Offbeat CLE

July 24, 2018

48-Hour Itinerary of the Not-So-Normal


Quirky. Offbeat. Unusual. Unique. One-of-a-kind. Whatever you want to call it, Cleveland swanks a collection of cool, uncommon attractions that'll elevate your weekend getaway into one that'll spawn return trips and boatloads of memories.

Day 1

Image by Cody York

Breakfast: Beer + Donuts = Perfect. Get yourself to Brewnuts in Gordon Square where they make that oh-so-perfect pairing possible by making decadent donuts from a variety of tasty beers.

Morning: You can view art. You can buy art. But if you want to actually make the art, then the Glass Bubble Project is where you want to be. Inside the galleries and studios of this Ohio City facility, visitors can create unique works of art by hand blowing glass and recycled materials.

Lunch: For board game addicts, the place to be is Tabletop Board Game Café in Ohio City. Both the classics (Monopoly, Sorry, Scrabble) and not-so-classics (Potion Explosion, Onitama) are covered for 1,000 games in all. A simple menu makes for great noshing fodder, along with beer, wine, and Tabletop's signature "hard root beer float."

Afternoon: Scrunch yourself up and hide under Mrs. Parker's Icetrain sink or explore the backyard at A Christmas Story House in Tremont. It's the actual location where exterior shots of this holiday classic were filmed. Check out the museum and gift shop across the street.

Dinner: Authentic pierogi, hulushki and other Polish delights come in massive portions of deliciousness in the vintage cafeteria-style restaurant that is Sokolowski's University Inn in Tremont.

Evening: Everyone can feel like a kid again with a stop at Superelectric Pinball Parlor. Located in the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood, this groovy arcade has more than 20 games ranging from the 1950s to today. It's also a great place to grub.

Late Night: Make it a tropical nightcap at Porco Lounge & Tiki Room in Ohio City. Why drink from a regular bar glass when you can sip from a pineapple, upside down ceramic skull, pirate face or tiki mug? Drinks vary widely from specialties such as the Fog Cutter (complete with dry ice for effect) to traditional Mai Tais.

Day 2

Breakfast: If the thought of a waffle smothered in chocolate Nutella with a side of Vietnamese-style sausage sounds up your alley, make your way to Jack Flaps Luncheonette in Downtown Cleveland's 5th Street Arcades.

Early morning: At the Cleveland Police Museum, be captivated and intrigued by confiscated firearms and old uniforms, as well as freaky death masks from the Torso murders.

Then, take a drive east toward Euclid where you'll uncover the ultimate offbeat attraction - the Cleveland-Style Polka Hall of Fame. Hate it or love it, polka music has a fascinating history that's rooted in Cleveland.

Lunch: You thought you knew a grilled cheese sandwich, but with one look at the menu at Melt Bar & Grilled, and you'll have to re-think that idea. Can't decide? Go for the Parmageddon, a grilled cheese sandwich stuffed with beautiful potato pierogi.

Early Afternoon: Seems weird we'd recommend a cemetery? Once you go, you'll understand. At Lake View Cemetery, set a dime on Rockefeller's headstone for financial prosperity, take in the beauty of Wade Chapel and walk down into the tomb of President James A. Garfield to find ... well ... him.

Late Afternoon: After laying eyes on a real amputating set complete with handheld saw at the Dittrick Museum of Medical History, you'll never look at modern healthcare the same way. Leave your squeamishness at home.

Dinner: A hot dog piled high with fifty gourmet toppings of your choice (like Froot Loops), a delicious craft beer and live performances ­- that's Happy Dog.

Evening: Want to see a series of short films premiering at Sundance? Looking for a never-been-seen before art film? Go to the Cinematheque at the Cleveland Institute of Art in University Circle, an alternative film theater that shows art, independent and foreign films.

Extra Time

Take a trip to other corners of the Cleveland region to experience more unique attractions like:

Castle Noel: Everyday is Christmas at the country's largest year-round Christmas attraction, Castle Noel. Just 45 minutes south of Cleveland in Medina, Castle Noel offers the world's largest collection of Hollywood Christmas movie props and costumes from everyone's favorite classics like "A Christmas Carol" and "Elf."

Troll Hole Museum: Located an hour outside of Cleveland in Alliance, Ohio, the Troll Hole Museum tells the history of trolls from ancient mythology to modern toy.  Inside you'll find waterfalls, grottoes and floor-to-ceiling troll dolls, as well as a gift shop that carries vintage troll dolls. Before heading home, stop by Grumpy Troll Coffee for sweet treats and a cup of java.

Merry-Go-Round Museum: Interact with real merry-go-round carvers, ride a restored Allan Herschell Carousel, see gorgeously restored carousels and learn the history behind this beloved amusement park ride at the Merry-Go-Round Museum in Sandusky.

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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