8 Memorable Moments of 2015
Looking back on eight things that made this year awesome in Cleveland
Let's come right out and say it - 2015 was a banner year for Cleveland, from infrastructure and entertainment to food and culture. Celebrate these successes and gear up for an even better 2016 by reliving the best moments of the year:
1. The Cavs lit up
While the Cavaliers didn't bring home a championship in LeBron James' first season back home, the entire city went "all in" during the team's impressive NBA Finals run. Despite losing key players to injuries, the team's tenacity - and a jaw-dropping surprise performance by Matthew Dellavedova - carried them all the way to a 2-4 finals loss to the Golden State Warriors.
2. We notice you noticing us
Though locals have been enamored with Cleveland for some time, it seems everyone else has fallen in love, too. The city racked up several accolades, including a No. 22 slot on Travel + Leisure's "50 Best Places to Travel 2015" (only four U.S. cities made the list); inclusion on Fodor's "2015 Go List," which features 25 can't-miss spots the company thinks should be on every traveler's radar; and a No. 37 ranking out of the country's 100 biggest cities for "staycations," according to financial website WalletHub. Another title we're proud of? Capturing the No. 4 place on Travel + Leisure's "America's 20 Best Cities for Beer Lovers" list. We'll drink to that!
3. A new place to play
An all-new entertainment mecca came to fruition as the Flats East Bank development project wrapped up its second phase this summer. Now open for business are a high-end residential building, several restaurants and entertainment venues, and an extensive riverfront boardwalk. From innovative new eateries and bars to a nightclub complete with an outdoor pool deck, the entertainment options are nearly endless in Cleveland's newest hot spot.
4. Cool to the core
2015 saw the launch of the first Rock the Core cider festival in September, which brought together more than 30 ciders and 20 beers, Cleveland's best food trucks, and live music and entertainment. We can only hope that Washington, D.C.-based Drink the District brings the fruity fun back to Voinovich Park next year.
5. Dining: Nailed it!
Cleveland's food scene continued to explode, with several new restaurants from locally-adored and nationally-famous chefs. Crop Bistro's Steve Schimoler opened three radically different spots in the Flats East Bank: Crop Rocks, a Haight-Ashbury-influenced eatery with a VW microbus parked out front; Crop Sticks, offering Asian food and a zen garden; and Vinyl Library, a hybrid broadcast studio, event space, and dining spot.
Jonathon Sawyer - who also had a great year, having won the James Beard Foundation Award for the Best Chef Great Lakes category in 2015 - brought us the new northern Italian-inspired Trentina in University Circle.
Zack Bruell cut the ribbon on his eighth local restaurant, Alley Cat Oyster Bar, in the Flats East Bank. Accessible by car and boat, the oyster bar offers outdoor patios and prime views of Cleveland's waterfront.
6. CLE rolled out the red carpet
Once again, Cleveland rocked. The return of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony - which happens in the city every three years - brought a star-studded, weeklong series of concerts and events, capped with a grandiose ceremony that featured legendary rockers from all generations.
7. A beautiful historic building? A grocery market? Both!
Local supermarket chain Heinen's redefined downtown grocery shopping with its impressive new location in the renovated Cleveland Trust Building. A $10 million investment transformed the 1908 bank building into a full-service, 27,000-square-foot supermarket that boasts several noteworthy features, including an award-winning wine and cheese department, as well as the Rotunda, which offers quick meals, grab-and-go options and gourmet foods prepared on the spot.
8. We can dig it
Ground broke March 9 for the renovation of Public Square, which will transform the previously disjointed space into a singular public park with pedestrian pathways, green spaces for concerts and events, areas to sit and lounge, a water feature, a café and restrooms. The project gives Clevelanders yet another thing to look forward to in 2016, with a target completion date of next summer.