The night before a big February snowstorm blanketed Ohio and Pennsylvania and other parts of the Northeast with about six inches of snow, Jim and I drove to Cleveland, Ohio to visit his cousin, Matt, and his fiancé and get a little taste of the city.
Despite having family in Ohio and taking the turnpike west multiple times a year throughout my entire life, Cleveland was one city I hadn’t been to. I was surprised that it’s only a 2-hour drive away, so we were able to spend all of Saturday and a good part of Sunday visiting the touristy areas, museums and restaurants.
Of course, Jim had a comic convention to attend Saturday morning, so Matt and Nicole took me to the Cleveland Arcade while we waited for him. We got coffee from a cute little shop called Erie Island Coffee, where the drinks were delicious and local art for sale decorated the walls. We walked around the artsy shops and stores in the Arcade and got to speak with one artist who is known for creating life-sized busts of well-known and not-so-well-known people out of dryer lint. She also hosts girls night out art nights at the shop on Thursdays where the groups can make crafts like jewelry, decorated wine glasses, and trinkets. If I lived in Cleveland I would totally do this.
We stopped at a cupcake shop, I believe it was called Colossal Cupcakes, which would make complete sense because they were the biggest cupcakes I’ve ever seen. We got a few to take home and eat later. Next we stopped in a popcorn shop called Kernels by Chrissie. I’m not always a huge popcorn fan, because I hate when it gets stuck in my teeth, but this was fantastic popcorn. It might actually be the most amazing popcorn I’ve ever had. I bought a bag and wouldn’t let Jim have any. It was too delicious for him. I even checked their website to make sure that I can order some more online when I get popcorn withdrawal.
When Jim was finally done with his Comic Con, we had lunch at a Mexican place called Barrio, where you build your own tacos. Since it was vacation, sort of, I paired my chicken and pork tacos with a sangria. It was 11:30 am but it seemed only fair.
Our next stop was the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, a must-see if you’re visiting Cleveland, obviously. On a side note, I took a class in college called History of Rock (it satisfied some kind of requirement, oddly enough), where I learned about different styles of music, the history of rock and roll and stand-out musicians from all different eras. So while I can’t say that rock and roll is my go-to music, I loved seeing the names of these musicians and bands that I had learned about in school. It was amazing to see their clothes and memorabilia and lyrics written in notebooks. I also loved that Taylor Swift is in both the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
We went back to the apartment to take a nap for the afternoon. I don’t nap, so I caught up on some TV shows. Then that night, we had dinner reservations at Bar Cento in Ohio City, Cleveland. The pizza there was amazing. It turned out to be a really good thing that we made the reservations because it was extremely crowded that night – there was an art and music festival going on that night called Brite Winter.
After dinner we walked through the festival to check out the Great Lakes Brewery. It was crowded there too, big surprise. But we managed to make our way downstairs to taste some beer and we actually snagged a table. We didn’t stay long, and once we were back outside we decided we didn’t want to stay at the arts fest either, since it was cold, icy and crowded. So we headed home in an Uber and called it a night.
On Sunday, we had brunch at a tiny place called Lucky’s Cafe, which was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives in 2009. I got the Lucky’s Latte, which was fantastic, even though it was soy and I’ve never had a soy coffee before. The omelet was also amazing, but too big for me to finish in one sitting.
Next we headed over to the Cleveland Museum of Art, which I was thrilled to find is completely free to the public, with the exception of their Special Exhibit. However, the Special Exhibit happened to be free the day we went. The museum was enormous – so big that we didn’t even get through all of it, and we decided we’ll definitely have to go back next time we’re in Cleveland. I was impressed with the scope of art that they had. They had pieces of art that were dated B.C. and all the way up to more recent artists. It was amazing to see such a wide range, but my favorites were the very realistic paintings of American landscapes, mountains, lakes, and people. Jim loved the medieval armor, obviously.
The next time we visit Cleveland, we’ve decided we need to go during the summer. I’d love to be able to walk around the city more, sit outside at cafes and restaurants, and enjoy the scenery. The city is working on a big re-design of Public Square, which looks like it would be a very cool place to hang out when it’s warm. So Cleveland, we’ll be back!