There might be no space in all of Ohio more elegant than the new, light-filled atrium of the Cleveland Museum of Art. The museum, founded in 1913, has just completed a stunning eight-year, $320-million expansion and renovation. And though there is much to love about the entire museum, the atrium — the city’s newest gathering place — tops the list, with its dramatic skylights, marble walls and wood-and-steel accents.
Seeing Cleveland’s cultural grand dame updated with 21st-century style should top any traveler’s to-do list in northeastern Ohio this summer.
But there’s more — much more. From the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum to the rolling hills of Amish country, this area of the state offers a diversity of attractions, from city sophistication to simple living.
Here are 10 can’t-miss sites:
Cleveland Museum of Art
11150 East Blvd., Cleveland (Cuyahoga County)
If you haven’t been here lately, it’s definitely worth a return visit. The expansion — the museum is now one-third larger than it was — allows for the display of art in a more open and inviting atmosphere. The collection hasn’t changed much: All the favorites, including the Egyptian galleries, the Armor Court and the Impressionist paintings, are still here. But don’t miss Gallery One, the new high-tech, family-friendly space that features playful interactions with top pieces of art. For more information, see Page XX. (216-421-7350, 1-888-262-0033, www.clevelandart.org)
Tremont neighborhood, Cleveland (Cuyahoga County)
There are a dozen cool neighborhoods in Cleveland that are worth an afternoon (or more) of exploration. But Tremont, just southwest of downtown, is probably the coolest, with dozens of galleries, shops and terrific restaurants. This is also where you’ll find the Christmas Story House (3159 W. 11th St.), a small museum devoted to the 1983 movie. Parts of the movie were filmed in the Victorian-era home. (www.tremontwest.org, www.achristmasstoryhouse.com)
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum
1100 Rock and Roll Blvd., Cleveland (Cuyahoga County)
This is the attraction for which Cleveland is best-known — and with good reason. The hall, open since 1995, draws close to half-a-million music fans every year, who come to see Michael Jackson’s glove and Kurt Cobain’s electric guitar. New this year: a special exhibit, “Common Ground: The Music Festival Experience,” which traces the evolution of the music festival, from swing performances in the late 1930s to Woodstock to Live Aid. For more information, see Page XX. (www.rockhall.com)
Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Ohio’s only national park has something for everyone: 125 miles of hiking trails; a 20-mile stretch of the Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail that’s terrific for biking; plus concerts, train rides, overnight inns and more.
New this year: the Canal Exploration Center in Valley View, with interactive exhibits that explain the region’s canal-era history.
Perhaps the park’s best feature is its accessibility — 33,000 acres between Cleveland and Akron, in Summit and Cuyahoga counties, easily reached from the Ohio Turnpike, I-77 and Ohio 8. (nps.gov/cuva)
Lake Erie beaches
What’s a summer vacation without some sand in your toes? Two of Lake Erie’s best beaches sit side by side in Lake County, east of Cleveland: mile-long Headlands Beach State Park, the biggest strand in the state, and Fairport Harbor Lakefront Beach Park, with kayaks and paddle boards to rent, plus a popular dog-swim area. Alas, the two parks, although next to each other, are separated by the Grand River — so you can’t walk from one to the other. Note: During the summer, people should remain alert for potentially harmful algae blooms in Lake Erie. (parks.ohiodnr.gov/headlandsbeach; lakemetroparks.com/select-park/fairport.shtml)
Northeastern Ohio wine country
Just east of the family fun in Lake County, you’ll find a more adult activity in Ashtabula County: wine tasting. The far corner of Northeastern Ohio is the state’s best-known wine region, with two dozen wineries dotting the landscape just south of the Lake Erie shore. Take a tour, try some samples, have dinner — you can even stay overnight at a winery. And coming in June: Pairings, a new wine-tasting and culinary center in Geneva. (www.ohiowines.org)
There’s more to do in Holmes County than shopping and eating. (Although there’s nothing wrong with shopping and eating.) Begin your tour at the Amish & Mennonite Heritage Center in Berlin, which features the Behalt cyclorama, a mural in the round chronicling the centuries-long history of the church. Afterward, take a tour of the countryside, stopping for lunch at an Amish house, a buggy ride, or some browsing at an Amish-owned business. In the evening, check out the entertainment: Amish Country Theater, 3149 Rt. 39, Walnut Creek, home of the variety shows Buggy Fever and Funny Side Up; or Theater at Carlisle Inn, 4949 Walnut St., Sugarcreek, where The Confession will be playing this summer. (www.visitamishcountry.com)
For small-town charm with big-city sophistication, you can’t beat Wooster, population 26,000 and the Wayne County seat. There are more great restaurants here than you’ll be able to (comfortably) sample in a weekend, a quaint downtown square with numerous shops to browse, several terrific places to stay overnight, plus the Ohio Light Opera, which will launch its 36th season on June 14 with My Fair Lady. (www.mainstreetwooster.org)
Mohican State Park/Mohican River Valley
For stunning natural beauty, Ohio doesn’t offer much better than the Mohican region, which stretches through Ashland and Knox counties. Known as the canoe capital of Ohio, Mohican not only offers great paddling — but also hiking, horseback riding, zip-line riding, mountain biking and more. The center of the region is 1,100-acre Mohican State Park, with 186 campsites, or, for more creature comforts, a 96-room state park lodge. (parks.ohiodnr.gov/Mohican, www.visitmohican.com)
Pro Football Hall of Fame
2121 George Halas Dr. N.W.,
Canton (Stark County)
It’s always football season at the Pro Football Hall of Fame, which celebrated its 50th anniversary last year, by completing a $27 million expansion. Included in the new and redesigned space: more interactive exhibits, a new lobby area, a research and preservation center, and an expanded gift shop. What isn’t new: more than 200 former players immortalized in bronze in the Hall of Fame Gallery, a must-see for any fan of the sport. For more information, see Page XX. (www.profootballhof.com)
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