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The best Hotels, Restaurants, Shopping, Art, Cultural Attractions, and just plain Fun Stuff to do and see in Cleveland, Ohio.
Renaissance Cleveland Hotel: The oldest hotel in Cleveland celebrates the city with Lifesavers at check-in (the candy was born here in 1912) and local Malley’s chocolate-pretzel bars at turndown. Vintage details, including lavish lobby chandeliers and vaulted ceilings, distinguish the Renaissance. The hotel lies within walking distance of downtown attractions, such as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Trains link the nearby rapid transit station to the airport. Rooms from $139.
Brownstone Inn Downtown: This 1874 downtown home-turned-B&B lets five rooms, some with four-poster beds and vintage fireplaces. Similar period accents distinguish public areas, including the formal dining room where breakfast is served. Innkeeper/owner Robin Yates ensures a warm welcome. Rooms from $65.
The Ritz-Carlton, Cleveland: Sharing Tower City Center and its central locale with the Renaissance, the Ritz is Cleveland’s elite address, replete with the sort of formal styling and attentive service for which the gilded chain is renowned. The new restaurant Muse updates the scene, serving refined small plates in a contemporary setting. Rooms from $229.
Hyatt Regency Cleveland at The Arcade: Bunk down with history at this downtown Hyatt anchoring a five-story, glass-enclosed, 1890-built arcade of iron balconies that front the hotel’s 293 rooms. In addition to hotel amenities such as WiFi, a fitness center, and contemporary dining room, the hotel provides under-one-roof access to dozens of shops in the Arcade, as well as the Marengo Institute spa. Rooms from $200.
Sérgio’s/Sérgio’s Saravá: Brazil-raised chef Sergio Abramof operates this University Circle ode to the spirit of samba. The food strays across cultures to include Italian pastas and San Francisco cioppino as well as Brazilian “prato misto.” An inventive children’s menu includes items like baby Spanish sausages. Downtown, grab a caipirinha and some street food–inspired nibbles on the patio of Sérgio’s Saravá.
Lola/Lolita: Cleveland’s Michael Symon gained national attention when Food and Wine magazine named him a top new chef based on his upscale comfort food at Lola. At this downtown restaurant, pierogies are stuffed with beef cheek and smoked pork chops come with cheesy polenta. Symon also operates Lolita in the gentrifying Tremont neighborhood, serving American bistro fare, such as cured meats and mac and cheese with chicken.
Blue Point Grille: For a big-deal dinner in the entertainment-centric Warehouse District, book at nautically inclined Blue Point Grille. The seafood specialist nets fish far and wide, from Alaskan king crab to Hawaiian tuna. Salute local industrialist John D. Rockefeller with an order of Oysters Rock.
Great Lakes Brewing Company: For beer and a shot of history, belly up to Great Lakes Brewing, which occupies two historic buildings in the Ohio City neighborhood. Soak up the Burning River Pale Ale or the Edmund Fitzgerald Porter with pub grub served at the antique mahogany bar, in the brewhouse with vat views, in the beer garden, or out on the leafy sidewalk café.
Cleveland Museum of Art: While architect Rafael Viñoly gives the Cleveland Museum of Art a multiyear overhaul and expansion, the permanent galleries at the city’s top art museum are closed. But it’s worth a trek to the University Circle center for its temporary exhibits, including a show devoted to photographer Ansel Adams (through Aug. 19) and, in October, Monet to Dali.
Seattle Art Museum: Kick off your trip with a visit to Seattle’s cultural gem downtown. The newly expanded, nearly doubled showcase is strong in modern and African art, but strongest in must-see American Indian art, including menacing wood-carved masks of birds and dishes modeled after (miniaturized) whales. 100 University St., 206-654-3100
Great Lakes Science Center: A science museum with a sense of place, Great Lakes Science Center celebrates the inland waterway with interactive exhibits and a lake freighter, the William G. Mather, on the premises to tour. The museum conjures up a tornado indoors that you can touch, among other scientific phenomenon.
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum: Cleveland’s claim to international fame, Rock Hall charts the rise and reign of rock music in a 55,000-square-foot I.M. Pei building on the waterfront. Artifacts capture the showmanship (David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust jumpsuit), technology (Jimi Hendrix’s 1965 Fender Stratocaster), and intimacy (Jim Morrison’s baby book) of rock’s giants. Speaking of Morrison, a new Doors exhibit delves deep into the band’s enduring mystique.
Cleveland Botanical Garden: Ten acres of topiaries, roses, and herbs, plus one spiny desert from Madagascar and a Costa Rican cloud forest—the latter indoors under glass—green the Cleveland Botanical Garden in the culture-rich University Circle neighborhood. Take a class, a stroll, or a picnic.
Cuyahoga Valley National Park: Thirty minutes south of Cleveland, Cuyahoga Valley National Park follows the Cuyahoga—an Iroquois word for “crooked river”—through native forests and meadows. Ride bikes along a 20-mile stretch of towpath that borders the historic Ohio and Erie Canal.
FUN STUFF: CLEVELAND
Lolly the Trolley—Trolley Tours of Cleveland: Do the tourist thing aboard Lolly the Trolley. The bright-red motorized trolley offers $10 one-hour overview circuits around downtown led by lore-loving drivers.
Cedar Point Amusement Park: Home to a record 17 roller coasters, Cedar Point in Sandusky, about 65 miles from Cleveland, is a mecca for thrill seekers. Dare yourself to ride the Top Thrill Dragster; the “strata-coaster” rockets to 120 miles per hour in four seconds. Or try the newest ride, Maverick, with a wicked 95-degree drop.
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