Cleveland: It’s not only rock and roll but I like it

Cleveland rocks. Who knew?

I’d been there before, and in some ways it seems like many of us have all been there before. We’ve heard the jokes, we’ve met Drew Carey and we’ve taken in the city’s most famous (Halle Barry, Arsenio Hall and Monica Potter to name a few), but have we really ever experienced all this city has to offer?

The answer to that is a simple, resounding, bass resonating no.

In fact, after spending a weekend there I know I really haven’t experienced all there is to offer in that city.

It’s definitely not the city I expected it to be, but maybe it’s the city we deserve, to paraphrase a famous superhero.

And why wouldn’t you want to travel somewhere, so close to home, a mere five hour drive, provided you don’t stop every hour like we did, or for lunch at Cracker Barrel.

Accommodation

IMG_0368Let’s start with what type of accommodations Cleveland has to offer, and boy do they have more on offer than originally thought.

If you were going to a city like this, thinking that there isn’t going to be luxury accommodation available to you, you would be mistaken. Not only is there a rather luscious looking Ritz Carlton there, but the hotel I stayed at is chock full of historical value.

Hyatt Regency at the Cleveland Arcade has set itself apart, by maintaining history while wowing its guests with excellent service and exemplary location. The hotel is housed in one of the oldest indoor shopping centres, built in 1890.The decor reflects the time in which it was built and the atmosphere is phenomenal. It’s hard, upon check in time, to not walk a few feet and have to excuse yourself as you almost run into a person taking yet another photo of the Arcade itself.IMG_0491

Yes, that’s right; this hotel is not just a hotel, it also serves as a walkway between one street to the very awesome sights of the next and is in fact, a bonafide shopping centre.

Within the main part of the hotel, is a hall, although that seems such a simple term, filled with shops, restaurants and services, which reflect the quality of the hotel itself. From shops such as Arcade Convenience, which is the most luxurious convenience store I’ve ever seen, to Marengo Luxury Spa you’ll find there’s a lot to choose from.

The restaurants range from interesting, to enticing as you walk along. The hotel restaurant, 1890 at the Arcade, provides you with a breakfast (free if you’re AAA or CAA) that’s worth the price if you’re paying for it. And who can let go of the enticement of the Chocolate Bar, a restaurant I didn’t go to but always seemed packed to the rafters with diners ready to partake.

This hotel is good for the travel craving a historical feel, and while certain things might be updating the comfort of the bed was needed after a 7-hour drive, including stops.

And if you’re not willing to eat in the Arcade, behind the Arcade you’ll find some rather delicious options.

Dining and Shopping on Euclid Avenue (And East 4th St)

Behind, or rather through the Arcade in the Hyatt Regency is a place that I could have easily spent hours exploring, if only I had IMG_0374the stomach for it.

First and foremost when you walk into this cobblestoned area, just across the street from the Hyatt itself you will see Cleveland’s House of Blues, and again, the gorgeous string lighting that made the Arcade look so beautiful at night.

It’s a hard time choosing where to eat, but as I was with family, two of who had never experienced the delicious dining the House of Blues has to offer there was little choice for me.

The menu isn’t large, but the tastes definitely are, as is the atmosphere and the drinks.

It’s not just a venue for musicians; it’s a place to eat some delicious comfort food, all served with a twist.

Crossroads, at the House of Blues is home to food revamped and made delicious by Aaron Sanchez of Chopped and Heatseakers fame. Not only can you find, on the menu delicious flatbreads or cornbread with maple butter you can also find my personal favourite. A delicious French dip sandwich, with provolone cheese, bourbon onions and creamy horseradish sauce served on French bread with succulent aus jus on the side. It’s good enough to require a second, if you think your stomach can handle it.

Honourable mentions for dining: Cracker Barrel is a must do if you like down home food and don’t mind a chain restaurant because it is delicious and the perfect stop if you’re taking the I-90. And of course, every Big Bang Theory fan’s fave: The Cheesecake Factory. My advice is, if you want the Cheesecake don’t order appetizers. Or ONLY order appetizers…

In terms of shopping outside of the Arcade it’s worth it to check out Cle Clothing Co. or the House of Blues shop if you want some nice souvenirs which are also ultra-trendy. A mere block away from the hotel is The Avenue at Tower City centre, with more than 75 stores and somewhere around 20 restaurants for you to take in and enjoy.

If you’re willing to take a little drive, you can also find yourself at the very cool and very interesting Legacy Village in Lyndhurst Ohio which not only has some excellent fine dining but some very good shopping and entertainment.

The Sights and Sounds of Cleveland

IMG_0387The Black Leys, Dave Grohl, Dean Martin, Doris Day, the Isley Brothers.

Ohio’s history in music is rich, and diverse, and it was a DJ, working in Cleveland who coined the term “rock ‘n’ roll” in the first place, and who was so eager to promote this style of music.

So once again, Cleveland rocks, and the Hall of Fame is definitely something to see if you love music.

I can’t deny that seeing Johnny Cash’s tour bus wasn’t one of most interesting experiences of my life. Or that I didn’t, as a Beatles fan, get choked up seeing the very piano on which John Lennon penned songs such as ‘Strawberry Fields Forever.’

Within the halls of this rather small and interestingly shaped building are some amazing sights. To list them all would take hours, but if you love music, you can’t help but fall in love with the sights of these memories, some water coloured and misty, some vivid and alive.

Currently, there is a celebration of The Rolling Stones, which allows you to climb to the highest point in the building and take a whirl around the room reliving decades of the career of one of the world’s most prolific bands.IMG_0486

But the sights don’t stop with the Rock Hall.

Highlights of Cleveland

If you’re a sports fan, and it is the season you could always take in a Cleveland Indians game, or a Browns game.

If you’re a fan of Christmas movies, in particular A Christmas Story you can visit Ralphie’s house.

And if you’re a fan of museums, like I am there is always the Cleveland Museum of Art, Museum of Contemporary Art, Museum of Natural History, Great Lakes Science Centre and the super interesting Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum. Also, this is the city that started the International Women’s Air and Space Museum.

Also on the list of sights is the Cleveland Library, which during the duration of my stay was showing an exhibit on the second floor dedicated to Canadian made superhero Superman.

In all honesty, two days was not enough to get through this city. Three or four would be recommended depending on the events going on in the city. It’s definitely not the city I remembered from my childhood, but it’s definitely one I look forward to returning to as an adult.

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