Consider this: The "older singles" section of the online dating site Mingle2.com for Cleveland contains more than 250 pages of personal ads. And that's only one marker of the possibilities for finding love and companionship in the self-anointed Rock 'n' Roll Capital of the World.
Cleveland's appeal goes well beyond the renowned Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame and Museum and the arcing beaches of Lake Erie. The copper-roofed clock tower of the West Side Market stands sentry over 100 stalls selling all manner of fresh food. The market dates to 1840 and earned designation as one of the American Planning Association's 10 great public spaces.
The Cleveland metropolitan area (population 2.1 million) stretches across 80 miles of Lake Erie shoreline and reaches southward into five counties. In addition to Cleveland, there are six cities with more than 50,000 residents (Parma, Lorain, Lakewood, Elyria, Euclid and Mentor). Beachwood (12,000), a suburb in eastern Cuyahoga County, is a haven for older residents, with 32 percent age 65 or older, compared with a national average of 13 percent. The village has award-winning schools, two large senior centers, an elaborate public pool and the glitzy Legacy Village mall.
The industrial barons who built Cleveland endowed superb arts and cultural institutions that endure. Downtown's Playhouse Square claims to be second-largest theater complex in the United States, and the metro area has over a dozen theatrical, ballet and dance companies. In addition to the famous Cleveland Orchestra, the city also maintains an opera and a pops orchestra.
Want to tap Cleveland's rock roots? Live music abounds at the town's many bars. If that's too tame, check out the Cleveland-style (Slovenian) polka on the first floor of Euclid's old City Hall. The Greater Cleveland Slow Pitch Softball Hall of Fame and Museum is on the second floor.
Locals embrace the mostly hapless pro sports teams, and outdoors lovers can choose from golf courses, Great Lakes sailing, hiking and biking in Cuyahoga Valley National Park, and the (much cleaner these days) Cuyahoga River.
Education is top-tier here, from the public Cleveland State University to a slate of private colleges that includes Oberlin College (35 miles away) and Case Western Reserve University, which also boasts an excellent medical school. The other big local name in health care, Cleveland Clinic, ranks near the best in the country for heart surgery.
Unemployment (9.1 percent in April 2012) is above the national average, but not as bad as in many cities. And older singles who don't need jobs have that much more time to peruse those online personal ads.