This Ohio city’s arts and dining scene rivals any in the country

Filled with fabulous food, sensational sights and an array of activities, there are countless reasons to visit Cleveland. Emily Lauer, the senior director of PR/communications for Destination Cleveland, describes the city a “world-class,” and she’s definitely on to something. “We’re a city that combines sophistication and grit. We offer experiences that are far beyond what visitors to mid-sized cities expect, especially in our arts, culture and outdoor offerings,” Lauer said.


The Greater Cleveland Aquarium offers a great look at the creatures living under the sea. It is home to more than 2,700 animals in its nine galleries, representing aquatic creatures from all over the globe.

The aquarium features a myriad of exhibits and activities, including an 11,000-gallon touch pool filled with southern, cownose and Atlantic stingrays, and an underwater sea tube that stretches 175 feet long filled with pufferfish, angelfish, barracudas and three types of sharks. On top of its many exhibits, numerous events are also offered, like spending a night in the aquarium, or “Adult Swim,” where adults are given after-hours access with a wine/beer tastings and hors d’oeuvres that pair with the seasons.

Greater Cleveland Aquarium

Greater Cleveland Aquarium

There are interactive experiences for guests, as well. Guests who are certified divers can have the opportunity to dive into the aquarium’s 230,000-gallon shark exhibit. Divers also get a behind-the-scenes tour of the dive platform and an exhibit walkthrough. For those who are not divers, there is a tour available where guests are able to see how the aquarium operates.


Cleveland is the birthplace of rock and roll, thanks to radio disc jockey Alan Freed. Thus, it’s fitting the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is located here. Music plays as guests walk through seven floors of exhibits and films celebrating the musicians honored in this hall. See a photo gallery of The Rolling Stones, Todd Rundgren, Janis Joplin and more from former manager and music producer Michael Friedman. Check out the Elvis exhibit that features an exclusive film made with Elvis Presley Enterprises.

Guests that enjoy the performing arts will love the Playhouse Square in the theater district downtown. One of Broadway’s premier touring partners, the performing arts center is a huge collection of 10 performance spaces. The center has five theaters, Allen Theatre, Connor Palace, Mimi Ohio Theatre, KeyBank State Theatre and Hanna Theatre, which are restored from the 1920s. Playhouse Square puts on more than 1,000 events per year, so there’s sure to be something for everyone. Plays, musicals, dance performances and comedy are featured almost every night. “Hamilton” and “Cats” are just a couple of the noteworthy performances guests can see. While there, guests can also see one of the largest outdoor chandeliers in the world. Hanging 44 feet in the air, the chandelier is 20 feet tall and is adorned with 4,200 crystals.


West Side Market is Cleveland’s oldest public market and was opened in 1912. The building was built by renowned local architects Benjamin Hubbell and W. Dominick Benes. It features a Guastavino tile-vaulted ceiling that is 44 feet high and a clock tower that stands 137 feet tall. The market houses more than 100 vendors for meats, veggies, dairy products, seafood, baked goods and fresh flowers. Additionally, it also houses food places with prepared foods, like falafels, hot dogs, crepes and more.

JACK Thistledown Racino

JACK Thistledown Racino

The Nautica Queen cruise ship is the perfect combination of dining and sightseeing. The cruises float along the Cuyahoga River and Lake Erie, allowing guests to take in the sights of Cleveland. The cruise includes coffee, tea, musical entertainment and an unlimited buffet. Go for lunch and experience chicken du jour, pastas, and rice pilaf. Hit the dinner and taste prime rib or beef, pork loin with balsamic raspberry sauce, shrimp and more. There’s even a Sunday brunch buffet that includes French toast, waffles, home fried potatoes, fresh fruit compote and pastries. All foods are freshly prepared on the cruise, so guests can comfortably dine.

JACK Thistledown Racino allows guests to view live thoroughbred racing. There is seasonal live racing as well as simulcast racing and the racino has more than 1,400 VLT machines for guests to enjoy. Also, there are six different restaurants available to choose from, so visitors will never go hungry.

Guests can also try their luck at JACK Cleveland Casino, the city’s only full-service casino. It measures at a robust 100,000-square-feet and is filled with more than 1,300 slot machines, 125 table games and a 30-table poker room. The casino has five dining options, including Seven Chefs Buffet (voted Northeast Ohio’s best buffet) and Wahlburgers (the burger joint owned by the famous Wahlberg brothers). In addition, there are three bars that make the casino a nightlife destination.

By Ayumi Davis