It’s a great time to be a Clevelander, friends! We’ve been in the spotlight a lot over the last year, thanks to a couple of championship games. But for those of us who’ve grown up here, we’ve long known that the city of Cleveland is a diamond in the rough!
Which is why I’m beyond excited to bring you my next chapter of my “Explore Ohio” series — Downtown Cleveland! If you’ve followed along with the last few chapters of this series, you’ll know that I grew up here in Northeast Ohio. I was born in East Cleveland, but grew up in the country, before moving to New York state. Then I debated moving further south (and even went so far as to look at real estate in Dayton), before settling into my home here just south of ‘the land.’
I’m almost ashamed to say how frequently I make the drive to downtown Cleveland. I mean, it’s close, but it’s still a bit of a drive from Akron (think 25-30 minutes). But when I visit, here are some of my absolutely favorite things to see and do:
The Cleveland Flea. Artisanal products, makers, and doers come together once a month for an amazing event. Think food trucks, the “Flea Bar” featuring incredible hand-crafted cocktails, and a DJ making sure everyone is having a blast. It’s seriously the most fun event of the month.
Barrio. Build your own tacos + crazy margaritas + out of this world guacamole = my idea of heaven, ya’ll. The original location is in Tremont, but the location downtown is huge and easily accessible before concerts and sporting events. They honestly have the best tacos and an awesome atmosphere.
Great Lakes Science Center. Located right next door to The Rock Hall, the GLSC features 3+ floors of hands-on learning and exploring for kids of all ages — and adults! Ari loves it and I’m certain that as soon as Miss Bea feels comfortable in crowds, she will push her way through the exhibits to get down and dirty with learning! My favorite part of the science center is the IMAX theater. It’s definitely a must-see if you’re in from out of town.
Hilarities. I feel like Clevelanders take for granted that we have this amazingly popular comedy club! Chad and I have gone to see Joe Machi (from Last Comic Standing) and we loved it! I’m so bummed that I recently had to miss Mike Birbiglia (we were out of town!). He’s my absolute fave! And seriously, every single seat in the venue is close! It’s such an intimate location.
The Greenhouse Tavern. James Beard award winner Jonathan Sawyer serves the most incredible poutine at the Greenhouse Tavern. Seriously. It’s heavenly. He’s a master at what he does for a reason and his menu at GHT shows it! Also? Rooftop patio, yo!
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Sitting on the North Coast, this museum is home to so many great artists and exhibits! Everyone should visit at least once in their life! I’ll never forget walking in for the first time and seeing the division bell from Pink Floyd’s cover of the same name!
Heinen’s Downtown. Heinen’s is a local grocer here in Ohio, but they fixed up an old building downtown and made the most beautiful grocery store ever! If you haven’t yet, you should check it out for the wine and dinner!
the Cleveland Arcade building. My mom still talks about this building from when she was growing up. But I have my first memories of the arcade building from when I was about 6. And since then I’ve been able to witness business booming and even a wedding inside of this incredible location!
E. 4th Street. This is, by far, the hottest street in all of Cleveland. For those unfamiliar, it’s a pedestrian-only brick road and home to amazing restaurants and shops. CLE Clothing flagship shop sits on the corner and so does Corner Alley, an iconic bowling alley and sports bar!
The Jake. Yes, it will forever be The Jake. But honestly, Progressive Field (it’s newest name) has had some incredible improvements. They even now offer special tickets to a place in the field called “the corner” (which is at the corner of Carnegie and Ontario). These tickets are standing room only and include a beverage of your choice! Not bad!
Jack Cleveland Casino. I’m not big on gambling. Heck, I spent a total of $20 on slots in Vegas; but this casino is exactly what downtown Cleveland needed. And, in it’s current location in the old Higby building, it’s absolutely gorgeous!
Hodges. Yet another incredible chef with an incredible restaurant on E.4th! Hodges has long been one of my favorite restaurants, featuring drinks in mason jars (before it became popular) and cornbread with every single meal (cornbread, ya’ll!). I absolutely love Chris Hodsgon and all of his restaurants, but Hodges forever has a place in my heart!
Playhouse Square. The largest performing arts center in the United States outside of NYC, has 9 individual theaters with productions year-round! It’s recently received a facelift with it’s new chandelier, which resides over the center of square itself. It’s absolutely beautiful!
I just have to stop. I have to. Because I could go on and on and on about this city. I would like to also mention Brew Boat CLE, the City Club of Cleveland, Walnut Wednesdays, and Lolly the Trolley. Cleveland is just such an incredible city. I know we may get shamed as being ‘the mistake on the lake,’ but we aren’t. I swear it; we aren’t!
And to celebrate the best city on the North Coast, I’m giving away a $25 gift card to Heinen’s — which can be used at any of their locations across Northeast Ohio, but I urge you to check out the downtown location anyway — just enter using the rafflecopter widget below!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
This giveaway is a partnership with Nakturnal. As always, all opinions herein are my own.