Monday, July 01, 2013

speed vacationing

I know I've said it before, but the city of Cleveland is completely underrated!
My brother and I took a last minute trip over the weekend to visit my dad. Anytime I plan a vacation, I want to feel like I have devoured all the city has to offer once I leave. I spend a good time researching everything from local dives and weekend happenings, to the must-see tourist stops. My research doesn't stop there, once I arrive, I love talking to the locals and getting their suggestions as well.  I'm that person that leaves vacation, needing a vacation from my vacation. Believe me, I believe in a little relaxation, but my favorite kind of trip is a short getaway, jam packed with adventures. It's what I like to call, Speed Vacationing.

We didn't get into Cleveland until later in the evening, After a trip to the Chocolate Bar and dinner, we stopped at Shooters, a bar on the river, to have a drink and admire this view.

My brother and I walked across the bridge from downtown Cleveland into Ohio City.
I brought him to the Westside Market. 
Some of the vendors have had their business here for multiple generations.
Just outside of the market, one of the restaurants in the area had panted a wall chalkboard. I thought it was such a creative idea! Some of the phrases were serious, others humorous, and some completely inappropriate. Before I die, I want to... Go to Hogwarts and Buy a parrot and teach it to to say, "Help! I was turned into a parrot!" were my two favorites written on the wall.
Later on, we stopped in to visit the Great Lakes Brewing Company. I have yet to try a beer there that I didn't like. Their Christmas Ale (seasonal) was served at our wedding; it was a huge hit. 
After my dad got off work, we headed to Der Braumeister to watch a polka band. Ever seen a polka band? Me either, but I'll tell you what, it's the happiest music you'll ever hear.
This place was also named one of the 20 Best Bars in America by Men's Health!
THEN we hit up Hilarities for a comedy show. Ben Bailey (the guy from Cash Cab) was the feature of the night and a much different personality than the one you get from Cash Cab. 
(FYI, Cleveland also has Improv if that's more your style) 

One of our family Christmas traditions is watching A Christmas Story on repeat, all morning, while opening gifts and eating brunch. With the Christmas Story House being located in Cleveland, it was a tourist must.
The tour was quick, but such a treat for people who practically have the movie memorized. Afterwards we headed out to Chagrin Falls, a quaint town just 30 minutes outside of Cleveland.
 That evening the guys and I went to an arena football game. Again, a new thing to me, but I'll take football any time of the year.
 After the game, we walked down the street to Society Lounge, a speak easy themed bar that literally transforms your mind back to the prohibition era. Every one of their cocktails are made with all fresh ingredients and all made in house. I recommend the Old-Fashioned.

Let's not forget one of the most important parts of any vacation; Food!
Coconut Curry Noodles - TownHall in Ohio City
Happy Dog - build your own hot dog
Melt Bar and Grill
Gourmet Grilled Cheese? Yes please.
And because every vacation needs a little sweetness to it, Farkas Bakery has one of the best Napoleons you'll ever taste. They greeted us with a warm family welcome and escorted us out with the same courtesy.
Come to think of it, you could walk into just about any local bakery in Cleveland for a delicious treat and excellent service. Bakeries are my favorite, they offer so much culture and more times than not, you'll meet the entire family.

Well, that's how it's done, my friends! If you have a weekend and are within driving distance, consider Cleveland. I have given you two blog posts to fill your trip there.


  1. Girl you might have made me homesick this morning. I love that you love my city. And I have still not been to Melt. Every time I am home we try and plans change.

  2. We love Cleveland too! Some of our best friends live up there and we go every year but skipping this year.
    I guess the only things you didn't do while you were there is hit the lake or eat a perogi! ;)

  3. I live here in Cleveland and yes it is under rated big time. WE HAVE GREAT FOOD that is for sure!!! And there are so many things to do as well!!!
    ~Nancy from OHIO

  4. You wrote a fantastic piece on Cleveland... Thank You! ~Nancy from OHIO

  5. My family owns the tiny corner store, Michael's Bakery, in your picture at the Westside Market! My Oma and Opa opened the bakery when they immigrated here from Germany during WWII. It has been in our family for three generations. The Market has such beautiful history, with wonderful people and culture everywhere you look. Thank you so much for such a fantastic write up of this very overlooked city!
    Thank you!!
    Jessica A

    1. Wow! One of the many reasons I love that place. Thank you so much for sharing that story with me! I'm sure the next time my dad is at the Market, he will be stopping by!