What's New in Cleveland: Summer 2018

July 1, 2018

Enjoy Premier Arts and Culture, Dining, and Music Events in Northeast Ohio 

CLEVELAND - In 2018, Cleveland's one-of-a-kind offerings for visitors continue to expand. Complementing the city's unmistakable vibe that blends sophistication, grit and a "come as you are" attitude, this year's not-to-be-missed events and newest attractions and exhibits include:

  • FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art
  • Several new and reimagined exhibits at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
  • A record-breaking roller coaster at Cedar Point, the Roller Coaster Capital of the World
  • The nation's largest urban cycling festival, NEOCYCLE
  • A new Cleveland Brewery Passport that shines a light on the region's booming beer scene; and
  • InCuya, the first music festival to be held in Downtown Cleveland.
Additionally, visitors to Cleveland now have information at their fingertips before their trip and while in town with the Destination Cleveland App. Available from either Google Play or the App Store, the free app helps visitors find their way around town, create their own experience and receive insider information in real time to get the most out of their trip.

In 2016, 18 million people visited Cleveland and Cuyahoga County for business and leisure travel - surpassing the previous record of 17.6 million set just one year prior. Projections indicate continued visitation growth for 2017 and beyond.

New Attractions, Exhibits, and Events

This year, visitors to Cleveland can be inspired by the journey of Rock & Roll Hall of Famers, listen to a world-class orchestra while picnicking in a national park or explore 150 years of regional history. Here's a look at many new exhibits, attractions and events.

Arts and Culture

  • FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art
    FRONT International blends Cleveland's love for classic art with its rich Midwestern reputation as more than 110 local, national and international artists present pieces across the region. Now through Sept. 30, 2018, visitors to Cleveland can discover an inspiring collection of artist commissions, performances, films, and public programs that explore the theme, "An American City." This global triennial exhibition takes place at multiple venues in the region including the Cleveland Museum of Art, Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland, Transformer Station, West Side Market and more.

  • Cleveland Museum of Art
    • YayoiKusama:InfinityMirrors
      Connoisseurs of contemporary art and those in pursuit of thought-provoking experiences can immerse themselves in an illusion of infinite space at the Cleveland Museum of Art now through Sept. 30, 2018. Visitors can examine seven of legendary Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama's captivating "Infinity Mirror Rooms," including "Where the Lights in My Heart Go," which is exclusive to the exhibition's presentation in Cleveland.

    • ARTLENSGallery
      Visitors can literally play games with pieces of the Cleveland Museum of Art's collection in the new ARTLENS Gallery. Through cutting-edge, touchscreen-free interactives, including gesture-sensing projections that respond seamlessly to body movement and facial recognition technology, guests can even create original artwork in the ArtLens Studio.

  • Children’s Museum of Cleveland
    Excitement, enrichment and inspiration await during an afternoon of creative play at the new Children’s Museum of Cleveland. From thinking like scientists to embracing their inner artists to designing, building and exploring a pretend city, kids can write their own script in this open-ended learning environment. Families can get hands-on in the new Wonder Lab with water tables and magnetic walls; create their own masterpiece in the Arts & Parts room and discover their own adventures throughout this former Millionaire's Row mansion, the stately Stager-Beckwith home.

  • Cleveland History Center
    Visitors to Cleveland can quickly garner a sense of place at the recently opened Cleveland Starts Here® exhibit at the Cleveland History Center. Stories from the 1790s to today fill the exhibit galleries, with rarely seen images, films, art and historical artifacts. From the first Cleveland map and early survey tools to LeBron James’ 2016 NBA Championship shoes, Cleveland Starts Here® tells the stories of the triumphs and tragedies that define the city, helping visitors understand the social, creative, economic, political, and cultural history of Northeast Ohio.

  • InCuya Music Festival
    Music lovers looking to ditch mud fields and fancy arenas as concert venues should pack their bags for Cleveland's inaugural InCuya Music Festival. On Aug. 25-26, big-name recording artists New Order, the Avett Brothers and SZA, will join local favorites in celebrating the origins, diversity, and evolution of rock on Downtown Cleveland's expansive greenspace, Malls A & B. The festival in Cleveland's vibrant city center will be a cross-genre, multi-generational, collaborative and uniquely Cleveland event.

  • Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
    • Stay Tuned: Rock on TV
      Spanning three floors, the new Stay Tuned: Rock on TV exhibit helps visitors pinpoint the moment rock music stepped off the stage and into the living room. Beginning with rock ‘n' roll's acceptance into the mainstream through shows like "American Bandstand" and "The Ed Sullivan Show" to eventually exploring the birth of the music video and MTV, this multi-sensory and multimedia exhibition shows how television and technology pushed music and artistry to new heights. Visitors can view outfits worn by the Jackson Five during their first live performance of "I Want You Back," the acoustic guitar played by Eric Clapton on MTV's "Unplugged" as well as numerous items related to "Saturday Night Live" performances and much more

    • Part of the Machine: Rock & Pinball
      Newly opened in July 2018, Part of the Machine: Rock & Pinball showcases rock-themed, playable pinball machines combined with historic merchandise and artifacts. Inside the exhibit guests will find machines featuring icons like KISS, Guns 'n' Roses, Alice Cooper, Dolly Parton, The Who and Elton John. Visitors can even play all of the machine on display for a small fee.

    • Power of Rock Experience
      Visitors get a front row seat to Rock Hall inductee performances in the Power of Rock Experience. Starting with short cuts from induction ceremony presentations, the experience continues with an immersive 12-minute film by Academy Award-winning director Jonathan Demme that features legendary Rock Hall Induction performances and concludes with an opportunity for guests to be interviewed by inductees like Smokey Robinson and Alice Cooper in the "Say It Loud" story booths. The Power of Rock is part of the reimagined Hall of Fame experience, which takes visitors on an induction-themed voyage focused on the transformative power of rock.

  • Cleveland Orchestra
    Guests can relax on the lawn as they enjoy the melodic tones of the world-renowned Cleveland Orchestra. Celebrating the 50th year of the Blossom Music Festival, the Orchestra's 2018 summer season includes an array of both classical and pop culture concerts for anyone seeking a music-filled night under the stars. Highlights include: "Carmina Burana," performed by the Cleveland Orchestra and conducted by Adrien Perruchon, six-time Tony Award-winning star, Audra McDonald, singing some of Broadway's favorites; and from a galaxy far, far away, the music of "Star Wars: A New Hope."

Outdoors and Recreation

  • Cedar Point’s Steel Vengeance
    In 2018, yet another new record-breaking roller coaster will bring thrills to visitors to Cedar Point, The Roller Coaster Capital of the World. Taking over the track of the old Mean Streak coaster, Steel Vengeance is the world's first steel-on-wood hybrid roller coaster to stand over 200 feet tall.

  • Cleveland Metroparks Zoo: Asian Highlands
    Asian culture is on display in the middle of Cleveland's urban zoo. The new Asian Highlands exhibit at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo houses a snow leopard, red pandas, takin species and, one of the most endangered big cats on Earth, the Amur Leopard. The habitat blends Central-Chinese-influenced architecture, stone work that incorporates elements of Asian civilization and a diverse array of natural elements found in the regions of Asia. Each Thursday through Sunday for five weeks in July and August, hundreds of large-scale, colorful lanterns will illuminate the Zoo during the Asian Lantern Festival.

    The nation's largest urban cycling festival will take place Sept. 7-9, 2018, throughout Cleveland and along the shore of Lake Erie at Edgewater Park. Featuring competitive road races, a family-friendly night ride and an outdoor lifestyle festival complete with live music, art exhibits and activities, NEOCYCLE is the perfect opportunity for visitors to feel the local vibe and get the lay of The Land.


Cleveland's latest updates to infrastructure and public spaces not only enhance the visitor experience but also the city's landscape. Recent projects include:

  • Ritz-Carlton, Cleveland (October 2017)
    A newly transformed Ritz-Carlton, Cleveland honors Cleveland's past and its continued unbreakable spirit with experiences inspired by tradition and décor that reflects the surrounding beauty. Ready for travelers following a major renovation to its 206 rooms and fitness area, guests can also enjoy TURN Bar + Kitchen, which features dishes and drinks that reflect Cleveland's cultural diversity.

  • Cleveland Marriott Downtown at Key Center
    Following a months-long transformation, the Cleveland Marriott Downtown at Key Center now offers visitors a welcoming space to work, play, or relax. Its lobby, dubbed the Great Room, includes a bar, barbershop, comfy couches and work stations, which are situated just outside Il Venetian, a new upscale Italian restaurant. Additional food options - a smaller fast-casual doughnuts and gelato version of Il Venetian and Marble Room Sushi - are available in the adjoining Key Center lobby. Fitness-focused travelers can break a sweat in the new 20,000 square foot Vedas Fitness and Spa, which is open 24-hours a day and is the only hotel spa in Downtown Cleveland.

New Restaurants & Breweries

Cleveland's booming culinary scene blends the more than 100 diverse ethnicities found throughout the city. New ventures include:

  • Bigmouth Doughnut Company (Summer 2018)
    This summer Bigmouth Donut Company's second location landed in the Ohio City neighborhood, offering handcrafted treats made with fresh ingredients. Bigmouth adds a sweet spot to this eclectic neighborhood, where visitors can enjoy a delicious donut in the morning or at a discounted price during its afternoon happy hour.

  • Larder (Spring 2018)
    Known for his innovative work in foraging and fermentation, Chef Jeremy Umansky brings house-made breads, pastries, fermented root beer and locally sourced dairy, eggs and produce to the Ohio City neighborhood. A perfect option for visitors who prefer homestays and the opportunity to make-your-own-meal, this new delicatessen, Larder, is located in the historic Ohio City Firehouse.

  • Ohio City Galley (Fall 2018)
    This fall, Cleveland's first restaurant incubator will open in the Ohio City neighborhood. The Ohio City Galley in the historic Forest City Savings and Trust building will become home to not one, but four new restaurants as aspiring Cleveland chef-owners test out their menus and concepts for one year in one of the city's visitor-friendly neighborhoods. The galley will include a shared bar and communal seating.

Cleveland’s Ever-Expanding Cocktail and Brewery Scene

Cleveland's growing brewery and cocktail scene continues to gain national attention from outlets like USA Today, Travel Channel and Thrillist. Since 2016, 23 new breweries have opened in Northeast Ohio, helping Cleveland's beer scene get recognized by USA Today 10 Best. New and upcoming breweries include:

  • Cleveland Brewery Passport
    Visitors can sip their way through Northeast Ohio's thriving beer scene with the new Cleveland Brewery Passport. Beer enthusiasts can explore as many as 30 participating breweries within a 25-mile radius of Downtown Cleveland, collecting stamps along the way as they get a taste of what makes Cleveland's breweries one-of-a-kind. Designed with flexibility in mind, guests that obtain eight stamps and those that complete the passport have an opportunity to receive a prize for their participation.

  • Southern Tier (Summer 2018)
    When Southern Tier Brewing Company opens its innovation brewery and tasting room in Downtown Cleveland this summer, visitors can wet their whistle with new ‘Cleveland Brew'd' local specialty beers or any of Southern Tier's seasonal and year-round varieties. Thirsty travelers will have a street-level tasting room and a barrel-aging basement lounge to choose between for a unique tasting experience.

  • Fat Head's (Summer 2018)
    A pioneer in Northeast Ohio's craft beer scene, Fat Head's Brewery is expanding with a new brewery, taproom, production facility and gift shop. The 75,000-square foot space will include a 75-barrel system that can produce 150,000 barrels of beer a year along with a 3,000-square-foot patio, beer garden and 250-seat restaurant. Visitors can see the brewing process from their seats or on a tour.

To keep up-to-date on new developments and activities, please visit www.thisiscleveland.com, download the Destination Cleveland app or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or YouTube.


ABOUT DESTINATION CLEVELAND: Destination Cleveland is Cleveland’s convention and visitors bureau. This private non-profit organization’s mission is to drive economic impact and stimulate community vitality for Greater Cleveland through leisure and business travel. Cleveland welcomes 18 million visitors annually. For more information, visit thisiscleveland.com.

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