Travel – Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio

Back in December 2008, we took a weekend trip to Cleveland, Ohio to visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  We stayed at the Downtown Cleveland Marriott and it turned out to be wonderful hotel centrally located to the places we wanted to go.  After checking into the hotel and dropping our luggage in the room, we took a short walk over to the Hard Rock Café located in Tower City Center.

When we arrived at Tower City Center looking for the restaurant, we were pleasantly surprised that it was located near the old Higbee Department Store Building.  Higbee was Cleveland’s first department store and featured in the 1983 movie, “A Christmas Story”.  Several scenes were shot at this location, such as: the opening scene shows Ralphie looking at the Red Ryder BB Gun in the Higbee store window.  The parade scene was filmed in the public square just outside the store and has a great shot of the exterior of the building and the large Higbee store sign. (Trivia: The parade scene was filmed at 3AM in the morning!)   Another scene was filmed inside the store and shows Ralphie and his brother visiting Santa and of course everyone remembers the Santa slide.  (Trivia: The Santa slide was especially made for the movie and Higbee used it for several years after the movie’s release).

The year that we visited, the Higbee store window was decorated for the 25th anniversary of the “A Christmas Story” movie.  The display had photos from the film, who can forget the scene when Flick’s tongue get stuck on the school flagpole, and of course the Red Ryder BB Gun and infamous leg lamp were also on display!!  We watch this funny movie every year during our Christmas movie marathon and it was great to see the actual location where it was filmed.

After looking at the store window display, we continued on to the restaurant.  Whenever we are planning a trip, we always look to see if the city we are visiting has a Hard Rock Café.  They have great food – we love the hamburgers and fries, the pulled pork sandwich is also very good and the shakes are delicious.  Each Hard Rock Café location has a different collection of music memorabilia and we always take a look around after eating our meal to see all the cool stuff. Our only complaint is that sometimes there is a long wait for a table and it can get very noisy with the loud music!!  (Gosh, I must be getting old – maybe I need ear plugs next time!!)

The next day, we took a short walk from our hotel in the other direction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  As we got closer to the museum, near the sidewalk were huge guitars and each one was decorated differently – they were very cool!    The Museum has a very unique geometric design and is very large with several different floors of permanent and special exhibits, various films to watch in multiple theatres, a restaurant to grab a quick meal and a wonderful gift shop – we were there for a couple of hours.   We enjoyed our visit and there was something for everyone which was good because on this trip we were traveling with family members in four different age groups that experienced several different years with various styles of rock and roll music!


It was very interesting to look at the different exhibits of memorabilia items, such as: Elvis Presley’s Musician’s Union contract, John Lennon’s passport and eyeglasses, Carl Perkins Gibson Switchmaster electric guitar and Eric Clapton’s hand-painted Gibson SG electric guitar.

It was also fun to look at the stage costumes of the different solo artists and bands to see how the styles have changed over the years, such as: Buddy Holly’s brown wool sports coat, the Beatles collarless grey jackets, the Temptations tuxedo stage jacket, Gracie Slick’s leather vest, Johnny Cash’s black boots, Elton John’s platform shoes, Bruce Springsteen’s jeans and flannel shirt and Madonna’s gold lame bustier.

We would definitely recommend that if you are planning on visit to Cleveland and are a fan of rock and roll music; take the time to visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.  It was a very nostalgic experience to look back at all the different sounds and sights of the music of our childhood – so many great memories of growing up in America!

TRIP NOTE:  We would recommend going at a different time of year since when we went in the middle of winter it was very cold and the wind off Lake Erie was freezing!!

 History of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum

The first Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction dinner was held in 1986 at New York City’s Waldorf-Astoria.  Leaders in the music industry had joined together to establish the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation and is main function was to recognize the contributions of those musicians that had made a significant impact on the development of rock and roll music.  The Foundation had planned to have an extensive archive, library and museum and originally wanted to locate the Hall of Fame and Museum in New York City.

Later, it was determined that the best location would be Cleveland, Ohio.  Designed by the internationally renowned architect I.M. Pei, the permanent home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and world’s first museum dedicated to rock and roll music industry.  The architecture of the building is a very striking state-of-art facility designed with a triangular shaped façade.  The 150,000 square foot building has seven floors with over 55,000 square feet of exhibition space that features permanent and special exhibits of rock and roll artifacts, memorabilia and stage costumes highlighting the different periods, various styles and numerous milestones of rock and roll history over the past decades.

Before planning a trip to Cleveland, Ohio and a visit to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, check out their website for museum directions, hours and other general information at