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July 20, 2016

Every election cycle, all eyes are on Ohio. But this week, they’re focused particularly on Cleveland.

The Republican National Convention has already taken over the city and will last through July 22. Roughly 50,000 people are expected to check into Cleveland for the event.

For those visiting the city this week—either for vacation or the witness the hullabaloo of the convention in person—there’s a dizzying array of things to do.

“Visitors to Cleveland should know that while the Convention will certainly cause some travel disruptions, visitors will still be able to explore Cleveland and the Northeast Ohio region to experience our world-class museums, neighborhoods and outstanding food scene,” David Gilbert, president and CEO of the Cleveland 2016 Host Committee, said in a statement.

But if ever visitors tire of the convention, there’s plenty of non-political spaces to check out across the city—from the resurgence of Cleveland’s artistic neighborhood, Collinwood, to the well-stocked museums that often fly under the radar.

Here are some highlights of the best places to eat and explore.

Arriving

There are two publics airports in the Cleveland area. Cleveland Hopkins International Airport connects via rail to downtown. Akron-Canton Airport is a 40-minute drive away from the city. The major U.S. airlines and budget airline Allegiant fly in here.

Cleveland’s Lakefront Station is serviced by Amtrak and located just a quick walk away from The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The city has free trolley service that runs every 10-15 minutes, carrying passengers to the city’s main attractions, downtown neighborhoods and major hotels.

Playing

There’s much, much more to Cleveland than just The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame—especially this week. Events in honor of the convention and the city’s history are popping up all over during the next few days. Some stand-outs worth checking out include:

What: Power & Politics
Where: Cleveland History Center
When: Now through January 2017
Details: Because those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it, swing by the Cleveland History Center for a refresher in just how important Ohio is in presidential elections. The exhibit also highlights vintage political memorabilia like buttons, tickets, pins, photos and a souvenir book from the 1924 convention in Cleveland.

What: Flat Out Fridays
Where: The Flats East Bank
When: Fridays at 6 p.m.
Details: This concert series and food truck extravaganza sets up shop every Friday night on the waterfront. Vendors, beverage tents and endless food options make for fun, low-key way to wind down after the excitement of the convention.

What: Cracking Art
Where: Great Lakes Science Center and Downtown Public Library
When: Now through November
Details: To help welcome RNC visitors, 400 sculptures of wolves, frogs, snails, meerkats and swallows are decorating downtown Cleveland. The colorful, eye-catching work from the Cracking Art art group will demand photo ops from passersby.

What: 34th Annual Cleveland Irish Festival
Where: Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds
When: July 22-24
Details: The annual celebration of Irish heritage includes lots of live music, Irish pipers and dancers and, of course, whiskey and beer tastings.

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