Just because LeBron left Cleveland and Tristan Thompson ruined Ohio’s only shot of hosting a Kardashian from time to time doesn’t mean all is lost for the city. (Except no way, LEBRON, COME BACK. PLEASE!)
Sorry, sorry. Let’s not dwell. They don’t call Cleveland “The Land” for nothing; our not-so-far-away northern sister city offers plenty to do without having to dip too far into your vacation budget. Load up the car and drive as straight on I-71N for as long as you can—if you hit Lake Erie, you went too far.
The first order of business is lodging, and we highly recommend snagging an Airbnb. For prices as low as $53 a night to be in the heart of Downtown, it’s tough to beat. The closer you get to the stadiums (Progressive Field, FirstEnergy Stadium, Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse), the more you’ll see a rise in prices, so keep that in mind while booking. On the other hand, if you’re looking to go to an Indians game, staying close to the stadium makes the parking situation less of a headache.
Beyond the sportsball going down up north, Cleveland has many staples to remind you of home like Barrio, a build-your-own- taco restaurant and rival of Condado, as well as breweries to quench your thirst. Visit Ohio City where you’ll find Platform Beer Company as well as the West Side Market, where you’ll taste the boozy brews of Great Lakes Brewing Company. Ohio City also plays host to the completely non-GMO restaurant, TownHall, which features an array of plates including vegetarian and vegan options. If you’re a big fan of Short North spots like Standard Hall and The Pint House, you’ll love TownHall.
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Other options for food and booze can be found on East Fourth Street where shops, restaurants, bars, and breweries all collide. The aforementioned Barrio can be found here as well as Mexican restaurant Zocalo Tequileria with an expansive list of tequilas. The Corner Alley offers a large bar area and patio in addition to bowling lanes and arcade games—something for the little kids, and more importantly, something for the big kids. For the sake of souvenirs and swag, Cleveland Clothing offers Cleveland-themed apparel and some of the softest sweatshirts of all time. If you’re sticking around the East Fourth Street area heading into the evening (or the morning, we don’t judge) the JACK Cleveland Casino is ready and raring to take your money. May the odds ever be in your favor? (They’re not.)
And what’s a vacation without satisfying your sweet tooth? Mitchell’s Homemade Ice Cream and Mason’s Creamery have your frozen treats while Malley’s Chocolates get straight to the point with their decadent chocolates. For the sake of your own happiness, get the chocolate covered pretzels from Malley’s.
Cleveland also boasts a plethora of concert halls and venues and the outdoor venue Blossom Music Center is loaded with a variety of talent year round. There’s also House Of Blues which has live music playing on most days starting at 3 p.m. and specialty appearances slated throughout the month.
We’d be remiss to not mention the tourist spots of The Rock’N’Roll Hall Of Fame, Great Lakes Science Center, and the always-free Cleveland Museum of Art. But if you’re looking to go down a less-followed path, kayaking in the Cuyahoga River is an option if you have your own equipment, or you can check out River Cruising Kayaking. After you finish your adventure outside of Cleveland proper, head a little further out to Fat Head’s Brewery and Brew Hall in Middleburg Heights. If you do anything this trip, order a Bumbleberry Ale which comes served with frozen blueberries. Tour the brewing facility at your leisure, or just gulp back some delicious beers.