As much as travelling through Europe makes my heart sing, there are so many amazing places to explore that don’t require an eight-hour flight. Full of art, music, shops, and feelings of resilience and hope, Cleveland is one of those places. If it’s not yet on your must-visit list, here are 10 reasons to add it.
There’s no better place to begin a Saturday than The Cleveland Flea. With over 170 local vendors selling art, handmade jewellery, original clothing, antiques, candles, and more, you’ll want to be sure to bring your wallet.
It’s impossible to leave without multiple bags. And why not grab a drink and some food; there’s a plethora of food trucks, and even vendors selling afternoon cocktails.
2. Euclid Beach
With all that food, where else to go than Euclid Beach. A giant park sitting right on Lake Erie, it’s the perfect spot for an afternoon picnic or a good book.
3. A Christmas Story House
A Christmas Story, you know, that movie that plays non-stop beginning November 1. The iconic house is located in Cleveland and, even better, you can tour the inside!
For my fellow runners out there: Consider the A Christmas Story 5K. All proceeds are donated to local neighbourhoods. People even wear the bunny costume.
The West Side Market can only be described as a farmers market on steroids. There are endless options of fresh fruits, meats, sweets, and my personal favourite, cheese.
As an added bonus, the West Side Market is located across from Market Square where you’ll find trendy restaurants and, of course, the Great Lakes Brewery.
5. Great Lakes Brewery
The Great Lakes Brewery features some of the most popular beers in the region. Locals count down to the Christmas Ale like it’s…well…Christmas.
Take a tour of the brewery and then have a bite to eat with your chosen ale on the great heated patio. The restaurant is located on a charming street perfect for people watching.
6. The Cleveland Cultural Gardens
More than 35 gardens representing different nationalities are featured on a two-mile strip near University Circle. Each garden is different than the next.
I visited the Italian Garden. It’s perfect for a picnic or perhaps a glass of wine on a fall afternoon. Its beauty reminds me so much of Italy.
7. Coventry Village
Coventry Village is definitely worth a stop. Close to downtown and Little Italy, it’s a trendy street with unique shops, restaurants, and even a small theatre. I strongly urge you to step into Big Fun Toy Store. It will transport you back in time.
8. Little Italy
Little Italy is easily my favourite neighbourhood in Cleveland. Italian flags adorn the streets, and you can hear Frank Sinatra no matter the time of day. In the evening it comes alive with people, music, and food.
The worst thing about this area is choosing where to eat. There’s no shortage of incredible Italian restaurants.
Personal tip: Having trouble choosing a restaurant? Go to Guarino’s. If it’s the right season, request to sit on the back patio. It’s a little piece of heaven in the middle of the city.
If it’s downtown you’d like to explore, East 4th Street is the place to be. This pedestrian street is lined with restaurants, each with their own unique style. Opt to sit outside to enjoy the vibe, or choose a restaurant with a rooftop bar. Either way, you won’t regret dinner here.
10. Playhouse Square
(Just a few blocks from East 4th Street)
Playhouse Square is the second-largest performing arts centre in the United States. And if you don’t plan on going to a show, walking to see the largest outdoor chandelier in the world is totally worth it. It’s 20 feet tall and about 20 times better than the picture.
Whether you’re visiting for business or need a weekend adventure, Cleveland should definitely be on your list.
Have you ever been? Am I missing a great spot? Comment below!
Sarah Loughry is a wine loving, coffee drinking, travel addict who woke up one day and decided to share her travel experiences with the world in an attempt to make it easier for others. This article was originally published on her blog, Oops!…I traveled Again.
Opening photo credit: Carlos Javier