Surprising Weekend In Cleveland!
Along the Shores of Lake Erie
Residents of Michigan and Ohio are infamous for their rivalry and a lot of Michiganders wouldn't think of vacationing in Ohio, except for a day at Cedar Point. But recently my daughter and I took a weekend to explore Cleveland and as we explored this city on the shores of Lake Erie. We were in town for a concert at Progressive Field, the home of the Cleveland Guardians, with fantastic skyline views. We decided to make a long weekend of the trip and spend our time exploring and eating across the city.
Walking Euclid Avenue
Our hotel was in Playhouse Square, the nation's largest performing arts district outside of New York City. With its beautiful chandelier and lights, it makes for a festive and walkable area to start from. Walking down Euclid Ave to the center of the city, we stopped in Heinen's downtown store. Stopping at a supermarket makes an unlikely first stop, but it's located in an elegantly historic building that was formerly a bank. With its cute little cafe under the ornate domed ceiling, it's a good place to pick up snacks or a light bite since it's open 24 hours a day. Further down the street is the Arcade, a grand Victorian-era glass and iron building built in 1890. The unique architecture, glass skylights and brass railings make it worth a stop. It was one of the first US shopping malls and now there are shops and cafes on the lower floors with the Hyatt hotel on the upper floors.
Next we walked to the Cleveland's Public Square to sit and people watch and enjoy a coffee. This area in the center of the city has been there since the late 1700s, but now hosts a cafe, splash pad, area for concerts, and food trucks.
Lunch at West Side Market
We walked a few blocks over to the Tower City Center, a 1920s retail that has shops and a food court. We hopped on the Red Line and took the subway down to the West Side Market. This beautiful 1912 red brick building has a wonderful arched ceiling and is filled with a wide variety of ethnic vendors and food and was a great spot for lunch. The Market Garden Brewery located next door had a beautiful outdoor patio that you didn't expect in the city.
Museums on the Waterfront
As we headed back on the red line to downtown, we decided to get off and walk to the waterfront. One could easily spend a few afternoons here visiting the various museums. There is of course the well-know Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and right next door is the Great Lake Science Museum, the World War II era USS COD, and the International Women’s Air & Space Museum. While here we had to pose and get a photo in front of the Cleveland script sign along the harbor.
Lively East 4th Street
Dinner we had plenty to choose from along East 4th Street. This great little street and alley is lit up at night with outdoor seating spilling out along the pedestrian-only street. It has a great atmosphere, live music, and numerous restaurants to choose from.
Beautiful Museums and Gardens
Our next day we headed east to the Cleveland Museum of Art. It's an extensive museum with an impressive collection of impressionist painters and has pieces from all over the globe. It is surprising that admission is free and it overlooks the Wade Oval, a green space that the Museum of Natural History and the Botanical Gardens also overlook. You can wander north along the numerous cultural gardens that flank a creek and lead to the Rockefeller Park and Greenhouse.
From here it is a short drive to Little Italy, which is home to some of Cleveland's oldest and most beloved restaurants. We had plenty of restaurants to choose from for dinner and of course we had to get gelato for dessert. We left at the end of the weekend with still plenty to explore in Cleveland, including the Aquarium, the Children’s Museum, the Music Center, the History Center, Gordon Square Arts District, and Edgewater Park and Beach. This city along Lake Erie is filled with good food, plenty of art and culture and was very walkable and transit friendly. Enjoy a get-a-way to Cleveland!