"All the little chicks with their crimson lips go 'Cleveland rocks!, Cleveland rocks!'"
Or so Ian Hunter sang in 1979, in what would more or less become the unofficial anthem for the city of Cleveland, Ohio.
And you know what? Even though I'm not wearing any crimson lipstick, I'll still tell you that Cleveland rocks. And here's why.
Not only do we have the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but Cleveland actually lays claim to the birth of rock and roll, too. Well, not the musical style, but the term itself was coined in 1951 by Cleveland radio DJ Alan Freed. Cleveland is also home to the Cleveland Orchestra, which is one of the most-recorded and sought-after orchestras in the world.
From the holiday favorite A Christmas Story to more recent blockbusters like The Avengers and Captain America, Cleveland has been the on-screen backdrop to quite a few films, more so in recent years as producers have sought out more affordable alternatives to filming in Hollywood.
Like many larger cities, Cleveland has a diverse food scene. From food trucks to ethnic joints to restaurants run by Iron Chef Michael Symon, it really does have it all. It also has the West Side Market, the oldest indoor/outdoor market in the city, which opened in 1840.
Cleveland's theater district, Playhouse Square, is the largest performing arts complex in the US after Broadway in New York. It hosts everything from traveling Broadway productions to concerts and comedians, attracting more than one million people each year to its events and performances.
The Cleveland MetroParks operate everything from golf courses to bike trails and even the Cleveland Zoo. There's sledding and cross-country skiing in the winter and a few MetroParks golf courses even offer the new and increasingly popular sport of FootGolf.
Cleveland is also situated on Lake Erie which means that it has beaches as well as all types of water-related recreation options. Many of the Lake Erie beaches are overseen by the MetroParks now, and are therefore cleaner and nicer than they've ever been. And, speaking of the Lake, Cleveland is also close to lakeside attractions like Cedar Point, which is consistently voted the Best Amusement Park in the World and is just an hour's drive away.
If the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame isn't enough, Cleveland also has an internationally-renowned art museum, recognized especially for its Asian and Egyptian collections, and a family-friendly science center.
Lastly, yes, Cleveland has a bit of a reputation when it comes to sports. Often called Believeland because of how loyal its fans are to teams that don't have the best track records (I'm looking at you, Browns!), the city seems to finally be catching a break. "Johnny Football" (AKA Johnny Manziel) will be coming to town this fall to play for the Browns, and LeBron James is on his way back home to the Cavs. No matter your interest, there is almost always an exciting sporting event to attend.
Have you ever been to Cleveland? What did you enjoy doing the most?
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Graduate student by day and avid traveler and blogger by night (and on weekends and during holidays), Amanda is just a small-town Ohio girl trying to balance a "normal" life with a desire to discover the world beyond her Midwest bubble. Amanda's adventurous nature and inability to say "no" have led her to some pretty amazing adventures all around the world. But she has no desire to stop exploring anytime soon. Read Amanda's blog, A Dangerous Business, or follow her on Facebook, Twitter or Google Plus.
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