There are a number of connotations associated with the city of Cleveland. For decades it epitomized the decline of the American dream. Comedians used it as a safe punchline. Now, that narrative is quickly changing. Craft breweries have been popping up left and right. Unique restaurants, more than Clevelanders can keep track of, are opening around every corner. Most promising of all, downtown has more residents than ever before in its history.
Suffice it to say, there's plenty of life and action for any traveler visiting Cleveland.
Must see In Cleveland
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is the first thing that comes to mind for most travelers and rightfully so as any visitor could spend a full afternoon perusing music history. Seeing a show at Playhouse Square ranks right alongside for both the atmosphere, architecture, and taste of downtown life. Finally, the Cleveland Museum of Art is as impressive as ever thanks to recent expansions, not to mention its an exuse to jaunt around the impressive University Circle neighborhood.
Where to stay In Cleveland
Downtown Cleveland is an obvious choice given it's the epicenter of city nightlife. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is just a short walk away, and you'll have no shortage of restaurant options between the busy East Fourth District, Playhouse Square and the Warehouse District. Then just over the Cuyahoga River there's Ohio City, a booming slice of walkable urbanism lined with trendy restaurants and tasty craft breweries. Young travelers will love the nightlife and families will get a kick out of an afternoon walk around the cozy, leafy neighborhood full of historic homes. Another great option is over in University Circle, which consists of just about every museum you'd want to visit outside of the Rock Hall and is adjacent to a Little Italy that truly feels like another country. Obviously you won't go hungry hanging around the latter.
Best and worst time to go to Cleveland
Few (if any) will argue for visiting Cleveland in the winter, which typically starts in mid-November and can stretch through March. The past couple of winters have been especially brutal. May through October are generally great times to visit with comparatively predictable, comfortable weather.
The best deal in Cleveland
The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is impressive in of itself, but especially so on Mondays when admittance is free. Holidays not included, unfortunately.
Transportation in Cleveland
While public transportation can always be better in any American city, Cleveland most certainly included, the good news is this -- you do not need a car to see Cleveland. RTA's light and heavy rail will get you to just about any corner of the city a traveler would want to visit without having to risk your life on Cleveland's notoriously accident prone highways.
Getting in from Cleveland Hopkins International Airport
One of the many perks of Cleveland living and visiting is that it's one of the few American cities that connects its airport to downtown by rail. Truth be told, Cleveland was first, and it's an incredible service that cannot be overstated. For a mere $2.25, you're downtown under 40 minutes without the stress involved with cars.
Local tip for visitors to Cleveland
If you're interested in heading to a Cavs, Browns or baseball game, look for tickets first on Flash Seats for the Cavs and StubHub for the latter two. You're almost certainly find a better deal here.
Author's bio: Joe Bauer is a travel writer, filmmaker and author of "Best Hikes Near Cleveland." Find him at joebaur.com, @BaurJoe on Twitter or at Happy Dog sucking down a hot dog with chorizo and a sunny-side-up egg.