Located on the southern shore of Lake Erie, Cleveland packs in enough animal attractions and interactive museums to keep kids amused, though parents will be happy dragging younger ones around the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the lakeside Cleveland Museum of Art. A clean and welcoming center, pitted with parks and sports grounds, belies its industrial past, though you can still explore historic areas like the Gateway and Warehouse Districts. Find both the city roots and its new and trend-setting restaurants, cafes and galleries with a trip to Cleveland.
With a long line of famous performers, the Playhouse Square provides a step back into the past. Experience the decor, beautiful architecture and care that have been placed into restoring this wonderful theater to what it is today. Over 90 years old, the Playhouse Square Theater still shows plays, musicals and other events, historical walk-throughs and tours of the lobby; and the theater and the backstage area are equally entertaining.
Walking through the halls of this museum will surround visitors in the history, and experiences of musicians such as Cat Stevens, Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson and The Rolling Stones. Read their stories, see their instruments, and learn about the legacy left behind from some of the world's greatest artists. Hardcore fans should check out the library archive for extra information and the historical context surrounding some of these familiar figures.
The Warehouse District offers much to Cleveland's Downtown area. Merchants line the streets with local wares, while Cleveland's garment industry is slowly creeping up on New York's as the most reputable. Plenty of Cleveland hotels are found in this central district just south of Lake Erie shore, with Doubletree by Hilton Cleveland Lakeside and the Westin Cleveland Downtown a short walk from sights like the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
A fine piece of urban revitalization further south of the Warehouse District, the Gateway District represents how Cleveland plans to pursue its future while giving credit to its past. Shining new complexes rise in beautiful contrast to the old classic designs like the Colonial and Euclid Arcades, bringing with them new restaurants, comedy venues and hotel chains from Hilton to Radisson. Compare boutiques and independent sellers with the gleaming stores of Tower City mall, at the huge Terminal Tower in Public Square. With the Bike Rack hub, it's just as easy to tour the streets on two wheels as it is to stroll this hospitable district.
Once a year, everyone is Irish on St. Patrick's Day, but Cleveland's annual Irish Cultural Festival takes this above and beyond. Held during July, the festival has been going strong for over 30 years. People come from all over to enjoy music, food, art and other cultural entertainments that celebrate Irish-American history and culture. The festival has become so popular that places like Temple Bar and Museum have even converted the front of their business to reflect what old-world Dublin looked like.
Held during early August, The FEST is a Christian music festival. Participants get together every year to raise money for a charitable cause, while enjoying the likes of top-selling bands and American Idol stars on stage, as well as BMX shows and family games. Everything's free and FEST is open to anyone looking for an all-around, all-day event.
Cold and snowy winters average at about 28 degrees Fahrenheit, but the good news is that summers, by contrast, can pique at about 104 degrees. March and April are good times to visit, to enjoy the city's Botanical Gardens and lakeside greenery at its most sparkling. Because of the close proximity to Lake Erie, Cleveland gets about 40 inches of rainfall annually, but if you're looking for milder weather, plan for late summer and early fall.