On the shores of Lake Erie, in the Midwestern state of Ohio, you'll find the metropolis of Cleveland.
Cleveland, though amazing, often gets thrown by the wayside of tourist travel, especially when compared to cities like New York and Los Angeles. This makes it no less amazing, though. In fact, it makes it positively and pleasantly surprising when you explore its hidden treasures.
So when you're student group is searching for a vacation destination, either educational or just for fun, seriously consider Cleveland and you'll be sure to have a blast. Here's why:
Educational and cultural, sophisticated and boundary-pushing, the art museums and installations in Cleveland are some of the best in the country. First, visit the Cleveland Museum of Art to see everything from ancient Egyptian statues and idols to Monet and more. After that, you can get your modern fix at the Cleveland Museum of Contemporary Art and explore the galleries of what is new and/or pushing the limits on the way we experience art today.
Cleveland takes few things more seriously than music. Home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, this American institution is an entertainment treasure. Inside you'll find exhibits on some of the world's best rock and roll performers and groups including the Beatles, Bruce Springsteen, Graham Nash, and many more. You can even tour the performer's props like Bruce Springsteen's guitar and explore the galleries of One Hit Wonders, Hall of Fame Inductees, and many others. If your group is more interested in classical music, the Cleveland Orchestra plays world-class level performances live and you can also get tickets to the Cleveland Opera Theater.
Representing both children's museums and adult-centric attractions, Cleveland's science venues run the full gamut. For the youngsters in your group, tour the fabulous Children's Museum full of interactive displays and exhibits which are meant to excite young minds. The Great Lakes Science Center is a wonderful place to bridge the gap between children's science exhibits and adult, while the Dittrick Medical Museum is best for older teens and adult groups as it explores the evolution of medical science. Everyone can enjoy the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, however, and have fun learning and exploring the dinosaur bones and other collections of this spectacular natural science museum.
Military History -
Cleveland has an interesting number of military landmarks and museums that would be perfect for those history buffs and educational trips. If you head over to the waterfront, you'll find the USS Cod Submarine Memorial as well as the Steamship William G. Mather, both of which are now used as museums stationed in Lake Erie. You can also head indoors and tour the Cleveland Grays Armory Museum, a historic armory built by a private military company in 1837 and one of the oldest standing structures in the city.
Nature & Animals -
Everyone loves visiting the natural beauty of a new city, especially one as pretty as Cleveland. You may not know it now but Cleveland, on the shores of Lake Erie, is gorgeous. Visit the Cleveland Botanical Garden or Cleveland Metroparks to explore the wild outdoors full of lush green beautiful trees and colorful flowers. Cuyahoga Valley National Park is a national treasure as well as a historic landmark so be sure to visit this attraction on your student trip. But beauty doesn't stop at flowers alone. Head into the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo to see incredible animals from all over the world or explore the Cleveland Aquarium to see animals of the deep blue sea. No matter the average age of your student group, everyone enjoys a day spent exploring the animal kingdoms.
This category includes not only movie playing venues, but also performing arts theaters, of which Cleveland is full of. If you enjoy a good performance, Playhouse Square is the place for you. The largest performing arts district in the country outside of New York City, Playhouse Square currently has eight theaters to its name all within a few blocks. Five of the district's original theaters are historic landmarks, built in the 1920s, and were renovated in the 1970s when the area was revitalized. The venues show everything from singers to comedians, plays, and off-Broadway productions and more.
Aside from Cleveland's excellent theater district, shopping centers, and viewing opportunities, it is also home to a world-class amusement park. Cedar Point Park is one of the top amusement parks in the country with a fabulous collection of rides both thrilling and family-friendly. Wooden and steel roller coasters, Ferris wheels and tilt-a-whirls, carnival food and plenty of attractions for a full day's fun. If you're out on the town and decide not to hit up the amusement park, why not stop by the filming location of A Christmas Story instead? The iconic house is now a museum where you can tour all of the best props from the movie and learn more about its filming.
Sports fans will most definitely find Cleveland an exciting place to be. The city was practically built on sports and continues the tradition through professional football, basketball, hockey, and baseball. FirstEnergy Stadium, home of the Cleveland Browns, is one of the more popular attractions although Quicken Loans Arena, where the Cavaliers play, is a close second. Fans also have the opportunity to visit the Pro Football Hall of Fame as well as the Baseball Heritage Museum on their trip, to round out the modern day sports viewing experience.
Like a lot of major cities, the food scene in Cleveland is amping up. From gastropubs to fancy artistic dining, Cleveland has you covered. Food tour companies all over the city offer different ways to experience dining that explore the culinary side of Cleveland. If you're looking for a place to eat, what's more fun than Hard Rock Cafe? Cleveland takes its rock music pretty seriously and this famous franchise is no different. Other restaurants, like Cleveland Chop, take something like a steakhouse and raise it to the next level with delicious and uniquely designed plates. To taste something pretty out there and different, simply explore the city by foot and stop in whatever restaurants catch your eye.
Who doesn't like shopping on vacation? The answer should be nobody, obviously. It doesn't matter if you're on an educational visit and touring all the museums you can handle or if you're in town to celebrate your graduation, shopping is always going to be on your list somewhere. Do it in style and flair at places like Cleveland's West Side Market, a wonderfully historic people-watching attraction simply full of booths plying artisan made crafts, apparel, accessories, food, and souvenirs perfect for taking home. For the more traditional shopping centers, head to the Galleria or the seriously upscale Crocker Park where you can find stunning purchases from big names.