Saturday, August 18th, 2018

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National Geographic ‘Traveler’ magazine names Cleveland on its Best of the World List for 2018





In 1944, the Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company began to refer to its home city as The Best Location in the Nation. At the time, the slogan was as truthful as it was catchy – Cleveland, with a robust economy, was indeed one of the country’s elite cities.


By 1962, a huge “The Best Location in the Nation” sign was erected opposite Cleveland Hopkins Airport. Two years later, the Cleveland Browns were crowned champions of the National Football League.


By the 1970’s, the slogan had morphed into a cruel joke. The city was broke, the river burned and the downtown’s mean streets were to be avoided when the sun went down. Cleveland jokes, most of them lame, were staples of lazy comedians from coast to coast.


But what goes around, comes around. In its December/January issue, National Geographic “Traveler” magazine named Cleveland on its Best of the World List for 2018. Not one of the best cities in the Midwest or the country…the world (which, the last time I checked, is a rather large place). Of the 21 best locations listed, we came in at #14.


Sure, getting the Republican National Convention was huge and the Cavs finally breaking the city’s championship curse was massive. But this is equally impressive. I mean, the only other U.S. mainland city to make the list was San Antonio, and it was all the way down at #18. Oahu, Hawaii made the list but come on, it’s Hawaii.


The magazine article included a description of Cleveland — “The big-boned Ohio city built by Eastern European immigrants and Midwestern moxie ripples with new cultural energy.”


Big-boned? Okay, we’ll go with that.


The story went on to mention some of the delights of the city, including Playhouse Square, the Beachland Ballroom, the Black Pig and Plum restaurants (although there are so many more great ones as well), Hingetown and the revived Waterloo Arts District.


The list had three sections, one each for cities, nature and culture. Cleveland was included in the culture listings. I’m assuming the Cleveland Orchestra probably helped there, considering it is quite popular in Vienna, Austria (#6 on the list). The Cleveland Metroparks could have qualified us for nature. And I’ve lost track of how many movies have filmed downtown due to its wonderful architecture.


But I digress.


What location ranked #1 on the list? Harar, Ethiopa. No offense, but can you get a great pizza and a craft brew in Harar? Would Drew Carey base a sitcom in Harar? Does Harar have a Dollar Dog Night?


I have no problems with Sydney, Australia at #4 and Dublin, Ireland at #10. These are two places I would actually consider leaving America for. Two of my all-time favorite things are Olivia Newton-John and beer (not necessarily in that order).


At any rate, making a Best in the World list is nothing to sneeze at…even when the wind chill is -20 on Euclid Avenue.

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