Do you know these 10 things about Cleveland, Ohio?


Sandy beaches, a Polish Boy and the country’s largest performance arts center outside New York City

Instagrammable Cleveland script signs like this one in Tremont are also located at Edgewater Park, North Coast Harbor, Euclid Beach, the Foundry on Flats West Bank and Cleveland Hopkins International Airport — Photo courtesy of Cody York for ThisIsCleveland.com

If you’ve never been to Cleveland but follow professional basketball or football, you probably know it’s home to the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Cleveland Indians. Or perhaps you’ve heard of Cleveland’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, chock full with the world’s largest collection of musical instruments, videos, album covers, funky concert digs and other rock and roll artifacts.

But did you know that inductees to the Hall of Fame become eligible only after their first commercial recording was released at least 25 years ago? Or that the most poignant experience at this tribute to rock and roll is probably “The Power of Rock,” an immersive film by Jonathan Demme that draws on more than 30 years of Hall of Fame induction ceremonies to showcase the most unforgettable live performances by new inductees?

The film concludes with Prince on guitar playing George Harrison’s “While my Guitar Gently Weeps” so beautifully and eloquently, that it’s you who might weep.

Here are 10 other things you might not know about Cleveland, even if you’ve been there.

Enjoy beaches and water sports

Pleasure boats, kayaks and other watercraft for rent on Lake EriePleasure boats, kayaks and other watercraft for rent on Lake Erie — Photo courtesy of Cody York for ThisIsCleveland.com

Cleveland, including its downtown, sits on a lake – Lake Erie, that is. That means you can watch a sunset, sun and swim at beaches, hike lakefront trails, go fishing, rent a paddleboard or jet ski and take a cruise.

Edgewater Beach is the city’s most popular summer hangout, with a 2,400-foot beach, the open-air Edgewater Beach House with food and drinks and free Thursday concerts in summer.

It’s not that big

Public Square is one of several green spaces in downtown ClevelandPublic Square is one of several green spaces in downtown Cleveland — Photo courtesy of Nathan Migal

Although Cleveland has a big reputation, it’s actually not Ohio’s largest city (that honor goes to capital Columbus, with more than 870,000 people). Rather, Cleveland has a population of 383,000, giving its downtown and vibrant neighborhoods an almost small-town feel.

Yet, in 1920, it was the fifth largest city in the United States, with a population of almost 800,000. More than 50 millionaires out of 80 nationwide had homes there.

So many downtown sports arenas

Spectators at a Cleveland Indians game can enjoy hometown favorites, like beer from Great Lakes and Market Garden breweriesSpectators at a Cleveland Indians game can enjoy hometown favorites, like beer from Great Lakes and Market Garden breweries — Photo courtesy of Beth Reiber

All of Cleveland’s sports arenas are downtown. You can grab a meal in the city and then walk to Progressive Field to see the Cleveland Indians, then to the next-door Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse to catch the Cavaliers, Cleveland Monsters hockey team or the AFL Cleveland Gladiators.

Or take a stroll to the waterfront FirstEnergy Stadium for an NFL Cleveland Browns game.

The largest Slovenian population in the United States

Kurents at the annual Cleveland Kurentovanje festivalKurents at the annual Cleveland Kurentovanje festival — Photo courtesy of Cody York

Slovenians began immigrating to Cleveland in the 1880s to work in steel and other industries. By the 1990s, they numbered well over 50,000. People with and without Slovenian ancestry turn out for the annual Cleveland Kurentovanje, a Slovenian version of Mardi Gras that’s meant to chase away the blahs of winter and usher in spring.

Highlights include a parade down St. Clair Avenue, traditional music, Slovenian food and drink, and the Kurents, furry monsters with beaks and long red tongues whose job it is to scare the wits out of winter.

Breweries galore

Market Garden Brewery offers tours, an Eastern European-influenced menu at its Market Garden Brewpub and a beer gardenMarket Garden Brewery offers tours, an Eastern European-influenced menu at its Market Garden Brewpub and a beer garden — Photo courtesy of Beth Reiber

Cleveland has more than 30 breweries and Greater Cleveland has about 70, making it the fourth largest in the country in number of breweries. Pick up the free Cleveland Brewery Passport and get it stamped at eight, 20 or all 34 participating breweries and you’ll win free stuff.

Largest performance arts center outside New York City

Playhouse Square's outdoor 20-foot-tall, 8,000-pound chandelier signals the way to opera, ballet, concerts, Broadway Series and other showsPlayhouse Square’s outdoor 20-foot-tall, 8,000-pound chandelier signals the way to opera, ballet, concerts, Broadway Series and other shows — Photo courtesy of Destination Cleveland

Only New York’s Lincoln Center surpasses Cleveland’s Playhouse Square. With a massive outdoor chandelier serving as a beacon, Playhouse Square has 10 performance spaces, including five stages restored to their original 1920’s grandeur. This cultural gem hosts more than 1,000 annual events and attracts more than a million guests per year.

Most concentrated square mile of arts and culture in the country

The world's largest porcelain enamel mural, now at the Cleveland History Center, was completed for the 1939 New York World's FairThe world’s largest porcelain enamel mural, now at the Cleveland History Center, was completed for the 1939 New York World’s Fair — Photo courtesy of Beth Reiber

University Circle is home to the always-free Cleveland Museum of Art with works by Monet, Van Gogh and Warhol, as well as the Cleveland History Center, showcasing everything from more than 140 historic vehicles to LeBron James’ 2016 NBA Championship shoes.

You’ll also find the Cleveland Botanical Garden, with its stunning displays and 17,000-square-foot glasshouse, and the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. It contains the world’s most complete Haplocanthosaurus dinosaur, measuring 70 feet long and 14 feet high. All are within easy walking distance of each other.

“A Christmas Story” was filmed here

The third floor of A Christmas Story House has been renovated to accommodate up to six guests, who have free reign of the house after guided tours endThe third floor of A Christmas Story House has been renovated to accommodate up to six guests, who have free reign of the house after guided tours end — Photo courtesy of Beth Reiber

The holiday classic “A Christmas Story” was partially filmed in an actual family’s home located in the blue-collar Tremont neighborhood (the owner moved out for the duration).

Now a museum, at A Christmas Story House you can join a tour to see Randy’s snowsuit and Ralphie’s Red Rider BB gun, buy your own Major Award leg lamp and, if you want, even spend the night.

Bonus trivia: winter snow scenes for the movie were created using instant mashed potatoes.

Home to one of the world’s best orchestras

The Cleveland Orchestra was founded in 1918 and performs in Severance Hall, built in 1931 at University Circle with striking Art Deco architectural detailsThe Cleveland Orchestra was founded in 1918 and performs in Severance Hall, built in 1931 at University Circle with striking Art Deco architectural details — Photo courtesy of Destination Cleveland

Cleveland Orchestra is consistently ranked one of the world’s best orchestras. In fact, Gramophone magazine ranked it seventh best in the world, behind only the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in the U.S. (which ranked fifth).

Catch a performance at Severance Hall, or in summer, at Blossom Music Center, an outdoor amphitheater within the perimeter of Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

Their hot dog is like no other

A Polish Boy from River Cafe food truckA Polish Boy from River Cafe food truck — Photo courtesy of Destination Cleveland

The Polish Boy is a Cleveland creation. It’s a meal in a bun, a kielbasa smothered with French fries, barbecue or hot sauce, and coleslaw. You can try it at Steve’s Diner, in business since 1953 in the Brooklyn neighborhood, or from food trucks Seti’s Polish Boys and River Dog Café.





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