Cleveland’s signature offerings for visitors continue to expand in 2023 with exciting waterfront activities, inspiring art exhibits and high-energy live music and sports events. Adding to the highlights are renovations at the historic West Side Market, a new European flight connection debuting in May and delicious and diverse new restaurants and breweries. Downtown Cleveland, which was recently recognized as a national leader for transforming vacant office space, offers new homes for hotels, entertainment and restaurants in many of its historic buildings. And with Cleveland and the Great Lakes region named a best place to travel in 2023, now is the time to visit The Land.
Turn Up the Volume at Music Festivals, New Venues, Special Exhibits and Theater Performances
Music-loving visitors can rock out at popular festivals, stroll through perception-shifting exhibits at the world’s only Rock & Roll Hall of Fame or experience a show from one of the city’s world-class performing arts institutions.
- Brite Winter Music Festival (Feb. 25, 2023)
The outdoor music and arts festival returns with the theme Anchors Away! to celebrate Cleveland’s connection to the Cuyahoga River and Great Lakes. The event encourages attendees to embrace the fun of the winter while playing skee-ball, warming up by a bonfire or enjoying dynamic light installations and ice sculptures as more than 30 musical acts perform during the free festival.
- Rock & Roll Hall of Fame | Hotter Than July: Photographs by Bruce Talamon (through summer)
Hotter Than July offers a visual representation of Blackness during the golden age of soul, R&B and funk (1972-1982) through the lens of photographer Bruce Talamon. Featuring photos of Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder and Bootsy Collins, the exhibit transports guests to the smoke-filled clubs on the Crenshaw Strip in South Los Angeles and the largest arenas around the world, where Talamon captured the passion and beauty of the music and the moment.
- Cleveland Orchestra’s 2022-23 Season
The Cleveland Orchestra’s 105th season, under the direction of Franz Welser-Möst, includes 20 guest artist debuts, four world premieres and the inaugural Mandel Opera & Humanities Festival: The American Dream, with performances of Puccini’s La Fanciulla del West (The Girl of the Golden West) along with pre- and post-concert discussions, humanities programming and a free community concert event.
- Playhouse Square Broadway Series
- The 2022/2023 KeyBank Broadway Series includes “Beetlejuice,” “Tina: The Tina Turner Musical,” “Six” and the Tony-award winning “Moulin Rouge! The Musical” and “Hadestown.”
- Karamu House 2022-23 Season
Karamu House, the country’s oldest Black producing theater, continues its four-show mainstage theater season with powerful productions, including “Red Summer,” “The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin” and “To My White Friends Who Know Me.”
- Wonderstruck (July 8-9, 2023)
One of the Midwest’s largest contemporary music festivals, WonderStruck fills a 400-acre site in nearby Lake County with multiple stages hosting more than 25 performers. The 2023 lineup will be announced soon, and past headliners include Sheryl Crow, Vampire Weekend, The Lumineers, AJR and Third Eye Blind.
- The Treelawn (Spring/Summer 2023)
A historic building that was once home to the Slovenian Workmen’s Home cultural center is being transformed into a live music club. Dubbed The Treelawn for the regional term for the grassy strip between the sidewalk and the street, the building’s many artifacts—including bocce courts and bowling lanes—will be preserved during the renovation.
Museum Exhibits Present a New Lens on History and Modern Perspectives
The diversity and depth of Cleveland’s world-class museums has long attracted art lovers from around the globe. The recently debuted Google Arts & Culture Cleveland hub extends this reach and showcases the cultural organizations that make the city an under-the-radar arts and culture playground for travelers. Exhibits to catch this year include:
- Cleveland Museum of Art (CMA)
- The Tudors: Art and Majesty in Renaissance England (Feb. 26-May 14) Organized by CMA and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, this exhibition traces the transformation of the arts in Tudor England through more than 80 objects—including iconic portraits, spectacular tapestries, sculpture and armor—from both the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s collection and international lenders.
- Egyptomania: Fashion’s Conflicted Obsession (April 1-January 2024) This exhibition brings together nearly 50 objects that explore the influence of Egyptomania in fashion by juxtaposing contemporary fashion and jewelry with fine and decorative artworks from CMA’s collection.
- Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland (moCa) moCa’s 2023 exhibitions and artist residencies will focus on identity, nature, memory and collaboration with debut exhibitions by inspiring modern artists.
- Winter/Spring 2023 (Jan. 27-June 11): Nina Chanel Abney’s “Big Butch Synergy” will explore and celebrate expressions of Black masculine women. “We Are Dust and Shadow,” will feature Sam Falls’ work collaborating with nature to create paintings and sculptures. And Amber N. Ford’s “Someone, Somewhere, Something” is an effort to use the medium of sound to share stories of grief.
- Summer/Fall 2023 (July 7-Dec. 31): “A soft place to land” will highlight textiles’ ability to embody collective and individual memories. “Group Exhibition co-curated by Shannon Finnegan” will feature works by artists from the disability arts ecosystem and all things can be picked up and touched, bringing the art to the visitor. “Exist, Flourish, Evolve” is created by artist Andrea Bowers to build awareness of the dangers facing Lake Erie. Completing the season is a new work by Artist-in-Residence Erykah Townsend designed to unpack the relationship between innocence and absurdity.
- Cleveland Museum of Natural History
- The museum’s extensive transformation will be complete in 2024, and the first phase of updates brings visitors new and reimagined spaces to explore, including a virtual reality flight simulator experience, an immersive planetarium journey through space and time and an updated Discover Center that encourages hands-on learning for young children.
- Cleveland History Center
- Partnerships, Portraits, and the Power of Photojournalism: Black History According to Allen E. and Frances T. Cole (through April) Key themes in the history of Black Cleveland are illustrated within the larger context of American history, civil rights and the art of photography in this new exhibition. It commemorates the centenary of the establishment of the Allen E. Cole Photography Studio in Cleveland’s Fairfax community.
- Black Moses: The Art of Reverend Albert Wagner (through September)
This exhibit recognizes the “visionary” and “outsider” art of Reverend Albert Wagner, who on his 50th birthday experienced a divine revelation that guiding him to become a prolific and celebrated artist, breaking racial and class barriers in the world of visual art.
- Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland Money Museum and Learning Center | Triple Play
A new exhibit at the Money Museum honors the legacy of the Negro Leagues with the new Negro Leagues Baseball Commemorative Coins central to the display. The exhibit recognizes Larry Doby, the first Black player in the American League who broke into the Majors as well as Satchel Paige, the legendary Negro League pitcher who signed with the Cleveland Indians in 1948, becoming the first Black player to pitch in a World Series.
Outdoor & Active Travel Enthusiasts Find New Thrills in Every Season
Visitors to Cleveland can catch some thrills and get active with new trails, parks, sporting venues and waterfront activities.
- Cedar Point Amusement Park
As the second-oldest amusement park in America, Cedar Point celebrates its history with the opening of the nostalgic The Boardwalk, bringing new dining, rides and entertainment experiences to the park’s Lake Erie shoreline. Additions for the 2023 season also include the new twisting “mouse and cheese chase” family thrill ride, Wild Mouse Roller Coaster.
- Cleveland Metroparks Zoo Bear Hollow Habitat (Summer 2023)
A $7.7-million project will create four new habitats for the tropical Andean and sloth bears at the Zoo, tripling the current habitat of these vulnerable species and giving visitors a 360-degree view of the exhibit.
- Cleveland Metroparks
- Cleveland-Cliffs Bike Park at Ohio and Erie Canal Reservation
This new outdoor complex and bike park opened in October 2022 and includes a pump track for bicycle motocross, bike playground for beginners and a competition course with rollers, berms and a tunnel. The park connects to the Towpath Trail, providing trail access directly to Downtown Cleveland.
- Eastern Ledge Trail
- This mile-long trail opened in October 2022 and features hiking paths, a suspension bridge and access to one of the park system’s most scenic vistas at a new overlook 130 feet above Euclid Creek and the valley below.
- Cleveland-Cliffs Bike Park at Ohio and Erie Canal Reservation
- The Fieldhouse at Studio West 117
- The warmer months of 2023 will mark the first summer for The Fieldhouse, phase one of the $100-million Studio West 117 development, a first-of-its-kind neighborhood created for and by the LGBTQ+ community. Visitors can participate in indoor and outdoor activities at the 30,000-square-foot complex, including pickleball, basketball, volleyball, an outdoor rock-climbing wall and a community experience garden, or sip cocktails and watch the activity from the rooftop bar, Trellis.
- Five Iron Golf Simulator (Early 2023)
Around the corner from Progressive Field and Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, sports fans can take a swing at Five Iron Golf Cleveland, a 16,000-square-foot indoor golf and entertainment complex that will feature 14 custom-built golf simulators, lessons for golfers of all levels, a full-service restaurant and bar and a custom club fitter and pro shop.
- Blazing Paddles Paddlefest (July 22)
This annual kayak, paddleboard and canoeing celebration of the Cuyahoga River commemorates the river’s transformation from an industrial pollution zone to an active urban water sports destination. The courses include an iconic turnaround point, the site of the infamous June 22, 1969 fire that fueled the birth of the EPA, the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act.
- Tennis in the Land – WTA 250 (Aug. 19-26)
- The top tennis athletes will compete in the third Tennis in the Land, a Women’s Tennis Association 250 event and part of the U.S. Open Series. The event’s temporary stadium court at the riverfront Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica provides spectacular views of the downtown skyline.
- Cleveland National Air Show (Sept. 2-4)
- The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds will headline the 2023 Cleveland National Air Show on Labor Day weekend. The lakefront event will also feature the U.S. Army Golden Knights precision parachute team, Droneworks flight demonstrations and unique aircraft visitors can tour.
Fresh Culinary Concepts Bring New Flavors
Visitors looking for the city’s next foodie hotspot in 2023 are likely to find it inside a restored historic landmark or a storefront in one of Cleveland’s diverse neighborhoods, as local chefs and business owners invest in their communities and introduce new concepts.
- West Side Market Renovation
Cleveland’s landmark food market is undergoing a $12-million renovation and transitioning to nonprofit management to guide the 110-year-old market. Visitors will see improved vendor stalls and an updated clock tower. Other planned updates include the introduction of alcohol sales and new seating areas for on-site dining.
- Cocky’s Bagels (October 2022)
The second location of Cocky’s Bagels opened in the waterfront Flats East Bank entertainment district. Visitors can come hungry after kayaking on the Cuyahoga River or after a night out at the nearby bars and venues, as the upscale bagel shop serves classic and gourmet sandwiches from breakfast through late-night service.
- Pearl Street Wine Market & Café (November 2022)
James Beard-nominated chef Karen Small and restauranteur Jill Davis bring a new concept to the Ohio City neighborhood’s popular restaurant scene. Pearl Street, a European-inspired bistro and market, offers guests casual small-plates with Small’s signature focus on local and seasonal sourcing and a market centered on natural and sustainably-produced wines.
- Central Kitchen (Early 2023)
Central Kitchen has helped numerous food start-ups take off with an incubator program for culinary entrepreneurs, including rentable kitchens and packing facilities. Visitors will now be able to dine on-site and try new offerings from Mulberry’s Pizza, Vegan Vybez and Cleveland Sandwich Co.
- Wolf Pack Chorus (January 2023)
Chef Chris Wolf and partner Katie Wolf will open their modern brasserie in a historic carriage house property in Little Italy, blending the styles of a neighborhood trattoria with an upscale special-occasion restaurant.
- Poppy (Spring 2023)
A longstanding neighborhood restaurant will soon be part of the growing restaurant group of James Beard-nominated chef Jill Vedaa and business partner Jessica Parkison of Salt+ restaurant fame. Creating the new restaurant will bring interior updates to the restored Craftsman-style home, winterizing an outdoor seating area and a revamped menu.
- Midnight Owl Brewing Company (Summer 2023)
- Veteran brewer Joel Warger and his wife and business partner Rosemary Mudry will open Midnight Owl as the first traditional brewery in the east side neighborhood of Shaker Heights. The fresh-brewed beers and gastropub-style fare will be served in a location near the popular retail and culinary hub, The Van Aken District.
- Evelyn (September 2023)
- Elevated tapas and paella are next on the menu for fans of award-winning chef Jill Vedaa and business partner Jessica Parkison. The opening of Evelyn—named for Vedaa’s mother—will transport diners with the food, culture and wine of Spain in a 1940s art deco setting.
New Hotel Projects Welcome Visitors
The latest updates to Cleveland’s hotel landscape add restored historic buildings and renovated skyscrapers to an already wide array of visitor accommodations. Upcoming projects include:
- Hotel Cleveland (2024)
After extensive renovations, the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel will be rebranded as Hotel Cleveland, returning the city’s oldest hotel to its original name. The 491-room hotel will be part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection, a group of hotels carefully crafted to leave a lasting imprint on guests.
- W Hotel (2024)
A 1960s modernist skyscraper in Downtown Cleveland will host a new W Hotel and the first location for W Apartments. Plans for the 210-room hotel include a 15,000-square-foot ballroom and event center, a full-service spa and gym and a restaurant and bar on the 38th floor with panoramic city views.
- Fidelity Hotel (2024)
- A once-vacant office building, historic structure and Downtown landmark will be transformed into a 97-room boutique hotel. The independent property will include dining, meeting rooms and a speakeasy-style bar, and will be named Fidelity Hotel in a nod to the building’s original name.
Visitors can make travel plans now as Cleveland will welcome visitors for several notable events.
- 2024 NCAA Women’s Final Four
After hosting this Championship in 2007, Cleveland will again welcome the NCAA DI Women’s Basketball Tournament Final Four to Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in 2024. The top teams in collegiate women’s basketball will face off for the championship trophy.
- 2024 Solar Eclipse
It will be a blackout on April 8, 2024, as the city is in the direct path of the Total Solar Eclipse. The moon will completely block out the sun for nearly four minutes in Cleveland, one of the longest durations for major cities in the path. With unobstructed views over Lake Erie and in the acres of greenspace throughout the area, as well as special programming by local science institutions—including NASA’s Glenn Research Center and Great Lakes Science Center—The Land is an ideal location to witness the celestial event.
- 2024 Pan-American Masters Games (PAMG)
Held every four years in the Americas, PAMG is an Olympic-like sports festival for athletes over 30 years old. It features nearly 20 medal-contending sports including track and field, tennis, basketball, pickleball and cycling. The event is expected to be the largest international gathering in Northeast Ohio’s history, bringing over 7,500 athletes from more than 50 countries.
To keep up to date on new developments and activities, please visit www.thisiscleveland.com