Tag Archives: Cleveland

Cleveland, Ohio – To Do List

MUST LISTEN

Cleveland is a much stronger music town. Consider:

Pere Ubu

Rocket From The Tombs

Dead Boys

The Mice

Bill Fox

And if you include Akron (which is 45 minutes south of Cleveland) you can add The Black Keys, Devo and Chrissie Hynde. Good stuff.

MUST EAT

Cleveland is a great place for food. It’s hard to pass up a bowl of pho noodle soup at either #1 Pho or Pho Hoa, a steamed barbecue bun from KoKo Bakery, the hash browns at the West Side Market Cafe, a pastrami sandwich from Superior Deli, a cup of soup and a hunk of fresh bread from The Souper Market, the chunky handmade chocolate bars from Lilly’s, the insanely good Lolita happy-hour burger or a chili cheese dog at 2 AM from Steve’s Lunch, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg…

It’s also mandatory to knock back a cold one at a neighborhood bar. My favorite one on the east side is Mitzi’s (a.k.a. Jermans). If I am on the west side, I hit Now That’s Class.

MUST PACK

Cleveland has all four seasons – a hot summer, a chilly winter, and a brief (but lovely) fall and spring. What you will need to pack will depend on when you visit, but I would make sure to bring tough boots (in case you want to climb around crumbling warehouses photographing the ugly beautiful urban decay – one of my favorite past-times) and a jacket that can withstand any weather. Layers are a good idea – a sweater for over air-conditioned places in summer or sudden winter freezes and a long scarf that can double as a shawl. Most of the more interesting places to eat, drink and visit in the Cleve are pretty casual, so you can get pretty far with a good pair of jeans and a cute pair of flats, but I always like to have something a little dressy on hand for shopping expeditions or just in case I feel like making my dinner an occasion.

I would also plan on renting a car – the public transit is adequate but not time-efficient, and taxis are hard to come by. Cleveland is not densely developed anymore – little pockets of cool things are scattered like an archipelago across the city, and even if you are a champion urban walker, you will be hard-pressed to get from place to place. It’s not a terribly difficult city to navigate by car, but you will want to get a good map. If you happen to visit in nicer weather, a bike is a good option – the Ohio City Bike Co-op rents some of their fleet.

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Cleveland, Ohio

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The Velvet Tango Room

This is the place to go if you want a proper cocktail. The Tango Room is one of a handful of bars in the country that makes honest, old-fashioned drinks – the juice is fresh-squeezed, the syrups, bitters and sodas are house-brewed, everything is shaken by hand, and even the ice is specially formulated. Don’t expect anything with sugar on the rim or -tini as a suffix. I like the Apple Brandy Sours in the fall, Manhattans in the winter, Sidecars in the spring, Moscow Mules in the summer, and the French 75 all year long.

Call ahead for reservations in the back room Friday and Saturday nights – you’ll get a password that lets you in through a trick door to the inner sanctuary. Trust me – it’s worth a visit.

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Prosperity Social Club
This is my neighborhood bar of choice. At the back of the bar, there are stacks of old board games you can play, or you can try your hand at the vintage duck-pin bowling machine. It’s like like the rec-room of my dreams, and it’s the only place in the city that I know of where you can sit with a beer and play Connect-Four all night long. The food is pretty good, too.

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Cleveland, Ohio

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Room Service
This store in the Gordon Square Arts District of the Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood has a little bit of everything – it’s like an extremely well-curated miniature general store with a  whimsical, modern aesthetic. In addition to a variety of unusual homegoods and stationary, I keep an eye out for photographs and prints by local artists and the beautiful pieces of vintage furniture that show up from time to time.

6505 Detroit Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44102
phone: 216.281.4221
fax: 216.281.4228
email: info@roomservicecleveland.com

Room Service
Room Service

Loganberry Books
It’s best to give yourself at least an hour when you visit Loganberry. Room after room is lined floor to ceiling with beautifully organized used books. Comfortable, squashy chairs and sofas beckon from the corners.

   You can browse through everything from gilt-backed first editions from the 1800s to small-press rarities to vintage magazines in plastic sleeves. The children’s section is especially wonderful – it’s an amazing resource for anyone interested in illustration or design.

The staff is extremely friendly and knowledgeable, and they can help you find just about anything. In addition to all the books, the store houses a bindery and a small gallery, and hosts readings and concerts on a regular basis.

13015 Larchmere Boulevard, Shaker Heights, Ohio 44120  
phone: 216.795.9800

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Murray Hill Schoolhouse
The Murray Hill Schoolhouse, located in Little Italy, has a small but wonderful collection of shops:
* Juma Gallery: This spot specializes in hand-crafted pieces by North American artisans.
* Sobella Paper Boutique: In addition to a generous selection of lovely cards, I like their sheets of specialty wrapping papers.
* Anne Van H.: This boutique is curated by local designer Anne Van Hauwaert, and in addition to her own creations features beautiful and unusual accessories, like printed featherweight cashmere scarves edged with pom-poms and shoes by Faryl Robin.
* Industrie: One of my favorites. It’s two wee spaces with an ever-changing mix of casual, luxurious things – everything from Frye boots to Conroy + Wilcox jewelry mixed in with Hudson Bay blankets and double-faced cashmere coats to woven rag rugs and custom floral arrangements and small waxed bags of Swedish Fish.

Murray Hill Schoolhouse
2026 Murray Hill Rd
Cleveland, OH 44106

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Cleveland, Ohio – Must Read

American Splendor – by Harvey Pekar.

This series is incredibly well known, and well worth reading (if you haven’t already). Harvey Pekar is the probably the most famous file clerk/jazz conniusseur/comic book writer in the world, and he is Cleveland’s curmudgeon laureate.

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d.a.levy & the mimeograph revolution – Ingrid Swanberg & Larry Smith.

d.a. levy was born and lived in Cleveland, and he is considered by some to be the grandfather of the zine. He self-published his own works and the works of others in mimeographed leaflets and pamphlets that were distributed throughout the city, and this book carefully compiles that ephemera.

Babbitt – Sinclair Lewis.

Many cities have claimed to be the basis of Lewis’s fictional city of Zenith, but he meant it to stand for any growing midwestern city. The passages detailing Zenith’s growth dovetail nicely with Cleveland’s history, and it’s a fascinating look back to the days when the rustbelt cities of the Midwest were growing things with no limit in sight and few worries about the future.

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Cleveland, Ohio

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Lolita
Michael Symon is a local hero. He runs two restaurants in the city – Lola and Lolita –  and while both are stellar, Lolita is my favorite. It has a cozy, neighborhood vibe and the kind of dark, dusky light that makes everyone look glamorous. I’m lucky enough to live right around the corner, so I like to duck in as often as I can for a glass of wine and a snack. Everything I have ever eaten there has been absolutely delicious, and they have the best happy hour in the city. If you are going for dinner, make reservations.
 
900 Literary Road, Cleveland, Ohio 44113
Tuesday – Thursday, 5 – 11; Friday + Saturday, 5 – 1; Sunday, 4 – 9

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Sokolowski’s University Inn
This is a 73 year old Cleveland institution run by the third generation of the Sokolowski family. Everyone from Bill Clinton to Martha Stewart has eaten there, and with good reason – it’s the closet you can get to having an old-school Clevelander make you a stick-to-your ribs lunch. Everything is served cafeteria style, so be prepared to grab a tray and dive in. While you eat your pierogies, you can marvel at the dizzying array of autographed photos covering the walls.

1201 University Rd. Cleveland, OH 44113
LUNCH: Monday-Friday, 11:00 – 3:00; DINNER: Friday, 5:00 – 9:00;  Saturday, 4:00 – 9:00

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FIRE

This is my favorite place in town for Sunday brunch – you can’t beat the $6 steel cut oatmeal “brulee” with poached apricots and candied almonds, although sometimes I succumb to the siren song of the cured salmon plate or the brioche french toast, and we usually have to get at least one order of the cinnamon sugar clay oven bread for the table.

Don’t even get me started on the Bloody Marys (served with house-made pickles). Afterwards, it’s a very short walk to the Shake Square Cinema to catch a Sunday matinee.

13220 shaker square, cleveland, ohio 44120
(216) 921-3473
monday closed, tuesday–thursday 5pm-10pm, friday–saturday 5pm-11pm, sunday 10am-2pm (brunch); 5pm-10pm

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Cleveland, Ohio

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University Circle
Located on the east side of the city, University Circle is Cleveland’s cultural hub. It’s anchored by our two civic buildings, the Cleveland Museum of Art and Severance Hall (home of the world-famous Cleveland Orchestra) – both are mandatory stops, but once those obligations are fulfilled, try some mid-day stargazing at the Nathan and Fannye Shafran Planetarium and then find a student recital at the Cleveland Institute of Music’s Mixon Hall. It’s a chance to hear some of the most talented music students in the world playing their hearts out for free in an incredibly lovely space.

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The West Side Market
Anyone who knows anything about Cleveland will tell you to go to the West Side Market, and with good reason; it is the heart of the city. Saturday mornings are the best time to go if you want to people-watch – a cross-section of the city turns out to shop and haggle with their favorite vendors. If you have sharp eyes and get there early, you can spot local chefs buying for their restaurants. As for me, I’d grab a snack (I’m partial to the soft pretzel in the shape of mice at Vera’s Bakery) and head to the upper deck, where you can watch the hustle and bustle below. Once you get good and hungry, head to the West Side Market Cafe – the Market Breakfast is only $2.50, and includes killer hash browns.

At the corner of W. 25th and Lorain
Monday & Wednesday: 7am – 4pm
Friday & Saturday: 7am – 6pm
http://www.westsidemarketcafe.com/

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Beachland Ballroom
I love catching a show here because it reminds me of the multipurpose gymnasium in my middle school. The ballroom is located in a re purposed workman’s hall, complete with wacky murals and a disco ball, and a steady stream of interesting punk, rock, indie, and Americana acts play there. Smaller bands play gigs in the attached tavern, and on Sundays, you can stop by for rock and roll brunch.

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Cleveland, Ohio

stay-truant-icons111Glendennis House
If you like your vacation spots homey and cozy, this is the place for you. Located in a National Historic Landmark home in Ohio City, a neighborhood on Cleveland’s near-west side, Glendennis House offers a private four-room suite for one group of guests at a time. They offer parking on site, and an organic breakfast brought to your room every morning. It’s within walking distance of the West Side Market, and a slew of great restaurants. Best of all, it’s on Bridge Avenue, one of the most charming residential streets in the city.
Glendennis Bed and Breakfast
2808 Bridge Avenue, Cleveland,Ohio 44113-3014
Phone: 216.589.0663
Email: glendennis@sbcglobal.net

Glendennis House

Glendennis House

Glidden House

When I was in college, I used to walk by Glidden House and dream of staying there. Located in a 1910 brick and stone mansion, it’s a reminder that Cleveland was once the home of Rockefellers and other captains of industry. The location is prime, within walking distance of University Circle and Little Italy, and across the street from Cleveland’s Frank Gehry building. I’d recommend booking one of the vintage suites located in the historic part of the building – the Francis Harrington Suite has a working fireplace, perfect for chilly winter nights.

1901 Ford Drive, Cleveland , Ohio  44106
Phone: 866-812-4537 | Fax: 216-231-2130
Email: info@gliddenhouse.com

Glidden House

Glidden House

Hyatt Regency Cleveland at The Arcade
If need to stay at a national chain, this is the one to pick. The Hyatt Regency Cleveland is located in The Grand Arcade, a five-story atrium that connects Superior and Euclid Avenues. When it was built as a connector for two office buildings in 1890, it was the largest atrium in the world and it was modeled after the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan. It’s still one of the more spectacular public spaces in the city.

Hyatt Regency Cleveland at The Arcade
420 Superior Avenue,
Cleveland, Ohio, USA 44114
Telephone: 216.575.1234

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