Only have a couple days to spend in Cleveland? That’s definitely not enough time to see all the city has to offer, but you can still get a great idea of what truly makes the city amazing. Here’s a sample itinerary for 48 hours in Cleveland that will give you a taste of The Land.
Downtown and Ohio City
RISE & SHINE: SADDLE UP!
Carpe diem with a classy breakfast at Urban Farmer, located in the equally-elegant Westin Cleveland Downtown. An elaborated brunch menu (all local- and organic-sourced) is popular on the weekends and takes a tour of all things biscuits, hash, Benedicts, and carbs with a hip Bloody Mary bar to hydrate.
MORNING: ON THE WATERFRONT
Head on over to the West Bank of the Flats and take a cruise in the Cuyahoga River via jetski, boat, or kayak. Rental information can be found here. Take the water taxi for $2 over to the East Bank Flats and walk along the boardwalk.
Or, rent the same toys along with paddleboards and boats in North Coast Harbor, and snap your touristy CLE pic in front of the Cleveland script sign with the perfect skyline backdrop.
After you've seen the city from the water, get a ground tour via segway on an hour ride to scope out the town.
LUNCH: WEST 25TH
Ohio City is basically Cleveland’s go-to neighborhood for craft beer and next-level pub grub. But before hitting the beer scene, you simply must visit the famous West Side Market, where you can snag lunch at the cafe.
Next, afternoon pub-crawl along West 25th St. and sample a few Cleveland signature beers. Start next door to the West Side Market at Market Garden Brewery for any of their 14 beers on tap and small plates. Then head across the street to Great Lakes Brewing Co., with its famed Edmund Fitzgerald Porter and beer school on Wednesdays. Wrap up at Nano Brew, with its three bars and two-story patio complete with larger-than-life games like Jenga and Connect Four.
P.M.: RAISE YOUR ROCK FIST
Head back across the river into downtown and up to the water's edge. Here you can explore the one-and-only Rock & Roll Hall of Fame while you're in the city where rock was born. Walk through seven levels of exhibits and gawk at artifacts and memorabilia from generations of rock legends.
DINNER: GO FOURTH
East 4th St. is one alley you need to see. Some of Cleveland’s most celebrated restaurants and entertainment hubs pepper this pedestrian-only street, including Lola, Butcher and the Brewer, and Pickwick and Frolic.
EVENING: PLAY ON
Depending on what season you're in town, you can cheer on one (or more) of our three major league sports teams or our minor league hockey team. The Cleveland Indians (MLB), Cavaliers (NBA), Browns (NFL) and Monsters (AHL) are all located Downtown.
If you're not feeling the sports scene or not around during a game, see a Broadway play in Cleveland’s theater district, Playhouse Square--and don't forget to snap a selfie under the largest outdoor chandelier in the world.
University Circle, Little Italy
RISE & SHINE: BRUNCH OF CHAMPIONS
Head just east of Downtown for brunch at Washington Place Bistro & Inn. This B&B is known for eclectic filler-uppers to start your day including their Maine Lobster & Manchego Omlette or their Bananas Foster French Toast.
A.M.: LITTLE ITALY
Take a leisurely stroll around Lake View Cemetery. Hold up--a cemetery, you ask? Why would I ever want to do that?
Lake View Cemetery is something special, and it's free. Not only is it beautiful with its walking paths through 285 acres of grounds, but it also is the final resting place of John D. Rockefeller, Elliot Ness, and President James A. Garfield, among other notable Clevelanders. Definitely take a peek inside Wade Memorial Chapel at the Tiffany-designed interior.
Afterward, head down Mayfield Rd. and into Little Italy. There are mom-and-pop galleries and shops galore, but, let's be real, we're here for the food. Have lunch at one of the local favorites like Mama Santa's for Sicilian pizza, Mia Bella for upscale Mediterranean, or Guarino's for Italian home cookin'. Don't forget to leave room for dessert from Presti's Bakery or (...and?) Corbo's Bakery.
P.M.: SMARTY PANTS
Nearby University Circle is a collection of world-renowned arts and culture institutions--one right after another all grouped together in an easily walkable square mile. Tour the Cleveland Museum of Art’s high-tech Gallery One — it’s free, and an absolute must-see.
Afterward, head to one of the other nearby cultural establishments. Dinosaurs and the Perkins Wildlife Center are the highlights at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. Explore Madagascar and Costa Rica in the Cleveland Botanical Garden’s Glasshouse. Swing into MOCA for a dose of contemporary art. Or, brush up on your history and ride the Euclid Beach Grand Carousel at the Cleveland History Center.
EVENING: MUSIC TO YOUR EARS
Round out your stay in Cleveland by treating yourself to what's widely considered one of the top orchestras in the world. The Cleveland Orchestra performs at Severance Hall, a gorgeous masterpiece of a concert venue that offers free tours on select Sundays.
If you're not in town during an orchestra performance or if you need something a little more casual, check the concert schedules at Agora, House of Blues, Odeon, Grog Shop, Beachland Ballroom or Jacob's Pavilion at Nautica.
Cleveland's got a personality and style all its own, and while you can't get to know the city entirely in two days, you can get a taste. And for that, you're welcome.