For my birthday this year my husband and I are heading to Ohio. We’ve got a whole list of things planned so if you’re ever planning on visiting this would also be a great itinerary for you too.
- Dinner on East Fourth Street
- Quickly becoming a nightlife destination of choice, this narrow brick street is packed with upscale eateries and entertainment.
The Greenhouse Tavern
- 2038 East Fourth Street, Cleveland, 21.443.0511, www.greenhousetavern.com
- Chef Jonathon Sawyer evokes the farm-to-plate movement in his new restaurant, the Greenhouse Tavern. Sawyer believes that the proximity of the farm to the restaurant directly correlates with the quality of food. This new restaurant exhibits this concept. Its the first Green Restaurant Association Certified Green restaurant in Ohio. Everything in it is made of recycled & re-purposed materials.
- 2061 East Fourth Street, 216.344.2020, www.saigoncleveland.com
- Saigon is a casual, upscale full-service Vietnamese restaurant offering grilled entrees, flavorful stir-fries and homemade French-influenced desserts. Complete your experience with a taste of Saigon’s great scotches and mixed drinks, or enjoy a glass of award-winning wine.
- 2058 East 4th Street, Cleveland, 216.621.5652, www.lolabistro.com
- Be a part of the Lola craze! Lola is an upscale, nationally recognized restaurant owned by celebrity Iron Chef Michael Symon. This American bistro with Midwestern twists and turns uses locally grown and raised organic meats and produce.
The Chocolate Bar
- 347 Euclid Ave., Cleveland, 44114, 216.622.2626, http://originalchocolatebar.com
- The Chocolate Bar is a restaurant that serves lunch, dinner, cocktails and, of course, dessert. A full 50 percent of the menu is dedicated to sweets including tarts, cakes, crepes, ice cream, fondue and brownies. The Chocolate Bar is the second of its kind in the United States. Stop by for a chocolate banana cream pie martini, cocoa puff alpaccino or share chocolate fondue for two.
- 2044 East Fourth Street, Cleveland, 44114, 216.298.4050, www.wonderbarcleveland.com
- Take in the nightly live jazz at Wonder Bar, a Cleveland restaurant and music club. Dine on the delightful varieties of small plates or just enjoy one of their signature cocktails as you listen to the smooth sounds of jazz. Cool architecture and laid-back vibe.
We’ll be eating at one of these restaurants then heading out for a lovely night out.
Gaelic Storm at House of Blues
- 308 Euclid Ave., Cleveland, 216.523.BLUE, www.hob.com/cleveland
- As many hundreds of thousands of record buyers and live music lovers know, Gaelic Storm is whirlwind ruckus (Village Voice) that tours over two hundred days per year and play high-energy, foot-stomping, feel-good music. Cabbage is further testament to the bands contagious energy, combining influences from rock, bluegrass, Jamaican, African and Middle Eastern music that may surprise those expecting purely traditional Celtic music. The quintet’s new release once again showcases Gaelic Storm’s signature acoustic sound with a brand new batch of crafted story-songs and driving instrumentals.
The following day:
Cleveland Museum of Art
- 11150 East Boulevard, Cleveland, 44106, 216.421.7340, www.clevelandart.org
- One of the most prestigious cultural institutions in the city is the Cleveland Museum of Art, one of the United States most important art museums and the only major museum in the country to still offer free admission to its permanent collection.
- NOTE: Admission is always free to their permanent collection. Yes, Renoir, Monet and Dali FREE.
Cleveland Botanical Garden
- 11030 East Boulevard, Cleveland, 44106, 216.721.1600 www.cbgarden.org
- The Cleveland Botanical Garden is a combination of indoor exhibits housed in a magnificent glasshouse and ten acres of diverse outdoor gardens. The spectacular Glasshouse includes two major exhibits featuring the climates of the spiny desert of Madagascar and a butterfly-filled rainforest of Costa Rica.
Lunch Suggestion – Sergio’s on the Circle
- 1903 Ford Drive, Cleveland, 216.231.1234, www.sergioscleveland.com
- Located in the Carriage House of the original mansion that is now the Glidden House Hotel, this restaurant is one of the most talked about restaurants on the Circle. The atmosphere is casual and fun with a cross-cultural menu featuring Mediterranean and seafood specialties. Sergio Abramof, owner/chef, owns both Sergio’s and Sergio’s SARAVA in Shaker Square.
- Located within walking distance of University Circle museums, you can fit lunch in at whatever time is most convenient for you.
Finish the afternoon:
Cleveland Museum of Natural History
- 1 Wade Oval – University Circle, Cleveland, 216.231.4600, www.cmnh.org
- From dinosaurs to diamonds, the Museum is a beautiful blend of traditional and interactive galleries that show kids of all ages how history and art connect with the natural world.
Ralph Perkins II Wildlife Center + Woods Garden
- Visitors can marvel at bald eagles, owls, foxes, bobcats, deer and other animals in this 2.2-acre outdoor gallery that connects to the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. Admission included.
Dinner at Momocho
- 1835 Fulton Road, Cleveland;216.694.2122; www.momocho.com
- At this Ohio City hot spot recently visited by Guy Fieri of the Food Network, Mexican favorites get a modern twist. Featuring creative guacamole’s made of goat cheese, blue crab, mint, chilies and more it’s hard to save room for the mouth-watering taquitos. Wash it all down with one of the nine flavors of margaritas including the famous cucumber with chile-lime salted rim.
The next day:
Breakfast at Grumpy’s
- 2621 West 14th Street, Cleveland (Tremont), 44113, www.grumpystremont.com
- Grumpy’s is a local Tremont favorite that sits in a newly renovated building with bold colors to offset the ever-changing artwork on the walls. The menu features great, big breakfasts and lunch and dinner specials.
- NOTE: Always friendly service and the pumpkin pancakes are out of this world.
West Side Market (Ohio City, West)
- 1979 W. 25th Street, Cleveland, 216.861.5250 www.westsidemarket.com
- Built in 1912, the West Side Market is the largest indoor/outdoor market in the country. This marketplace was once where turn-of-the-century immigrants found their native foods and spices. Today, it features 180 booths with the freshest selection of fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy, produce, bakery, ethnic foods and international delicacies. Only open Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. The inside cafe serves-up old-fashioned, diner-esque food.
Greater Cleveland Aquarium
- 2000 Sycamore Street, Cleveland, OH 44113, 216.862.8803, www.greaterclevelandaquarium.com
- The Powerhouse located in the West Bank of the Flats is now home to the new 70,000-square-foot Greater Cleveland Aquarium. The nationally historic building includes 40 tanks and more than millions of gallons of water. One of the most exciting exhibits includes a seatube that allows visitors to experience life under the sea in a clear, 150′ walk-through tunnel.
Driving Tour of Downtown
- Historic Warehouse District, Old Stone Church, Public Square, Soldiers and Sailors Monument
Lunch at Pura Vida
- 170 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, 44115, www.puravidabybrandt.com
- Pure Life isn’t just the name of the restaurant; it’s the philosophy behind it. Chef Brandt Evans brings this concept to life in his new, trendy downtown restaurant serving up a gourmet breakfast, distinctive lunch and an urban picnic menu featuring fresh local ingredients from a myriad of trusted local sources.
Great Lakes Science Center (North Coast Harbor, Downtown)
- 601 Erie Side Avenue, Cleveland, www.glsc.org
- Wow the kids with more than 400 hands-on exhibits, while participating in science-related live demonstrations at the Great Lakes Science Center. Watch thrilling life-like movies in a six-story-high OMNIMAX theatre, too. Facing Mars, the current exhibit asks visitors Would you go to Mars? with 28 thought-provoking and interactive exhibits.
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum (North Coast Harbor, Downtown)
- 1100 Rock and Roll Boulevard, Cleveland, 216.781.7625, www.rockhall.org
- Pay homage to rock icons and see video, artifacts, memorabilia and other cool, one-of-a-kind stuff on display at the Rock Hall. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum is dedicated to exploring the past, present and future of the music and the cultural context from which it emerges. The Rock Hall just unveiled a special exhibition, Women Who Rock: Vision, Passion, Power.
Depart for Lake Erie Shores and Islands
the Cabin Club for dinner
- 30651 Detroit Road, Westlake, OH 44145, 440.899.7111, www.hrcleveland.com/cabin.php
- The Cabin Club in Westlake features thick – juicy steaks, a sizzling plate of sauted mushrooms, and a big-bodied red wine it’s beef lovers™ nirvana. This timber-framed log cabin was built shortly after the end of World War II, and has been a local favorite since 1991.
Check-in to Kalahari Resort (Castaway Bay and Great Wolf Lodge are also options)
- 7000 Kalahari Drive, Sandusky, www.kalahariresorts.com/oh
- Experience the time of your life with everything under one roof. Surf indoors 365 days a year in 86 degree temperatures or take on the Zip Coaster uphill water rollercoaster in America’s largest Indoor Waterpark. Pamper yourself at Spa Kalahari or dine at one of 11 dining ad bar choice including The Reserve Restaurant & Bar, Ivory Coast Lounge, Pizza Pub at Cafe Mirage, Great Karoo Marketplace Restaurant, and in the summer months, ZanziBar. For shopping and fun, there is Zakanaka Kids, Madagascar Indoor Glow Golf, Safari Outdoor Adventure (Zipline and Ropes Course), Animal Park, and more. No matter what the weather is outside, you can splash all day long indoors at Kalahari. Catch some rays at Kalahari’s outdoor pools from Memorial Day to Labor Day (weather permitting). Once you cross over the bridge, you’ll feel “A World Away.” Call for day pass information or visit KalahariResorts.com/oh/parks/waterparkdaily/
The following day visit downtown Sandusky featuring ferry docks and view of Cedar Point.
Lunch at Zinc Brasserie
- 142 Columbus Ave., Sandusky, www.zincbrasserie.net
- Serving fresh, delicious, French-inspired food with attentive service and a warm atmosphere. Seasonal favorites as well as classic selections. Full bar and wine list. Outdoor seating, bar/lounge, reservations suggested, open year-round. Cuisine: fine dining. Meals served: lunch and dinner and dinner specials.
Dessert at WKCafe
- 137 E. Water St., Sandusky, www.wendykromer.com
- Locally owned/operated by Pastry Chef & Martha Stewart Weddings Contributing Editor, and Sandusky native, Wendy Kromer-Schell. This cozy, downtown cafe & bakery (formerly known as City Bake Shop) is one of the area’s only artisanal bakeries, featuring made-from-scratch bagels, scones, cakes, cookies, cupcakes, master-blended teas & locally roasted coffees.
- 301 Jackson St., Sandusky, www.merrygoroundmuseum.org
- “Grab The Brass Ring” and be amazed by the unique carousel animals on display. Kids of every age can ride the antique carousel and watch woodcarvers breathe life into new horses.
Sawmill Creek Resort –
- 400 Sawmill Creek (off U.S. 6), Huron, www.sawmillcreek.com
- The resort features a Tom Fazio designed 18-hole golf course, marina, seasonal restaurants, shops, and in-room luxuries like fireplaces, a private beach, and water sports. 240 rooms.
Head back to Cleveland:
Lunch in Tremont (Lucky’s Cafe)
- 777 Starkweather Avenue, 216.622.7773, www.luckyscafe.com
- Perfectly situated in the artsy, blue-collared neighborhood of Tremont, Lucky’s Cafe is brimming with charisma and quirkiness with its home-cooked breakfasts, lunches, pastries and coffees. Their biscuits and gravy are practically world famous and the Shipwreck (hash browns, eggs, seasonal veggies, bacon and cheddar cheese served in one delicious mound) is a fan favorite. Chef Heather Haviland is also an accomplished baker and makes incredible pastries.
Driving tour, shopping at boutiques in Tremont
- Historic Tremont is has a reputation as one of Cleveland’s hidden hotspots for art and dining. A blue collar neighborhood with a rich cultural heritage, Tremont’s newest residents are urban professionals and artists. Just off of Lincoln Park, the neighborhood’s landmark epicenter, you’ll discover hidden galleries and boutiques, award-winning restaurants and pubs the locals would like to keep to themselves.
- Discover the Unexpected: Grab a bite to eat at Lolita, an Iron Chef Michael Symon restaurant. Step back in time to the 1938 art deco-influenced barroom at Prosperity Social Club and enjoy live bluegrass, folk, jazz and funk music and the old-fashioned bar bowling machine.
- Places to Visit:
- Tremont Scoops: 2362 Professor Avenue, Cleveland, 44113, www.tremontscoops.com
- A Cookie and A Cupcake: 2173 Professor Avenue, Cleveland 44113, www.acookieandacupcake.com
- Pinky’s Daily Planner: 2403 Professor Avenue, Cleveland, 44113, www.pinkysdailyplanner.com
- Eye Candy: 2242 Professor Avenue, Cleveland 44113, www.eyecandy-gallery.com