Thursday, May 29, 2008

Cleveland’s University Circle

A section of Uniiversity Circle, Aerial View

University Circle is more than just a university, and also more than a circuitous road where it’s easy for some to get lost. It’s a hub of education, medicine, museums, music, and just about any cultural thing you can imagine.

Located a few miles east of downtown Cleveland, it was originally known as Doan’s Corners, named after Nathanial Doan, a member of the Connecticut Land Company (as was Moses Cleaveland). The “University” in University Circle got it’s name when two Cleveland universities - Western Reserve University and Case Institute of Technology – relocated to Doan’s Corners. (These universities are now under one name: Case Western Reserve University.) The “Circle” part of the area’s name came from a trolley turn-around that connected the universities with downtown Cleveland in the late 1800s. The area now has, in place of trolleys, a circular, sometimes confusing, street intersection of Euclid Avenue (US Route 20) and Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard.

Over time, the area evolved into a center of culture and the arts, and later, medicine. For example, both the Cleveland Clinic and Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital, located in University Circle, are world renowned for their medical care.

Cleveland Museum of Art, Renovation Rendering

Here are some of the places to visit in the University Circle area:

Cleveland Botanical Garden
The Wade Oval
Cleveland Museum of Art (currently undergoing renovation)
The Western Reserve Historical Society
Cleveland Museum of Natural History
Severance Hall, home of The Cleveland Orchestra
Case Western Reserve University (be sure to see the Peter B. Lewis Building, designed by Frank Gehry)
Cleveland Institute of Music
Cleveland Institute of Art
Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum
Children's Museum of Cleveland
Dittrick Museum of Medical History

Other place of interest:

The Cleveland Clinic
University Hospital of Cleveland
Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital
The Louis Stokes Veteran's Administration Medical Center

For out of town visitors, there are plenty of hotels in the immediate area. And don’t worry, there are also plenty of great places to eat.

One upcoming event taking place in University Circle at the Western Reserve Historical Society is “Vatican Splendors,” opening May 31st and running through September 7. It is one of the largest collections of art, documents and other historical items from the Vatican, and Cleveland is only one of three United States cities hosting this event touring North America. (The other US cities where this tour will be visiting are St. Paul, Minnesota, and St. Petersburg, Florida.) Many of the items in this event have never been on public view. The web site for the “Vatican Splendors” tour can be found here. If you’re looking for a good excuse to explore the University Circle area, what better excuse than this event?

For more information on what Cleveland’s University Circle has to offer, check out the University Circle web site, here. There is an interactive map and plenty of detailed information on what to see, where to stay, and where to eat. If you’d like to see the cultural side of Cleveland, this is the place to visit and explore.

Check out my blog home page for the latest Cleveland information, here.

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