up for sale, he purchased it sight unseen. After faithfully restoring it to the way it looked in the 1983 cult classic, he opened the house as a museum. Make sure to stop by the gift shop to grab an ever-popular leg lamp for display in your own home.

Ray’s Indoor Mountain Bike Park

Riders from all over the Midwest come to this sprawling 100,000-square-foot indoor complex to enjoy its labyrinthine tangle of trails. Constructed in a deserted warehouse, the park features paths, jumps, obstacles and embankments. This is a winter-only fun land.

Cleveland Police Museum 

In the 1930s, Clevelanders were gripped by fear over the “Torso Murderer,” a serial killer who decapitated 13 people. Police cast death masks of the victims’ faces to aid identification. Many of these macabre masks are on display at this small but captivating museum.

Old Arcade

Built in 1890 at an eye-popping price tag of $875,000, the Victorian-style Old Arcade is architectural eye candy at its finest. Funded by wealthy industrialists like John D. Rockefeller, the atrium is festooned with intricate brass detail work, cast-iron griffins and a skylight comprising 1,800 lights of glass.

Free Stamp

Depending whom you ask, this comically outsized rubber office stamp is either brilliant pop art or an abomination on public land. Regardless, artist Claes Oldenburg’s large aluminum sculpture is a conversation piece that never fails to impress shutterbugs.

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