Cleveland is reminiscent of Buffalo in many ways; a rustbelt city undergoing a Renaissance. There are several stand out gems of Cleveland that make the three hour drive south worth the trip, and perhaps even help you feel like you’ve traveled farther.
Ohio City, one of the oldest neighborhoods in Cleveland, is a thriving neighborhood west of the Cuyahoga, home to longstanding traditions such as Great Lakes Brewing Company and the West Side Market as well as new and original startups, breweries and restaurants (a bartender referred to it as the Hangover Mile). I spent the a day on one block alone and didn’t run out of things to do.
The West Side Market is an architectural and cultural gem of Cleveland. The bustling and lively market has been running since 1840, making it the longest standing market in the region. The current 1912 building complete with clock tower and a vaulted ceiling covered in Gustavino Tile is home to over a hundred vendors selling specialty meats, breads and pastries, international foods and sweets. Just one step inside the bustling markets feels like a transportation of time. White subway tiled walls, long lines, aromatic spices, children working alongside their parents and bright red pink of meat creates a feast for the senses.
The neighborhood is full of micro-breweries and bars, but one establishment, Table Top, stood out to me as a particularly refreshing startup. For a five dollar cover charge you gain access to their game library. Hundreds of games line the walls (including all of my obscure strategy favorites!). Find a cozy nook amongst the couches, tables and vintage chairs while the staff brings you brunch, specialty coffees or even a wine smoothie. This was the perfect fit for me and my fellow travelers.
Great Lakes Brewing Company was the first brewery in the neighborhood and helped spur the neighborhood revival. This local staple opened in the 80s and has thrived throughout the modern craft beer fad. The packed pub requires a reservation to get in on a Saturday night. Meanwhile, in their Beer Symposium, Great Lakes offers tours of their brewing facilities including tastings.
For a brief weekend getaway, Cleveland’s Ohio City fit the bill. In a city with rich history it’s a pleasure to see thriving businesses and proud locals.