48 Hours in CLE: History

July 23, 2018

Two-Day Itinerary of Cleveland History


If a good story - the white-knuckle, breath-holding kind - was worth a gold coin, Cleveland could bank at Fort Knox. Colorful tales of Northeast Ohio wrap around its gleaming architecture, line vibrant neighborhoods, splash its shoreline and come to life in attractions and museums.

Here's how to spend 48 hours immersed in Cleveland's history.

Day 1

Breakfast: Enter the West Side Market, a food lover's paradise, with its maze of family-owned vendors selling everything from fresh meat and vegetables to baked goods and fragrant flowers. This place has been an institution for more than 100 years and was once where turn-of-the-century immigrants came to purchase their homeland staples.

Morning: There are few better ways to explore Cleveland's historic past and remarkable architecture than with a one-hour Lolly the Trolley tour.

Lunch: Want to see the bar (complete with bullet holes) where legendary crime fighter Eliot Ness dodged bullets from troublemakers? Check it out during a lunchtime stop at Cleveland's Great Lakes Brewing Company.

Early Afternoon: Head lakeside for the U.S.S. COD, a real submarine used during World War II. Located in North Coast Harbor on Lake Erie, the submarine is open for tours September-May and is packed with all sorts of historical information, cool gear and fascinating stories.

Late Afternoon: Walk the interior of the prominent Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument in Public Square featuring a 125-foot ornate column, carved of polished, black Quincy stone, topped with a grand statue, commemorating the Cleveland veterans of the Civil War.

Dinner: Go upscale at the recently opened Marble Room Steak & Raw Bar. Located downtown inside the historic Garfield Building (1845) at Euclid Avenue and East 6th Street, Marble Room was once home to the opulent lobby of National City Bank, which opened in 1915. Today, you can dine in the grandiose 10,000-square-foot dining room or at the original deposit slip tables in the bar.

Evening: Now's your chance to meet John D. Rockefeller in the flesh. (Yes, you read that correctly.) Schedule one of six tours with Take A Hike Tours and you'll be guided by the people (actors) who shaped Cleveland's past.

Day 2

Image by Cody York

Breakfast: Take a bite out of a vast selection of dishes named after the customers who helped Tommy's Restaurant thrive for more than 40 years at this hip, laid-back joint.

Early Morning: More than just a graveyard, the 285-acre Lake View Cemetery is an outdoor sculpture museum filled with gardens, incredible architecture and historic tributes honoring the likes of President James A. Garfield, John D. Rockefeller, Elliot Ness and more.

Late Morning: Pop over to University Circle, home of the Cleveland History Center. Immerse yourself in Cleveland's history through costume archives, photographs, memorabilia and an auto-aviation museum.

Lunch: Guarino's, a mainstay of Cleveland's Little Italy neighborhood, offers throwbacks to the old-school Italian dishes that have been served there since before Prohibition. It's also the first established restaurant in Cleveland.

Afternoon: Head to League Park, the original home base of the Cleveland Indians, as well as the MLB's oldest existing ball grounds. Not only was the 1920 World Series played there, but Babe Ruth smacked his 500th dinger there. Plus, it's ground zero for one of the city's lesser-known championships: The Cleveland Buckeyes won the 1945 Negro League World Series there. The restored ticket house is now the Baseball Heritage Museum.

Dinner: Not sure what restaurant to select within the eclectic neighborhood of Tremont? Consider a food tour thanks to Taste Cleveland Food Tours, where you'll be able to sip and sample at a number of Tremont eateries all while learning about the area's distinctive history.

Need A Little Hand-Holding?

Everyone needs a little hand-holding sometimes. When it comes to exploring Cleveland, we've got you. Find your way around town and create your own experiences with Destination Cleveland's app.

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