For a rockin’ good time – from music to great food to a scenic waterfront development – Cleveland can’t be beat.
If you haven’t been to Cleveland lately, you’re missing out on a great time. We’re lucky to live less than an hour’s drive from the city’s downtown – home of the Cleveland Indians and Cleveland Browns – so we make it a point to visit here at least two or three times a year.
One of our favorite places is the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. Designed by renowned architect I.M. Pei, the building boasts a glass exterior that creates shimmering shadows on the Cuyahoga River. Seeing everything there is to see here can take an entire day, well worth the $20 admission fee for adults. Featured exhibits here change throughout the year, so check the Web site (www.rockhall.com) for what’s happening before you go.
While you’re there, don’t miss a ride on the nearby Goodtime III. Billed as "Cleveland’s Largest Excursion Ship," the triple-deck Goodtime III, which docks next to the Hall of Fame at the 9th Street Pier, offers two-hour narrated tours along the Cuyahoga River shores at noon and 3pm during summer months as well as an evening buffet dinner/dance cruise (www.goodtimeiii.com)
Our most recent cruise provided a from-the-fiver view of the Tall Ships at the Cleveland Harborfest in addition to the usual bridges and by old buildings that once hummed with manufacturing activity. Getting a good look at the Cleveland West Breakwater Lighthouse, located on a four-mile-long breakwater that separates Lake Erie from the river, is an added treat -- it’s difficult to see from any other vantage point.
For dinner, our restaurant of choice is Great Lakes Brewing Co., an eco-friendly brewpub on East Market Street in Cleveland’s Ohio City district (www.greatlakesbrewing.com). The food here is great, especially when accompanied by a frosty mug of brewed-on-the-spot Burning River Pale Ale or Eliot Ness Amber Lager.
While you’re in Ohio City (www.ohiocity.com), head for the corner of West 25th Street and check out the West Side Market (it’s closed on Thursdays and Sundays). The array of baked goods, fresh fish and produce offered by some 120 vendors will make your mouth water and your eyes pop (www.westsidemarket.com).
There’s no shortage of downtown hotels – you might try the Crowne Plaza City Centre or Hyatt Regency at the Arcade. Next day, if you’re not heading to a game, pay a visit to the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo (be sure your ticket includes the RainForest, so you can have lunch at the Crocodile Café (www.clemetzoo.com). Or, if you prefer your animals strong and silent, you’ll love the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, where a big attraction is "Happy," the only mounted Haplocanthosaurus delfsi in the world (www.cmnh.org).