From downtown to its outer suburbs, Cleveland, Ohio has a lot to offer. The city is a dynamic culture mix located on Lake Erie. Having grown up here, these are some of my favorite places to visit if you're in town. The best time to visit if you want to avoid the cold weather is late spring or early fall. You will not be disappointed.
Public Square and Tower City
In the heart of Cleveland is a beautiful old skyscraper called the Tower of the Terminal. Built in the late 1920s, its lower interior was remodeled in the 1980s to have a large, fully enclosed mall called Tower City. The least impressive is its fountains, marble floors and elegant multi-level structure. The Clevelanders meet there to eat, shop and go ball games. Nearby are the sports stadiums for baseball, basketball and football. This is a city that loves its sport. In Tower City's basement, you can catch the subway, called Fast Transit or RTA, on the east or west side. The fast is fast and comfortable. Many businessmen use it every day to get to work. It also goes out to the airport. Tower City is the hub of Clevelanders' most active activity.
If you like going out for a nice meal, the apartments are a scenic place to stroll. There are many restaurants both on the east and west shores of the Cuyahoga River, which runs to the terminal tower. This river is where huge ore barges and other ships come and go. The waterway is heavily used in the summer for both business and personal use by everyone. On the picturesque west coast is Shooters, a popular restaurant where I used to go, the view of the water was spectacular from there. During the summer, there are concerts by well-known groups of many genres. The historic Power House nearby is another popular spot. This is a completely renovated old electricity building with TGIFridays, Howl at the Moon Saloon, Improv Comedy Club and more. My friends and I often went there to meet after work.
Cleveland Metro Park
Cleveland is surrounded by a very large ring of public parks that are well maintained and offer spectacular natural beauty. There are cooking areas, shelters and picnic tables, jogging trails, horseback riding stables and more. This ring stretches for miles across the suburbs of Cleveland. My favorite is booking Chagrin in the fall when all the trees change colors. The fall is spectacular, if you like nature, the bright colors of the trees really stand out. There are events such as horse shows, dog shows and more throughout the year. The Cleveland Metro Park is a popular spot in the nearby western country as well.
This is a highly cultural area on the east side of Cleveland, full of students, as there are many colleges in the area, Case Western University and the Cleveland Institute of Art. The Cleveland Museum of Art is a magnificent building with many diverse exhibits ranging from armor suits to Egyptian mummies and tombs. The Cleveland Museum of Natural History is my favorite, showing in detail the dinosaur skeletons, the history of the area, the beauty of nature and how the world works through exhibits, lectures and a planetarium. Cleveland Botanical Gardens is adjacent and a must for plant lovers, even there is a rainforest. The Crawford Automobile Museum is elegant and the venue for many weddings and parties. There you can see cars of all ages in perfect condition. Great for old car enthusiasts.
This ethnic part of the University Circle is a great place to go for a coffee or a festival. They have annual traditional festivals such as the Feast of the Assumption, where the streets are closed and people sit there like sardines. Little Italy is full of galleries. An old elementary school there has been turned into a building full of shops and galleries, and the surrounding shops are also artistic. It's an artist's paradise. There are art walks and performances often. Stop by Presti's Bakery for the most amazing pastries ever. If you are there at dawn, Presti's has a small donut shop a few doors from their bakery, but it closes early. If you are lucky enough to catch it while it is open, the donuts are warm and fresh. It has been a tradition for the area's residents for many, many years.
Outskirts of Cleveland, this is my hometown. With seven waterfalls throughout its territory, this charming New England-flavored town has a homey atmosphere that has attracted film producers and is the site of several past films. Go to Chagrin Falls on Memorial Day when there is a parade and festival in the park in the center (Flowering time). This is American at best. Stop at a popcorn shop across the street from downtown where you can get ice cream, popcorn and other snacks. This is a very old, historic building full of history, built right at the top of a waterfall. There is a public staircase to go under it and see the falls below. If you go to Chagrin in the summer, this is a must. There is also an old gazebo in the heart of the city that was once where old-time bands would play music. This is a quaint old town you don't want to miss.
The West Side Market
If you like to buy fruits, meat and other food directly from the suppliers themselves, the West Side Market is the place to go and fight them. There are long established family traders who sell fresh chickens, old-world pastries, meats, chocolates and any kind of fruit and vegetables that can be marketed. There are Polish, Italian, Irish, Slavic, Mexican, German and other foods. This is a melting pot full of fresh food with loyal followers coming from all over to shop.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Science Center next door
If you love rock and roll, visit this museum or be square! This is a lively, modern building built on Lake Erie with exhibits, exhibitions and souvenirs. Next to it is the science center with its own IMAX theater. These are great places for family, so be sure to take your kids and stroll around. Often when I've been there, boat shows can be seen outside, so check in the water when you're there. The lake is a center of activity in itself.
If you have the opportunity to visit Cleveland, be sure to bring your camera. This is a diverse place with a lot to explore. Go to art exhibitions, plays, museums and visit many of the best restaurants. This city is growing and improving every day. Go see a game or two, take the train. There is a huge parade on St. Patrick's Day that is worth attending, whether you are Irish or not. If you're really adventurous, get off to Cedar Point or Amish country (about an hour from downtown Cleveland). If you need cards while you are there, stop by the Chamber of Commerce or your local auto club branch. Whatever you do, go to Tower City, downtown Cleveland, it's worth a visit. When you go, you'll see what all the fuss is about, this big city has it all. Cleveland really rocks.