When the city of Cleveland hosted the NFL Draft this year, you heard a lot of fans from outside the area saying, “I didn’t know Cleveland had this.” The Browns being good for the first time in over two decades has brought a lot of notoriety, but during the years when the team was bad, the city was being revitalized greatly with places to eat in Ohio City, Gordon Square, the Flats, East Bank, and E. 4th Street. Edgewater Beach provides beautiful views of Downtown Cleveland from a distance no matter what season it is. New bicycle routes or hiking have connected the city like never before with recently finished projects - the city has all of the amenities of a great city, while still being affordable to live in as well.
What to Eat
The West Side Market
Built in 1912 at the corner of West 25th and Lorain Avenue, the West Side Market has been the go-to market in Cleveland for nearly a century. It is home to over 100 vendors that offer a variety of meats, seafood, dairy, vegetables, baked goods, spices, nuts, and more. There are ready-to-eat foods as well, but even if you don’t purchase anything, it is an adventure in itself walking by each shop, admiring all of the food and pastries on display, as well as the architecture of the building. The West Side Market also serves as the anchor for Ohio City and all of the development of shops and eateries that have popped up in the area.
Located on Madison Avenue in Lakewood, Ohio (a suburb just outside of Cleveland), Angelo’s Pizza has established itself as one of the top pizza places in Northeast Ohio. Featuring indoor and outdoor dining, Angelo’s Pizza has a menu that includes pasta, wings, sandwiches, and a variety of their award-winning pizzas. Televisions inside also show the latest games happening in Cleveland sports. One little trick is to always visit their coupons page, where you can get deals like 15% off any order over $50 or $2 off any large pizza. One of their classic dine in specials is half priced pizza on Monday (limit one pizza per person).
Biggest tourist attraction
Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
The biggest tourist attraction by far in Cleveland is the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, which is located on the lakefront and right next to the home of the Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. Designed by I.M. Pei, the building features a dual-triangular glass tent that extends towards the plaza and serves as the large welcoming atrium, connected to a seven-level 162-foot tower that contains all of the museum’s permanent and temporary exhibits.
Start off on the lower level, which includes the roots of rock and roll and artists who were pioneers in gospel, blues, R&B, folk, and country music. The museum also details the cities, record companies, dee-jays, and movements across the world that influenced rock and roll. See artifact-filled dedications to individual artists like the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Elvis Presley, and others related professions such as Alan Freed, the disc jockey who left a legacy in Cleveland itself with events such as the Moondog Coronation Ball. You are guaranteed to spend hours touring the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, in awe of the wide range of exhibits and then seeing which artists have been inducted into the actual Hall of Fame over the years. Afterward, you can walk on down to George Voinovich Park to wind the day down with a picture in front of the Cleveland script sign and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in the background. It is a sight you won’t want to miss.
Under the radar attraction
Tour the A Christmas Story house
Do you love Christmas? Do you love Christmas movies? What about A Christmas Story? If so, then one of the must-see attractions in Cleveland is the house that was used in the movie. Located in the Tremont neighborhood just outside of downtown Cleveland, the exterior will immediately look familiar to anyone who drives by, and on top of that, the entire inside of the house has been turned into a museum that honors the movie. It is open year-round for tours, and individuals can also rent it out for overnight stays. Be prepared to buy a gift too, because it is impossible to make the trek and not come away with your very own leg lamp, whether it be a miniature-sized version or the full-on thing.
Game day experience
If pandemic restrictions are not implemented, then the Muni Lot is by far the most popular and intense tailgating experience. Generations of Browns fans have tailgated there, and sometimes you’ll need to get there the night before just to secure your spot. The Pit near W. 9th Street is a more relaxed atmosphere with food trucks and grills to get ready for the game. For fans who don’t want to deal with the hassle of parking in Downtown Cleveland, they can go to any of the RTA parking lots (the city’s transit system) and take the train into Tower City Station. From there, it is only about a 15-minute walk to FirstEnergy Stadium - although if you’re willing to brave the crowds of a fuller train, you can also connect to the Waterfront Line, which takes you across the street from the stadium. The Browns will also have some gameday experience events set up outside the stadium.