The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Experience

No visit to Cleveland would be complete without the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame experience. The museum launches visitors through the evolution of a new era that turned America upside down.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Experience

In the 1950s, while parents were listening to the likes of Frank Sinatra, America’s youth started tapping their feet to a different beat. Jazz, blues, gospel, country, and folk music all played a part in influencing the new sound and rhythm. With this cutting-edge music, came a wave of new dance moves of gyrating, twisting, and grinding.

Some called it Satan’s music, but it was just rock and roll, baby!

“Rock n Roll is the most brutal, ugly, degenerate, vicious form of expression -lewd, sly, in plain fact, dirty-a rancid-smelling aphrodisiac and the martial music of every side-burned delinquent on the face of the earth.” ~Frank Sinatra

Cleveland, Ohio

The shake-rattle-and-roll attitude was not widely accepted by the older generation, but that didn’t stop its popularity from exploding throughout America and later in Britain.

Now, decades later, rock and roll has evolved into many styles of music and the museum walks us through the past, and present and looks toward the future of popular music and the people that have contributed to its success.

Don’t miss these other must-see places in Cleveland when planning your trip!

Why Cleveland?

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame museum opened in 1986 in Cleveland, Ohio. Since then, over 700 inductees have received the honor. So why Cleveland?

One main reason the city was in the running was that it is considered the birthplace of rock ‘n’ roll. The term was coined by a Cleveland deejay in 1951, named Alan Freed. He introduced the term to mainstream radio and the rest they say, is history.

Cleveland, Ohio


The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Experience

The tour begins with an introduction to the new honorees. This year, Steve Miller Band, Deep Purple, Cheap Trick, N.W.A. and Chicago are being inducted.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ExperienceCleveland, Ohio

Did you know there is a National Park just 30 minutes from Cleveland?

The early influencer section takes you back before the emergence of rock and roll. Listen to and read about the legends from all genres that opened the door for the new sound.

Cleveland, Ohio

Cleveland, Ohio

Videos of protests and newscasts of disapproving individuals convinced that rock and roll will brainwash America’s youth play overhead.

Cleveland, Ohio

One-of-a-kind memorabilia – ranging from song lyrics, records, costumes, instruments, pictures and posters – of past and present artists line the hallways.

The Cities and Sounds exhibit highlights cities like Memphis, Seattle and Detroit that contributed to the progression of rock and roll.

Cleveland, Ohio

Cleveland, Ohio

The greats like Elvis, Rolling Stones and the Beatles have their own section dedicated to them.Cleveland, Ohio



The Music of the Midwest section not only focuses on the Hall of Fame’s hometown of Cleveland but also on other influential cities that helped expand the rock and roll movement. Musicians such as John Mellencamp, Bob Seger, and Prince all hail from the heartland.

Did you know The Surf Ballroom was designed a historic landmark by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?

Cleveland, Ohio

Cleveland, Ohio

Enter the Hall of Fame Inductee Gallery for highlights of prior inductee ceremonies and an exciting multimedia production honoring the chosen hall of famers. The gigantic display projects a video that takes you on a year-by-year flashback through the stories of the inductees.

Cleveland, Ohio

Louder than Words: Rock, Power & Politics

Many musicians have used their music and notoriety to try to make a positive change in the world like Bono, John Lennon, Willie Nelson, and Bob Dylan.

In addition to the permanent exhibits, the powerful temporary display, Louder than Words, examines the crossover of music into politics.

The piece covers all the various outlets that artists have used to share their political stances on war, civil rights, patriotism, freedom and equality.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Experience


The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum is easily one of the best attractions in Cleveland. See below for hotel recommendations and tips for your visit!

Know Before You Go

  • Plan for at least 4 hours, if not more
  • 1100 Rock and Roll Boulevard, Cleveland, Ohio
  • Open Every Day 10am – 5:30pm
  • Closed Thanksgiving and Christmas Day
  • 2016 General Admission: $23.50
  • Children ages 8 and under: Free
  • Discounts Available for Military, Senior, NE Ohio Residents, and Children 9-12

Hotels within Walking Distance

Doubletree by Hilton Downtown Lakeside

Holiday Inn Express Cleveland Downtown

Metropolitan at the Autograph Collection

The Westin Cleveland Downtown

*Thank you to Destination Cleveland for providing us with tickets. As always, all words and opinions, however, are my own.*

Have you ever been to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? What was your experience like? Tell us in the comments below!

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Angela E. is a travel writer from the Chicagoland area who has visited all 50 states in the US and has traveled extensively around the world. She is passionate about exploring the great outdoors and hiking in particular. Her love for nature has taken her to some of the most beautiful locations on the planet. She has written extensively about her travels on her own website, Dang Travelers, and has been published in collaboration with other travel websites and multiple visitor bureaus around the country.

18 Responses

  1. Kristina

    Definitely on my to-do list should I ever get to Cleveland. Looks like you had a lot of fun! Thanks for all the info 🙂

  2. Diana - MVMT Blog

    I’ve never been to Cleveland, but it would be worth it to go just for this museum! I’m a huge music buff and could probably spend all day in here!

  3. Samantha

    Sounds like a really cool museum… a little bit steep in price though but I’m sure it’s worth it! Cool that N.W.A was inducted into the Hall of Fame!

  4. Kerri

    Ok so I’m happy to admit I have very limited knowledge of Clevelend and it’s background/history, so this was very interesting. The museum actually looks like something I would be interested in. The hotel recommendations are also very useful for those planning a trip here.

  5. Vyjay

    I am sure you had a rocking time in the museum. What a pleasure to be able to ‘experience’ the likes of the Beatles, Elvis and other Rock and Roll legends under one roof.

  6. Ehsanul

    This was an awesome read! Your photography is incredible! I am actually looking forward to coming to Cleveland sometime within the next few weeks and will definitely come here!

  7. Mike

    Looks like an awesome trip! You know I didn’t really know that Cleveland was the ‘birthplace’ of rock and roll. Learn something new everyday right? Love your photos and I would love to visit!

  8. Eric Gamble

    Love that you took a picture of Professor Longhair! He is a New Orleans Legend!! Also, if you love rock n roll may I recommend visiting the EMP museum in Seattle! It has to do with grunge and jimmy Hendrix, also if you look at the museum from the top of the space needle it was built to look like a guitar from that view point!

  9. Johann

    Long live Rock n’ Roll! I hope there was a section dedicated to The Doors as well. Thank you for sharing.

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