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Cleveland gets a double dose of college basketball as both the Mid-American Conference tournament and opening rounds of the NCAA Big Dance come to town this March. That means days full of Cinderella stories, buzzer beaters and busted brackets. In other words, March Madness.
Fans from all over the country will be at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse cheering on their alma maters and dreaming of cutting down the nets. And, while here, they will discover there’s no shortage of things to do in Cleveland for college basketball fans. Ready to take March Madness to a whole new level? Let’s get started.
Image © Nathan Migal
Rise and shine at Yours Truly in Playhouse Square’s historic Halle Building. Try the Killit Skillet, loaded up with eggs, bacon, hash browns, sausage… you know, all the breakfast essentials. Yours Truly, with ten Northeast Ohio locations, is a CLE comfort food legend.
Take a pregame swing by GV Art + Design’s newest studio downtown. Sure, GV usually deals in Cleveland sports apparel, but they’re also stocked up with a variety of college tees for the biggest schools in Ohio. If you’re a MAC alum looking for a new lucky shirt, GV’s probably got you covered.
Lights, camera, MACtion. An entire day of college basketball tips off at the newly-glam Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. Grab a front-row seat as some of the top college players in the country strut their stuff on the biggest stage. For the early rounds of the MAC and the NCAA tourneys, games run all day with short breaks in between.
The FieldHouse’s Northwest Atrium is all about local celeb chef Rocco Whalen. For a quick bite, choose between the laidback deliciousness of Rocco’s or the more upscale Fahrenheit. You can’t go wrong either way, but our pick is the “Tremonster” cheesesteak from Rocco’s. Use a fork and knife — we won’t judge.
Before the next game, head up to Loudville for a few drinks at the new Budweiser Brew House. Don’t worry, the SRO bar has great sightlines for all the MAC basketball action down below. Or, if you need a b-ball break, mosey over to the Overlook Bar for a jaw-dropping look at the Cleveland skyline.
At the transformed FieldHouse, fans can get a totally different vibe and food experience with just a short spin around the concourse. In the West Neighborhood, for example, options include BBQ goodness at Elmore’s Smokehouse, tacos and burritos from Banditos, or wood-fired pies whipped up by Flour Pizza Co.
A small slice of March Madness history lives on right here in The Land. Back in 1986, the #14 seed Cleveland State Vikings captured the hearts of a nation with an improbable run to the Sweet Sixteen. Pay homage with a nightcap at Becky’s near the CSU campus. It’s basically Cleveland’s favorite college bar.
Image © Cody York
Teamwork happens off the basketball court, too. Round up a few friends and tackle the Eliot Ness Escape Room at Perplexity Games. Loosely based on real Cleveland history, this group adventure has you investigating clues to help Ness take down a corrupt city commissioner. Be safe, though, and reserve a spot ahead of time.
With the city saved and the mob’s dastardly plot foiled, fuel up at The Burnham Restaurant on Lakeside Avenue. It’s got all the usual breakfast suspects, but our pick is the Polish Boy Benedict. Eggs and Polish Boys, together at last.
Whether it’s the MAC basketball championship or NCAA teams punching their tickets to the Sweet Sixteen, gear up for another big day of hoops at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. There’s no better human drama than young student-athletes leaving it all out on the court in pursuit of their dreams.
Keep those competitive juices flowing at Jack Cleveland Casino. Before trying the slots, though, grab an overstuffed sandwich from Cleveland fave Corky & Lenny’s express window. And, if you can’t tear yourself away from basketball, belly up to the Legends Bar to catch the score on its 189” — yes, you read that right — projector.
Nostalgic for those all-nighters cramming for a college midterm? Okay, probably not. Well, here’s a way to hit the books that we can all agree on — ending the weekend with a craft beer or two at the cozy Bookhouse Brewing taproom in Ohio City.
Whether you’re Downtown for the mid-major excitement of the MAC Tournament or hype on March Madness, you’re gonna need a place to stay after all that hoops fun. Luckily, these hotels are ready for you, each within a half-mile of the Gateway District.
Located just steps from Playhouse Square and the campus of Cleveland State University in Downtown Cleveland, Becky's is aptly dubbed "Downtown's...
This new cozy brewery and pub opened in September in the historic former home of Baehr Brewing (built in 1866), located in the heart of Ohio City....
Your bridge to our community designed in the spirit of Daniel Burnham. In the heart of downtown Cleveland, we feature sustainable conscious cuisine...
Corky & Lenny’s has captured the hearts and stomachs of the greater Cleveland community 60 years. If you like juicy corned beef, crunchy dill pickles,...
Opened in 2002 and has since become THE ”Landmark Restaurant” in Tremont. But even its rising star chef Rocco Whalen could not anticipate the heat he...
JACK Cleveland Casino opened in May 2012 as Ohio’s first full-service casino and welcomes millions of guests each year. Located inside the historic...
Enter a themed, real-life room with a single mission and 60 minutes on a ticking clock. Explore your surroundings, search for hidden clues, use logic...
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A Cleveland tradition since 1981, an ideal choice for a great breakfast, a business or catered lunch meeting or to bring the family for dinner. Nine...