Winter Wonder(in the)LAND

December 9, 2015
Winter Wonder(in the)LAND

Your itinerary for festivity-filled weekend of local attractions

By Annie Zaleski

Clevelanders have many talents, but two things we do especially well are celebrate the holidays and stay warm despite looming winter chill. December is actually one of the busiest months in the city, thanks to all of the seasonal activities and events going on all over town. In fact, a December weekend in Cleveland is full of nothing but good cheer and festive bliss. Visiting for a few days? Here are our recommendations for how to make the most of a frosty pre-winter weekend.


Dinner - Kick off the weekend with an early dinner at one of Cleveland's funkiest casual hotspots, Prosperity Social Club. Housed in a circa-1938 barroom, the cozy restaurant boasts a robust beer list and hearty bar food which reflects a melting pot of influences: Everything from pierogis and stuffed cabbage to potato pancakes and veggie offerings are in the mix.

Evening - The Cleveland Botanical Garden's self-proclaimed "winter spectacular," Glow, highlights the season's whimsy. From gingerbread house decorating and live festive music to holiday shopping and dozens of gorgeous trimmed trees, Glow has a little something for everyone.


Breakfast - A long day out on the town calls for Tremont's popular breakfast joint, Grumpy's Café. Come for the decadent pancakes, French toast and omelets-and be sure to snag a cookie for fuel on the go.

Morning- Burn off some of those breakfast calories by taking a stroll through the Festival Of Trees. This light-laden display-which showcases the talents of local designers-brightens up the lobby at Playhouse Square's Allen Theater through Christmas Eve.
Lunch - Walk over to nearby Hofbräuhaus Cleveland, an authentic German beer hall and eatery that serves up traditional Bavarian dishes (from strudels to schnitzels) and an array of authentic, brewed-on-site beers.

Afternoon - Explore Cleveland's retro holiday memories at the Western Reserve Historical Society History Center's "Celebrations: Holiday Traditions in Cleveland" exhibit, which highlights the much-cherished downtown department store window scenes. Pro tip: Be sure to extend the vintage-style visit by taking a spin on the refurbished Euclid Beach Park Grand Carousel. 

- One of Cleveland's newest restaurants, Trentina, is both a sleek place to dine and yet another example of star chef Jonathon Sawyer's inventive cuisine: Its menu focuses on northern Italian dishes prepared with locally sourced ingredients and imported delicacies alike.

 - Visit the festively festooned Severance Hall for a Christmas concert by the The Cleveland Orchestra and Chorus. Expect beloved seasonal favorites and merry sing-alongs galore.


Brunch - The Tremont Taphouse's Sunday brunch serves up a satisfying mix of comfort food (biscuits and gravy, braised beef hash) and European favorites (croque madame, eggs benedict) to go along with an ever-rotating list of craft beers.

Afternoon - Wind down the weekend by moseying around the downtown mall Tower City. Marvel at the decorations and do some holiday shopping-and be sure to visit beloved Cleveland holiday staple Bruce the Spruce, a talking Christmas tree.

This list barely scratches the surface of what Cleveland has to offer during the holidays, so feel free to ask a local for their festive recommendations. Chances are, they'll have a favorite haunt or go-to tradition to add to this list.

Articles Search

Download the Destination Cleveland App

The Destination Cleveland app is your guide to art, culture and rock ‘n’ roll in a city that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Grit meets sophistication in a town with world-class experiences without the world-class ego. And for that, you’re welcome.

Destination Cleveland
334 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44114
800. 321. 1001
Check out what other travelers say
about Cleveland on TripAdvisor.