Cleveland has shed its Rust Belt image and emerged as a top destination for food, culture, and outdoor recreation on Lake Erie.
Urban peregrine falcons, such as Lady Millar and Stacks, can be found perching high atop Terminal and Key Bank towers. For a more up-close look at them, volunteer falcon-watchers Chad and Chris Saladin post regular Facebook updates at C&C's Ohio Peregrine Page.
Ancient melting glaciers left behind five deep pockets of freshwater known as the Great Lakes. Lake Erie may be shallowest, but it stretches like an ocean from Cleveland's North Coast. The delicate ecosystem harbors more than 3,500 varieties of plants and animals and provides a nutrient-rich resting spot for migratory birds.
Cuyahoga Valley National Park's diverse landscape includes steep ravines, reclaimed marshland, scenic waterfalls, and rocky outcroppings found along a section of the Cuyahoga River just south of Cleveland. Walk or bike along Towpath Trail, which follows the historic Ohio and Erie Canal, which aided commercial trade in the 19th century.
The remnants of more than 2,000 shipwrecks lost to fire, collision, or volatile weather litter the murky depths of Lake Erie. Many of the vessels have yet to be found, although the Cleveland Underwater Explorers, sponsored by the National Museum of the Great Lakes, recently rediscovered the steam barge Margaret Olwill that sank on its way to Cleveland in 1899.
The Cleveland Museum of Art's vast collection spans from ancient to contemporary, but it has also transformed how people interact with works of art by offering new ways to experience them. In the ArtLens Gallery, for example, a gesture-based game called "Line Shape" allows you to squiggle something in the air and the computer will locate similarly shaped objects within the art collection.
Best Day Trip
Ohio has one of the world's largest Amish populations, mostly centered in the rural communities in Geauga and Holmes Counties. Ramble along the picturesque two-lane roads, and pay a visit to the many home-based businesses that modestly advertise everything from eggs to handwoven baskets on the side of the road.
Off the Beaten Path
Tucked away on a hillside above Martin Luther King Drive, the Rockefeller Park Greenhouse remains one of the most underrated free attractions in the city. Built on land donated by John D. Rockefeller, the facility has supplied flowers and greenery for city parks since 1905, but also displays an impressive collection of orchids and cacti.
Most Iconic Attraction
Each year, millions of people make a pilgrimage to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Cleveland's redeveloped North Coast Harbor. Built as a temple to the rock-music gods, the pyramidal building contains a treasure trove of artifacts once touched or worn by the best recording artists in the genre's history.
Neighborhood to Explore
Tremont's urban revitalization gave rise to a large concentration of galleries, not to mention popular independent boutiques, bars, and restaurants, particularly around Professor Avenue. The area begs a visit, especially during the second Friday of the month for Walkabout Tremont, but other attractions like the Christmas Story House can be visited all year round.
More than 30 islands are found in Lake Erie, but most visitors head to Kelleys and South Bass Islands. The latter is home to the world's largest geode, an attraction that kept one lucky winery afloat during the throes of prohibition in the 1930s. Ferries to the Lake Erie islands leave from Lorain, Sandusky, Catawba Island, Port Clinton, and Marblehead (Kelleys Island only).