Founded in 1796, Cleveland became an industrial town with the opening of the Erie-Ohio Canal that linked the Ohio River to Lake Erie, and the city's vast iron and coal supplies made it one of the most important steel and shipbuilding centres in the country.
A sprawling mass of oil refineries, mills, and warehouses along the shores of Lake Erie, industrial success poured money into the city and wealthy tycoons built the downtown area. Today, it has outgrown its 'steel town' image and is a bustling city of green parklands and vibrant atmosphere.
Previously mocked for its heavy pollution, its industrial character has moved beyond the city limits. The downtown warehouses and factories now house trendy clubs and restaurants, while museums, and sporting and cultural events attract many visitors to the city.
The city boasts a world-class orchestra, a celebrated art museum, lively theatre district, and the restored lakefront area. Neighbourhoods buzz with restaurants and shops, and the Flats, once the industrial heart of the city, is now the booming entertainment and nightlife district of Cleveland.
Other cultural attractions in Cleveland include the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, the enormous Great Lakes Science Center and Cleveland Clinic DOME Theatre, and the professional sports arenas and stadiums of the Gateway District.
The historic Warehouse District is downtown's oldest commercial quarter and is a National Historic Landmark, with over 70 fine examples of Victorian architecture. The old warehouses are now home to music clubs, galleries and trendy dining spots.
Some miles out of the city centre are two theme parks with some of the planet's tallest and fastest rollercoaster rides at the Cedar Point Amusement Park in Sandusky, as well as the Six Flags Worlds of Adventure in Aurora.