• Rachel Ogilby

10 Spots in Cleveland That Are Sweeter Than Christmas Morning

Updated: May 30

Cleveland was once the city made fun of around the world. Just a few years ago we'd chant, "At least we're not Detroit!". My, how things have changed.

Over the last decade, Ohio City has reborn, The Flats have revived, and Cleveland is again a place for tourists and vacationers. People visit to see the Browns, Cavs, Indians, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Here are ten of my favorite Cleveland spots to visit!

#1. The West Side Market

People who know me well will identify the WSM as my favorite place in the world. Go here for fresh produce, or just walk around and have a snack! On weekends, enjoy live music while you grab a coffee and a crepe. Find the stairs towards the indoor balcony to people watch! This is one of our favorite spots to bring Cleveland visitors. When my in-laws come to visit, we always visit the WSM for breakfast, picnic supplies, or dinner ingredients. My favorite stands - Greg's Produce, Juice Garden, Boutros Bros. Produce, Kaufman Poultry, Irene Dever, Mediterra Bakehouse.

#2. Edgewater park

This is Cleveland's lakefront park with volleyball nets, dog and swim beaches, a running path, fishing pier, and plenty of space to fly a kite or play a kickball game. Visit on Thursdays in the summer to experience Edgewater Live with food trucks, live music, and yoga. Make sure to stop by the Cleveland Sign in all seasons for a picture with the skyline!

Edgewater park and the Cleveland skyline

#3. Downtown Cleveland

Downtown CLE can't be fully embraced in a paragraph, but if you do find yourself downtown, have a picnic on public square, walk down East 4th street and grab a drink, take the Smile and Ride Free RTA or Lolly the Trolly to your destination, see the Fountain of Eternal Life monument, and walk down 9th street for a sunset on the lake. Have kiddos to entertain? Take them to my favorite place as a kid, the Great Lakes Science Center!

Downtown Cleveland

#3. The Flats

Check out the local Aquarium located on the West Bank, or food crawl your way through the many restaurants and bars. Punch Bowl Social is a popular place to play darts, bowl, or play putt-putt. Shooters on the Water is known for it's Sunday summer parties, or head to the Music Box Supper Club for dinner and a show. Thirsty Dog is our favorite Flats brewery stop, with a next stop at Beerhead for their larger than life pretzel!


#4. Cleveland Breweries... all of 'em!!!

Speaking of Breweries, CLE has many. Ohio City is now dotted with them, including our famous Great Lakes Brewery (go to the tour!), Market Garden (also a great tour), and Nano Brew (have their beer or Bloody Mary while watching the Browns Game on the patio in the back!). Bring your dog with you to Platform (get a flight) as well as Terrestrial Brewing Company. If you're downtown, get the pizza at Masthead, then head to the ground floor of Southern Tier. Make sure you ask for the Cleveland Brewery Passport at any brewery (complete list of participating breweries here). Collect enough stamps and win prizes!

A half-drank flight of beers from Platform

#5. Little Italy/University Circle

There's plenty of places to explore here, but Presti's and La Dulce Vita are held close to my heart. Get cannolis to go at Corbo's Bakery, and step into the boutiques and galleries. University Circle is home to many museums, parks and gardens (listed below).

Goofing around in University Circle

#6. Tremont

Tremont is known for its artists and restaurants. We love coming here before an Indians game at Progressive Field! Bar hop through Tremont, stopping at The Treehouse (sit on the patio), South Side (awesome food), and the Flying Monkey. The Tap house is a local favorite too, as well as Barrio. If you have time for happy hour, get sushi at Ginko and a cocktail at The Velvet Tango Room. Finally, stop in the many art galleries and boutiques (one day, my whole wardrobe will be from Banyan Tree). If you're there in the morning, you must go to Grumpy's for breakfast/brunch.

#7. Playhouse Square

Playhouse Square is one of the show stoppers in Cleveland. It is the country’s largest performing arts center outside New York City, and Northeast Ohio's home for touring Broadway. There are five venues, all gorgeous! Tours are available if you can't make it to a show, but do all you can to go to one!


#8. Ohio City

You read about the breweries above, but I would be remiss if I didn't mention the amazing restaurants, shops, and locales in the area. Town Hall has amazing food and great options for the gluten free/vegan/veg. Have a scoop of ice cream at Mitchell's for dessert - Cleveland's local favorite. Stop by Porco Lounge and Tiki Room for a Zombie (uber home!). Something Different is one of my favorite little shops. If you have time, explore West 28th, making sure to grab a Thai Bubble Tea at Banana Blossom and a taco or juice from Johnny Mango's. Finally, for a group of quick-witted minds, book an escape room at Perplexity Games - highly recommended!

Flight from Nano Brew

#9. Lakewood

I could go on and on about Lakewood (and I do, in another post), but the quick list of things to do here include bowling at Mahall's, grabbing boozy brunch at The Winchester, biking to Lakewood Park for a sunset on the Solstice steps, and walking downtown Lakewood - stop into Rozi's for a drink or a snack, then pop into Lion and Blue for colorful clothes and gifts, and finally The Record Exchange for inexpensive movies and games. Grab lunch at Cleveland Vegan and stop at Nature's Oasis for a smoothie. For amazing hand designed clothing and other goodies, head to my favorite Lakewood store, GV Art and Design, for a souvenir to bring home.

Wall mural at GV Art and Design

#10. Metroparks

The Cleveland Metroparks are one of the most loved places of locals. There are 18 parks with over 100 hiking trails, five nature centers, and many lakefront locations. In all seasons, people hike, play, picnic, and golf in the parks. Check the website for guided nature hikes, trails with waterfalls or caves, and more. We also host the Buckeye Trail, which traces the state's borders with over 1,444 miles of hiking paths.

Walking one of the many trail in the Cleveland Metroparks

For our Museum and Art Lovers

Severence Hall/Cleveland Orchestra: CLE is known worldwide for our Orchestra, Severence Hall opened in 1931. Check the website for events and concerts.

Cleveland Art Museum: Proud to be one of the world’s most distinguished comprehensive art museums and one of northeastern Ohio’s principal civic and cultural institutions - exhibitions rotate, so you can visit often without running out of things to see!

Cleveland Museum of Natural History: The Cleveland Museum of Natural History has become part of a tradition of science and exploration nearly 100 years in the making. While known for being family friendly, its also a center for world-class scientific research.

Botanical Gardens: For the gardener in all of us! 10 acres of lush gardens and glasshouse. Come in February for the Orchid display!


Have other favorites not on this list? Comment below!

My husband Chris and my in-laws - getting smoothies at Juice Garden!

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