Welcome to Cleveland, Ohio, home to the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Lake Erie, a culturally diverse food scene, and, of course, countless exhibits for locals and visitors to enjoy! Whether you’ve been to Cleveland many times or this is your first time in the city that rocks, spending time at these amazing exhibits is always worth the trip. Read on to learn about some of the best exhibits that Cleveland has to offer and how they continue to enhance the rich culture of Cleveland!
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Known as the city that rocks, it seems appropriate to start off our list of exhibits with the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. In 1985, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation was looking for a home for this museum, and Cleveland eagerly raised its hand! After much consideration, public support, and a $65 million commitment from the city, Cleveland beat out cities such as Chicago, Memphis, and others. During the groundbreaking ceremony, the city proved its point by inviting rockstars like Chuck Berry, Billy Joel, and many others to attend the momentous event. The museum opened its doors in 1995 to “engage, teach, and inspire through the power of rock & roll.”
Upon entering the museum, you’ll be greeted by constantly changing exhibits and various artifacts. Today, visitors can check out Mellencamp, the story of a complex artist trying to find his way back to himself. The museum also has a number of permanent installations, such as Legends of Rock and Rapper’s Delight Retrospective. Be on the lookout for special events and live music as you enjoy your day at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame!
Hours: Every day 10am – 5:30pm (Extended hours on Wednesdays & Special Events may vary)
Admission: General Admission $23
Location: 1100 E 9th St., Cleveland, OH 44114
Next up on our list of can’t-miss Cleveland attractions is Playhouse Square, the largest performing arts center in the U.S. outside of New York. Located in the Theater District in downtown Cleveland, Playhouse Square’s mission is to “utilize the arts to engage individuals.” Join the millions of yearly guests that come to Playhouse Square for its wide variety of events.
This amazing hub for art, dance, and performance is located in the heart of the Theater District and has nine separate theaters to bring performances such as Broadway, comedy, live concerts, dance, family attractions, and more! All nine theaters were constructed in 1920 and were saved from demolition in the 70s by the community, who knew this landmark is an important part of both the city’s past and future. Each theater has its own unique history, story, and ambiance. So, plan a visit to the Theater District in Cleveland to enjoy a show, food and drinks, and some of the best entertainment that Cleveland has to offer.
Hours: Hours vary based on performances. (Ticket office is open every day 11am-6pm)
Admission: Ticket prices vary based on shows.
Location: 1501 Euclid Ave #200, Cleveland, OH 44115
USS Cod Submarine Memorial
attribute: “U.S.S. Cod SS 224” by Cliff is licensed under CC by 2.0
The next Cleveland exhibit on our list will take you on a bit of a history lesson through the USS Cod Submarine Memorial. Here, you’ll get a tour through the USS Cod, a GATO class fleet submarine that operated from Australian ports during World War II, with its first launch taking place on March 21, 1943. The reason this vessel is so near and dear to the city’s heart is because this 312 foot, 1,525-ton submarine’s diesel engines were built in Cleveland. While in use, Cod completed seven war patrols and sank more than 12 enemy vessels! On her final war patrol, Cod was honored as the only international submarine-to-submarine rescue in the history of war. As you make your way through a tour of this amazing vessel, explore all the ins-and-outs of the sub, including the Officers’ Quarters and much more. Be on the lookout for special events taking place at the exhibit, such as special ceremonies for Memorial Day on May 28th. Get your history on, and learn something a little different about the city of Cleveland.
Hours: Every day 10am-5pm, May through September
Admission: $12 for adults and $7 for youth
Location: 1201 N Marginal Rd., Cleveland, OH 44114
Baseball Heritage Museum
We’ve been through music, art, and history exhibits, so now it’s time for sports! The Baseball Heritage Museum is centered around the untold stories of Cleveland’s finest baseball all-stars, such as Satch, Big Papa, and more. As you make your way through the museum, you’ll experience the stories of the players, old photographs, historic programs and uniforms, and game-used memorabilia. The museum also teaches guests about the importance of the Latin & Caribbean leagues, the Industrial & Barnstormer leagues, the Negro & Women’s leagues and the impact they had on the history and future of baseball. Enjoy a variety of exhibits such as the women in baseball, famous jerseys, Cuban all-stars, and much more. The museum is only open on Saturdays, so plan accordingly and don’t miss out on this history hub!
Hours: Saturdays 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free, donations accepted
Location: 6601 Lexington Ave., Cleveland, OH 44103
Hard Rock Rocksino Memorabilia
Steven Tyler’s pants and scarf combination currently on display at Hard Rock Rocksino.
Finally on our list, we’re bringing you back to music and music history at Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park. Here you can make your way through Hard Rock’s Memorabilia displays and exhibits and enjoy the true rock & roll, rags to riches stories as you browse upon famous wardrobes, instruments, and more! Get a closer look at some of the rich and the famous and the rock gods of your time at Hard Rock Rocksino. The current Memorabilia on display at Hard Rock Rocksino are the following:
-Diana Ross – The Supremes: Diana Ross wore this displayed dress during her tour to support the Mahogany soundtrack. Intended as a star vehicle for Diana, Mahogany was a troubled production (both the original director and Diana herself left before the film was completed) that resulted in an interesting, but critically panned movie. The film’s music, however, was tremendous and Diana was able to enjoy a successful concert tour promoting the soundtrack.
-Elton John: Throughout Sir Elton’s long career, he’s been an icon of both music and fashion. His military-style tailcoat on display was actually part of his famous on-stage wardrobe!
-Eminem: Detroit-based hip hop superstar, Eminem owned and wore this Adidas track suit and “Free Yayo” t-shirt before going on display. His shirt is a reference to Tony Yayo – a G-Unit rapper who was in prison at that time.
-Joe Walsh – The Eagles: Truly one of America’s all-time greatest guitarists, Joe Walsh has had huge success with his group the James Gang, as a solo artist, and as a member of the Eagles. Joe wore this displayed, one of a kind t-shirt in the 70’s, made by Cincinnati based clothier “Generall Jacket”.
-Trent Reznor – Nine Inch Nails: This keyboard Memorabilia was used on stage by the one and only, Nine Inch Nails. Its current condition is a testament to the energy and anarchy of a Nine Inch Nails show.
-John Lennon – The Beatles: In the mid 70’s, John Lennon was facing an aggressive campaign by the Nixon administration to have him deported. Nixon feared that John’s influence among young people might cost him the presidential election, so he attempted to have John kicked out of the country on dubious grounds. If not for the Watergate scandal, John may very well have been deported. This tweed suit, in the Hard Rock display, was worn by John to one of his many immigration hearings.
-Nikki Stixx – Motley Crue: This heavily customized, Gibson Thunderbird bass on display was played on stage by Nikki Sixx during Motley Crue’s ‘Tattoo’ tour in 2000. The artwork is patterned after tattoos Nikki himself has received over the years.
-Steven Tyler – Aerosmith: Aerosmith frontman, Steven Tyler wore this pants and scarf combination on stage with the band. Next to his wardrobe display, Steven personally donated this stage-used, scarf-covered microphone stand to the Hard Rock Memorabilia collection.
-Whitney Houston: On February 11th, 2012, the music world lost one of the greatest voices of all time, Whitney Houston. Much more than just a talented singer, Whitney changed the face of pop music and left an unparalleled legacy of hit songs and incredible vocal performances that will influence future performers for generations to come. Throughout her stellar 30-year career, she set the standard for vocal virtuosity in the pop field and is one of the biggest selling artists in history. Her outfit on display was part of the many wardrobes used during her stage performances.
-The Jackson 5: When the Jackson 5 made their Motown Records debut in 1969, the pop world was forever changed. The release introduced the world to a force of nature called Michael Jackson. In the years that followed, the Jackson 5 dominated the pop charts with hits like “I Want You Back”, “ABC”, and “I’ll Be There”. These displayed outfits were worn by the group in 1977 when they hosted their own television variety show.
So if rock & roll is what you’re looking for in Cleveland, then you’ve found it!
Location: 10777 Northfield Rd. Northfield, OH 44067
Now that you have an idea of what Cleveland has to offer, it’s time to get out there and start exploring! If these exhibits didn’t spark your interest, there are plenty of other museums and displays around town. Try the Cleveland Museum of Art, A Christmas Story House, Cleveland Museum of Natural History, Great Lakes Science Center, and much more! Plan your trip to Cleveland to learn about the amazing history and community that makes up this great city.