Leslie Cade And Jill Tatem 2015-05-22 12:42:01
It’s been called Cleveland’s second downtown, and for good reason: In just one square mile, University Circle boasts arts and cultural institutions, a worldclass university, and renowned health care facilities. Located three miles east of downtown, this cultural mecca has something for everyone. Need a respite from urban landscape? The Cleveland Botanical Garden offers ten acres of outdoor gardens. For art lovers, the Cleveland Museum of Art features more than 42,000 works of art spanning 6,000 years. Or you could stop by Severance Hall—hailed as one of the country’s most beautiful music halls—Case Western Reserve University, or the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. It’s all in University Circle. History In the early nineteenth century, two Cleveland Universities—Western Reserve University and Case Institute of Technology—relocated to a small community that offered room to grow. This relocation led to the creation of University Circle, named for the educational institutions as well as a traffic turnaround in the area. The Western Reserve School of Design for Women (now the Cleveland Institute of Art) also moved to the area in the 1890s, and the idea of developing an arts and cultural center was born. The Circle continued to grow in the twentieth century with the addition of the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, the Cleveland Hearing and Speech Center, and others. With the arrival of University Hospitals in 1931, the Circle also became a hub for health care facilities. What to Do Today, University Circle has blossomed, and visitor attractions, retailers, and restaurants line the streets alongside the renowned arts and cultural institutions. Visitors can get a taste of modern art at the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland, which recently debuted a 34,000-square-foot facility designed by Iranian-born architect Farshid Moussavi. Behind the sleek glass façade reside exhibits such as Truths and Visions, which samples sculpture by Joyce J. Scott, whose works express rage about human violence, African and African American history, bigotry, injustice, and gender inequality. If you’d prefer to step back into the past, the Western Reserve Historical Society is the oldest cultural institution in Northeast Ohio. Founded in 1867, it features the Euclid Beach Park Grand Carousel—which has been completely restored forty-five years after the closing of the iconic Euclid Beach Park— as well as the exhibits Entrepreneurship in the Western Reserve, The Victory of Self: The LGBT Community in Northeast Ohio, and In Grand Style, showcasing historic garments and accessories. Enjoying the outdoors is also an option—the Cleveland Cultural Gardens boasts thirty-one gardens, each representing an ethnic group that has contributed to the heritage of the United States and Cleveland. Wade Oval, a seven-acre park, offers free concerts on Wednesdays. If you go to University Circle with an appetite, you won’t be disappointed. L’Albatros Brasserie offers a modern take on classic French cuisine. Located in a former carriage house, the restaurant also features a stunning garden patio. For more casual fare, check out Melt University, where you can feast on a variety of grilled cheese sandwiches, from the classic Kindergarten to the Case Western BBQ or Murray Hill Italian Melt. A stroll up Mayfield Road will take you to historic Little Italy, where you’ll find fifteen restaurants and charming galleries. For more on the dining or attractions at University Circle, visit http://www.universitycircle.org/. Archives in the Circle With all the wonderful institutions in the Circle, you can also expect fascinating archives. The Dittrick Medical History Center includes collections of rare books, manuscripts, artifacts, and images. The Cleveland Orchestra archives features sound recordings of many of the world’s greatest conductors and performers. The special collections department of Kelvin Smith Library houses the Case Western Reserve University archives and rare books and manuscripts, including the archives of the Cleveland Playhouse, America’s first professional regional theater. Want to learn about cars? As part of its nationally renowned Crawford Auto-Aviation collection, the Western Reserve Historical Society boasts one of the most extensive collections documenting the history of transportation in the United States. More interested in gardening? The Cleveland Botanical Garden was the first urban garden center in the country. Its library is one of the largest circulating gardening libraries in the country and includes significant rare volumes and the Garden archives. And just for fun the Cleveland Museum of Art archives includes a 1948 World Series program, a 1911 fraternity paddle, and an autographed photo of Charles Lindbergh. University Circle repositories will be open for tours on Tuesday, August 18. See you in the Circle! Getting There From Cleveland’s Public Square, take the HealthLine toward Louis Stokes Station to University Circle. If driving, take I-90E to Martin Luther King Jr. Dr.; numerous parking lots and garages in the area are listed at http://www.universitycircle.org/transportation.
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