Today is the Ohio Blogging Association‘s All State Blog Swap where bloggers from all around the state are swapping posts.
This guest post is by Amanda from Clue into Cleveland. It was love at first sight when she visited Cleveland five years ago. Clue into the people, places and events that made her pack up her comic book collection and “flee to the Cleve.”
Visit Poise in Parma to read the rest of today’s All State Blog Swap posts and check out my post Five Recommendations for Wintertime Fun in Cleveland.
This weekend my husband Scott and I joined countless other households in tackling a major project: getting our home ready for our family’s Thanksgiving visit. The massive housecleaning is my least favorite part of preparing for guests.
My favorite? Figuring out where to take everyone after the turkey is eaten. It’s also the easiest. Over the five years I’ve lived here, I continue to discover new things to love about Cleveland and Northeast Ohio.
And while the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is usually first on many visitors’ list, there’s a vast treasure of activities to share in our backyard. Here are my top 5 places that showcase the range of fun Cleveland offers no matter when you have friends and family visiting:
Museum Hopping in University Circle: When I was a kid, my family would often drive into DC for a day of museums and monuments. Now, I take them and other guests museum-hopping around Cleveland’s University Circle.
Get your fill of arts appreciation at the Museum of Contemporary Art’s breathtaking new location and the free, newly renovated Cleveland Museum of Art. Take a stroll through the beautiful Cleveland Botanical Garden or Cleveland Cultural Gardens. And enjoy interactive exhibits at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and Children’s Museum of Cleveland.
You can save money on admission to many of these institutions (and others) by purchasing a Cleveland Plus Pass. Visit just a few of the participating museums and the 2-day Adult Pass pays for itself.
Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad: If your guests would prefer a leisurely afternoon, hop a ride on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad.
Through a partnership with the National Park Service, the CVSR operates excursion trains along this railway that once carried passengers and freight back and forth between Akron and Cleveland. The train runs from Independence to Akron and back. The Peninsula stop in the middle is my favorite because it’s an easy walk to local restaurants, antique and gift shops.
While enjoying the train ride, keep an eye out the window for beautiful scenery, wildlife and local history. In the Spring and Summer, enjoy the Towpath Trail with CVSR’s Bike Aboard! program.
Ohio City Market District: With the West Side Market recently celebrating its Centennial, a trip to Cleveland’s largest public market and its 100+ vendors should top the list of any fans of good eats. However, when you visit the market with your family and friends, don’t leave without taking your guests on a tour of the vibrant neighborhood that surrounds West Side Market.
Ohio City is full of artisans like the Glass Bubble Project where you can enjoy free glass-blowing demonstrations and pick up beautiful, locally-made souvenirs. Other local shopping includes Campbell’s Sweets Factory, Johnnyville Slugger, Joy Machines Bike Shop, Room Service and Salty Not Sweet.
Grab breakfast, lunch or dinner at one of Ohio City’s 30+ restaurants and during the summer everyone can scream for Ohio City Ice Cream.
Christmas Story House: Growing up in the early 80s, A Christmas Story was a huge part of my holidays. However, Ralphie’s house from the film – now restored to its movie splendor – is a fun place to take guests year round.
Take a tour of the renovated Christmas Story House at 3159 W 11th St. in Tremont and then visit A Christmas Story House Museum to see rare behind-the-scenes photos, original props and costumes like the toys from the Higbee’s window or Randy’s snowsuit.
Afterwards, go out for Chinese Dinner just like Ralphie and his family at Bac, the official Chinese restaurant of the Christmas Story House (plus get 10% off the bill with your ticket stub).
Gordon Square’s Happy Dog: After a day of exploring Cleveland, everyone will want to share memories and photos over a good meal. With all of the restaurants in Cleveland, there are many places to choose from. However, I have one surefire go-to for all of my out-of-town guests: the Happy Dog at Detroit and 58th.
For only $5, pile on as many homemade toppings as you want on your quarter pound hot dog – like a fried egg, mac-n-cheese, black truffle honey mustard, or “alien” pickle relish. $3 tater-tots and fries round out your meal. A special vegan sausage and vegetarian friendly toppings are also available.
Young and old will enjoy the Happy Dog’s pinball machines, old cartoons in the downstairs Underdog, live music and unique community programming.
What local places and activities are your favorites to share when family or friends come to town? Leave a comment below!