Cleveland—Ohio’s second-largest city—is upping the ante for the Great Lakes, investing nearly $3 billion in updates to convention facilities, new hotels and restaurants, and redeveloping downtown’s Public Square. Couple this resurgence with a booming bike culture and the nation’s most concentrated square mile of arts and cultural organizations, and you’ve got “a seamless destination and experience for the business traveler,” says Mike Burns, CMP, senior vice president of convention sales and services at Positively Cleveland.
Noteworthy: Cleveland Convention Center has 13 acres of green space on its roof. Also known as the Cleveland Mall, the public landscaped space can be used for festivals, concerts and more.
Linda Fette, executive director for EastWest Eye Conference, agrees, as evidenced by the fact that she’s held her annual conference in Cleveland since 1997. “Cleveland is very welcoming, has good airport connections and a big-city feel on the lake,” she says. Plus, the city is incredibly walkable, offers free trolleys downtown and is easily accessible by car or plane. Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, which is 12 miles from downtown and provides 240 daily departures to more than 70 destinations.
Associations will revel in the new Cleveland Convention Center, home to a 16-foot-tall mezzanine entrance and a 225,000-sq.-ft. exhibit hall floor, which is divisible into three different areas to hold multiple shows at once. Permanent food markets add convenience, while a 32,000-sq.-ft. column-free ballroom provides sweeping lakefront views of Cleveland’s best attractions, including Great Lakes Science Center, FirstEnergy Stadium and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.
Cleveland Quick Facts
Area guest rooms: 3,145 | Nearest airport: Cleveland Hopkins International
Airport | Convention center: Cleveland Convention Center | Exhibit space: 225,000 square feet | Meeting rooms: 35