Backstory: Build it and They Will Come

Architect Farshid Moussavi's new Cleveland Museum of Contemporary Art building is turning the Midwestern metropolis into a bona fide art destination--here's what else makes the trip worthwhile.


Architect Farshid Moussavi’s new Cleveland Museum of Contemporary Art building is turning the Midwestern metropolis into a bona fide art destination—here’s what else makes the trip worthwhile.

Where to Stay: Most in-the-know Clevelanders direct visitors to Glidden House, a charming 60-room boutique hotel housed in an early 1900s French Gothic mansion, nearby University Circle’s many cultural destinations ( Located on the upper floors of the Tower City shopping center downtown, Cleveland’s own Ritz-Carlton, hotel fetishists say, is said to be a tremendous value for the luxurious experience ( Farther afield, about a 40-minute drive outside of the city lies The Inn Walden, a verdant sanctuary over 30 acres in Aurora, OH. A golf course, haute barnyard restaurant, and spa are on the grounds—which can be, and should be, explored on horseback (

Where to Dine: TV’s Iron Chef Michael Symon is the city’s de facto culinary mayor—his bistro cooking at Lola and Lolita is rightly celebrated (; Newer on the scene is Dante, opened in 2007 by Michelin-starred chef Dante Bocuzzi ( The stylish modern American restaurant is situated in a restored bank in the Tremont district: dine in the vault, if you wish, or venture downstairs to Ginko, Bocuzzi’s lurid, basement-level ode to the Tokyo night, where he serves inspired sushi. Downtown, chef Jonathan Sawyer’s The Greenhouse Tavern, an environmentally-minded gastropub, was named one of Bon Appetit magazine’s Top 10 Best New Restaurants in the U.S. when it opened in 2009 ( Go for the burgers.

What to Do: The top-flight Cleveland Orchestra’s popular Fridays@7 series draws a younger, livelier crowd to classical music ( After the concert, imbibe at the cult cocktail den The Velvet Tango Room, a Prohibition-style speakeasy long before they became a tired trend ( Grog Shop and The Beachland Ballroom are two famous indie music venues (; for those who do not necessarily care for, say, the Springsteen tribute at The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ( In addition to the new MOCA, artgoers should visit the Cleveland Museum of Art, which is in the midst of a $350 million refurbishment, to be completed next year ( But you can still visit its prize collection of antiquities and Old Masters.

Photos: MOCA: Duane Prokop, Getty Images Entertainment / Courtesy MOCA Cleveland