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Praised in song by native son Drew Carey, Cleveland still carries a tune as an evolving destination. From its underdog sports teams (keep at it, Browns and Indians), to a surge in brewing, to an old-meets-new school dining scene, and attractions catering to many interests, this Great Lakes city is bursting with surprises. Here is what to do on your next visit.

RELATED: 10 fun things to do in Denver for under $20

Cleveland, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame | Photo: Courtesy of This Is Cleveland

Rock on at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Why is this famed museum Cleveland based? It’s thanks to disc jockey Alan Freed who is credited with coining the term “rock and roll” during his time at the Cleveland radio station WJW. The museum honors Freed, and highlights rock and other musical genres via exhibitions like Legends of Rock, British Invasion and Rapper’s Delight. Stevie Nicks, Devo, Def Leppard, LL Cool J and the Cure are among the 2019 nominees. Keep your fingers crossed for your faves!

A Christmas Story, Cleveland, Ohio

A Christmas Story House | Photo: Courtesy of This Is Cleveland

Visit the house from “A Christmas Story”

Diehard fans of the 1983 holiday classic will delight in seeing this home whose exterior showed where the fictional Parker family lived. In December 2004, mega fan Brian Jones bought the house and turned it into a real-life movie replica. Tour the home and museum, pick up souvenirs from the gift shop, and perhaps book an overnight stay inside the home or next door at The Bumpus House.

Go Italian in Little Italy

Yep, Cleveland has a  Little Italy, and it’s got a great mix of restaurants, pizzerias and bakeries that are all steps away from each other. Since 1918, Guarino’s Restaurant has served traditional Italian cooking within its Victorian parlor interior. Family-run Mama Santa’s gets accolades for its pizzas. For dessert, stock up on Italian cookies, pastries or slices such as cassata cake (a Cleveland fave that’s Sicilian in origin) from Presti’s Bakery or Corbo’s Bakery.

Playhouse Square, Cleveland, Ohio

Playhouse Square | Photo: Cody York for This Is Cleveland

Marvel at the World’s Largest Outdoor Chandelier

The lights shine bright in Playhouse Square, Cleveland’s theater district, but its brightest star is a huge outdoor chandelier, said to be the world’s largest. Hung to honor the era when the Square’s theaters were built (the Roaring Twenties), this centerpiece is adorned with more than 4,200 crystals and suspended from a 44-foot-high steel structure. It’s placed at the intersection of East 14th Street and Euclid Avenue.

Look across the street, it’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s… the Superman House

Drive past the house that Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel lived in as a teenager (but do remember that it’s a private residence). With his best friend Joe Shuster, Siegel would pen the comic book character known as the Man of Steel at his childhood home at 10622 Kimberly Avenue. The home is marked with a plaque dedicated to Siegel and adorned with a prominent S.

Sokolowski's, pierogi, Cleveland

Sokolowski’s University Inn | Photo by Cody York for This Is Cleveland

Nosh on pierogis

Learn more about Cleveland’s Eastern European heritage through a famed culinary tradition—the pierogi, a tasty stuffed-dough dumpling. Sokolowski’s University Inn in Tremont is known for its Polish menu and cafeteria-style layout, while the Prosperity Social Club prepares dry ricotta cheese pierogis along with traditional versions. Or go to Cleveland resident and celebrity chef Michael Symon’s Lola Bistro, for his Beef Cheek Pierogi, or get Rowley Inn’s saucy Buffalo pierogis.

West Side Market, Cleveland, Ohio

West Side Market | Photo: Cody York for This Is Cleveland

Go local—at local markets

Buy pierogis and other delicacies at the West Side Market, a more than century-old Cleveland institution. Located in the Ohio City neighborhood, this indoor and outdoor marketplace features more than 100 vendors hawking seafood, meats, veggies, baked goods and fresh-cut flowers. Flea market enthusiasts should head to the Cleveland Flea, a monthly gathering of Ohio small business owners and dealers bringing their products to Tyler Village.

Cleveland Art Museum, Ohio

Cleveland Art Museum | Photo by Cody York for This Is Cleveland

Get cultured

University Circle boasts many cultural institutions that aren’t far from each other. The Cleveland Art Museum offers free admission to its permanent collection with works by Dali, Monet and Warhol. The Cleveland History Center makes learning about Northeast Ohio’s history fun, while the Cleveland Botanical Garden has indoor exhibits and diverse outdoor gardens. On the grounds of Case Western Reserve University, the Dittrick Museum of Medical History shows how perceptions about health have been both challenged and changed overtime.

Listen up

Cleveland can jam. In the Waterloo Arts District, The Beachland Ballroom & Tavern is considered to be the best venue for catching up-and-coming indie rockers and schedules acts weekly. Since its opening in 2000, the playlist has included Akron’s The Black Keys, The Cramps, Guided by Voices and The White Stripes. In the West Bank of the Flats, Music Box boasts a downstairs supper club and an upstairs concert hall; Severance Hall in University Circle, meanwhile, is home to the Cleveland Orchestra, which puts on numerous performances.

Great Lakes Brewery, Cleveland, Ohio

Great Lakes Brewery and Patio | Photo: Cody York for This Is Cleveland

Cure what “ales” you

Launched in 2018,  the Cleveland Brewery Passport program tapped into a partnership with 30 city breweries within a 25-mile radius of the downtown area. Trailblazer Great Lakes Brewing Company offers public brewery tours and produces the annual Burning River Fest, while Hofbräuhaus Cleveland is a German microbrewery and restaurant. Hansa Brewery also holds an Eastern European restaurant, and Forest City Brewery’s beer garden reflects Cleveland’s tree-centered nickname.

Brewnuts, Cleveland

Brewnuts | Photo by Cody York for This Is Cleveland

Get quirky

Looking for a Cleveland that’s a little off radar? No problem. Pair some seriously ‘grammable doughnuts with a frosty beer at Brewnuts; create your own hand-blown glass masterpiece under the watchful eye of a rooster at the Glass Bubble Project; chug a Slaughterhog or a Skull Crawler at Viking-themed cocktail bar LBM; rack up a high score on a vintage machine at Superelectric Pinball Parlor; and eat a frankfurter topped with Froot Loops and other wacky toppings at Happy Dog.

Cleveland, hotels, Hilton

Hilton Cleveland Downtown

Where to stay…

Hilton Cleveland Downtown has a Rock and Roll Suite, commissioned by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and a Graffiti Suite, with a replica of a popular Cleveland graffiti mural. The hotel also has five on-site dining spots, a rooftop bar with skyline and Lake Erie views, an indoor pool and fitness center.

Tagged: City

Michele Herrmann

Michele Herrmann

Michele Herrmann

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