One Day in ClevelandAAA editors suggest these activities for a great short vacation experience.
Morning Museums don’t open first thing, so start at West Side Market (1979 W. 25th St.) in the Ohio City neighborhood. The building, which opened in 1912, features a vaulted Guastavino tile ceiling and a 137-foot clock tower. More than 100 vendors sell baked goods, produce, meat, seafood, dairy items, flowers and other specialty products.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (751 Erieside Ave.) is a must-see. Its massive permanent collection showcases everything you’d want to know about rock and roll, and temporary exhibits enhance the already impressive experience. The story of rock unfolds in creatively themed exhibit areas—highlighting musical giants like Elvis, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones all the way down to one-hit wonders. Memorabilia, films, interactive exhibits and video and audio clips fill the galleries of I.M. Pei’s dramatic building on the shore of Lake Erie.
You could easily spend the whole day here, and why not if you are a big-time music fan? But if you want to see what else the city offers, save the afternoon for something else.
Afternoon Head to University Circle, a square mile jam-packed with cultural, educational and health institutions; Wade Oval and Wade Lagoon are beautiful spaces to enjoy the scenic area. You can’t go wrong with any of the AAA GEM attractions: Cleveland Botanical Garden (11030 East Blvd.), Cleveland Museum of Art (11150 East Blvd.), Cleveland Museum of Natural History (1 Wade Oval Dr.) and The Cleveland History Center (10825 East Blvd.). Our pick: the art museum. The beautiful 1916 building, home to one of the country’s best collections, has recently undergone a major expansion.
The art spans 6,000 years. Major artists represented among the more than 45,000 works include Mary Cassatt, Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock, Nicholas Poussin, Andy Warhol and a variety of Hudson River School artists. African, Ancient Egyptian, Ancient Near East/Greek/Roman, Chinese, Indian and Southeast Asian, Islamic, Japanese and Korean works of art also are displayed. The medieval collection contains coins, glass, jewelry, manuscripts, metalwork, paintings and sculpture among other objects. The highlight is an extensive arms and armor collection. It features body armor, helmets, crossbows, daggers, knives, swords and shields.
Have lunch at the museum or head to Little Italy, adjacent to University Circle. The neighborhood offers restaurants, bakeries and art galleries.
Evening Cleveland has quite the theater scene. PlayhouseSquare, the country’s largest performing arts center outside of New York’s offerings, features several resident companies, including Cleveland Play House (the country’s first regional theater), and also brings in touring productions. Many restaurants are nearby; consider exploring the East 4th Street district, where there's a good nightlife scene.
For a more casual outing, head to Ohio City. Bars and breweries offer plentiful nightlife. Tour the Great Lakes Brewing Co. (2516 Market Ave.) and then enjoy some of its creations. You’ll feel like a Clevelander yourself after sampling the beers with fun, creative names related to all things Cleveland. Another option is McNulty’s Bier Markt, serving more than 100 American and Belgian craft beers. Have dinner at the attached Bar Cento (1948 25th St.), where the European-inspired menu changes seasonally so the chefs can always use local ingredients. If you're in the mood for a pizza, this is a great place to order one.
Not ready to call it a night? Jack Cleveland Casino (100 Public Sq.) is open 24 hours. You’ll be focused on winning big, but take a minute to look around. The building was once the Higbee Co., one of Cleveland’s many beautiful—but long gone—department stores.
AAA’s in-person hotel evaluations are unscheduled to ensure the inspector has an experience similar to that of members. To pass inspection, all hotels must meet the same rigorous standards for cleanliness, comfort and hospitality. These hotels receive a AAA Diamond designation that tells members what type of experience to expect.
The local sales tax is 8 percent. The city lodging tax is 5.5 percent (less in suburbs).
Time and Temperature
Cleveland Clinic, (216) 444-2200; St. Vincent Charity Medical Center, (216) 861-6200; University Hospitals Case Medical Center, (216) 844-8447.
334 Euclid Ave. Cleveland, OH 44114. Phone:(216)875-6680 or (800)321-1001
Cleveland Hopkins International Airport
Hertz, which offers discounts to AAA members, has a counter at the airport and at 3663 Park East Dr., Beachwood; phone (216) 831-3836 (Beachwood), (216) 267-8900 (airport) or (800) 654-3080.
The Amtrak station is at E. Ninth Street and Cleveland Memorial Shoreway; phone (800) 872-7245.
Greyhound Lines Inc., (800) 231-2222, is at 1465 Chester Ave.
Cabs are available at the Public Square taxi stands or they can be ordered by phone. Rates average $2.75 for the first one-eighth mile and 28c for each additional one-eighth mile. The average fee for waiting is $18-$20 an hour. A $1 fuel surcharge also is added to the fare. Companies include Ace Taxi, (216) 361-4700; Americab, (216) 881-1111; and Yellow Cab, (216) 623-1500.
The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA) offers bus and train service. Rail service runs from Cleveland Hopkins International Airport to the Tower City Rapid Transit Station on Public Square and continues to the Louis Stokes Station at Windermere in East Cleveland as well as from Tower City Center to points in Shaker Heights. The Waterfront Line transports visitors to popular attractions Mon.-Fri. 6:30 a.m.-midnight; weekends and holidays 9 a.m.-midnight.