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Ohio - Cleveland!!

Cara from NM

Cleveland - Okay I know you're thinking "What does Cleveland have to offer? Isn't that the place where the river caught on fire?" Yes, but having lived in Cleveland while in college and growing up in Northern Ohio, I have found Cleveland actually has a lot going for it: from boating and fishing, to dining and entertainment, to sporting events to arts and culture - you will find all these things in Cleveland.

Situated on the shores of Lake Erie, the best time to visit is from May through early October.

Things to Do:

If you go in the summer, you can take advantage of the Lake with a sightseeing cruise aboard the Goodtime III or a dinner cruise on the Nautica Queen. Or maybe just hang around the lake at Edgewater Park on the west side. This is a good place for a picnic.

University Circle is the cultural center of Cleveland. Home to the Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland Natural History Museum, Severance Hall - the winter home of the Cleveland Orchestra, Case Western Reserve University, Western Reserve Historical Society, African American Museum, Children's Museum and Botanical Gardens. The Art Museum has free admission except for some special traveling exhibits. A local landmark is the Epworth Euclid Methodist Church, better known throughout the area as the "Church of the Holy Oil Can". It is the easiest way to find University Circle - look for the giant oil can!

Playhouse Square is the second largest performing arts center in the country. You can catch a touring Broadway show, the Cleveland Ballet, the Cleveland Opera or the Great Lakes Theater Festival.

Of course in Cleveland, professional sports play a big role. Cleveland is the home of:

  • Cleveland Browns - football
  • Cleveland Cavaliers - basketball
  • Cleveland Indians - baseball
  • Cleveland Barons - AHL hockey

Right on the shores of Lake Erie, you will find The North Coast area which is home to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Great Lakes Science Center and Cleveland Brown Stadium. For a true football experience, try a Browns game in the midst of winter. It is what football should be.

In Downtown Cleveland stop at the Terminal Tower and visit the observation deck for a beautiful view of the city. Tower City Center is connected to the Terminal Tower and offers upscale shopping and a movie theater. It's easy to get to downtown on "the Rapid", Cleveland's light rail train which has a station under Tower City Center. From there you can walk to a game at Jacob's Field or Gund Arena.

Dining & Nightlife

If you're looking to get out for a night on the town, Cleveland has a lot to offer:

The Flats, is the best entertainment district with restaurants, nightclubs, an outdoor amphitheater, and patios all along the banks of the Cuyahoga River. Whether you come by boat or by car, you will find something to do in the Flats.

The West Bank features the renovated 100 year old Powerhouse - including the smoke stacks, which now houses restaurants and entertainment including the Improv Comedy Club. Also on the West Bank is Shooters Waterfront Cafe which offers American Cuisine for most any pocketbook (and dockage for those arriving by boat).

If Italian flavor is what you crave, Little Italy is the place. On the east side of Cleveland at Mayfield Road & Murray Hill Road you will find great Italian restaurants, bakeries, and galleries. For some great pizza, try Mama Santos. Or if you just want coffee and a sweet, Presti Bakery is the place to go, though they also offer quick lunch specialties, too. You can also get some gelato and stroll the shops and galleries. In August, the Feast of the Assumption is a week long celebration. But be aware many of the shops and restaurants follow the traditional Italian schedule and are closed for part of August.

Between Little Italy and Downtown, on Euclid Avenue, you will find the best Italian Market - Gus Galluci's. Stop in for some fresh cheese or pastry and a bit of the old world service. I always stock up before heading out of town!

For a more eclectic experience, try the Coventry in Cleveland Heights. There are many unique shops and some great places to eat. For great Chinese, Hunan is the place to go. On the corner of Coventry & Hampshire. If a burger, shake or vegetarian is what you crave, try Tommy's - a unique place.

Ohio City, just west of downtown, is home to the West Side Market - the largest indoor/outdoor market in the country. It is a great place for fresh produce, baked goods and ethnic foods. Always worth a stop even just to browse around! For some good food, try Heck's Cafe on Bridge.

Other notables:

The Mad Greek in Cleveland Heights near the corner of Cedar & Fairmont.

Max's Deli near Rocky River - 19337 Detroit Rd.

The Hyatt Regency Cleveland at the Arcade - 420 Superior Avenue - a National Historic Landmark, the original Arcade opened in 1890 as the nation's first indoor shopping center.

Baricelli Inn in Little Italy - 2203 Cornell - a fine dining experience for special occasions. This beautiful brownstone also offers overnight accommodations for a nice little get-a-way.

Scaravilli Design & Studio Gallery on Mayfield Road in Little Italy - here you will find some wonderful photos of Italy as well as Cleveland.

And, if you are there at the right time, any church festival is a guaranteed good meal.

A Quick Reference

Great Pizza - Mamma Santos on Mayfield Road in Little Italy

Great Chinese - Hunan Coventry, Corner of Coventry & Hampshire in Cleveland Heights

Great Markets - Gus Gallucis on Euclid Avenue and the West Side Market on West 25th.

Great View - Terminal Tower at Tower City

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