Cleveland. There’s no place like it. If you take our advice and plan stops at some of these singularly Cleveland experiences while in town for your Group Tour, we think you’ll agree AND have a whole lot of fun in the process.
‘Tis always the season for visiting Ralphie and friends at this quirky movie-inspired museum. A leg lamp beckons not so subtly from the window, signaling to A Christmas Story fans that they’re in the right spot for viewing original props, costumes and memorabilia and enjoying an “A+++” experience.
Conquering Cleveland will require fuel, so power up with some home-style comfort food at Grumpy’s Cafe in Tremont. This neighborhood spoon has perfected the art of lunch, which it serves all week, with a crazy selection of hearty soups, sandwiches and entrees, everything from Meatloaf to Jambalaya.
Just call the Dunham Tavern Museum—which offers glimpses into the lives of early Ohio settlers and explorers—the last building standing. The 1824-built structure is the oldest in Cleveland to remain in its original place. Groups can get the full experience via a 45-minute, docent-guided tour.
Barrels of fun await at the free National Cleveland-Style Polka Hall of Fame, which celebrates Cleveland’s legacy in the polka world. Learn more about the evolution of polka music, and marvel at memorabilia including Frank Yankovic’s accordion and gems from Tony Petkovsek’s radio show.
Tales of immigration also abound at the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage, where that culture's American story comes to life with multimedia, tours and ceremonial art—not to mention an oversized ode to the Jewish Clevelanders who created Superman.
Set in Cleveland Heights’ hip Coventry neighborhood, Tommy’s is a neighborhood staple known for good grub and one mean milkshake. (“Rolling Stone” said so.) The menu aims to please both carnivores and vegans/vegetarians with a wide array of selections—from falafel to wraps to meat pie.
Tours of Cleveland offers walking tours of Downtown CLE that cover all the highlights, fun facts and must-knows within two hours. Wear comfy shoes as the tour makes its way on foot through Public Square, down to The Arcade and on to Playhouse Square.
As Cleveland’s oldest operating indoor/outdoor market space dating back to 1912, the West Side Market was doing the food hall thing long before it was cool. With 100+ food vendors, the market keeps the culinary hits coming—spanning the spectrum from Cambodian food to crepes.
Blind yourself with science at this interactive, engaging nucleus of all things STEM. Budding makers will enjoy the Cleveland Creates Zone, replete with DIY rocket launcher and Lego car racetrack. Nautical nuts can tour the William G. Mather Steamship (open May through October), while NASA Glenn Visitor Center provides an out-of-this-world experience.
Rated by Beer Advocate as one of its Top 50 new breweries in 2017, Masthead lives up to its rep with both great beer and food. Located in what was once a 1920s car dealership, the Downtown brewery slings wood-fired Neapolitan pizzas alongside an enticing list of American and Belgian beers.
Over at Karamu House, an ambitious renovation has rejuvenated the country’s oldest African-American theatre (est. 1915). At this culture hub in Cleveland’s Fairfax neighborhood, live theatre à la Tennessee Williams and Langston Hughes takes center stage alongside comedy and jazz.
Image © Destination Cleveland
Long before Progressive Field, League Park was Cleveland’s resident field of dreams. See the spot where the Cleveland Buckeyes clinched the 1945 Negro League World Series, then explore the adjacent museum packed with sports stories and treasures from the lost Latin, Caribbean, Barnstormer, Negro and Women’s leagues.
In AsiaTown, grab Dim Sum at Li Wah, dumplings at LJ Shanghai, or a bowl of the aptly named Superior Pho. Afterward, treat yourself to a delicious baked good from Koko Bakery or crispy, chewy goodness at Ball Ball Waffle. Then hit the various shops in and around Asia Plaza and Asia Town Center for imported dresses, jewelry, collectibles and even groceries.
Go around the world in a day at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo—where visitors can travel from the African Savannah to the Australian Outback and back again. The RainForest is a popular stop, delving into the jungles of Asia, Africa and the Americas with a 25-foot waterfall, 10,000+ plants and over 600 animals.
Welcome to a real-life Candyland! Feeding Cleveland’s collective sweet tooth since 1950, B.A. Sweetie offers the largest candy store in North America at 40,000 square feet. If that’s not enough of a sugar fix, visit Sweetie’s Soda Shoppe parlor, serving up 200 soda flavors and 36+ scoops of homemade ice cream.
The whole dinner-and-a-show thing has never been quite this hilarious. Part restaurant, part martini bar and part comedy venue, Pickwick & Frolic provides all-in-one fun inside the former Euclid Avenue Opera House. True to form, the restaurant provides an array of options including gluten-free, vegan and pure carnivore.