It’s a long time since the great industrial port of CLEVELAND – for decades the butt of jokes after the heavily polluted Cuyahoga River caught fire in 1969 – has been considered the “Mistake on the Lake”. Although parts of the city have been hit by the latest recession, the most revitalized areas remain hubs of energy. Cleveland boasts a sensitive restoration of the Lake Erie and Cuyahoga River waterfront, a superb constellation of museums, a growing culinary scene and modern downtown super-stadiums. What with the now well-established Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, there’s an unmistakeable buzz about the place, augmented by the city hosting the 2014 Gay Games.

Founded in 1796, thirty years later Cleveland profited greatly from the opening of the Ohio Canal between the Ohio River and Lake Erie. During the city’s heyday, which began with the Civil War and lasted until the 1920s, its vast iron and coal supplies made it one of the most important steel and shipbuilding centres in the world. John D. Rockefeller made his billions here, as did the many others whose restored old mansions line “Millionaires’ Row”.

Outside of the lively downtown, trendy Ohio City, just to the southwest, and the cultural institutions of University Circle, some distance east of the river, are the most rewarding areas to explore.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

USA features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

King of the road: on the Civil Rights Trail through America’s south

King of the road: on the Civil Rights Trail through America’s south

Next year marks 50 years since the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr and also the launch of a new Civil Rights Trail through the USA's south. On a road …

16 Nov 2017 • Ella Buchan local_activity Special feature
Video: a brief history of the American road trip

Video: a brief history of the American road trip

We dug into the visual archives of yore to bring you a brief history of the American road trip. From the first coast-to-coast car voyage in the USA to today…

10 Nov 2017 • Colt St. George videocam Video
7 seriously spooky places in America

7 seriously spooky places in America

From urban legends passed down for centuries to real-life harrowing tales, America’s closet is filled with skeletons. These cities will put a chill down your …

24 Oct 2017 • Jess Chun insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Weekly newsletter

Sign up now for travel inspiration, discounts and competitions

Sign up now and get 20% off any ebook