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Cleveland OH

Cleveland, OH

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Reinventing itself from the metropolitan area that lost more than half a million residents, Cleveland’s urban center has doubled its population during the past 20 years. An influx of young, educated professionals is moving into the downtown area as fast as housing becomes available, and in the process, Cleveland is experiencing a radical makeover.

The historic Warehouse District is a prime example of the new Cleveland. Since the early 1980s, developers have transformed abandoned and decaying Victorian-era buildings into a vibrant entertainment district. Upscale restaurants offer international cuisine ranging from Lebanese to Mexican and Indian. The Mallorca, with its Spanish-born chef, serves up seafood specialties such as grilled mahi mahi prepared with Spanish paprika and sliced garlic. Drinks and tapas take center stage over at the Liquid Café, which pairs its 30 appetizers with cocktails. The martini menu alone numbers 125 creations.

Even the Cuyahoga River has reemerged from its gritty past. Formerly polluted by river traffic and uncontrolled industry, the Cuyahoga caught fire a dozen times in 100 years, most recently in 1969. The 1969 fire was one of the environmental disasters that prompted the federal government to create the Environmental Protection Agency. Today, the river has come back to life with blue herons and bald eagles, as well as 60 fish species, including walleye, northern pike and bass. Only about five miles upstream from downtown Cleveland is the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, another indirect result of the 1969 fire.

One of the top attractions in Cleveland is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, which opened in September 1995. Nearly half a million people visit this Cleveland landmark each year. The structure, perched on the shoreline of Lake Erie, is a stunning glass “tent” secured by a 162-foot tower. Among the artifacts housed inside the 150,000-square-foot museum are handwritten lyrics, including those of “Purple Haze” by Jimi Hendrix and “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” by John Lennon. Other exhibits include one of Bo Diddley’s electric guitars and a Stevie Wonder harmonica.

Thrill-seekers should head to another of the top attractions in Cleveland, Cedar Point, home to more rides and roller coasters than any other amusement park. The Magnum XL-200, one of 17 roller coasters in the park, drops 200 feet and tops out at 72mph. Cedar Point caters to families with a number of its programs, such as the Parent Swap. This innovative policy allows one parent to enjoy a height-restricted ride while the other watches the kids. Then, when the first parent leaves, the second parent can take the next ride, entering through the ride exit area.

Getting around the city is easy, fun and informative on Lolly the Trolley. Sightseeing tours on these trolleys make it easy to become acquainted with the city during a visit to Cleveland. One- or two-hour tours take passengers to top sights, such as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Rockefeller Greenhouse.

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