“Cleveland Rocks!!!” I have always wanted to title a piece that. I know, I know…Like you I thought, “Cleveland? Ugh! Why?” Quick background on this trip to a tucked away secret metro; I had to go to Columbus for work. My friend and her boyfriend just bought a house in Cleveland. My two partners and I landed in Cleveland to be shown the sights, renting a car to make the two hour drive to Columbus for the business part of the trip. I think it’s important to give you a little back-story because I am not possessed of a particular vision to “try” Cleveland. Besides the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, I had no idea what else there was to do there.
Cleveland Rocks: You’d Always Want To Come Back
I would go back…
I’ll get the easy part out of the way and rave about the Cleveland Museum of Art. I make a point to visit a museum in every town I’m in. This place did not disappoint! Over 100 years old, the collection was diverse and we didn’t finish after three hours. I would dare say that the collection rivals the Getty or even the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. If museums aren’t your thing, there’s more.
A Great Surprise
You have to see the Christmas Story House which didn’t dawn on me until our friends took us there. It’s the actual house and location the film was shot at. It’s a living museum to the film. The fire station is across the street with the movie cars parked there. Equally entertaining was seeing how far people came from; planning road trips from Dallas and New York just to see Ralphie’s House!
If you like beer like I do, then you will not be disappointed with the brewery scene in town. Great Lakes Brewing Co. is an amazing operation set behind downtown’s Market Avenue District? The largest farmer’s market I have ever seen is across the parking lot with 30,000 square feet of exotic produce, meats, and delis. Every kind of food is represented here; Indian, Russian, Polish Brats, unique veggie cuisine. It just goes and goes. There’s a ton of restaurants and classic dive bars. Hooples is a classic dive bar and my favorite while we were there. It’s under the bridge overlooking the Cuyahoga River under the Columbus Road Bridge. Great back patio with the best “I saw this in a movie vibe.” It just made me happy.
Rockin’ & Rollin’
Cleveland has lots more to do and see but you must pay a visit to the Rock and Ro ll Hall of Fame. Here’s the thing; get passed what you think the travesties of your artist not being in there and just bathe on the glow of raawwwk! It is very well done and the exhibits are amazing. Crossing an interactive experience with traditional exhibits, the museum is a living, breathing testament to the evolution and development of rock in all its forms. There’s even a band shell and John Cougar Mellencamp did a free show.
A Delightful Exit To A Famous of Fame Entry
Leaving Cleveland, we stopped at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, in between Cleveland and Columbus. It wasn’t as developed as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but if you’re a fan, it’s still pretty cool. Here, you get the history of the league, pioneers, the good, bad and ugly. I learned a lot and I thought I knew a lot!
Once we got to Columbus, I was blown away by how cool this town is! Ohio State University is based here, of course, and I love the college town vibe. It’s why I like living in Austin; being a Los Angeles native, we didn’t have an entire town decked out in Trojan or Bruin gear. No one really cared except for their fans. Here in addition to the Saturday game, the whole town was literally painted red!
As in Cleveland, there is a thriving downtown scene with live music coming out of many of the bars and again, great breweries and restaurants. The OSU campus was an exercise in libations. If I went there, I would have flamed out in spectacular fashion and come home ashamed! The Thirsty Scholar is a classic college watering hole and up and down Neil Street, are bars for days!!! Right through campus! And there are many roads through the campus where you walk out of class and into a bar or brewery.
We took a car to the German Village which we visited a few times. Cobble Stone Streets, row housing from the 1800s, the area is beautifully preserved! Schmidt’s is the hallmark place to eat and their beers are an awesome cross of craft beers and national brands. The ambience of this area cannot be understated.
For you literature geeks, the Thurber House is where James Thurber lived. All original furniture and artifacts, the site gives you a great idea of the time. The neighborhood is cool too! Car enthusiasts will for sure enjoy the Wagner-Hagans Auto Museum. We had a great time there.
Here are 5 of the best places you can visit in Cleveland by Cleveland.com:
Now, here’s the thing, I ended up in Ohio almost on accident. We didn’t get to Cincinnati, which was further south. Both Cleveland and Columbus are as clean and metropolitan as Toronto. However, that being said, I would definitely go back especially to kayak on Lake Erie!
Are there other great places to visit in Cleveland that we missed? Let us know in the comments section below.