Here are quick links to the other pages that make up the Cleveland Gay Guide:
Getting to Cleveland - the Lay of the Land
Cleveland 2012-2013 Events Calendar - Cleveland Gay Travel Resources
Exploring Cleveland - Cool Neighborhoods and Attractions
Cleveland Restaurant Guide
Cleveland Gay Bar Guide
Cleveland Hotel Guide
Welcome to Cleveland
Enough years have passed since Cleveland's darkest days that this energetic city on the southern shore of Lake Erie has begun to earn some legit cachet as a cool place both to visit and live. This isn't to say that Cleveland doesn't receive its share of ribbing for being something less than glamorous, but its portrayal in TV hits like [i]Hot in Cleveland[/i] and, earlier, [i]The Drew Carey Show[/i] - as well as such movie classics as [i]Christmas Story[/i] and the gay '80s coming-of-age flick [i]Edge of Seventeen[/i] presented a lovable, unpretentious, and quirky side to the city nicknamed by detractors, lamentably, as "the mistake by the lake" for many years.
Cleveland is riding relatively high these days, having become one of the most-improved cities in the Midwest, and earning considerable praise as a key tourist destination. It's also hosting the the 9th Gay Games in 2014, which will provide the city with a platform for showing off just how much its changed for the better of late. LGBT residents have played a vital role in the city's comeback, especially in neighborhoods east of downtown, such as Ohio City, Tremont, and Detroit Shoreway.
A century ago Cleveland was a beacon of industrial prosperity, but the Depression rattled the city's financial stability, and following World War II a bevy of local factories closed or relocated in the South. Cleveland's "suburban flight" during the 1950s and '60s was as severe as in any American city---complete with race riots and urban blight. Even preservation-minded gays and lesbians fled for commuter towns on Cleveland's outskirts. By 1975, if you could afford to leave Cleveland, you had.
The abandonment of downtown actually preserved its bounty of Victorian and turn-of-the-century commercial and residential structures. When the preservation and retrofitting of these buildings became fashionable two decades ago, civic leaders and private investors established an ambitious plan to reinvent Cleveland. Since 1980 block after block of downtown has been renovated, attracting corporate ventures and drawing suburban dwellers into the city's trendy dining, sports, arts, and entertainment districts. It's taken longer for downtown to attract full-time residents, but slowly, condos and lofts have begun to open.
When visiting Cleveland, it makes sense to stay downtown, where the bulk of the best hotels are - this also puts you within walking distance of several key attractions, a number of good restaurants, and the esteemed theaters of Playhouse Square. But to take advantage of the city's wealthy of up-and-coming neighborhoods, plan to arrive by or rent a car, and to spend some time exploring the areas east and west of downtown.