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 (gliddenhouse.com). 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 (ritzcarlton.com/cleveland). 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 (yourwalden.com).
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 (lolabistro.com; lolitarestaurant.com). Newer on the scene is Dante, opened in 2007 by Michelin-starred chef Dante Bocuzzi (restaurantdante.us). 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 (thegreenhousetavern.com). 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 (clevelandorchestra.com). After the concert, imbibe at the cult cocktail den The Velvet Tango Room, a Prohibition-style speakeasy long before they became a tired trend (thevelvettangoroom.com). Grog Shop and The Beachland Ballroom are two famous indie music venues (grogshop.gs; beachlandballrom.com) for those who do not necessarily care for, say, the Springsteen tribute at The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (rockhall.com). 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 (clemusart.com). But you can still visit its prize collection of antiquities and Old Masters.
Photos: MOCA: Duane Prokop, Getty Images Entertainment / Courtesy MOCA Cleveland