When thinking of vacation destinations to add to your bucket list, I doubt Cleveland, OH is anyone’s first choice; if a choice at all. But it’s not so bad. Cleveland is like that one friend who you aren’t bothered by not seeing for a long period of time, and yet they’re always there for you. And when you do randomly meet up again, you’re happy you did. I promise that if you keep an open mind, and maybe wait until the summer time, you’ll really enjoy visiting this diehard city. Here are six reasons why:
1. Brunch So Hard
Wake up in Cleveland—hungry. In this city the locals look forward to the end of the work week. Not necessarily for their first sip of an adult beverage Friday night, but for the Saturday/Sunday brunch with close friends and family. Yoga pants, baggy sweats, and loose fitting sundresses are 100% acceptable. If you find yourself on the East side of Cleveland, grab a table at the Inn On Coventry. Unfortunately they close at 2:30pm on weekends and are usually always packed, so get there early if you can. If you have a savory appetite check out their large portioned egg specialties. If you have a sweet tooth like me, however, you must try one of their pancake recipes. Orange whole wheat or reese cup pancakes are good choices, but the lemon ricotta pancakes are absolutely to die for! This stack practically melts in your mouth. Brunching on the West side is just as delicious. Bonbon Pastry & Cafe offers a brunch style menu that’s available all day long, so it’s okay if you sleep in! Right around the corner you’ll find a small french cafe called Le Petite Triangle Cafe. It’s literally shaped like a small triangle, and defeats the whole “size matters” hoax. This is where you’ll want to stop if you’re a crepe lover. My favorite place to visit for brunch is Townhall. Not only for the fresh food, but for the atmosphere, also. The front and back of the restaurant open up creating cool, breezy openness vibes. Their simple menu caters to everyone. Create your own crepe, grab a burger, or save more room for mimosas. It’s an easy place to unwind.
2. Where University Circle is educational and entertaining
This neighborhood on the East side is full of artsy, cultural fun. Its home to the Cleveland Museum of Art, show casing a collection of over 30,000 works of art ranging over 5,000 years old. The best thing about it— it’s free. Just a short walk across the street is where you can find the Cleveland Botanical Garden. At first you might be skeptical on the idea of paying to see plants. Once you adventure through the Glasshouse, escaping to the spiny desert of Madagascar and butterfly-filled rainforest of Costa Rica, you’ll agree your money was well spent.
3. It’ll rock your socks off
Calling all music lovers! Visitors might find it odd that Cleveland, of all places, is home to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Explore different types of exhibits such as The Beatles, Cities and Sounds, and The Legends of Rock. You can even rent the Rock! The glass monument presents a stunning view of Downtown Cleveland and Lake Erie, offering an unforgettable venue for any type of gathering. So whether you’re planning a reception, holiday party or just visiting with the fam…this one and only location is a must see.
4. It’s got one of the five Great Lakes goin’ for it
I could write a whole book about ways to enjoy yourself at Lake Erie shores. This Great Lake brings people together, and creates memories year after year. I’ll try to keep it short by suggesting only three activities, leaving some adventure to find for yourself! First and for most, get yourself on a boat! Cast a line, catch some rays, witness the picture perfect sunsets. Once you’re out on the water you won’t want to come back in. Back on land, join a newer attraction called Edgewater Live. During the summer, this Lakefront Reservation brings people together every Thursday night with yoga on the beach, live concerts and lines of local food trucks waiting to satisfy your cravings. Lastly, check out the historical Flats. If I were writing this post five years ago, I wouldn’t be suggesting the once-thriving, run down area as a go-to place in Cleveland. Recently, however, the city has come together to put the Flats back on the map. Separated into the East and West Banks, it is now a place filled with great food, entertainment, and luxurious waterfront apartments. Over on the West Bank, you can park your car or boat at Shooters on the Water. Pull up to everyone’s favorite waterfront patio in the afternoon, and party through the night.
5. The people are pretty cool
The crazy, intransigent people of this city are actually really great people to meet. I swear I’m not being biased, based on the fact that I was born and raised there. It’s incredibly diverse with over 100 distinct ethnic groups. I’ve heard outsiders describe Clevelanders multiple times as, “Nice, friendly, hard working people.” I would like to emphasize the “hard working” adjective, because it is extremely accurate. In a city like Cleveland, things aren’t handed to you. You have to hustle for it. The people have a lot of pride, also. Every Clevelander knows that their city is the best, making it a goal to show every out-of-towner why. If you’re searching for loyal friends with good ethics who can hold their alcohol, look no further than Cleveland.
6. Yeah, Cleveland has a nightlife scene
Crazy, I know. There is actually a range of nightlife venues for everyone’s taste in this city. For those in the mood to chill, there are a few really cool lounges to check out. City and East in Coventry is a trendy venue where hookah lovers, local college students, and couples ending a fantastic date meet to top off the night. On the other side of Cleveland, right over the bridge, there’s a place in Ohio City called Touch Supper Club. This dynamic venue offers an upscale American menu, dimly lit lounging upstairs, and underground house party vibes at the downstairs bar. Ready to rage? Head over to West 6th street to hit one of the local night clubs such as Barley House, Liquid or Rumor. Your choice really all depends on what type of music you’re in the mood for. No matter where you end up, you’ll be sure to see beautiful people, talented DJs, and affordable drink/bottle service prices. The great part is that they’re all walking distances apart, but be sure to catch an Uber at the end of the night. As I stated earlier, Clevelanders can drink. So try to keep up!