What You Need To Do When Visiting Cleveland
No longer is this Midwest town a “Mistake on the Lake”.
A lot of people knock down Cleveland, saying there isn’t much to do. I get it; it’s no New York City or Los Angeles but I think that’s what is part of its charm. It is quieter, homier, friendly, a classic mid-west feel to it. It’s grown greatly over the years and continues to do so. I am so proud to call Cleveland home and to grow up here; Cleveland helped make me who I am.
This may be an article about Cleveland, but it is also about the Greater Northeast Ohio area. NE Ohio takes a lot of pride in Cleveland And where they are from. I tell people I’m from Cleveland, which I am, but I actually live 45 minutes from downtown in a small town on the outskirts of the suburbs. If I told you I was from Aurora, you’d never know where that is. Anyway, Cleveland is more than just downtown; it’s the greater area. An area filled with pride and love for our city.
People always tell me, Cleveland people love Cleveland. Well, someone has to! Who else is going to fully appreciate all the city has to offer. The city is often overlooked and never given a chance by many. So, here I am to tell you not to underestimate Cleveland and show you the best of this wonderful city!
West Side Market – This is a Cleveland favorite. It is a huge public market built in the 1840’s with vendors inside and outside. The market offers fresh produce, meats, pasta, pastries, and more. My personal favorites? Grandma Campbell’s for delicious cupcakes, Crêpes de Luxe’s for amazing crêpes, and City Roast Coffee and Tea for a pick-me-up! Be sure to check out Steve’s Gyros for the best gyros around (and it was even featured on Man vs. Food and The Food Network because the gyros are just that good)!
Ohio City – This is the neighborhood where The West Side Market is located. Here you will find some great Cleveland eats. The Great Lakes Brewing Company is located here, where it brews about 15 beers and seasonal beers. Crop Bistro and TownHall are two of my favorite places to eat!
Sports – If you are in town, you need to try to go to a Cleveland sports game. Us Clevelanders love our sports. (And should I mention, in case you forgot, we are the 2016 NBA Champions and you won’t find a prouder, more happy city about this.) We support our Cavs, Indians, and Browns 110%. Attend a sports game and you won’t be disappointed with the energy, the food, and the experience.
Botanical Gardens – The Cleveland Botanical Gardens should be on your agenda for a summer afternoon in Cleveland. The gardens are beautiful and peaceful to walk around. There are always new exhibits- the summer treehouse exhibit has treehouses which look like they are from all your childhood dreams.
Cleveland Art Museum – This is considered one of the top art museums in the country. The museum is free to visit (you may need to pay for special exhibits though). It offers some amazing art that is sure to impress you. There are a few places to eat, including fine dining at Provenance or a more casual place at the Provenance Café.
Playhouse Square – I highly recommend attending a show at Playhouse Square. It is the 2nd biggest theater complex in the country, behind NYC. Also, head over to Severance Hall to see the home of the world-renowned Cleveland Orchestra!
Sandusky – Now this technically isn’t Cleveland but it is one of Ohio’s favorite ways to spend a summer weekend. Here you will find Cedar Point Amusement Park, home to some pretty awesome roller coasters and a water park. Also here are other vacation getaways, such as Great Wolf Lodge, Kalahari Waterpark, Castaway Waterpark, wineries, and other fun activities!
The Islands – You may not think Ohio when you hear the word “islands” but Ohio has a few of their own, which they think of as paradise for a weekend away. Two of the Lake Erie islands are great to visit: Kelleys Island and Put-in-Bay Island. Kelley’s Island is the largest island and more relaxed one. Here you can camp, hike, bike, relax at one of the delicious restaurants. Put-in-Bay is a great place for outdoor adventure and entertainment. Here you will find bars, water rentals, go-karts, and more fun!
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame – All music lovers need to stop here. The museum walks visitors through the evolution of rock and roll. It is truly a spectacular museum.
Rock & Dock at North Coast Harbor Marina – Stop here for an afternoon outside in downtown Cleveland. This marina is located behind The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Here you can rent paddle boats, jet skis, kayaks and paddleboards that you can take around Lake Erie and see Cleveland from a unique perspective.
Food – Cleveland is home to some pretty great food. East 4th Street is a popular place to go out to eat or for a beer. Ohio City also is another area in Cleveland with some delicious Cleveland grub. Here is a quick (I could write a whole book on the great Cleveland food places) list of places that you must visit while in town:
Melt – Come here to get gourmet grilled cheeses. This place makes a grilled cheese sandwich out of anything and it tastes surprisingly amazing.
Mitchell’s Ice Cream – The best local ice cream around. SO many flavors, both traditional and unique finds. This will be sure to satisfy your sweet tooth. The original Mitchells is in Ohio City!
B-Spot – Burgers and milkshakes. A classic American meal but Cleveland’s own TV Food Network star, Michael Symon, does it the best here.
Malley’s Chocolates – Malley’s is a Cleveland staple. Stop and try some of this well-loved chocolate that locals love at the various locations throughout the Cleveland area.
Crop Bar and Bistro – Located near the West Side Market, this is an old bank converted into a restaurant. The food here is fun and delicious – there’s something here for everyone.