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The days of Cleveland being known as the Mistake by the Lake are long gone.
City - Fortunes - Rest - Rust - Belt
Yes, the city’s fortunes have ebbed and flowed along with the rest of the great Rust Belt cities. But this decline — more than 50% population loss since the 1950s — has created unique opportunities for redevelopment and growth, particularly in the core of downtown.
Public Square with the grand Cuyahoga County Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument, a late 19th century tribute to those who fought in the Civil War, reminded me of London’s Trafalgar Square because both squares serve as central gathering points for their respective cities. A couple blocks away is the Mall, which is basically Cleveland’s front lawn. The green spaces, separated into three sections, are perfect spots for an urban picnic or an afternoon of sunbathing.
Cleveland - Lake - Erie - Great - Lakes
Cleveland’s downtown faces toward Lake Erie, one of the five Great Lakes.
The waterfront isn’t as unobstructed as Toronto or Chicago, but the views are impressive, especially from one of the many towers. The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, which was designed by the recently deceased architect I.M. Pei, has commanding views of both Lake Erie and the cityscape.
Vibe - Flats - Walk - Downtown
It is a completely different vibe in the Flats, a short walk or drive away from downtown.
Here you find the remnants of industrial Cleveland as the Cuyahoga River meanders under numerous bridges and past old mills and brick warehouses. Freighters still frequent these waters, though kayaks and boat clubs practicing their rowing seem more common today.
Visitors - Cleveland - Heritage - Culture - John
Many first-time visitors to Cleveland are struck by the rich heritage and culture. Like literally rich. This was where John D. Rockefeller — yes, that Rockefeller — made his fortune with Standard Oil before decamping to New York City.
Traces of the Gilded Age can still be found along Euclid Avenue.
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