Cleveland’s extensive and complicated history is alive and well in its most famous and beautiful locales. From thrilling natural wonders to unforgettable manmade achievements, there is no shortage of truly marvelous places in Cleveland that can only truly be appreciated by seeing them with your own two eyes.
1. Playhouse Square (1501 Euclid Ave)
Perhaps Cleveland's best-kept secret is that our theater district rivals Broadway when it comes to impact and beauty in the annals of American theatre. From the historic Allen Theatre to the lavishly elegant Connor Palace, there is virtually no better place to take in a show, and the surroundings are as unforgettable as the plays.
2. Tinkham Veale University Center (11038 Bellflower Rd)
Not even three years old, this sleek and stylish piece of modern architecture serves as the newest student and campus resource center for Cleveland's own Case Western Reserve University. From the real grass that grows on its rooftop ecosystem to the space-age design and glass finish, this is a building for the future.
3. Chagrin Falls (N Main Street, Chagrin Falls)
The biggest and most powerful waterfall near Cleveland, the rushing rapids that are cast over the sheer sandstone face of Chagrin Falls are a truly breathtaking sight that can only really be appreciated in person.
4. Cleveland Mall (E 9th St)
Though the lush forestry of the Emerald Necklace doesn't quite extend to the highrises of downtown Cleveland, this strip of land in the heart of the city is a welcome relief from the concrete jungle. Nestled between the Cleveland Public Library and the Howard H. Metzenbaum Courthouse, it's jarring to see a long patch of gorgeous grass sprout out of the city.
5. West Side Market (1979 W 25th St)
Part farmers market, part deli, part piece of living history, Cleveland's iconic West Side Market is home to one of the most unforgettable shopping experiences you'll ever have, as well as one of the picturesque pieces of architecture in the Forest City.
6. The Arcade (401 Euclid Ave)
The Arcade has the unique distinction of being the very first indoor shopping mall in America, and its intricate Art Deco-inspired architecture is still standing today. The skylight that runs across the entire ceiling is one of the most incredible sights in Cleveland, and even as you stare into the sky you are surrounded by stately 20th-century designs that maintain an elegant beauty to this day.
7. Rocky River Reservation (24000 Valley Pkwy)
One of Cleveland Metroparks' few parks with direct river access, the Rocky River Reservation is everything a nature lover could ever want out of a park. From fantastic trails to swimming, fishing, and boating on the banks of the river, this is a beautiful piece of the Emerald Necklace just begging to be explored.
8. Cleveland Public Library (16918 Harvard Ave)
Cleveland's Public Library has been in operation since 1869, and has grown to encompass over 25 branches scattered throughout the city. In total, it is the third largest library in the country after New York City's public library and the Library of Congress. Each building offers its own kind of peaceful architectural beauty, but the Harvard-Lee branch is undoubtedly the most spellbinding.
9. Cleveland Botanical Garden (11030 East Blvd)
The Cleveland Botanical Garden is an eternally green window into another world. The exotic plant life that grows there year-round is nothing short of magical, and you will find yourself transfixed on something now matter which direction you look.
10. Cleveland Trust Rotunda Building (1010 Euclid Ave)
This historic building began operation in 1907 as a bank office for the Cleveland Trust Company. History has had its effect on the building, and it now holds a grocery store and an edgy basement nightclub, but the fascinating Neoclassical design of the building, not to mention its stunning Tiffany glass rotunda, remains marvelously preserved.
11. Willard Park (East Bank)
While a lovely public park with ample space for activities and outdoor excitement, what makes Willard Park famous is not its natural beauty, but an iconic statue. However unusual it may be, Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen's famous statue, "Free Stamp," has defined Willard Park since its unveiling in 1982. Since then, it has also become a piece of Cleveland history in its own right.
Are there any amazing wonders in Cleveland that we managed to overlook? Tell us about your favorite spots in the Forest City in the comments below!