Highlights of Downtown Cleveland Tour
This tour includes twenty museums and iconic downtown Cleveland landmarks. The tour makes a loop, starting at Terminal Tower and concluding at Cleveland's famous Soldiers and Sailors Monument.
The Terminal Tower was the second tallest building in North America from its completion in 1930 until the construction of the Prudential Center in Boston in 1964. The Cleveland landmark, also known as the Cleveland Union Terminal, stands 708 feet tall, 771 feet with its flagpole. The beaux-arts style building (with a steel structure and façade of granite and limestone) was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. Today, the Terminal Tower serves as commercial office space.
The Old Stone Church is the oldest surviving building on Public Square and is home to the First Presbyterian congregation, the second oldest religious organization in Cleveland. The church that stands today was built in 1855 and replaced an earlier church, called by the same name, which was completed in the early 1830s. Major renovations were undertaken in 1857 and 1884 after two fires gutted the church’s interior.
The Cleveland Public Library, originally called the “Public School Library,” was the first U.S. library to let its guests choose books directly from the shelves. It was located in a number of rented spaces from 1869 until the Main Building was completed in 1925. A new building, the Louis Stokes Wing, was added to the main downtown branch in 1997. Since then, the original building has been updated and refurbished. Today, the Cleveland Public Library circulates one of the largest and most extensive collections in the country, boasting close to ten million items.
The Fountain of Eternal Life is a memorial erected in Mall A of Cleveland, Ohio. The fountain is dedicated to the soldiers from greater Cleveland who served in 20th Century wars as well as the Iraqi and Afghanistan Wars. The memorial is also known as the War Memorial Fountain and the Peace Arising from the Flames of War. The Fountain was created in 1988 and has stood across from a Statue of Abraham Lincoln for decades.
Located just a block from FirstEnergy Stadium (home of the Cleveland Browns), Fort Huntington Park features monuments and historical markers. It is named after the American fort built 500 feet to the northwest in 1813 to serve as a military fortress and supply depot for the United States Army during the War of 1812 (1812-1813). The fort was named after Samuel Huntington, the governor of Ohio from 1808-1810.
Constructed in 1931, Municipal Stadium was the home of the Cleveland Indians from 1932 to 1993 and the Cleveland Browns from 1946 to 1993. The stadium was demolished in 1996 and replaced by FirstEnergy Stadium. The stadium was either the largest or the second largest Major League stadium for most of its many years of operation, including historic sporting events such as two World Series and four All-Star Games. The ballpark was made possible by a $2.5 million bond that was approved by Cleveland voters in 1928.
FirstEnergy Stadium, formerly Cleveland Browns Stadium, is home to the National Football League’s Cleveland Browns. Naming rights were sold to FirstEnergy in January of 2013. The stadium was built in 1998 on the same site where Cleveland Municipal Stadium once stood. The facility also hosts college and high school football events, top-shelf concerts, social gatherings, and corporate and civic events.
Efforts to create the Cleveland Firefighters Memorial, which was completed and dedicated in 2007, date back to the early 1990s. The memorial stands between Browns Stadium and The Great Lakes Science Center and bears the names of the seventy-six firefighters who have died in the line of duty since the department formed in 1862.
The Great Lakes Science Center offers exhibits that help visitors understand science, technology, and their interdependence with the environment. Many of the exhibits document the features of the natural environment in the Great Lakes region of the United States. The NASA Glenn Visitor Center, which features more than 50 exhibits and artifacts, is the new home for exhibits previously located at the NASA Glenn Research Center. The visitor center includes the actual Skylab 3 Command Module. Other features include a spacesuit worn by astronaut Paul Weitz during his 1973 spacewalk. Families will enjoy activities such as NASA flight simulators.
Now part of the Great Lakes Science Center, the Steamship William G. Mather was built during the golden years of American lakes steamboats. As the flagship for the Cleveland Cliffs Iron Company, she was state-of-the-art with respect to capacity, power, and accommodations. During her 55-year career, she carried millions of tons of iron ore, coal, grain, and distinguished guests, and was nicknamed "The Ship That Built Cleveland" because Cleveland's steel mills were a frequent destination. In 1941 the Mather led a convoy of 13 freighters through the ice-choked upper Great Lakes to Duluth, Minnesota, to begin supplying badly needed iron ore to U.S. steel mills as they geared up to support President Roosevelt's pledge that America would be the "Arsenal of Democracy" prior to our entry into World War II. The trip set a record for the earliest arrival of a bulk carrier in a northern port. This heroic effort was featured in the April 28, 1941 issue of Life magazine. Retired from service in 1980, Mather underwent an extensive restoration program beginning in 1987 and was opened for public tours in Cleveland's Northcoast Harbor in 1991. In 1995 the American Society of Mechanical Engineers conferred Historic Engineering Landmark status on Mather for the following technological Great Lakes firsts: single marine boiler system, boiler automation, and dual bow thruster system. Visitors can discover what life was like aboard a Great Lakes freighter as they tour this restored 618-foot historic flagship from stem to stern and see its huge cargo holds, brass and oak pilot house, elegant guest quarters and four-story engine room.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum celebrates the social and cultural impact rock and roll has had on the world and the musicians who pioneered the art form. Artifacts from artists like Elvis, Otis Redding, the Beatles, Run DMC, Lady Gaga, and countless other artists are on display throughout the museum. Special events are held on various occasions, and the exhibits are changed fairly regularly. New inductees to the Hall of Fame are added each year.
This World War II submarine is open for daily tours and serves as a floating military history museum. The Cod is unique compared to other museum submarines in the United States in the fact that it has not been substantially modified from the way it appeared during the war. The Cod is also one of only six Gato-class submarines still in existence. The U.S.S. Cod saw active throughout the latter half of the Second World War, retained her commission in the Navy until 1954, and was listed on Naval registries until 1971. The U.S.S. Cod is open for visitors throughout the summer and for certain special events.
The International Women’s Air & Space Museum preserves, interprets, and shares the history of women in aviation and space exploration through exhibits and a research center. The Museum is located in the terminal building at Burke Lakefront Airport.
Established in 1985, the Cleveland Hungarian Heritage Museum is located on the second floor in the Galleria at Erieview. The museum preserves and shares the history and culture of Hungarians in Northeast Ohio through displays and a library that is open to the public.
Cleveland Trust Company began in 1894 with $500,000 capital and John G.W. Cowles as president. In 1903, it merged with Western Reserve Trust Co. and outgrew its rented office space. The bank built a new headquarters at the corner of E. 9th and Euclid that opened in 1908. The bank eventually closed, but the building remains. After years spent unoccupied, the building now houses a supermarket, hotel, and apartments on the upper floors.
The Cleveland Grays were a private military company founded in 1837. Their goals were to support local law enforcement and to protect the area in case of a third war with Britain following the Canadian Rebellions of that same year. The Grays moved around multiple times before the construction of this armory in 1893. Today, the Grays Armory is a Museum, whose four floors trace the Grays' history from their conception to now.
Progressive Field, formerly known as Jacobs Field, is the home of Major League Baseball’s Cleveland Indians. It is a baseball-only facility that has become a Cleveland landmark. Though professional baseball has been in Cleveland since 1869, Progressive Field was built as the Indians new home in 1994. It was part of the Gateway Sports and Entertainment Complex, which also includes neighboring Quicken Loans Arena, that helped fuel the city’s downtown resurgence in the mid-1990s. Progressive Field includes a team shop, Heritage Park, and tours during the season.
Quicken Loans Arena, which is also known as the Q, is home to the Cavaliers NBA team, the Cleveland Monsters American Hockey League team, and the Cleveland Gladiators Arena Football League team. The arena, which hosts a number of other events as well including concerts, was first known as the Gund Arena after former owner Gordon Gund who paid for the naming rights. In 2005, the name was changed when the retail mortgage lender Quicken Loans bought the naming rights to the area.
The Cleveland Arcade opened in 1890, becoming the first indoor shopping mall in the country. Within walking distance of most Cleveland attractions, it now features a variety of shopping and dining options and houses the Hyatt Regency Hotel. The Arcade was designed by John Eisenmann and George Smith, who modeled it after a similar facility in Milan, Italy.
At a meeting of Camp Barnett, Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Society, in 1879, Comrade William J. Gleason suggested erecting a monument to commemorate Union soldiers and sailors of the Civil War Cuyahoga County. It was unanimously approved and opened on July 4, 1894. Today, it is open most days from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and is a popular attraction in downtown Cleveland. Visitors can also participate in the occasional tunnel tour of the moment as well as enjoy the Victorian Christmas display each year. It is operated by the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument Commission.