Whatever you might have heard about Cleveland Ohio, forget it. Especially if you haven’t been there for years. The city by the lake has come a long way over the years. It has become gentrified and a city worth visiting.
First a small bit of general information. It is the state’s 2nd largest city after Columbus and the 51st largest city in the country. It got its name back in 1796 and is named after General Moses Cleaveland. It’s situated on the southern shore of Lake Erie.
The population is about 389,000 and it comprises an area of 82.47 square miles. It has a national reputation in the medical field with facilities like the Cleveland Clinic. I found it to be a very walkable city. I’m talking here about its downtown.
By the way, the Cleveland Clinic is the city’s largest employer with about 37,000 people. Key Tower is the tallest building in Ohio. The city is affected by ‘snow belt’ storms, so there can be as much as 100 inches during the winter. But it seems as if the folks handle it very well.
Here are some ideas for places to visit: Public Square, four blocks in the center of town; City Hall, a Neoclassic Beaux Arts building; the Soldiers and Sailors Monument; Tower City Center, home of the Jack Casino and an observation level on the 42nd floor and for sports Progressive Field (home of the Indians), First Energy Stadium (home of the Browns) and Quicken Arena, home of the Cavaliers.
No visit to Cleveland would be complete without a visit to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. I wrote about this previously. Simply stated, don’t miss it. It is actually worth a visit just for this. Next door is the Great Lakes Science Center. See an IMAX film when there.
It took me about six and a half hours to drive but that was with two stops. Most of the driving is on interstates. I found the city to be very clean and I especially liked the fountains scattered throughout downtown. On 4th Avenue you’ll find lots of restaurants with many ethnic choices.
The city has a terrific symphony orchestra, along with the excellent Cleveland Museum of Art, a theatre district on Playhouse Square, a beautiful lake front, a multi level library where you can enjoy a Superman exhibit, Cedar Point Shores Water Park (seasonal), an aquarium and the Metroparks zoo.
One evening I visited The Flats, an area with restaurants and clubs, and had dinner at Dante’s Inferno. It’s situated on the Cuyahoga River in a renovated building. Open daily with backyard bocce and other games. It’s your stop for Italian food.
I stayed at the Drury Plaza Hotel (1385 West 6th Avenue). This is family owned and operated and they do allow dogs. There are 189 rooms, 16 suites, a pool, spa, fitess and business center and a self service laundry.
But here’s why this is a great place to stay, you get complimentary breakfast and dinner. Yes you read it right, complimentary dinner nightly. It’s something they call Kickback. Room rates vary from about $149 to $209. (druryhotels.com/cleveland)
In short, I enjoyed my three days in Cleveland. I always had someplace to go and something interesting to see. I would certainly recommend it for a getaway location. Begin your trip by going to thisiscleveland.com. When in town stop by the Visitors Center at 334 Euclid Avenue.
Eddie Applefeld is a Baltimore native and a graduate of Towson University. He has been in the broadcasting profession for over 30 years. Currently he is the Promotions Director of WCBM radio. Before that, he was part of the Rouse & Company show on WQSR, host of a cable TV show called Dining Out and adjunct instructor at Towson.
His past accomplishments include being named a finalist in Baltimore Tourism’s Employee of the Year Program and winner of Toastmaster’s Speaker of the Year contest. He was also twice a heartthrob for the American Heart Association’s gala fund raiser.