How to get there: Depends on how you want to come. If driving, you can come in through I-90; I-77; I-71; US-20; US-6; US-2, all of which pass through Cleveland. I-80 passes relatively close to the south. Flying in you can come in through Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (CLE) or Akron-Canton Airport (CAK) for commercial flights. If you’re flying in yourself, there’s Burke Lakefront Airport, as well as regional airports in the suburbs. There’s also the lake if you want to boat in, with marinas available to dock at. There is an Amtrak station and a Greyhound station if you want to get here on the cheap.
How to get around there: There’s bus and light rail through the RTA which will get you to most of the main places. Lyft and Uber both operate here, but the costs have been going up and wait times have been getting longer.
What to do there: If you like the outdoors, the Metroparks are a large system of parks that go all around the city and have hiking, biking, kayaking, horse riding, fishing, a train ride (that does offer beer and wine tastings on occasion), and other outdoor activities. If you like the arts, there’s the art museum, natural history museum, modern art museum, children’s museum, baseball heritage museum, the botanical gardens, Great Lakes Science Center, the theater district, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and of course, the Christmas Story House.
Where to eat at: Depending on your preferences, there’s quite a bit of good German food, Eastern European food, and Italian food. Other than that, if you’re looking for healthy food, you’re going to have trouble finding it. Our food may be unhealthy, but the portions aren’t small. If you’re looking for something local, I’d recommend Mable’s BBQ, the Harp, a street vendor Polish boy, or a stop at Happy Dog.
Notable Neighborhoods: There’s a couple of areas that are known by a neighborhood nomenclature. The big ones for most visitors are:
- Tremont – Mix of gentrified higher end food and blue collar bars and restaurants. You can go to a bar that’s been owned by the same family for over 100 years, or go to the next new fusion place, and they’re only a couple blocks away from each other.
- The Flats – Split between the East bank and the West bank (don’t try to swim across the river… please). The East Bank was just recently redone (for the second time in my lifetime), and now has several breweries, bars, and restaurants. The West bank (which used to be the fancy side) now has an aquarium, a couple of bars, and some strip clubs.
- Ohio City – If you’re a visitor, you’ll want to focus on the West 25th area between Lorain and Detroit. That’s now become a defacto Brewery District, with four breweries directly on that strip, another four a couple blocks off of it, and a couple more in walking distance.
Professional Sports Teams: There’s a lot here:
- The Cleveland Browns – NFL team that has never been in a Super Bowl
- The Cleveland Monster – AHL hockey team
- The Cleveland IndiansGuardians – MLB team that hasn’t won a World Series in a long time.
- The Lake County Captains – A Cleveland Indians affiliate
- The Akron Rubber Ducks – AA Cleveland Indians affiliate
- The Lake Erie Crushers – Independent minor league baseball team out in Avon.
- The Cleveland Crunch – Arena Soccer team that just recently returned.
- The Cleveland Cavaliers – NBA team who brought home the first championship to Cleveland in my lifetime
How to blend in there: You probably won’t. We’ve got all sorts of identifying shibboleths to identify what neighborhood people grew up in, and will sort people based on the High School they went to. We’ll still welcome you in, just realize that talking poorly about the city will not be taken well. We can talk trash about our city and our teams, since we grew up here. We’ll take some ribbing from other rust belt cities, but we will mock the pretentious assholes from the coast who are surprised we have culture, good food, can walk upright, and speak in complete sentences.
One day trips from there: If you want to drive for a bit, there’s several sites that aren’t that far away, and worth visiting:
- Cedar Point – One of the best amusement parks for roller coasters in the world.
- Pro Football Hall of Fame – Just down the freeway in Canton.
- Mansfield Penitentiary – If you’re a fan of prison movies, this is the one that’s in Shawshank Redemption, Green Mile, and several others.
- Middlefield Amish Country – If you want to do more of the country thing, you can head out to Middlefield and visit the Amish out there.
- Geneva for “Wine” country – If you’re an oenophile, avoid it. The generally specialize in sweet wines (including ice wine). But there’s lots of outdoors seating, live music, and even some breweries and distilleries out that way.
Notable Local Chains: There’s quite a few here, with the stand out ones being:
- Melt – Grilled Cheese sandwiches, burgers, and beer.
- Barrio’s – Build your own tacos, beer, and margaritas.
- Winking Lizard – Sports bar with a deep beer and whiskey selection and bar food.
- Harry Buffalo – Sports bar known for wings
- Panini’s – Sports bar known for late night hours, and overstuffed sandwiches that caused many a Clevelander to be confused the first time they were presented a small smashed sandwich as a panini.
- Swensons – Older drive through chain known for the Galley Boy and fruit flavored drinks.
- Slyman’s – Big overstuffed corned beef sandwiches
That’s it. I should be around in the comments if you have questions or complaints. I’ll be dropping this over in the Forums as well. I freely give any and all the formatting and headers to use and write up a guide to your local city.