Clevelanders are pretty proud of our Great Lake (Yes, it’s ours. We’ve claimed it.) We may be called “The Land,” but we’re definitely a water city, and we celebrate it every chance we get. And there’s no shortage of maritime-themed attractions and restaurants to keep you busy while you’re in town for the annual Cleveland Tall Ships festival July 7-10, 2022.
So we just have one question for you… Arrrrre you ready to come to CLE for Tall Ships?
Head to the heart of the city for a healthy start to the day at REBoL. This urban cafe sits smack dab in the middle of Public Square, where you can stop by the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument for a dose of history and to honor the sons of Cuyahoga County who served in the Civil War.
Ready to get out on the water? Head to the North Coast Harbor Marina and rent a kayak, paddleboard or tandem pedal boat to get a view of the Cleveland skyline like no other. While you’re there, take some pictures by one of the iconic Cleveland Script Signs.
Paddle in to refuel at Nuevo Modern Mexican & Tequila Bar for lunch on the water. Right at the start of the 9th Street Pier, the restaurant gives you two levels of beautiful lakeside views and a menu that features fresh Mexican and Latin American dishes made from scratch.
Afternoon + Dinner
Avast! Are ye ready for the main event? Head over to the Cleveland Tall Ships Festival, where you can dance to live music, shop the marketplace, climb a rock wall, and take part in the Ask the Captain forums. Photo ops abound as you interact with pirates onboard the ships, and you’ll be remiss if you don’t throw in a pirate pun or two. Food and beverage stands are available throughout the festival, including some of Cleveland’s best craft beers and cuisine.
The festival starts with a dramatic Parade of Sail on Thursday, and there are plenty of special events throughout the weekend, including Happy Hour at the Dock each evening and fireworks on Saturday night. Scheduled Sail Aways start at 10 a.m. every morning and there are a limited number of 75-minute Day Sails and two-hour Twilight Sail tickets available, so make sure to book your boarding pass to be part of the fun, savvy?
If you’re still looking to wet your whistle and in the mood for a mari-time, head over to Nauti Mermaid for a sea-themed night of revelry. This fun bar/restaurant serves up spirits and grub in a Key West crab shack setting.
Point yourselves eastward and head to the nearby Playhouse Square district to break your fast at Yours Truly. There’s nothing particularly seaworthy about the spot, but it serves delicious food and you can’t visit CLE without gawking at the world’s largest outdoor chandelier.
Want to see something amazing? Like, a WWII submarine that conducted seven war patrols and sunk 12 enemy ships? Cleveland’s got one of those. Climb aboard the USS Cod memorial and museum, a National Historic Landmark and the only fully intact WWII fleet submarine for a different kind of boat experience.
Lindy’s Lake House is the perfect spot to sit on the waterfront, enjoy some fresh seafood (or burgers, or other great options, if that’s not your style), and take in the Cuyahoga River views. It’s laid back, it’s chill, it’s family-friendly, and it’s got that #BoatersLife vibe.
Spend your afternoon at the totally awesome Great Lakes Science Center, where you can explore hands-on exhibits, the Cleveland Clinic DOME Theater and the NASA Glenn Visitor Center. Of course, don’t miss your chance to hop on board the historic Steamship William G. Mather to see what it’s like to walk the deck of a Great Lakes freighter.
Collision Bend Brewing Company got its name for the stretch of the Cuyahoga River it sits on, where commercial ships had to navigate the narrow passage. Today, it’s known as a fantastic spot for sunset views and excellent food that the whole family can enjoy. The craft brewery and full-service restaurant also happens to have one of the best waterside patios in Cleveland.
Looking for one last boat ride? Climb aboard the Goodtime III for a sightseeing cruise with narrated tours and entertainment.
Where to Stay
Drop your anchor at one of the many fantastic hotels within walking distance or a short drive from the Tall Ships festival. Float off to sleep at Aloft Cleveland Downtown, right in the heart of the East Bank of the Flats, surrounded by plenty of restaurants and waterside nightlife. Or, catch the best view of Lake Erie at the gorgeous Hilton Cleveland Downtown. Other nearby options include DoubleTree by Hilton Cleveland Downtown, Lakeside; Cleveland Marriott Downtown at Key Tower, Drury Plaza Hotel, and the Westin Cleveland Downtown.