On Location: Cleveland and the Cleveland InterContinental Hotel and Conference Center

Cleveland’s well-known revitalization is no more evident than in its transformation from a worn-down steel city to a vibrant center for medical research and development. One of its crown jewels is the sprawling Cleveland Clinic campus—37 buildings on 140 acres—which includes the Clinic’s Heart Center, ranked No. 1 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. It is, by all accounts, the largest and busiest heart program in the country.

Attached to the campus via skywalk is the recently opened Cleveland InterContinental Hotel and Conference Center. Its stunning interior design is matched only by the bells and whistles of its 500-seat amphitheater. It includes surround sound, push-to-talk microphones at each seat, a real-time voting system, and a robotic camera that zooms in on any audience member.

Amphitheater meetings can also be broadcast to any room in the hotel, so if you happen to come down with the flu during your stay, you can curl up in bed and still take part in the meeting. Smaller meetings that take place in the hotel’s spacious boardroom can also be beamed to any room.

The hotel has 300 guest rooms, 29 suites, and 35,000 square feet of event space, which includes the 8,800-square-foot Founders Ballroom and eight meeting rooms.

Downtown accommodations with significant meeting space include the Cleveland Marriott Downtown, Embassy Suites, Hilton Garden Inn, the Hyatt Regency Cleveland at The Arcade, Renaissance Cleveland Hotel, The Ritz-Carlton, Cleveland, and the Sheraton Cleveland City Centre Hotel.

Entertainment abounds, as well. Depending on the season, sports fan can catch the Cavaliers (basketball), Indians (baseball), Browns (football), Barons (hockey), or Force (soccer) in action. Museum hoppers can fill their days moseying around University Circle, near Cleveland Clinic, home to more cultural and performing arts institutions within one square mile than anywhere else in the United States. The city’s theater district is thriving, with Broadway shows like The Lion King and comedy hot spots, such as Second City Cleveland. Shoppers can check out the sprawling Tower City or niched Galleria. And the lakeshore is home to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum and the Great Lakes Science Center.

And its location is within 500 miles of more than half the U.S. population. No wonder they call the state "the Heart of it All." – Thomas Tennant