Cleveland January 04, 2018
12 Reasons Why Cleveland Is The Most Unique City In America
As an eclectic city with a long history, Cleveland is bound to be home to some unique attractions and people in the world. We’ve been hiding our splendor from the world under the sarcastic guise of “The Mistake On The Lake,” but it’s common knowledge to us Clevelanders that our city is something truly special. In fact, locals could even argue that Cleveland is the most unique city in the country… and they’d be right. There are many things that make us a unique city, but these 12 items are perhaps the most noteworthy:
1. We like to maintain a healthy amount of local lore.
From the tortured soul of Joc-O-Sot to the iconic "black tears" that streak down the Haserot Angel's face, there is an incredible collection of legends hailing from Cleveland's past. Generation after generation pass these stories down, preserving in them an aspect of our own culture that we don't even realize is important. Even in our most ridiculous legends are little pieces of what makes Cleveland so special, and we think that's worth keeping alive.
2. You can spot structures in our city that you aren't likely to find anywhere else in the world.
The Free Stamp is one of our most infamous structures, mostly because many Clevelanders look upon its existence with disdain. Regardless of our love-hate relationship with this iconic monument, we can admit that we probably won't encounter another giant rubber stamp during our travels.
3. Cleveland is the real birthplace of the Last Son of Krypton.
You may have heard that Superman was born on Krypton, but the truth is that he was born right here in Cleveland to the great minds of high school students writer Jerry Siegel and artist Joe Shuster. It seems fitting that an All-American icon comes from a classic city like Cleveland.
4. Cleveland has a history of aiming for the stars.
Cleveland's Glenn Research Center is one of ten places in the nation where NASA develops new technology for use in aeronautics and space exploration. Our own research center dates back to 1942, way before space travel was on the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics' radar. Though this facility is fairly easy to overlook, it generates an annual $700 million in economic activity.
5. Holiday cheer throughout the nation can trace its roots to Cleveland.
Cleveland is the headquarters of American Greetings, the greeting card company that has brought people closer together for generations. Despite 112 years of business, the company remains family-owned.
6. Our cuisine scene is truly impressive.
No matter what you're craving, you can find it in Cleveland. From hot dogs piled high with Froot Loops to traditional pierogies just like your Slavic baba used to make, we've got a bit of everything you could ask for in a foodie town.
7. Locals embrace the wonderfully weird with open arms.
We love a bit of kooky fun, and Cleveland is overflowing with epic places where we can indulge in the bizarre. From the
Buckland Museum of Witchcraft
Dittrick Medical Museum
, there are plenty of places that effortlessly allow Clevelanders the opportunity to embrace the delightfully weird.
8. Cleveland is the birthplace and continuous home of rock and roll.
DJ Alan Freed is credited with using the term "rock and roll" as early as 1951 on local radio station WJW, making Cleveland the birthplace of a musical revolution. The presence of the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame ensures that we celebrate that reputation and act as the modern home of the genre.
9. Some very special people hail from The Land.
Pictured here is Margaret Hamilton, perhaps best known as The Wicked Witch Of The West. Hamilton was born in Cleveland in 1902 and grew up performing in the city. You may also recognize the name Jesse Owens, the Olympic gold medalist who first gained recognition while a high school track student here in Cleveland, or James Abram Garfield, the 20th President of the United States, who was born and raised in Greater Cleveland. And, of course, the city is also home to you and me, proving that Cleveland produces some unique and driven personalities!
10. Cleveland has been influenced and shaped by cultures from all around the world.
Intercultural exchange is evident everywhere one looks, from the architecture to our cuisine. Cleveland is a city that loves to celebrate its roots, which have been immortalized in the Cultural Gardens of Rockefeller Park.
11. There is a whole lot of love in Cleveland.
There is so much love, in fact, that the first Sweetest Day was celebrated here in 1921. During that celebration, the biggest celebrities of the day handed out candy to locals. Today, the holiday has more of a romantic connotation and is celebrated throughout the Midwest.
12. Cleveland is the best location in the nation.
It's undeniable. We have a bit of everything here in Cleveland, and we truly adore our hometown.
There is no place in the world like Cleveland, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. We love our zany city and everything that it entails, and locals adore that our city has a tendency to lean toward the unusual and bizarre. Life in The Land is fun, and our unique cityscape ensures that we are never ever bored.
For more on Cleveland’s unique attractions, find out why it made the
National Geographic Traveler’s . Best of The World list