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Here in Cleveland, we’ve got beef cheek in our pierogi, truffles on our hot dogs and beer in our donuts. Balance.
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Nope. It isn’t Santa who's about to give you that “city-sidewalks-busy-sidewalks-dressed-in-holiday-style” kind of weekend experience. This year, it’s Cleveland that’ll be your holly-jolly gift giver.
Though, thankfully, we aren’t about to squeeze ourselves down the chimney and into your living room. (You’re welcome.)
Image © Cody York
Breakfast: Start your day right smack dab in the middle of Cleveland at Rebol on Public Square, a great place with tasty morning grub and tons of coffee. They even have a drink called “Nature’s Adderall,” which might just be the stuff you’ll need to survive the holidays.
Morning: Step into the house where scenes from the holiday classic “A Christmas Story” were filmed. Scrunch yourself up and hide under the kitchen sink like Randy, try on the bunny pajamas from Aunt Clara or explore the backyard where Ralphie defeated Black Bart and the boys at A Christmas Story House in Tremont. You’re on your own if you shoot your eye out.
Lunch: Located across the street from A Christmas Story House, the Rowley Inn is a laid-back Tremont bar that’s been catering to Cleveland’s working class since 1906. Recently rejuvenated, the Rowley is known for its great beer selection and uniquely Cleveland dishes like Polish Boys, pierogi omelets and kielbasa dinners.
Afternoon: Think you know what Santa Claus’ workshop looks like? Think again. Switch up the holiday season with a stop at Kringle's Inventionasium Experience in Tower City Center where you’ll get to tour the innovative lab of Mr. Kringle himself (aka Santa), meet his wacky team of assistants, craft a few Christmas creations and experience the holiday on a totally new (and somewhat oddball) level.
Dinner: When you walk into Cibréo off of festive Euclid Avenue, you’re in an Italian wine cellar accompanied by the sweet smells of fresh bread and rustic Italian cuisine. Good thing calories don’t count during the holidays.
Evening: Top off a day of “A Christmas Story” adventuring with a theatrical performance of the holiday classic at Playhouse Square. Performed by the Cleveland Play House , “A Christmas Story” features Ralphie, Randy and the rest of the Parker family in a reimagining of Jean Shepherd’s famous short story for the stage.
Before the show, make sure to check out the Festival of Trees inside the lobby of the Allen Theatre, which is a generational fave in CLE.
Breakfast: As you might imagine, The Cleveland Bagel Co. is known for their bagels. These bagels aren’t great — they’re outstanding. If you know what’s good for you, you’ll pick up one of their delicious rosemary sea salt bagels next time you’re in their Detroit Shoreway storefront. We wouldn’t lead you astray.
Morning : Did you know Santa Claus is a certified SCUBA diver? (What can’t this guy do?) Meet SCUBA Claus as he swims throughout the tanks at the Greater Cleveland Aquarium with more than 5,000 underwater sea creatures.
Lunch : Need a drink and a view? That was a rhetorical question. Anyway, head over to Thirsty Dog in the Flats East Bank for a fresh, hand-poured 12 Dogs of Christmas ale that pairs excellently with one of their signature make-your-own sausage sandwiches and a view of the massive freighters gliding along the Cuyahoga River.
Afternoon : From a huge gingerbread house display to hundreds of ornately decorated trees and plants, GLOW at the Cleveland Botanical Garden is the perfect way to add some dazzle and a fair bit of sparkle to your CLE holiday adventures.
Dinner : Experience an elegant pre-show dinner at Chef Zack Bruell's L'Albatros in University Circle. The menu showcases a refreshing twist on classic French cusine befitting this chic brasserie set amid a rustic carriage house. Take your time here; it’s worth every bite.
Evening : A Cleveland holiday tradition, The Cleveland Orchestra’s Christmas Concerts feature sing-along music performed by the internationally recognized orchestra, accompanied beautifully by guest choirs, as well as a visit from a jolly man in a red suit.
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