In Cleveland, we’ve got world-class experiences without the world-class ego. And for that, you’re welcome.
Here in Cleveland, we’ve got beef cheek in our pierogi, truffles on our hot dogs and beer in our donuts. Balance.
Whether you’re into the thread count of your linens or just a place to crash for the night, we’ve got a hotel room with your name all over it.
You know those places only the locals know? Let our experts help you find them with free maps, itineraries and insider tips.
History hasn't always been easy on us. But pressure can create diamonds. Come check out our gems.
Let’s get this out of the way. I was born in Pittsburgh. Quick side note, Terry Francona grew up not far from where I did in Beaver County. This was my “in” to talk to Tito when I ran into him at Cleveland’s casino in 2013. So being from western PA, I was accustomed to winning sports teams as I witnessed the Penguins win two championships in two years in my very early days, but I was still too young to comprehend a lot about sports, their fans, and their cities. Now that I’ve spent 73.7% of my days alive as Northeast Ohio resident, I think you can call me a Clevelander. I moved to Northeast Ohio in 1995, arguably one of the greatest seasons in Cleveland Indians history. Good timing. Those teams of the mid to late 90's were incredible.
Having little to no baseball interest in ’95 quickly turned into a near obsession. I would throw a tennis ball pretending to be the Bulldog, even though I’m a lefty, and as that lefty I would point my bat to the pitcher like I was Jim Thome. Like most Cleveland baseball fans my age, it all started in that era and the obsession continues as we patiently wait for our next chance. We came so close (Mesa is a curse word in the Cleveland language for anyone who was conscious in 1997). During the 90's, it was nearly impossible to get a ticket to a Tribe game. My family and I were lucky to get to one game per year. It’s weird as you get older, the stadium seems smaller than it did when I was 4’8”, but those toothbrush lights still give me the same feeling that I got when I was in 4th grade. I might get to more than a dozen games per year now but there is something so Cleveland about that place, which we 90s kids will always call The Jake.
Some might not call this a baseball town anymore, but to those of us who remember when it was, we live in our own world when inside that stadium and it still feels like one. There is something special about Cleveland baseball. Opening Days in which you arrive in shorts, sweating, and leave in a coat, freezing and soaked. The wind in those upper deck seats along the first baseline can be brutal in early April. Mid-season games that really matter for the team’s chances, in the blazing July sun with absolutely zero wind are also a bit nasty. Mayflies? Midges? We have those too.
Speaking of, one of the most exciting nights of my life was when I had a bunch of friends over to my parent’s house during the “bug game” versus the Yankees in 2007. We won. Miscued fireworks that go off when the other team hits a homerun? Yeah, that has happened too. Oh, and I happened to watch the entire August, 2001 game in which the Indians trailed 12-0 to Seattle, and came back to win 15-14 thanks to clutch hitting by players like Omar Vizquel. The “Great Comeback” was one of those last magical moments of that team. The tying hit begins at 1:43:50 and I’ve probably watched that clip 1000 times. The actual extra innings 15th run game-winning hit begins around 2:03:05.
There is just so much about baseball in a city that has four seasons. When spring comes, we rejoice to the simple smell of hot dogs, peanuts, all of the cheap beer in the world and all of the amazing local craft brews that now dot the local sports landscape. And pierogi-bunned hot dogs with stadium mustard? If you haven’t experienced this, you need to. Yes, the bun is a giant folded pierogi. As you roam the stands of the stadium seeking out your favorite snack or brew, the incredible broadcasting voice of Tom Hamilton echoes throughout.
I’ve met lifetime friends because of this team. I’ve hugged grown men who I’ve never met before over some great play or homerun in a meaningless game. Cleveland social media and baseball addicts have created Twitter handles for their favorite Major League movie characters, my favorite being Jobu (@Jobu_Lives). Jobu was a doll belonging to power-hitter Pedro Cerrano and was considered by CBS Sports as “one of the most iconic non-human creatures in baseball movie history.” My brother and I decided we wanted to meet the person behind @JobuLives one night. It was a warm and unfortunately stormy first pitch and the game was called against the Chicago White Sox. A few Twitter DM’s later, we met at the Thirsty Parrot. It turns out Jobu is just an Indians-obsessed but regular guy from Marion, about two hours southwest of Cleveland. Yes, he can out-drink me. Then the life-changing moment happened. Omar Vizquel, former *nearly perfect* Indians all-star from the 90s, who now worked as a base coach for Chicago at the time, just shows up at the bar and sits right next to me. This is the Omar who was crucial to games like the Great Comeback. I shook his hand, and had just enough time to get a few rum-induced words out before the packed bar noticed him. Before you knew it, he was in a swarm of Omar fans. It was one of the greatest moments of my life.
We’re still waiting for Jobu’s mythical “bat magic” to propel us into the World Series. It hasn’t happened yet, but we wait and we are still fans. This is Cleveland, and we won’t give up on our teams or our town. Another core team is here now through the end of this decade and our time could be approaching. I can’t wait for the next time I hear Tom Hamilton say, “Cleveland, you WILL have an October to remember!”
Progressive Field is an urban ballpark in the truest sense, both architecturally and aesthetically. Built within the physical boundaries of three main...