Travel and Leisure ranks Cleveland, “the coolest place you never thought to visit”, “one of America’s most underrated cities” and “one of America’s friendliest cities”. We went and totally agreed. Moreover, there are three professional sports teams, beaches, restaurants galore and one of the largest performing art centers in the US outside of NYC. Basically, what we’re saying is that Cleveland is a great place for a weekend getaway!
We were invited by the Cleveland Tourism Board and we had a really great time! While there we tasked ourselves with finding the best date ideas and things to do. In this blog post we are sharing all the details about our trip with you.
Getting there: When purchased in advance, flights to Cleveland from the East Coast (NYC) and Down South (ATL) can be under $200 and under $300 from the West Coast (LA). If flying isn’t your thing, driving isn’t too bad, depending on where you’re coming from. It’s a two-hour drive from Columbus Ohio, a three-hour drive from Detroit, a four-hour drive from Cincinnati, and a seven-hour drive from NYC.
Getting Around: We suggest getting a rental car. We Uber’d most of our time in Cleveland and then eventually rented a car because we wanted the convenience of exploring the city freely. It also allowed us to focus on visiting venues based on the timing of the day over proximity from one another. Not to mention, it saved us money, as Uber charges can quickly add up.
Where to Stay: We highly recommend staying downtown. You’ll find lots of options for every budget. We stayed at the Kimpton Schofield Hotel and enjoyed our time there. It was within walking distance from a lot of things on our list. And let’s not forget, they have a complimentary happy hour every evening. The Apple Cider was delicious!
Freebies: If you stop by the Cleveland’s Visitors Center, you can pick up a free brewery passport, cost-saving coupons, make reservations and get suggestions for your trip. The Cleveland Museum of Art is free and has so much to see!
$$$: If you’re coming from the East or West Coast, you will be very pleased with the cost of things! If you come from another Midwest city, the price points are pretty similar.
See. Do. Eat.
Casual Date Ideas
This place serves quarter-pound hot dogs with creative toppings such as Froot Loops and Cheetos, plus live music & 75+ tap beers. It’s definitely a cool place to visit while in Cleveland. We made it a challenge by saying that the person who lost bowling the night before had to get froot loops on their hotdog.
Mitchell’s Ice Cream
A local favorite in Cleveland. The ice cream is homemade and the ingredients are local or ethically sourced. You watch them make the ice cream in the back! Perfect place for both ice cream enthusiasts (like MJ) and non-dairy or fake lactose folks (like LJ).
Not sure if we’ve ever told you this…but we love donuts! We once even thought about making it our niche. Lol, the atmosphere here was great. People were singing at the top of their lungs to the songs that were playing. The donuts are made by hand without any premade mixes and they have beer in the batter. You can’t taste it though! If you go here, try the fruity pebble latte and go early in the day if possible. They do run out of donuts!
Romantic Date Ideas
This was a cute, cozy and airy wine shop! It’s woman-owned and the aim is to make wine fun. You can just have a glass or do a taste and learn.
The menu here is created by the renowned Chef Symon and the food is delicious! If you want to see all the action in the open kitchen, reserve seats at the chef’s table.
Cleveland has a Little Italy and that’s where this restaurant is located. There is classical music playing outside so the mood is already set before you even enter! MJ had the cheese tortellini with their award-winning sauce and it was everything. LJ had bolognese (what he orders at almost every Italian restaurant). It was really good, too!
Fun Date Ideas
This is Cleveland’s first board game cafe. There are over 1000 different games from the classics you loved as a kid to new strategy games you’ll love as an adult. We had another challenge…MJ won! We played UNO and Phrase 10 but you would have thought she won the lottery!
A fun place for bowling with a few old school arcade games. We don’t bowl often, but when we do LJ likes to make it competitive…and MJ hates it. Let’s just say, LJ won the game by a whoooole lot!
Superelectric Pinball Parlor
There are a ton of pinball machine games here. It was our first time doing something like this and we had a blast!
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Don’t let the name fool you, this museum covers so much more than Rock and Roll. We saw cool exhibits on artists in Jazz, R&B, Hip Hop, Gospel, and many other genres. We loved all of the interactive displays, especially the one that lets you select one-hit wonders and hits from every decade. There is a garage band where you can play the drums or guitar. We thought we were going to be at the museum for 1.5 max and we ended up staying for close to four hours. We even ran into Chuck D.
This is inside of the downtown location of the city’s famous grocery store, Heinen. Despite the beautiful insta worthy rotunda and all the activities such as wine tastings, we weren’t going to put this on the list because after-all it’s still a grocery store. BUT, we just didn’t feel right not telling you about the deliciousness of their Brownie Burst Cookies. They legit have a brownie inside and they are thin cookies. No idea how they made them but they are certainly worth a visit to the grocery store on your weekend getaway!
Hear From The Locals
We also talked to some locals about their favorite date ideas and things to do in Cleveland. Here’s what they said:
- Have a Picnic by Edgewater Park
- Watch the Sunset on the Solstice Steps at Lakewood Park
- Wade Oval Wednesdays (June-August) to enjoy the food trucks and live music
- Take a walk near the Duck Pond behind the Cleveland Museum of Art
- Head to The Flats for a big selection of trendy bars, restaurants and good vibes. (I loved the oysters at Alley Cat Oyster Bar)
- Have lunch at The Westside Market, the oldest indoor/outside market in Cleveland.
- See a show at Karamu House Theater or Playhouse Square
- Try some soul food at Zanibar Downtown or Shaker Square
Grab a quick bite at Sauce the City
All and all, we really enjoyed our weekend in this Midwest Gem. If you have anymore questions about planning your trip, let us know in the comments!
Thanks to Cleveland Tourism Board for hosting us in Cleveland and sponsoring this post, we had an amazing time! All opinions are our own.