^ Ask and you shall receive!
My friends and I arrived Thursday evening at Hopkins. We picked up a rental car instead of taking the rapid because we thought that we would be able to do more sightseeing with a car with the limited amount of time that we would be in the city.
We arrived downtown around 7 PM and there was a good amount of people out and about. We checked into the Hyatt and when we walked into the atrium for the first time my friends were amazed! They were posting photos to Instagram and Facebook and said that their phones were “blowing up.”
After checking in at the hotel we took the shoreway over to Edgewater Park. Being that it was dark by that point I took them to the lower parking area where they took some photos of the skyline. From there we went to Cliff Drive for the view and then over to Edgewater Drive on our way to Pier W for dinner.
When we arrived at Pier W I took them to the overlook for some pictures of the skyline. When we walked inside of Pier W of course the first question asked was if we had a reservation. I was surprised that it was so busy on this cold October Thursday night. I told the hostess that we were visiting from Florida and that I hadn’t been to Pier W in 30 years and my friends had never been to Cleveland. She suggested that we have a drink at the bar and said “I’ll see what I can do.” After about 20 minutes she walked into the bar and informed us that she had a table for us. We walked past a couple of empty tables to the front of the restaurant to the second row of tables from the big windows overlooking the lake and skyline where we were seated. We started off with a few dozen oysters. For dinner two of us ordered the Thai Curry Pacific Rim Snapper and the other two ordered Lobster Pappardelle. The Thai Curry Pacific Rim Snapper was delicious!
After dinner we drove over to the Hawk and had one drink and left. On our way back downtown we passed Cocktails and decided to turn around to go in for a drink. The bar isn’t located in the best neighborhood but I’m not that easily intimidated. We were “buzzed in” at the door and there was a gentleman there in charge of security.
We met a lot of very nice people there and the staff was nice and attentive. The bartender told us that they had a basement (it was closed on this day) but it would be open Friday night for their Halloween party. He invited us to come back on Friday to join in the festivities. We ended up staying way later than we had anticipated.
The following Friday morning before our sightseeing tour we browsed the shops inside of the arcade. Our first stop was for some coffee of course after getting some limited sleep from being out too late. We stopped by Rising Star Coffee Roasters. My friends were not too impressed with the taste of their coffee but I drink decaf so it all tastes the same to me. We stopped in one of the shops where we met a nice elderly gentleman from Akron that owned the shop along with his wife. We engaged in a nice lengthy conversation.
From the arcade we walked around Public Square. My friends loved the Soldiers and Sailors Monument and the Brush Arc Lamp. One of the guys in our group is a big fan of the Christmas Story so I took him the Window in the Higbee Building for some pictures. From Public Square we went into the Terminal Tower to Tower City to catch the rapid over to the West Side Market.
By the time we arrived at the market it was nearly lunch time from being out too late the night before so we decided to skip breakfast at the market. My friends commented on how beautiful it was and that they were envious that we didn’t have anything like it in South Florida. We bought some macaroons to munch on for the rapid trip back downtown.
When we arrived downtown we walked back to the hotel to pick up the rental car and head over to Slyman’s for lunch. We all ordered the corn beef and pastrami sandwiches so we could split them; all of us got one of each. It was everything that I had read about and saw on television it was just incredibly delicious!
From Slyman’s we took I-90 east (after heading in the wrong direction) to MLK/Rockefeller Park. This was a stunningly beautiful drive with the old bridges and the foliage being at peak color. I had to stop several times so my friends could take pictures.
From MLK we arrived at Euclid directly in front of the One University Circle apartment building. This building has some great street presence. We headed east up Euclid Ave on our way to Lake View Cemetery. My friends were in awe as we passed MOCA and the new uptown area. All this was new to me as well; the last time I was in UC was in 2008 and seems like half of the buildings didn’t exist then or were under construction.
We arrived at the Euclid Gate at Lake View and drove up the Garfield Monument. The monument is undergoing renovations so it was mostly covered in scaffolding. I was very disappointed that the observation desk was closed. The main focus here is the president so the significance of that was not lost. My friends learned a few history lessons here and we headed over to the Wade Memorial Chapel.
We spent a long time at the chapel listening to the guide describing all of the details on how it was built and what the Tiffany window and mosaics represent. My friends loved the chapel and are still talking about it.
We exited the Mayfield Road gate and went down the hill to Little Italy. From Mayfield Road we went left to Murray Hill Road. We stopped at the Murray Hill market for some Pizzelles and San Pellegrino. We saw the Urban Orchid store nearby and decided to go in for some souvenirs.
From there we drove past CWRU on our way back to Euclid Ave. I parked the car on the road by Severance Hall where we got out to walk around the Wade Lagoon.
Since I was so disappointed that the Garfield Memorial observation desk was closed I started scoping out parking garages around the clinic to get my east side skyline fix.
From the parking garage we headed down Euclid Ave past CSU and Playhouse Square. I was most impressed with Euclid Ave. Other than a couple vacant lots and a few blighted buildings, it is now one cohesive urban street within Cleveland proper. I remember when the area between the clinic and CSU looked like war zone.
It was time to see the west side of town in the daylight. We drove across the Detroit Superior Bridge to Ohio City. We drove through the neighborhood looking at all of the beautifully restored Victorians along with some new infill. After getting a little lost I found my way back to Detroit Ave where we got on the shoreway to go to Edgewater park and see the Cleveland sign to take some pictures. From Edgewater we headed back downtown to the hotel for some downtime.
After resting we walked from the hotel past the Fountain of Eternal Youth on our way to Bar 32 at the Hilton. We had a cocktail there and then walked down to the Flats for dinner.
We had planned to eat dinner at Lindey’s Lakehouse but there was a private function going on there when we arrived. We walked over to Collison Bend but there was a live band playing; it was very loud so we decided to walk around the flats to find another place to eat. The flats were not very busy. Perhaps it was too early and possibly too chilly?
Since we couldn’t come to a consensus on where to eat I suggested that we go to E 4th St so we took an Uber over there. E 4th St was very busy. We stopped in the Cleveland shop to purchase some more souvenirs. We walked down E 4th again trying to come to a consensus on where to eat. Since Mexican and Margarita’s sounded appealing we decided on Zacalo. I thought he food was just okay but nothing to write home about.
After dinner we Ubered over to Twist. There was a Halloween party going on so it was quite busy. We had one drink and decided to go to Cocktails.
We were greeted with hugs from the staff who asked us to come back there from the previous night. There was a drag show going on, not my cup of tea (although I'll admit it was entertaining), but my friends really enjoyed it. The basement was nicely decorated for Halloween, someone put a lot of thought and creativity into the decorations.
The following morning, we drove over the Hope Memorial Bridge on our way to Lucky’s for breakfast. We drove past the Cleveland sign near Abby Ave and into Tremont. My friends loved the neighborhood more than any other Cleveland neighborhood that we visited. A special Thank You to Enginerd for suggesting Lucky’s we all loved it! After a short stop at the Christmas Story House for pictures we were on our way to Cedar Point!
The Autumn drive from Cleveland to Sandusky was gorgeous. We arrived at Cedar Point just about the time the park was opening for the day. There was rain in the forecast and with the wind wiping up off of the lake it felt much colder. We all had to stop at the first gift shop we saw to buy gloves and hats. We purchased the Express Pass Plus although it was pricey I’m glad that we did because mother nature had other plans in store for us.
After a couple hours of cold by dry weather it started to sprinkle. The sprinkle turned to drizzle and then progressed to a full downpour by about 3 PM. We continued to ride the coasters in the rain until we got on the Rougarou. When we sat in the seats they were full of water. Being whisked through the rain at 60 MPH was the nail in the coffin. Of the 8 coasters we got to ride my favorites were the Millennium Force and the Valravn. We were all completely soaked and freezing so we decided to head for the parking lot and call it a day.
We stayed at a loft Airbnb in Downtown Sandusky right across the street from the lake. We had planned on going to Crobar later that night but we were all so tired and it was still windy and raining. We ordered some Italian food and had it delivered and went to sleep early.
Thank you for all of the suggestions; we had a nice time in Cleveland! Cleveland and Urban Ohio never disappoints!