Cleveland, Ohio, has been on the rebound for the past few years, capped in 2016 by hosting the Republican National Convention and the opening of Major League Baseball’s World Series. Now, the city offers plenty to entertain short-term or extended-stay visitors to Northeast Ohio any time of the year. Whether you’re on the shores of Lake Erie for business or pleasure, check out these highlights in our Cleveland Guide.
CLEVELAND BARS AND RESTAURANTS
From high end to hot dogs
Michael Symon is Cleveland’s resident celebrity chef, and Lola Bistro is the restaurant that put his name on the map. You’ve seen him on TV on “Iron Chef” and “The Chew.” At his downtown Cleveland restaurant, you’ll see his signature nose-to-tail dishes like beef cheek pierogi and smoked pork chops. If you really have a taste for unusual meat, pop next door for the roasted pig head at chef Jonathon Sawyer’s contribution to the Rust Belt revolution, The Greenhouse Tavern. Lola, 2058 E. 4th St. Greenhouse, 2038 E. 4th St.
If you love live music, then Cleveland’s House of Blues is a great place to be. The House of Blues’ stage plays host to touring bands and local favorites alike, running the gamut from rhythm and blues to hard rock. On the second Sunday of every month, don’t miss the Gospel Brunch, which promises “a foot-stomping, napkin-waving good time” with traditional and contemporary gospel music and an all-you-can-eat buffet. 308 Euclid Ave.
Locals have plenty of good things to say about Porco Lounge and Tiki Room. Tucked away in an old industrial neighborhood, about 2 miles from “The Q” arena, Porco is a slice of Polynesian paradise in an obscure corner of Cleveland. With names like the Zombie and Planet of the Apes, the drinks here always extend the possibility of an adventure. Just don’t get too adventurous; the bartenders tend to pour ‘em strong. 2527 W. 25th St.
If you’re looking for a dive bar, look elsewhere in Cleveland. If you’re seeking a nighttime hotspot with a vibe of class and sophistication, then write down this name. The Velvet Tango Room is where you’ll find more than 50 (50!) handcrafted cocktails. The mixmasters’ work has earned the Velvet Tango Room a spot on numerous lists of best cocktail bars in America. 2095 Columbus Road.
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Barrio means “neighborhood” in Spanish, and Barrio in Cleveland certainly offers neighborly atmosphere at its three locations around the city. The downtown Gateway District spot is just a block from the Quickens Loan Arena. Barrio is known for build-your-own tacos, as well as delicious margaritas (try the jalapeno flavored). The Day of the Dead-inspired décor is vibrant and colorful, setting the mood for a festive evening out on the town. Gateway location, 503 Prospect Ave.
Happy Dog in Cleveland is not your average late-night hot dog shop. The menu here includes dogs topped with mac and cheese, peanut butter and egg, and even SpaghettiOs. Sure, it sounds crazy – until you taste it. Events here also are varied. On any given night, you might find a rock band, a chamber orchestra or a polka group. 5801 Detroit Ave.
From rock to a rainforest
Cleveland rocks at no place harder than the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, housed in a glass-sheathed shrine designed by star architect I.M. Pei. Check out the exhibit honoring the 2016 Hall of Fame inductees, including Cheap Trick, Chicago, Deep Purple, N.W.A and Steve Miller. Also on display is a collection of outfits worn by the late great David Bowie. 1100 Rock and Roll Blvd.
The Cleveland Museum of Art is perhaps best known for its Asian, Medieval European and pre-Columbian works, but it also houses important pieces by great masters including Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet, and Pablo Picasso. The museum’s recent remodeling has made it an even better showcase for the top-tier collection. Best of all, admission is free to the museum’s permanent holdings. 11150 East Boulevard.
Spanning Euclid Avenue between East 14th and 17th streets, Playhouse Square is a 10-stage live theater complex second in size only to New York City’s Lincoln Center. Here, one can take in traveling Broadway hits, community theater productions, and musical performances. Five of the district’s theaters were built within two years of each other during the 1920s, and they’re every bit as grand as you’d expect. Ticket office in the State Theatre lobby, 1519 Euclid Ave.
While not as lively as some of the other entries in this Cleveland culture guide, the picturesque Lake View Cemetery is certainly worth a visit. It’s a place full of fascinating architecture and wonderful vistas. Many notable historical figures have been laid to rest here, including President James Garfield. Be sure to visit Wade Chapel; the Tiffany-designed stained glass window and intricate floor murals are amazing. 12316 Euclid Ave.
The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is known for having the largest collection of primates in the United States, and for its tropical rainforest that thrills explorers with simulated tropical rainstorms. The relatively compact design of the zoo makes it easy to navigate, despite its impressive collection. A new exhibit for the zoo’s two Siberian tigers features trails that pass over the heads of visitors. 3900 Wildlife Way.
A major-league trio
Baseball: Cleveland Indians
Cleveland’s American League baseball team, the Cleveland Indians, has been hitting grand slams since April of 1901. It’s one of only four charter American League baseball clubs to have played continuously in a single city, and the franchise is also one of Cleveland’s oldest and proudest sporting traditions. Progressive Field, 2401 Ontario St.
The Cleveland Cavaliers, or “Cavs” as they’re affectionately known, joined the National Basketball Association as recently as 1970. The team has been home to many notable NBA stars over the years, including the likes of LeBron James, Brad Daugherty, and Mark Price. The team’s home, the Quicken Loans Arena, also hosts minor league hockey’s Lake Erie Monsters and Arena Football’s Cleveland Gladiators. 1 Center Court.
In 1944, Cleveland taxicab company owner Arthur “Mickey” McBride secured the rights to start an All-America football team in Cleveland. The team was first known as the Panthers, but McBride changed the name to the Cleveland Browns after its first head coach, Paul Brown, who is still known as one of the greatest coaches in football history. FirstEnergy Stadium, 100 Alfred Lerner Way.
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