48 Hours of Soul Music
A Soulful 48-Hr Itinerary
By Lexi Hotchkiss
Your musical tastes run the gamet of genres from jazz and blues to neo-soul and R&B. You don’t mind some throwbacks to the greats like Ella Fitzgerald and Miles Davis, but you’re also listening to current faves like India.Arie and Dianne Reeves. If that sounds a lot like you, then this is one great way to spend 48 hours in Cleveland.
Day 1: The Soul Music Lover
BREAKFAST: Take a bite out of a vast selection of dishes named after the customers who helped Tommy's Restaurant thrive for more than 30 years at this hip, laid-back joint.
MORNING: Make your way to the Cleveland Botanical Garden for an afternoon of serenity. Of course you can't miss the acres of outdoor gardens, but don't forget to check out the indoor glasshouses, as well.
LUNCH: Head up the street to La Dolce Vita in Little Italy where weekend lunches will have you face-to-fork with some Italian delights like hearty pasta dishes and handmade pizzas. Visit on Monday nights and be prepared for live opera performances in the restaurant.
AFTERNOON: Is it a little odd that we’d send you to a cemetery? Perhaps. But, once you step into the 285-acre Lake View Cemetery you’ll see why. This outdoor sculpture museum is filled with gardens, incredible architecture and historic structures honoring the likes of President James A. Garfield, John D. Rockefeller, Elliot Ness and more.
DINNER: Have dinner at a Cleveland music tradition where many of jazz's greats once played. Wilbert's is a restaurant and entertainment venue that showcases some of the best national, regional and local roots, blues, folk, world, jam, reggae and jazz music.
A SHOW: Owned and operated by the prestigious Cleveland Music Settlement, which boasts more than a century of musical expertise, BOP STOP has reemerged as one of the best venues to catch live jazz music several days of the week.
LATE NIGHT: Make a grande finale with a stop at the Velvet Tango Room, an under-the-radar, upscale cocktail lounge in between Tremont and Ohio City that's got decades of experience under its belt. Add in the live piano music and you'll have yourself a perfect nightcap.
Day 2: The Soul Music Lover
BRUNCH: On one Sunday every month, Cleveland's House of Blues comes alive with praise for its Gospel Brunch. Besides the array of hearty brunch foods served in buffet-style throughout the venue, there's live gospel music—and tons of it.
AFTERNOON: No music-fueled journey to The Land would be complete without a stop at the ultimate homage to rock music—The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Be sure to swing by the "Respect - The Sound of Soul" exhibit on the bottom floor, which presents dozens of artifacts chronicling soul music’s most influential performers like Brown, Redding, Sam & Dave, Al Green, the Isley Brothers, the O’Jays, Curtis Mayfield and, of course, the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin.
HAPPY HOUR: East 4th Street gets a little jazzy with Wonder Bar, a happening spot for tons of craft beer, fine cocktails and, of course, food.
DINNER & A SHOW: Cleveland Heights' Nighttown was voted one of the top jazz clubs in the world by Down Beat magazine with live music nearly every night. Enjoy dinner and an intimate jazz show.
LATE NIGHT: Keep the smooth serenity flowing inside Take 5 Rhythm and Jazz on Superior Avenue Downtown. No doubt you'll find yourself sashaying with a classy crowd to the sultry sounds of live rhythm, jazz and blues.
Jazzed for More?
These aren't the only hotspots for soul, jazz, R&B and the like. Check out these music venues for even more sounds of CLE.