Rust used to dominate the reality and reputation of this industrial city but the Cleveland of today shows the polish of a metropolis that has undergone a major overhaul. The Cuyahoga River, which was once so polluted that it actually started on fire, has been cleaned up and the dirty, smoke-filled Cleveland of the past is just a distant memory for the most part. Cleveland now is known for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Great Lakes Science Center, refurbished sports venues like Cleveland Browns Stadium, and museums, art galleries and parks. (Now if only LeBron James would come back.)
From innovative architecture to upscale stores to green parks, Cleveland is alive with sights to see. Check out HealthSpace Cleveland (the first museum of health in the Western Hemisphere), the NASA Glenn Research Center at the the Great Lakes Science Center, and the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. Art lovers have a lot of choices as well, with the Cleveland Museum of Art, Museum of Contemporary Art and Piccadilly's Fine Art Galleries. If you're traveling with kids, don't miss the cool Glasshouse at the Cleveland Botanical Garden, the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and Rainforest, the Christmas Story House and the Mark Klaus "Holly"Wood Christmas Movieland. Nature is also never far away in Cleveland, since the Emerald Necklace of parks rings the city. Just a few minutes from the city center you'll find hiking, kayaking, fishing and more. If you want a taste of Italy, head up steep Murray Hill for the sights and smells of Little Italy. While you're there, take a little time to tour Lakeview Cemetery, built by Italian immigrants after the garden cemeteries of Europe.
Thanks to the diverse populations that converged on the city in the past, drawn by the once-abundant industrial jobs, the fare here in Cleveland is as varied as in any American town of longstanding. Good eats can be found all around Cleveland, in places like the Historic Warehouse District (also home to many bars, nightclubs and music venues), Tremont (look for high-end bistros), the Gateway District and Restaurant Row. If you want vegetarian food and a taste of the local, check the restaurants in artsy Coventry Road in Cleveland Heights. International food can easily be found in the large West Side Market and in Asia Plaza in Chinatown.
For unique finds, check out the trendy boutiques in Cleveland Heights, Shaker Heights and Lakewood. There are also interesting shops in historic Shaker Square. Cedar Road is the city's fashion district. If you're in the mood for high-end shopping, try the boutiques on Chagrin Boulevard in Woodmere and Crocker Park in Westlake. A lot of conventional shopping choices can be found in downtown Cleveland at Tower City Center mall and the Galleria at Erieview.
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