A few years ago, news was buzzing that my hometown of Cleveland was being considered as a show location for the Healthcare Design Expo & Conference. Despite a brand-new convention center in the heart of downtown and easy access to the city by plane, train, and automobile, inclement weather had always excluded Cleveland from hosting our traditionally mid-November show. But as we’ve eased our dates back into October, a glorious time to be in the Midwest, suddenly this city on the shores of Lake Erie was a contender.

After we signed the contract for Oct. 23-26, 2021, I recall excitedly sharing the news with Walter Jones, senior vice president of campus transformation at Cleveland’s MetroHealth System. Walter is leading MetroHealth’s $1 billion initiative to transform its 52-acre main campus on the city’s near west side, including a 720,000-square-foot, 380-bed hospital replacement project slated for completion in 2022. Walter smiled right back at me as he realized that by 2021, there would be enough building constructed to show our attendees.

Now here we are, at press time just a little over a month away from HCD Expo, and Walter was right. His project and several other local facilities are on the docket as tours on Saturday, Oct. 23. And that shouldn’t be a surprise—as you likely know, Cleveland is an epicenter of U.S. healthcare. From MetroHealth to Cleveland Clinic to University Hospitals on over to Akron Children’s Hospital 40 minutes away, the region is teeming with innovations in both care delivery and healthcare environments.

But I’d like to dedicate this space to a few things you may not know about the CLE, as we call it.

First, it’s important to understand that Clevelanders LOVE Cleveland. There’s a sense of pride in our town that’s unlike anything I’ve experienced elsewhere. We stock up on Cleveland-themed apparel and take pictures in front of the script Cleveland signs that are sprinkled throughout the city.

And we’re a friendly bunch; it’s kind of a rule in the heartland. But that means we’re more than willing to grab a local craft beer with you and share all the things you should check out while in town, including the numerous breweries making that beer. I’ll defer to our HCD Expo Local Liaison Committee members who dish lots of suggestions in our show preview coverage, “Ready to Rock,” found here.

That said, I’ll quickly add I challenge anyone to find a better bagel than Cleveland Bagel Co. or better ice cream than Mitchell’s Homemade Ice Cream. And if time allows, you must see the fall foliage in one of the Cleveland Metroparks stunning parks, trails, and preserves that surround the city in our Emerald Necklace.

Like I said, we Clevelanders love Cleveland. And I hope you do, too. I can’t wait to see you here.