Cleveland is a sports-mad town, a rock and roll capital and an arts and culture hub located on the southern shores of Lake Erie, one of five bodies of water that form the largest group of freshwater lakes in the world. Cleveland is white in winter and green in summer. It’s Midwestern, it’s genuine and it loves to show visitors a good time.
We Sport the Finest Facilities
Cleveland’s world-class sports facilities have hosted five Major League Baseball All-Star Games, two NBA All-Star Games, four United States Figure Skating Championships, the Gravity Games, NCAA basketball tournaments and other NCAA events, U.S. Masters Swimming Championships, the International Children’s Games, U.S. Speed skating Championships, and USA Wrestling Championships. Cleveland is hosting the huge Summer National Senior Games in 2013 and the Gay Games in 2014. In addition, Cleveland has been designated an NCAA Championship City, is the headquarters of the Mid-American Conference and is home to many college and university sports programs.
The iconic all-glass I.M. Pei-designed Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum is devoted to performers, creators, and promoters associated with the growth and popularity of rock and roll music. The Museum has seven floors of exhibition space that feature permanent exhibits highlighting the history of rock and roll from its roots to the present. Currently the museum is featuring a Women Who Rock exhibit, which shines a spotlight on more than 70 artists and features guitars, stage outfits, original lyrics and videos, as well as a recording booth where visitors can film a short story or moment of inspiration related to women in rock.
We Love our Arts and Culture
If big-budget musicals without big-budget ticket prices are your thing, Playhouse Square – the second largest theater complex in the U.S. – offers its Broadway Series, with professional touring shows. Playhouse Square is also a great destination for one-off concerts, plays and comedy. And “culture” in Cleveland doesn’t mean snooty. In fact, arts organization in our region make an effort to open their doors to as much of the public as possible. Our Cleveland Museum of Art offers free admission to its permanent collection, considered one of the tops in the nation. And the Museum of Art has some cool neighbors in University Circle, including the Cleveland Orchestra, the Botanical Garden, the Museum of Natural History and the Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum.
Like facets of a gemstone, Akron’s “sparkle” has either been a beacon or source of inspiration for adventurers, innovators, entertainers and athletes. Our communities, cultural opportunities and recreational pursuits are as diverse as the interests they serve. In 2014, Akronites will be ready to make the participants and spectators of the 2014 Gay Games feel welcome, comfortable and the center of our attention!
Sparkling Sporting Venues
Akron’s sporting venues will host a variety of GG9 events. The historic Firestone Stadium (now restored to its original 1925 splendor) will welcome softball teams for day and night games. Ohio’s only national park, the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, in concert with the Summit County Metro Parks system will provide miles of trails for running events. The Summit County Fairgrounds will be the site of the inaugural GG9 Rodeo events, while golfers will have the once-in-a-lifetime chance to tee-off at the world-renowned Firestone Country Club.
The Akron area proudly hosts key events, including: Ohio Special Olympics, PONY (Protect of Nation’s Youth) National Tournament, Boys of Summer Freedom Classic Showcase, Ohio High School State Softball Championships; Mid America Mac Tournament; and the King James (Lebron James) Shooting Stars Classic – which attracts more than 600 teams from across the U.S. The area also proudly hosts: World Golf Championships’ Bridgestone Invitational (PGA); All-American Soap Box Derby Championships; and Akron Marathon.
When you commune with nature, your daily stresses and strains will quickly fade. Explore the Cuyahoga Valley National Park (Ohio’s only national park and among the Top 10 Most Visited in the U.S.) featuring more than 33,000 acres to hike, bike, ski, sled and simply unwind. Metro Parks, Serving Summit County offer 9,000 additional acres with 14 parks, 6 conservation areas and more than 125 miles of trails, the 33.5 mile Hike & Bike Trail and 22.4 miles of the Ohio & Erie Towpath Trail. Iconic attractions, Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens and Hale Farm & Village extol their surroundings, offering manicured gardens and open vistas. The Akron Zoo also offers glimpse into the habitats of creatures large and small.
Whether you enjoy the art of cooking or prefer to savor a delicious dish prepared just for you, Summit County has a menu sure to please. Find the freshest ingredients at the West Point Market or Mustard Seed Market & Café to make your favorite recipes exceptional. Want to avoid the kitchen? Enjoy nostalgic car-side service at Swenson’s Drive-In; rock your taste buds at Akron native and Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Chrissie Hynde’s VegiTerranean; visit hamburger creators Menches Brothers Restaurant; or watch Akron-Canton Airport departures and arrivals at the runway-adjacent 356th Fighter Group Restaurant. Hundreds of eateries, diners, restaurants and grilles are located in every corner of Summit County – pack a big appetite. Did we mention Harry London Candy Factory?
Visual, musical and theatrical – Greater Akron is the stage for sensational cultural pursuits. The recently expanded Akron Art Museum houses an eclectic modern collection. One block away, Summit Artspace is home to more than forty arts organizations and features gallery space, studios and classrooms. Stunning spaces – Akron Civic Theatre, E.J. Thomas Hall, Greystone Hall, Blossom Music Center and Lock 3 & 4 – provide year round access to performances large and small. Greater Akron boasts seven community theaters with inspiring and entertaining seasons. The world-renowned Cleveland Orchestra makes Blossom Music Center its summer home, while the Akron Symphony Orchestra, Tuesday Musical Association, Summit Choral Society and Ballet Theatre of Ohio dazzle audiences during every season.
From novices to pros… from armchair quarterbacks to conditioned athletes, Greater Akron is the place for sports. Cheer on the Akron Aeros at Canal Park – catch The University of Akron Zips’ sports teams – take in the Akron Racers at Firestone Stadium. Roller Derby also takes Akron by storm with the Rubber City Roller Girls. If you have a need for speed, Barberton Speedway has the cars, while Northfield Park has the horses. Show your own speed during the Akron Marathon. Marvel at the world’s best golfers at the Bridgestone Invitational or gravity defying races at the All-American Soap Box Derby Championships. Two more suggestions… indoor rock climb at Kendall Cliffs and slice through the powder at Boston Mills/Brandywine Ski Resort.
Greater Akron continues to play a proud and influential role in nurturing vibrant centers of commerce, education and culture in northeast Ohio. These initiatives rest upon our solid heritage. As early as Sojourner Truth’s 1851 “Ain’t I A Woman” speech, our community has been a melting pot for ideas, customs and forms of expression. Visit the birthplace of AA with a tour of Dr. Bob’s Home and the gatehouse at Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens. Travel back to the mid 1800s at Hale Farm & Village. Numerous sites, mansions and homes also underscore poignant stories from our rich and lustrous past, including the American Toy Marble Museum.
The shopping forecast couldn’t be brighter. Akron and Summit County have fabulous and unique shops with special finds for everyone on your shopping list – including you!
The only limit on your fun is that placed upon you by your credit card company. Summit Mall and Chapel Hill Mall are each anchored by top retailers. Specialty shopping is abundant throughout the county including: Highland Square, Hudson’s First & Main, Macedonia Commons, Montrose Shopping Area, Northside District and Peninsula. Akron-centric must-sees are Don Drumm Studios & Gallery, Quaker Square, Stagecoach Antiques and West Point Market. On your mark, get set…