Last weekend I hit the road to Cleveland with my husband to meet my best friend and her husband for the Kanye West Saint Pablo Tour. Our whole reasoning for the trip was to be able to see Kanye together (my bff, Erin, and I are huge fans), and we planned it in Cleveland since it was a Saturday concert and I wouldn't have to take off work, it was within driving distance, and Erin is originally from Cleveland so she knows the area.
Knowing I was heading to Cleveland, my DC blogger friend, Angelica (who is also from Cleveland) dropped some hints to reach out to Destination Cleveland, a popular tourism office, for tips on things to do since they like to work with bloggers. I reached out to their communications office and worked with Kristen, who provided me with a detailed list of recommendations and things to do, all geared directly at myself and my blog topics. I recommend any blogger heading to Cleveland to reach out to Destination Cleveland to do the same! Since we only had a short period of time in the city (35 hours to be exact), I prioritized items off location and personal interest. Our short 35 hours turned out to be the perfect mini getaway, packed with fun activities all thanks to Destination Cleveland.
To give a breakdown of what we did and what we saw in just a short amount of time, I have created this Cleveland Travel Diary focused on making the most of a weekend trip to the Plum city.
Waterloo Arts District
The Waterloo Arts District of Cleveland is a hotspot for funky shops, art galleries, and murals. As we drove into this neighborhood, I was so distracted by all of the cool street art my husband had to tell me to watch the road (I'm not even joking, lol!). The streets were quiet and parking was plentiful, which was a definite plus. I always like to take in new places free of crowds and lots of other people because I think there is something special in being one-on-one with a new area and it opens my mind.
We started off our time in Waterloo Arts District with coffee at Six Shooter Coffee, a hip coffee shop with awesome drinks and ultra friendly baristas. The cafe had a relaxed feeling with artwork throughout and is connected to a pottery gallery, which I thought was really cool. In conversation while ordering our coffee (I had the Nitro Toddy and David had a cold brew), we learned that the owner of one of the art galleries in the neighborhood was getting married that day, and likely all the other galleries would be closed as they were at the wedding. This was a huge bummer to me, but I liked the sense of community that all the other galleries owners and employees would be at their wedding.
After coffee, we walked the few blocks of the arts district taking in all the surrounding arts and creativity which I could literally feel in the air. Although most of the shops were closed, I still enjoyed walking the streets and taking in the cool vibes. Next time I'm in Cleveland I definitely want to go back and check out the galleries.
For lunch, we trekked to the other side of town to go to Happy Dog, a bar/restaurant known for their hot dogs. This place was recommended to me by my DC blogger friend Roxanne who is *also* originally from Cleveland (I have a lot of Cleveland friends, don't I?). David and I's guilty pleasure food is hot dogs and dive bars, so we knew we couldn't miss going here. For $6 you get a hot dog and as many toppings as you want from the menu on the dog. The topping options are plentiful and off the wall- think hot fries, fruit loops, peanut butter, and more! We kept it a little on the safer side, except I got brave and decided to try man 'n cheese on top of mine which was really really good! The tater tots were also delish- definitely top with cheese if you ever go!
After Happy Dog, we decided to go to the buzzing Ohio City neighborhood. This area is known for its restaurants, breweries, and markets. We started our tour of the area at Great Lakes Brewery, followed by Nano Brew, with a visit to the Glass Bubble Project, all recommended by Destination Cleveland. Both breweries were good, but I preferred Nano since they have a really pretty outdoor patio and the weather was perfect this day. The bartender at Nano also introduced me to MANCAN wine in a can that is from the area. I hadn't seen anything like this before at home and liked the concept. We then went to the Glass Bubble Project, a glass blowing studio that offers classes and demonstrations. The concept of this studio was unique and I wish I had more time in Cleveland so I could've taken a class! The studio is also home to a rooster who roams around and I thought that was a great touch of character!
I really liked this neighborhood and the restaurants all looked awesome. If we didn't have the concert later in the evening, we would've come back to the area for dinner in one of the restaurants and for the nightlife scene.
Before hitting the road to DC the following day, we stopped in Hingetown (close to Ohio City) for coffee and some more last minute mural perusing. Certain areas of Hingetown were recommended by Destination Cleveland, but Rising Star Coffee Roasters was recommended by my bff Erin's cousin, Mary Colleen, who lives in Cleveland. I'm telling you this now- if you ever go to Cleveland, definitely go to Rising Star and treat yourself to one of their Cardamom Bombs (a cappuccino/latte mix) and a house made cheddar bagel. I loved the feel of this coffee house and artistic nature of the surrounding buildings. Across from Rising Star, there is the Cleveland Modern Art Museum (recommended by Destination Cleveland, but I didn't get to go in and I've added to my to-do list for next time), murals, art figures, and an amazing full wall of succulents and waterfalls spanning an entire buildings side. I loved the zen feel of this neighborhood and want to make this my first step the next time I return to the city!
Blonde in the District