Culture in Cleveland - Yes, It's True!

Posted by: Adam Lapsevich, Contributor on Friday, September 15, 2017 at 8:00:00 am

Cleveland sure has been the butt of jokes over the years, but one thing for sure, it is not anymore. This charming Midwestern city has made one of the most incredible comebacks and shows no sign of turning back.

I grew up in suburban Cleveland. During the 70s and early 80s, it was a city on decline. I couldn’t wait to get out and live somewhere more “cosmopolitan”. That is not the case any longer. Cleveland now offers its locals and visitors alike an incredible host of things to do, including some of the most sophisticated and cultural places to visit anywhere in the country.

OK, we all know LeBron brought the city their first championship in decades and the Cleveland Indians have already secured their place in the upcoming World Series, for the second year in a row. But what about museums, theatre and other cultural events that shape a city? "Here… hold my wine, I’ve got this!"


The Cleveland Orchestra

One of the world’s most famous symphonies calls Cleveland their home. Severance Hall is the winter home to the orchestra, while Blossom Music Center is their summertime spot. The elegance and rich history of this phenomenal venue is breathtaking, and certainly worth the time if you’re in town visiting.


The Cleveland Museum of Art

The Museum was founded in 1913 “for the benefit of all the people forever”. It opened in 1916 and houses some of the most spectacular collections of art from around the world.  It was founded by Cleveland industrialists who bequeathed money specifically for the museum. Over the years it has grown and is now one of the most cherished gems of the city.                                                    

The Cleveland Natural History Museum

Located in the historic University Circle neighborhood, approximately 5 miles east of downtown (and near Severance Hall), the 550-acre history museum was established in 1920 by Cyrus S. Eaton, to perform research, education and development of collections in the fields of anthropology, archaeology, astronomy, botany, geology, paleontology, wildlife biology and zoology.


Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland (MOCA)

The Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland, better known by its acronym, MOCA, is a contemporary art museum. Past exhibits have featured art by Andy Warhol, Christo, and Claes Oldenburg, Jim Hodges and Hildur Ásgeirsdóttir Jónsson, among others. The museum places a special focus on artists from Greater Cleveland and the rest of Northeastern Ohio in regional group shows curated every two years.


Playhouse Square

The beautiful Playhouse Square theatre district in downtown Cleveland is the largest performing arts district in the United States outside of New York City. It was constructed in the 1920s. The theaters successfully showed a variety of serious theater, vaudeville shows, and movies for more than forty years. However, during the years following World War II, suburbanization and the rise of television led to the decline of the theaters. Fire broke out in the Ohio in 1964, and the other Playhouse Square theaters were struck by vandalism. Between May 1968 and July 1969, all the theaters closed except the Hanna.

Through a grassroots effort in late 1981, a restoration began to save these beautiful theaters and now today hosts Broadway productions year round. In 2014, new signage was placed in the area along with the world’s largest outdoor chandelier that towers over the intersection of E. 14 and Euclid Avenue, the heart of the district. The chandelier represents the history and grandeur of the buildings as each of them has their own spectacular chandeliers in their lobbies.


The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum 

When you’re ready to divert from the classical genre, stroll down to the lakefront at the E. 9th Street Pier and visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. This showpiece of a building was opened in 1995 and houses the world’s largest collection of rock and pop music memorabilia. There are thousands of stories, artifacts and personal collections of items from artists who changed history through pop culture. This is a must-see museum for any visitor to Cleveland.

The Great Lake Science Center

The Great Lakes Science Center is a museum and educational facility in downtown Cleveland. Many of the exhibits document the features of the natural environment in the Great Lakes region of the United States. The facility includes signature (permanent) and traveling exhibits, meeting space, a cafe, and an IMAX Dome theater.


The Christmas Story House

“You’ll shoot your eye out Ralphie”…. The popular line from the iconic 1980 holiday movie classic, “The Christmas Story”.

While the movie takes place in a fictional Indiana town, the shooting was quintessential Cleveland. The family home, affectionally known as the “Christmas Story House”, is located just outside of downtown and welcomes visitors year-round. It’s just more fun to visit during the holidays though! There are trolley rides, provided by Cleveland’s “Lolly the Trolley” that take festive riders to all the popular places around town.


West Side Market

The West Side Market is the oldest operating indoor/outdoor market space in Cleveland, Ohio. It is located at the corner of West 25th Street and Lorain Avenue in the Ohio City neighborhood. On December 18, 1973, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Anyone who considers themselves a “foodie” simply must spent a few hours at this iconic market. Old world foods from across the globe are represented here year round. Its always bustling with activity and there are plenty of samples to be had as well. This is another must for visitors to Cleveland.

Cleveland is home to some of the most amazing ethnic restaurants in the country as well. Incredible local restaurants are scattered throughout the city including fantastic cuisine in the Little Italy neighborhood, Slavic Village, Chinatown, Tremont, Ohio City and of course, downtown.

Winters can be cold but summer, spring and fall are beautiful. You can tour the city from the water as well on the famous Goodtime III cruise ship.  Reservations at

So there you have it. There’s more to the USA than New York, San Francisco and Chicago! Cleveland is a fun city, steeped in history, with plenty to see and do!


Contact Journeys for Women


Cleveland photos courtesy of Brent Durken.

Cleveland Orchestra photo courtesy of Roger Mastroianni, Cleveland Orchestra


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