Cleveland OH: A Lake Erie Getaway

What So Great About a Cleveland OH Getaway? Plenty!

East 4th St evening Cleveland OH

Some would question a getaway to Cleveland OH. Once called the “Mistake on the Lake,” this Lake Erie city, however, has become a Millennial darling, and deserves a few days to explore.

For those driving the transcontinental US Route 6, Cleveland is a Route 6 city through and through. The thoroughfare is actually a main avenue, thrusting right into the city center as Superior Ave and exiting as Detroit Ave. (Consult this post for more about the complete US Route 6). If you’re thinking about driving the whole route coast to coast, check out this Driving Route 6 post.

Consult this post if interested in the best stops on Ohio Route 6.

Downtown Cleveland OH aerial view

Like Baltimore MD and Providence RI in the late 1990’s, Cleveland has reemerged as a great place to visit. Check out the pedestrian-only E. 4th St., the Warehouse District, the “Ohio City Brewery District,” and University Circle to start.

Close up of iron gargoyle at Hyatt At the Arcade Cleveland OH

Regarding restaurants, we’ll let you in on some great newcomers and old standbys that have stood the test of time (and which are often are excluded from the latest Best Eats lists). The Getaway Mavens tell you what’s what on this Great Lakes city Getaway.

Things to Do in Cleveland OH

Exterior of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame glass pyramid

TOUR: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

If Cleveland is just a pit stop, you can’t leave without experiencing its premier attraction, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Designed by “Starchitect” I.M. Pei with angular walls and cantilevered balconies constructed from 150,000 sq. feet of glass, the museum rises above the shores of Lake Erie like a dazzling Pyramid of Giza.

Elvis exhibit at Rock and Roll HOF Cleveland OH

You can easily spend a day, music blaring, as you make your way around exhibits. See John Lennon’s report card, Little Richard’s stage jacket, Michael Jackson’s white glove, Elvis’s costumes, and a load of famous song lyrics scratched on the fly in notebooks and restaurant menus, among thousands of other rock and roll artifacts.

Make music in the instrument room at Rock Hall Cleveland OH

Downstairs, videos flicker, interviews roll endlessly. It’s a feast for the senses. But what really captivates is the movie looping in the Hall of Fame Induction Theater; a montage of inductees from each year since 1989. Over 1½ hours long, you may find yourself staying for the whole thing. (For now, Induction Theater closed due to Covid). Sun – Wed, 10-5, Thur-Sat 10-8. $30 adults, $20 kids.

Great Lakes Science Center Cleveland OH

VISIT: Great Lakes Science Center

It’s a hop, skip, and jump from Rock Hall to the multi-story, contemporary Great Lakes Science Center, also right on Lake Erie. Turn your kids into STEM stars (or become one yourself), at this incredibly fun and interactive museum.

Try on a space suit in the NASA Glen Visitor Center. Control a prosthetic arm. Dive into the world of nanotechnology. And there’s so much more. Mon-Sat 10-5, Sun 12-5, $17 adults, $14 kids.

University Circle facing Cleveland Art Museum

EXPLORE: University Circle

Cleveland is rich in art, thanks to hometown boy, John D. Rockefeller, who endowed most of the museums on University Circle, another section of town with visitor’s attractions, residences, restaurants and shops. University Circle is considered to be the most highly concentrated and wealthiest square mile of cultural institutions in the United States. Park your car once, and you can visit these world-class museums.

ART sculpture outside of Cleveland Museum of Art

Cleveland Museum of Art

If you only have an hour or two, take a break from the cold winter temps or sultry summer air in the venerable Cleveland Museum of Art, always FREE admission, where you’ll find everything from medieval tapestries and knight’s armor to Renoir, Monet and Picasso to O’Keefe, Warhol and Calder. Seventeen new galleries, showcasing collections from late antiquity, opened in 2011. Tues, Thurs, Sat., Sun, 10-5, Wed, Fri 10-9. Free.

Cleveland Botanic Gardens

Cleveland Botanical Garden

Cleveland History Center

Western Reserve Historical Society, aka Cleveland History Museum

GO: Cleveland Sport Centers

Sports fans love Cleveland’s stadiums; mostly because both of them stand right in the city center. No need to drive for miles only to loose your car in a campus-sized lot.

FirstEnergy Stadium

Formerly “Brown Stadium,” it’s still the home of the Cleveland Browns.

Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse

Formerly Quicken Loans Arena (the “Q”), the FieldHouse is home to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

SHOP/EAT: West Side Market

In the Ohio City Brewery District, this 100 year old large multi-vendor food market is open only on Mon, Wed. Fri and Sat. when ice was delivered to town and stored there. Now, also open on Sundays.

Pickwick and Frolic Comedy and Restaurant on 4th St. Cleveland OH

COMEDY/EAT: Pickwick & Frolic

This unique 4th Street eatery features both food and “Hilarities” menues. Come for the laughs, stay for surprisingly good grub. P &F draws big names like Lewis Black and Kevin Nealon, as well as up and comers.

Where to Eat On Your Cleveland OH Getaway

Luxe Kitchen Cleveland patio dining

EAT: Luxe Kitchen and Lounge

Established in the late ‘aughts, Luxe, a funky, fun, and happy place, has stood the test of time. A sparkly chandelier hangs from a stamped tin ceiling, the open kitchen bustles, and weekends are particularly lively on the patio out back.

Michael Symon's Mabel's BBQ 4th St Cleveland OH

EAT: Mabel’s BBQ

Lola’s, Michael Symon’s hot restaurant on 4th St., has closed. But his barbecue spot next door, Mabel’s, is still dishing out phenomenal smoked meats and sides.

Butcher and the Brewer Cleveland OH

EAT: Butcher and the Brewer

Fans come for the sliders, huge pretzels, and the beer, of course. A popular spot “before the game.”

Number One Pho Cleveland OH

EAT: #1 Pho

Michael Symon once claimed that Cleveland has the best pho (Vietnamese noodle soup) in the country. #1 is one good place to get it. Try the Vermicelli Korean Meatball bowl. Each overflowing tureen can feed at least 3 – 4 people, making the $8 per dish a very affordable and tasty lunch.

Presti's Italian Pastry Bakery Cleveland OH

COFFEE/ROLL: Presti’s Bakery

An old school Cleveland OH getaway would not be complete without a stop at Presti’s. Crowds stand in line for coffee and pastry at this popular and long-lasting (since 1903!) bakery/deli in Cleveland’s Little Italy. Try the caramel/chocolate/nut “Turtle” cookies and a java for a mid-day stamina boost.

DESSERT: The Chocolate Bar

Come for dessert! You’ll go into diabetic shock just reading a lengthy menu that includes the signature Chocolate Mint Martini and S’more’s Dessert among hundreds of alcoholic and non-alcoholic treats.

Sweet Moses Soda Fountain and Treat Shop Cleveland OH

ICE-CREAM: Sweet Moses

When made-from-scratch hot fudge and thick creamy caramel sauce meld with ice cream and nuts, magic happens. Try the signature “Mount Carmel” or the incomparable 10-scoop “Terminal Tower” smothered with nearly all the homemade toppings in the arsenal. Mmmmmow! (That’s “wow” with your mouth full).

East 4th St. Pedestrian Mall Cleveland OH

EAT: Locals Love

Salt, for small plates and craft cocktails, Il Rione for chewy-crust pizza, Lock, Stock, and Brisket for deli sandwiches, Nobel Beast Brewing, and a bevy more. The roster keeps growing.

Where to Stay on a Cleveland OH Getaway

Victorian Arcade now Hyatt Regency Hotel Cleveland OH

STAY: Hyatt Regency Cleveland Arcade

If you’re looking for an historic Cleveland OH getaway, plan to stay in this wow of a hotel.

Built in 1890, the gilded, glass-topped, wrought iron Arcade was the first multi-level indoor shopping mall in the country. Hyatt purchased this historic Victorian Romanesque Revival building in 2001, and transformed it into a dramatic flagship hotel.

Interior of Hyatt Arcade Cleveland OH

Rooms are pleasingly earth toned with smushy down-filled bedding, and granite counter bathrooms. If you get a room overlooking the “place to eat and party” – East 4th St.- enjoy listening to the crowds outside. It’s the sound of Cleveland having fun again.

STAY: Other High-End Cleveland Hotels

Marriott Downtown at Key Tower at night

The Cleveland Marriott Downtown at Key Tower

Drury Plaza Hotel Abe Lincoln Statue Cleveland OH

Drury Plaza Hotel

And, of course, Hilton, Intercontinental, Kimpton, Autograph Collection, are all in the running for top places to stay.

Cleveland OH Getaway Best Things Pin

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