How to Spend 48 Hours in the CLE
By Erin Toohey Naso
In town for a couple days and need some ideas? Here's a step-by-step itinerary to show you highlights of the CLE for a two-day stay. If you're looking for something a little more customized, stop by the Cleveland Visitors Center at 334 Euclid Avenue, where they always have the best recommendations to fit your style!
RISE + SHINE: SADDLE UP
Carpe diem with a classy breakfast at Urban Farmer located in the equally elegant Westin Cleveland Downtown. An elaborated brunch menu (all local, and organic-sourced) is popular on the weekends and takes a tour of all things biscuits, hash, benedicts, and carbs with a hip Bloody Mary bar to hydrate.
AM: ON THE WATERFRONT
Museums act like magnates on the shores of Lake Erie. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum attracts audiophiles of all ages, while the Great Lakes Science Center is a magnet for the nerd in us all. Extra Time: Rent a paddle boat at Rock & Dock Marina behind the Rock Hall.
LUNCH: BEER ME
Ohio City is basically Cleveland's brewery district for craft beer and pub grub. Great Lakes Brewing Co. is the originator, from its famed Edmund Fitzgerald Porter to beer school on Wednesdays. Totter across the street to Market Garden Brewery for any of their 14 beers on tap and farm-to-table comfort food. Extra Time: Visit the West Side Market right next door.
PM: THE LIFE AQUATIC
There's an ocean of fish in an old power station in The Flats at the Greater Cleveland Aquarium. Its underwater adventures include a 175-foot-long underwater Shark SeaTube and an 11,000-gallon Touch Pool (where you can gently poke horn sharks and stingrays). Optional: A 2.5-hour Lolly the Trolley tour departs at 2pm from the Powerhouse.
DINNER: GO ON, GET HAPPY
East 4th Street is one alley you don't want to avoid. Some of Cleveland's most celebrated restaurants and entertainment hubs pepper this pedestrian-only street - Lola, The Greenhouse Tavern, and Pickwick and Frolic. Duck into The Butcher and The Brewer to imbibe hand-built beer, cocktails, oysters, cured meats, and cultured cheeses.
EVENING: A SLAM DUNK
Close with a slam dunk experience: a Cleveland Cavaliers game at LeBron's center court, Quicken Loans Arena, at the intersection Huron and Ontario. Optional: See a Broadway play or concert in Cleveland's theater district, Playhouse Square, or grab a post-show beer at Hofbräuhaus Cleveland.
Medina, Strongsville, Ohio City, and Detroit Shoreway
Rise + Shine: Breakfast of Champions
This breakfast and lunch (we gotta say it) hot spot is beautifully located downtown by I-90, so you can easily jet south. Hot Spot Café has free off-street parking and Wi-Fi and slings everything from eggs your way to corned beef hash to local-sourced bacon.
A.M.: Holiday Charm
Head south to quaint Medina where America's largest indoor Christmas entertainment attraction, Holly'wood Christmas Movieland, awaits. This museum of holiday film memorable is home to Will Ferrell's on-screen Elf costume and the sleigh from Jim Carrey's How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Bonus: Visit one of America's best decorative candle shops at nearby Root Candles.
Lunch: Burger Bash
Explore the line between decadent and delicious at Michael Symon's B Spot location in Strongsville, dishing gourmet burgers, brats, craft beer, and big ole milkshakes. Pro Tip: Try the award-winning Fat Doug burger with coleslaw, pastrami, stadium mustard and swiss cheese.
PM: Make Art
Put your glass in gear and learn how to create crazy, creative, hand-blown industrial art at the Glass Bubble Project in Ohio City. The shop has group, birthday, and even children's glass blowing classes.
Dinner: Spice It Up
From Spice Kitchen + Bar's polenta chickpea fries to its 42-day dry aged strip steak (when in season), this gourmet, farm-to-fork restaurant in Detroit Shoreway infuses its recipes with just-picked ingredients from an on-site hoop house and its farm in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
Evening: Indie Theatre
Experience theater in its edgiest forms - unconventional, educational, locally produced, and nationally recognized - at Cleveland Public Theatre. Then go discuss it proudly, like intellectuals, at nearby Detroit Shoreway watering holes like The Happy Dog, Stone Mad Pub, and XYZ the Tavern.