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It’s a long time since the great industrial port of CLEVELAND – for decades the butt of jokes after the heavily polluted Cuyahoga River caught fire in 1969 – has been considered the “Mistake on the Lake”. Although parts of the city have been hit by the latest recession, the most revitalized areas remain hubs of energy. Cleveland boasts a sensitive restoration of the Lake Erie and Cuyahoga River waterfront, a superb constellation of museums, a growing culinary scene and modern downtown super-stadiums. What with the now well-established Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, there’s an unmistakeable buzz about the place, augmented by the city hosting the 2014 Gay Games.

Founded in 1796, thirty years later Cleveland profited greatly from the opening of the Ohio Canal between the Ohio River and Lake Erie. During the city’s heyday, which began with the Civil War and lasted until the 1920s, its vast iron and coal supplies made it one of the most important steel and shipbuilding centres in the world. John D. Rockefeller made his billions here, as did the many others whose restored old mansions line “Millionaires’ Row”.

Outside of the lively downtown, trendy Ohio City, just to the southwest, and the cultural institutions of University Circle, some distance east of the river, are the most rewarding areas to explore.