Cleveland is a fun city with an undeserved bad reputation. It is really a great city to visit in April-October when the weather is the best. I called Cleveland home for one year and my parents currently live there.
Getting to Cleveland:
- Flying– Cleveland has two major airports that you can fly into: Cleveland Hopkins (CLE) and Canton-Akron (CAK). Cleveland Hopkins was a major hub for United until 2014. Other airlines such as Frontier, Spirit, and Southwest increased service at Hopkins to fill the void that United created when they de-hubbed.
- Driving– Cleveland is about two from Detroit, Pittsburgh, or Columbus; fours hours from Cincinnati, Indianapolis, and Buffalo/Niagra Falls; and about five to six hours from Chicago and Washington D.C.
Main Neighborhoods to Visit:
- Downtown- Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Sports Stadiums, and most of the best hotels.
- University Circle- Contains Case Western Reserve University, Art Museum, Car Museum, Little Italy, Lake View Cemetery, Cleveland Clinic, and several other museums.
- West 25th- Westside Market, Great Lakes Brewery, and several great restaurants.
Things to Do
Rock & Roll Hall of Fame– A visit to Cleveland for the first time is not complete without a visit to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Tickets are a little expensive, but the exhibits are great.
Cleveland Museum of Art– The Cleveland Museum of Art is free and one of the best in the country. The museum is beautiful on the inside, has a great medieval armory, and a really great cafe inside. It was also the place where I took my now fiancée on our first date.
Cedar Point– Cedar Point is about an hour outside of Cleveland, but it is one of the best amusement parks in the country. If you love roller coasters, you should really try to go. It is my favorite amusement park in the world.
Pro Football Hall of Fame– If you are an NFL fan, I would plan a trip to Canton, which is only about 25 minutes away.
West Side Market– The market opened in 1912 and is very beautiful on the inside. It is very fun to check out and buy a few items to try. Plus there are lots of great restaurants and bars in the neighborhood, including Great Lakes Brewery.
Great Lakes Brewery– Great Lakes Brewing Company produces some really great beer, especially their Christmas Ale. They have a nice tap room and restaurant. I recommend booking a tour well in advance.
Lake View Cemetery– Lake View Cemetery is the final resting ground for many famous people: John D Rockefeller, President Garfield, and Elliot Ness. President Garfield has a huge memorial that I recommend visiting as well as Wade Chapel. The Little Italy neighborhood is nearby and a great place to eat lunch.
Little Italy– Cleveland’s Little Italy neighborhood is a great place to walk around, grab a bite to eat, and eat a cannoli or other Italian dessert.
A Christmas Story House– If you are a big fan of the movie, you would probably enjoy visiting the house.
Crawford Auto Museum/Western Reserve Historical Society– In the early 1900s, Cleveland was home to over a hundred different car manufacturers. If you love old cars, I recommend you visit.
Places to Eat and Drink
Slyman’s– If you love huge corned beef sandwiches, you have to come here.
Barrio– Really great tacos and margaritas. I always try to go to one of their locations when I am in town.
L’Albatros– It is located in University Circle and great gourmet food for a pretty reasonable price.
Happy Dog– This is a dive bar with really great hotdogs, burgers, and tater tots. You can customize each one to put whatever you want on it. I have yet to find a better hot dog place. The location that I visited the most in University City closed down in 2018, but they still have one location on the westside.
Little Italy Neighborhood- Etna or Mia Bella.
Fire– This high end restaurant is on Cleveland’s east side and run by one of Cleveland’s best chefs, Doug Katz.
Townhall– This restaurant is located close to West Side Market and Great Lakes Brewery. Very unique and healthy.
Hofbrauhaus– This is a chain, but a great place to grab a beer and german food. On Friday and Saturday night, it usually gets very busy.
Drury Plaza Cleveland Downtown– This hotel recently completed a large renovation and is located in the middle of downtown.
Kimpton Schofield (IHG)- This downtown hotel was originally built in 1902 is very beautiful on the inside.
Hilton: Hampton Inn Downtown and Hilton Garden Inn are both great options for traveling on a budget. The Hilton Cleveland Downtown is very new and really nice overall, but pretty expensive.
Marriott: Marriott has five very good hotels downtown: Renaissance, Ritz Carlton, Marriott Downtown at Key Center, Residence Inn Downtown, and Metropolitan at the 9.
SPG: The Westin Downtown is usually reasonably priced on the weekends, but fairly expensive during the weekdays.