9 Better Reasons Why You Should Fly to Cleveland Right Now
And if you think I'm kidding, suck it!
David Landsel (contributing editor of airfarewatchdog.com) recently wrote an awesome article for the Huffington Post entitled 9 Reasons You Should Fly to Cleveland Right Now. However, being a young 30-something dating a 20-something & living in one of Cleveland's best neighborhoods, I thought I could offer a much better "guide to Cleveland" as one of its insiders. Without further ado, here is my list of 9 better reasons you should fly to Cleveland right now:
1. Cleveland Hostel
Airfare to Cleveland has to be fairly cheap in comparison to other, more sought-after destinations. Your resting place can be just as cheap. A bed at Cleveland Hostel starts at $25/night. It's located in the heart of Cleveland's best neighborhood for nightlife & restaurants, Ohio City. One-third of the Hostel's guests are from overseas, so you'll get a little extra cultural appeal. And you'll have access to their rooftop, which boasts one of the best views of Cleveland in Cleveland.
2. Beaches... in Cleveland!?
You don't have to go in Lake Erie to have a good time on a beach in Cleveland. Every Thursday this summer there's an outdoor "happy hour" at Edgewater Park. You can listen to live music, drink great local beers & have your choice of eats from some delicious food trucks all while on a beach in Cleveland, Ohio.
3. Farms? Farms! The Heartland is here.
The concept of farm-to-table is huge all over the country. There's no where that resonates more than Cleveland, Ohio – which can boast of extra freshness because of our connection with farmers. Groups such as The Agrarian Collective strive to bring you even closer to the "roots" in your own kitchen. With that kind of approach here anyone can be a celebrity chef in Cleveland. Find a workshop they're doing + educate yourself, son! More on this ...now.
4. You're a Celebrity Chef...
In his article Landsel pointed out we have our share of celebrity chef's around town. Interestingly enough I've never actually eaten at a Michael Symon restaurant not named B-Spot. However, he did hit the nail square on the head with Greenhouse Tavern. Plain & simple, Chef Jonathan Sawyer nailed it & his concept goes far beyond a restaurant.
Sawyer's not the only one in town with a full-circle concept. Chef Ben Bebenroth of Spice Kitchen + Bar literally has a backyard garden behind the restaurant. There's so many amazing chefs & restaurants around town that you'd need a whole article to showcase them. So here's that:
5. Arts + Museum Circuit
6. Market culture
7. Craft Beer + Whiskey
The craft brew scene in Cleveland is one of the best in the country. In the Ohio City neighborhood alone you could try the experimental brew house Nano Brew; Market Garden Brewery, which houses their own gems along with Nano Brew's best experiments; McNulty's Bier Markt; and then tour, eat & drink at Cleveland's most famous craft brewery, Great Lakes Brewing Company. And that's all on the same block!
And we're so serious about whiskey, we have our very own. It's called, get this: CLEVELAND WHISKEY. And it's legit. Too legit to quit. Damn, oversold it. Really though, it's that good. I'm drunk on it right now.
8. Neighborhood Hopping
Ohio City, Gordon Square, Hingetown, Tremont, Lakewood & University Circle
Mistake numero uno would be staying in downtown Cleveland for your whole trip. Downtown has some nice things to offer but the best parts of Cleveland lay in the neighborhoods that surround Downtown. Here's the skinny of each 'hood:
Ohio City – Great nightlife & restaurants. Definitely spend a full day here. Start your day with breakfast at Jack Flaps. Head over to the West Side Market for some shopping or lunch. Then grab dinner & drinks at any one of the craft-brew-heavy gastropubs & eatery's nearby.
Gordon Square – Catch a movie at Capitol Theatre. Grab a latte at Gypsy Beans & Bakery. Shop the boutique Yellowcake from Project Runway contestant Valerie Mayen. Enjoy the patios of Stone Mad, Toast, ABC Tavern or Reddstone (where you can also catch the best of the local Cleveland comedy scene). And finish it off with an old fashioned soda or scoop from Sweet Moses. If you do happen to hit up a ballgame while you're in town you must pre-game at Happy Dog – their dogs are amazing and won't make you go broke (like the stadium).
Hingetown – Get your A.M. fix in this sub-section of Ohio City that holds Rising Star Coffee (must have the Cardamom Bomb), Beet Jar Juice Bar (get the morning juice shot with cayenne), Cleveland Tea Revival (trust me: try the toast & jams).
Tremont – If you want to grab some coffee while you shop for records, Tremont's The Loop is the place for you. Most famous for the Christmas Story house but quite honestly that's the lamest part of Tremont. If you're lucky enough to be around for Taste of Tremont, Tremont Greekfest or the Tremont Neighborhood Yard Sale, definitely go. Try Grumpy's Cafe for breakfast, Barrio Tacos for a cheap lunch, and Tremont Tap House or Bac Bistro for dinner.
Lakewood – You'll want to head this way for dinner at least once. El Carnicero, Humble Wine Bar, or [the famous] Melt Bar & Grilled just to name a few. And if you're into retro gaming & beer, 16-bit bar is set to open soon.
University Circle / Cle Heights – There's plenty here aside from the Museum + Arts circuit. Walk around the shops or catch a show in Coventry Village. Nearby Little Italy is a great choice for dinner + drinks. Head over to Vero Bistro for neapolitan-style pizza & gelato. The BottleHouse is another great spot to grab a drink. Or see the final resting place of President Garfield, John D. Rockefeller & others at Lake View Cemetery.
9. Easy transport with Lyft + Uber
Both of these popular taxi-alternatives will take you as far as you could possibly want to go around Northeast Ohio. Getting a Lyft from a friend with a pink mustache or an Uber ride in a black town car are cheaper, more reliable, friendlier & more responsive than the taxi-hailing ways of our recent ancestors.
Or you can bike it
Cleveland is flat. Cleveland is small. And Cleveland is very bike-friendly. There's more than a few places around town to rent a cycle & bike the bridges. You can easily hit 3, 5 or all of these neighborhoods in one day with some pedals under your feet. Stop to get a tune up along the way at Harness Cycle in Hingetown or Beat Cycles in Lakewood, just to name a few.
Bonus: Impress your friends with Cleveland Stuff
I didn't give Downtown CLE much love. Well a few steps from Greenhouse Tavern (across the from Corner Alley) you can shop one of Cleveland's hottest apparel shops CLE Clothing Co, it's the perfect place to get a souvenir of your trip.
And when you do venture out to Lakewood (you should & you will). What better way to show all your friends you had an awesome time in Cleveland than by buying them a Johnny Manziel shirt from the nationally-renowned GV Art + Design. These guys are not only famous for their etch-a-sketch work & t-shirts but they also turned something ugly into something beautiful.