Just a short 3 hour drive from Downtown Buffalo, NY, Cleveland, Ohio is well known for being home to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and features places that believe beer and donuts are the actual power couple. With street art covering so many buildings and many unique places to eat, Cleveland definitely needs to be added to your bucket list and as part of our Step Out Road Trip Series (think Toronto, Ithaca, Niagara Falls)we have the perfect itinerary for first timers. Below you’ll find out where to eat and drink, shop, play, sight see, stay and more.
When you arrive late morning, early afternoon, your first stop should most definitely be Gordon Square Arts District. With plenty of parking throughout the street, this is one of Cleveland’s most unique, and oldest neighborhoods. The roads are lined with plenty of boutique shops and restaurants along W. 65th St. and Detroit Shoreway. One place you’ll definitely want to swing into is Brewnuts.
6501 Detroit Ave. Cleveland, OH 44102
I started the morning right with a frozen rose beer. Yeah, you read that right! It was almost like a wine slushy. But beer. But also pink and kind of like wine because of the rose? I don’t really know, but to be honest it was amazing. Their strawberry sprinkle donut and maple bacon donut were out of this world. They almost tasted like the consistency of fried dough with the most flavorful frosting and glazes. An absolute must when you’re visiting the city!
Superelectric Pinball Parlor
6500 Detroit Ave., Cleveland, OH 44102
For a unique experience, pop into Superelectric Pinball Parlor where the colorful venue has nearly 20 games, new and vintage, to play while you enjoy a drink from the bar.
Work off that donut and beer with a day of shopping and sifting through the boutique stores. You can pick up a new beautiful leather handbag from Fount Leather, a unique piece of jewelry from Oceanne, and even some new lighting or decorations for your home from the Land of Plenty.
1455 W 29th St., Cleveland, Ohio
You’re going to work up an appetite from all that shopping, so some fuel is essential! Larder has a really industrial atmosphere, after being opened in the historic Ohio city firehouse. Their sandwiches are incredible! They have pastries, homemade root beer, locally sourced products, and delicious breads to pack their tender, flavorful pastrami in. Trust me when I say you will absolutely want pastrami sandwich while you’re there with coarse whole grain mustard.
2:00 pm Explore the Ohio City neighborhood, street art and visit the West Side Market
After that, the afternoon can be yours! Explore the Ohio City neighborhood and hunt down intricate and colorful street art to take pictures with. And of course, there is the West side market.
This is also a great time to pop over to downtown to visit the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame to learn about the history of some of America’s classic rock ‘n’ roll stars or the Great Lakes Science Center right next door for a hands-on science experience (highly recommended if you have kiddos in tow!).
West Side Market
1979 West 25th St., Cleveland, Ohio 44113
The West Side Market, built in 1912, is actually known for being one of the biggest indoor and outdoor markets in the country. The market has nearly 100 booths with meats, sweets, popcorn, baked treats, produce, cheeses, and so much more. Rummaging through to try to find some hidden gems to take home with you is half the fun. Check out Campbell’s Popcorn Shop and Frank’s Bratwurst!
Brewery Tour at Market Garden Brewery Production Facility
1849 West 24th Street
The brewer, Andy Tveekrem, delivers delicious seasonal brews along with some classic staples. There’s some great fall beers on tap that are festive and flavorful. After getting a chance to take a tour of their facility, you’ll realize they really know what they’re doing. They not only have a passion for their beer, but they literally narrow it down to a science. They have a full lab and even a blind taste testing room to ensure that quality is consistent for their customers. They even had someone who was previously a doctor come to work for the facility, conducting experiments leading to them making the freshest, finest beer possible. Church pew ends decorate the cold cellar and there’s even a lab where they ferment they ferment their own yeast. There’s randomly placed chandeliers to indulge their bougie side because, why not? Needless to say there’s nothing average about this tour, including a tidbit of Cleveland history hidden behind the brewery art. In 1932, the city put up statues to protect transportation on the bridge and in the river. When there was talk of them being taken down, the city rallied together to keep them up because they are an icon in Cleveland. The brewery wanted to pay tribute to this icon by connecting them in a way and you can even purchase the pins in their gift shop that represent the statues.
Check-in at Kimpton Schofield Hotel
2000 East Ninth Street, Cleveland, OH 44115
After a fun filled day of shopping, popping in and out of restaurants, and exploring the museum you’re probably ready to take a load off for a little bit before dinner. Check into the Kimpton in the heart of downtown Cleveland. The hotel was built inside of the Schofield, which tied in the areas history and the architect Levi Schofield.
Dinner at Spice Kitchen and Bar
5800 Detroit Ave., Cleveland, Ohio 44102
Spice is a true farm to table project that sources 80% of their menu locally are using produce grown on Spice acres. Things are constantly changing at Spice because they use freshly picked ingredients as often as possible for their food and drinks. My drink was black and sparkly, shimmering in the light. We split a bunch of appetizers and my pork chop was absolutely delicious and juicy.
The center cut Burkeshire pork chop was paired with seasonal fruits and vegetables. They make savory beignets which are always changing to accommodate seasonal ingredients. Mine were tomato basil, I believe this week is mushroom honey and goat cheese. The cocktails were delicious. I tried the black magic woman with green chai rum, Montenegro, all spice, drambuie, brown sugar simple, and OJ. You truly can’t go wrong with anything you order. On my radar for next time is definitely the braised beef short rib! Oh, and the pickle board.
Grab a treat at Mason’s Creamery
4401 Bridge Ave., Cleveland OH 44113
At Mason’s, LA transplants turned Clevelanders, Jess Mason and Helen Qin, create small batch ice cream using unusual flavor inspiration like avocado, sweet potato, Mexican chocolate, and black sea salt to name a few. During the colder winter months, Mason’s actually turns into a Ramen place! Two totally different things, but hey, they make it work and people are really a fan!
After a good nights sleep, enjoy breakfast at the hotel or head across the street to Heinen’s Fine Foods Downtown Equal Exchange Espresso Bar.
Heinen’s Fine Foods Downtown Equal Exchange Espresso Bar
900 Euclid Ave., Cleveland, OH 44115
The store was built inside the century-old, iconic Cleveland Trust rotunda. The stain glass round ceiling gives the uniquely shaped building a lot of character. The espresso bar offers specialty coffee, tea, and big kids to enjoy, as well.
Visit the Christmas Story House
3159 W. 11th St., Cleveland, OH 44109
Tours run every hour starting at 10:15 am.
Learn about the scenes from the classic Christmas movie a Christmas Story which was partially filmed at this very house. You can take your picture with the leg lamp, hide in the cabinets, and explore the backyard all while learning fun facts about the movie from your energetic tour guide. Just don’t shoot your eye out!
Lunch on the East Bank of the Flats
Alley Cat Oyster Bar
1056 Old River Road, Cleveland, OH 44113
Zack Bruell’s Alley Cat Oyster Bar definitely didn’t disappoint. There’s plenty of seafood, chicken, soups, steaks, and more on the menu, but this is ultimately an amazing place to indulge in seafood. We split the lobster roll, fresh oysters, oyster shooters, calamari, and stuffed oyster. The lobster meat was tender and juicy while the oysters were extremely fresh with a strong salty, briny flavor like I love. The shooter was strong, but packed with flavors of Bloody Mary and citrus. The stuffed oysters were loaded with fontina, crispy bread crumbs, watercress, and Chicharrones ties in the delicious flavors. The calamari with pickles banana peppers, carrots, cilantro, malt vinegar aïoli had a lot of flavor and was the perfect dish to split.