city by 71

cleveland design guide {update}

(photo by Billy Delfs)

Today’s city guide update belongs to the city of Cleveland, Ohio and comes to us via local shop owner (and lover of all thinatings cleveland), Danielle Deboe of Room Service. After leaving cleveland for LA a while back, Danielle eventually returned to Ohio to open her own retail store and dedicate herself to Cleveland’s design scene.  She also is the creator/organizer of the bi-annual MADE IN THE 216 Event, which celebrates and features Cleveland-based bands, dj’s, chefs and designers.  And she also recently announced a new 4,000 sq. foot Men and Women’s Apparel & Home Goods and Gifts store, THE DREDGERS UNION to open in Spring 2011.

Today Danielle shares a guide chock-full of great shops, fantastic places to grab a bite, and some new and exciting additions to the city!  Thanks, Danielle for showing us, once again, the great city of cleveland!–Stephanie

CLICK HERE for the full cleveland guide after the jump!


In 2008 when I wrote the last version of this city guide, I thought I knew my city. 3 years later, almost 4 years into being an active business owner in it, I still find myself surprised!  This time around, I am so pleased to report that after enduring a historically bad economy, this city guide has grown longer rather than shorter.  Not only did many of our retailers stick around, new ones showed up.  That some of our favorite independent restaurants have not just hung in, but added new locations is more than notable and this list is proud to welcome a new class of entrepreneurs who have decided to act on their dreams…Here…In my hometown.  CLEVELAND.

We have small little neighborhoods within downtown and larger neighborhoods just on it’s fringes.  I have broken this guide up by neighborhood and from there to my picks of where toEAT, DRINK, SHOP & PLAY within them.

Cleveland has been nicknamed THE FOREST CITY as it is surrounded by many trees and parks. There are a great many places to go for a scenic run or walk and be sure to BRING YOUR BICYCLE !

Admittedly, this list is NOT comprehensive.   I welcome people to add their own personal favorites (that I have not included) to the comments section of this guide as I have been told it has served as a great addendum to the main list.


Ohio City is one of Cleveland’s most historic neighborhoods. It was considered one of the top-10 cottage communities by COTTAGE LIVING magazine. This neighborhood is just over the bridge from downtown, a few blocks from the lake and home to the area’s largest and oldest farmers market: The Westside Market. With our tremendous FOOD culture in this town and the West Side Market serving as a hub, this neighborhood has attracted some of the best restaurants in town and subsequent variety of businesses, including my own. A very walkable community, Ohio City is a neighborhood you could spend a day and evening in.FOR NEIGHBORHOOD WEBSITE CLICK HERE.


ROOM SERVICE – This is my boutique, which I describe as an arts-centric lifestyle shop, offering items that I deem to be GOOD DESIGN at an ATTAINABLE price point. I opened in 2007 and I have only recently moved from our last location into this neighborhood, a neighborhood I had spent many years living in and love.  My new space is much larger, at 2,000 sq.ft I have the space to offer a much broader range of goods.    Here you will find items for women, men, home and baby..  Visit Jennie or I for a glass of wine at the store!

MADE IN THE 216 - This is a shop within my shop of all items DESIGNED LOCALLY (216 being our area code here).  If you are in Cleveland during the holidays or in June, then you may be around for one of our LARGE events that we host featuring a lineup of bands, dj’s, food, jewelry, clothing, artwork, home goods and gifts all of which are made right here in the 216!

(image by Gregory Wilson)

Salty Not Sweet - This handmade boutique, run by  Candra & Melissa is an ever-rotating roster of unique and often fun items.  Candra and I co-host a video series where we discuss the different products we come across in our respective stores and essentially drink copious amount of wine until Candra gets me to say something really dumb, which is an inevitability anyway. (check it out at Ohio Authority).

Penzey’s Spices - Just across the street from the West Side Market in the Beautiful United Bank Building, Penzey’s offers a large assortment of…well, spices!  It is an attractively put together store and I like it for the recipes that they offer around the store.

Market at the Fig – While I could put this in either the SHOP or EAT section because they do offer a variety of breakfast, lunch and dinner selections, they also operate as a great little shop offering a selection of prepared foods, a variety of craft beers, wines, sodas, fresh fruit, chips, crackers, charcuterie, artisanal cheeses, and rotating specialty items with an emphasis on small batches and local sources. An assortment of house-made pastries, breads, pickles, and jams are also available.

The Glass Bubble Project – Stop by for a glass-blowing class or just pop in to see their wares for sale, from decorative bowls to chandeliers.

Elegansia - This is a vintage clothing/jewelry store that also has a strong inventory (albeit fluctuating) of designer vintage.

Something Different – a long enduring retail staple located in the heart of the neighborhood on W.25th Street, stop in for…wait for it…yes! Something Different!


West Side Market – Named by the Food Network as the “Best Food Lovers Market” in the country, West Side Market is where I go for a custom-order crepe, or a falafal sandwich.  Do all your market shopping for the freshest local meats and produce (not to mention a local favorite, pierogies!) Stop by to get some fresh baguettes, delicious cheese, fruits and other treats and have your own picnic.

ABC Tavern – a favorite stop of mine.  Jukebox or live music, pool, mini bowling, great food and beer selection.  A sure thing.

(image courtesy of OCNW)

Crop - menu here focuses on locally grown meat and produce, with delicious results. Try the Tour de Crop- 7 courses, seated with a view of the kitchen, great way to taste all the inventive offerings. (Come hungry). Will soon be moving to the stunning United Bank Building in Ohio City, across from the West Side Market.

Great Lakes Brewery – historic local brewing company and restaurant with a great outdoor patio.

Market Avenue Wine Bar - with an enormous wine selection you still cannot stump Joy, who runs this wine bar. She knows exactly what questions to ask to aid in selecting the right wine for you….and she always gets it right!

The Flying FIg – Chef Karen Small has created a great place with a great menu. The happy hour menu till 7:30 is even impressive.

Market Garden Brewery - The Brewery & Distillery will feature a 3,000 sq.ft American beer garden, 3 fireplaces, 2 indoor bars and a picnic-inspired menu featuring local and organic ingredients.  They will have a 10 barrel brewhouse that will brew up a menu of a dozen beers that span the flavor spectrum from easy drinking session lagers to big beasty ipas and porters. And with their copper still they will produce a lineup

Bar Cento – Tied for my current favorite (along with luxe) over a 100 selections of wine by the glass, amazing brick oven flat bread pizzas, and overall great vibe.

The Bier Markt - serves nearly 100 Belgian Beers and many many others.

Speakeasy – modeled after a prohibition era speakeasy, nestled safely under the above listed bier markt.

Touch Supperclub- great sunday brunch, complete with a build your own bloody mary bar. Often has DJs spinning downstairs on the weekends.

The Souper Market - Yep, the name says it all, delicious handcrafted soups (up to 12 a day!) , with vegan friendly options to boot.

The Old Angle – Definitely a cozy neighborhood tavern with a good menu…I love cozying up to their fireplace with a bowl of chili in the fall.

Koffee Cafe – The neighborhood coffee shop and lunch spot.

Momocho – Known for their “mod-mex” menu, I can tell you the goat cheese guacamole is a must have.

Hecks - Well known for their burgers…appropriately so too!

Le Petit Triangle Cafe – Modeled after a french cafe, you can stop by for a morning croissant and coffee, lunch or dinner with wine.

Nates – Super casual middle eastern eatery. Open for lunch, right next to the West Side Market, I try to multi-task my visits to both. 216.696.7529  1923 W. 25th St.

Nick’s Diner – The classic greasy spoon breakfast joint, you will not be alone there Sat. & Sun. mornings! 216.631.7757 4116 Lorain Ave.

The Light Bistro – Top notch chef, nice wine selection, this old home turned restaurant has a really warm feel with exposed brick.

Banana Blossom- A new addition to the neighborhood, serving a wide range of Thai dishes. Early reviews have been great!216.696.5529  2800 Clinton Ave

Johnny Mangos – a long standing staple of the neighborhood, it is an eclectic international restaurant and juice bar.
Bon Bon Bakeshop & Cafe- owned by my dear friend, the lovely and talented Courtney Bonning, this bakeshop and cafe will be opening in Spring and soon be one of your favorite places to go, of this I am certain!


Downtown, like most of Cleveland’s neighborhoods, is FULL of amazing restaurants. The E.4th Street neighborhood is knows as the entertainment district and is a premier night spot with some of our most famous chef’s (including an Iron One: Chef Michael Symon)calling this street home. Within walking distance to all of our major sports venues as well as Theaters, this street is boasting throngs of people year round and is where I personally live and have elected to open my new RETAIL venture.  FOR NEIGHBORHOOD WEBSITE CLICK HERE.

(Image by TRG Studios Cleveland)


The Dredgers Union – The Dredgers Union is a 4,000 sq. foot Lifestyle shop I have started with my friend Sean (of the menswear label Wrath Arcane.) DU is located in the heart of this neighborhood.  The easy to moderate price point lifestyle store features a sizeable, yet selective collection of home goods, gifts and Mens & Women’s apparel; Also featuring our own domestically produced private label. We will be hosting a regular program of events in our large event space located in the lower level. VISIT OUR BLOG HERE.

Lola - Owned by Iron chef, Michael Symon, this is not just one of our premiere restaurants because of the name, it is in fact, an incredible menu and atmosphere.

The Greenhouse Tavern - Using only locally-grown items on their menu they reinterpret some classic dishes.

Chinato – Authentic Italian food, great atmosphere.

Pickwick & Frolick & Hillarities - This is more of a venue than just a restaurant or comedy club, its both, plus a cabaret space and martini bar!  Independent spirit knows no bounds with this amazingly inclusive venue.

House of Blues – This venue does not require much explanation, but I think it speaks to the nature of the entire E.4th street neighborhood, as an exciting, entertainment-based destination, with a wild and filling Sunday Gospel Brunch.

Corner Alley – Downtown bowling alley and bar, located right in the E.4th street neighborhood. Look out for certain nights where some of my favorite local dj’s will be spinning to FREE bowling!

Erie Island Coffee Shop - Where I start each day!  I wouldn’t be half as productive if it weren’t for this place!  And it doesn’t hurt to be greeted by such a lovely staff run by Alexis.

…and many many more all on the block or around the corner on foot, including: Saigon La Strada Wonder Bar Flannery’s Zinc


In addition to downtown’s E.4th Street there are other happening districts in the downtown area.  Each with their own identity.  Bring a bike with you and explore all of them one afternoon!

Phoenix Coffee Shops – Local and Independent chain of coffee shops, roasting locally for 20 years.

Artefino- Situated within the  Tower Press Building on Superior Ave,  houses a gallery, cafe and gift shop.

Surroundings - Premier destination for contemporary, European and modern classics furniture.

Front Room Gallery – Co-operative art gallery and event space, they exhibit fresh works by young and emerging artists.

Spaces Gallery – One of the premiere Cleveland galleries for Contemporary Art.

Art Craft Building – Full of design and art-related businesses and galleries.2570 Superior Avenue

#1 Pho – Try the Bahn Mi, little Vietnamese sandwiches to die for..and cheap! 216.781.1176  3120 Superior Ave.

Koko’s Bakery – located in Asia Town, Koko is much more than a bakery with a complete lunch menu and fresh Chinese buns…these buns are worth the trip alone! 3710 Payne Ave 216-881-7600

MOCA Cleveland - Cleveland’s Museum of Contemporary Art, but as they are breaking ground on a brand new beautiful home, they will only be found at this location a short while longer.  Look out for them near the UPTOWN neighborhood in University Circle soon.

Playhouse Square - Playhouse gets all the biggest shows from Broadway and is the heart of downtowns Theater district.

Asia Plaza – I like to come here for items unique to asian markets, not just food related but wonderful bowls and stationery too! 216.241.3553 2999 Payne Ave.

The Agora - Classic rock club, this venue first opened in 1966 and with its two stages has hosted some of the best acts in the music business.

The Time Warner at Tower City Amphitheatre - Outdoor music venue right on the river.

The Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame & Museum - There are great exhibits to be seen here and a beautiful park on the lake behind this museum worth taking a stroll along as well.

The Cleveland Science Center - This is where you will find the Omnimax theater too.


Tremont has been called “A small town in the heart of the city”, high on a bluff overlooking the Cuyahoga River and the Flats, Tremont boasts some of the best views in the city. Within a quarter of a mile, you’ll find award-winning restaurants, boutique shopping and historic buildings surrounding a New England-style town square. Tremont has one of the largest concentrations of notable churches to be found anywhere in America. On the 2nd Friday of each month the neighborhood’s galleries and shops host the TREMONT ART HOP. If you like visiting art galleries, this neighborhood is a sure thing! I could not include all of them here, but you’ll have no trouble finding them all once in the neighborhood!  Definitely visit their neighborhood website for a more comprehensive listing…FOR NEIGHBORHOOD WEBSITE CLICK HERE.


(photo by Billy Delfs)

Banyan Tree – contemporary home decor and a great apparel assortment for women…and super nice group of gals working there!

Powter Puff Boutique - This boutique owned by the sassy, Brooke, seems to be a must stop for your dress shopping needs.

Pinky’s Daily Planner – Local Fashion designer with her own boutique…her work has a 1940′s flair to it.

Evie Lou- A contemporary clothing boutique featuring artisan jewelry and clothing for all body types.

Deering Vintage- Featuring clothing, accessories and home furnishings primarily from the 1940s to the 1960′s, Deering Vintage defys the mish mosh vintage store stereotype, with a beautiful, well organized collection of treasures just waiting to be scooped up. 216.274.1211  2678 W. 14th St.

Visible Voice Books - An independent bookstore with a community feel…these folks like books and they like helping guide you to the writer that will make you as passionate as they are about books. Stop by for regular readings, they also have a wine bar!
Aperture - The store/gallery “where film is King”.  The store features a gallery, vintage camera sales, Holga and Diana Cameras, Original Polaroid sales and film.

Brandt Gallery – The oldest gallery in Tremont, they focus on Northeast Ohio artists.

A CHRISTMAS STORY HOUSE - That is right!  The house where the classic holiday film, A Christmas Story, was filmed is right here in this neighborhood and open for tours!


Lolita – Owned by the IRON CHEF, Michael Symon, check out the Tuesday night pig roasts!

806 Bistro - The decor inside here is incredible,- wood paneled, wainscot, antique chairs and settees that make me weep they are so amazing!…oh yeah, and good wine and usually art too!

Parallax – Modern decor and menu, the butternut squash risotto I had 2 years ago still makes my mouth water when I think about it!

Dante - mondern american cuisine in an old bank building.  a beautiful space to be sure.

Southside – Amazing salads and sandwiches, giant patio, laid back atmosphere.

Edisons - Really fantastic beer selection and pool table with the a blues band on Saturday nights makes this a neighborhood staple.

Fahrenheit - This was last summer’s obsession, I think this is still one of the best restaurants in town.

Grumpy’s Cafe– Casual little eatery, popular for breakfasts. Its the pancakes.. 216.241.5025 2621 W.14th St

Prosperity Social Club – One of my favorite Tremont spots, they have a full dinner menu, back patio, and that mini-bowling game!

Treehouse – Irish Pub with an outdoor patio, this is a neighborhood favorite especially when the Pogues cover band, Boys from the County Hell are playing. 216.696.2505 820 College Ave.

Lincoln Park Pub – Just a neighborhood bar with a wildly popular TACO TUESDAY thing going on. 216.621.2240 2609 W.14th St.

Sokolowski’s University Inn- Practically a Cleveland institution, serves all manner of Polish and Eastern European food.. including , you got it- perogies!

Lava Lounge – Great food and serves all night. There is usually a DJ. 216.589.9112  1307 Auburn Ave.

BAC- Asian American fusion. Bac, the owner and chef is likely to pop out to say hi and ask how everything is. A passionate chef. Gotta love it.

Lago - Italian restaurant specializing in Northern Italian cuisine.

The Tap House – Cleveland’s first gastropub, The menu features an extensive beer list and a great moderately priced menu made from largely locally grown ingredients.

Scoops – All I can say are these 2.5 words: “cookies n creme”. amazing. I love this place!

Cookie & A Cupcake- With at least 12 different flavors of cupcakes available as well as brownies, cookies and cakes, there’s guarenteed something to satisfy everyone’s sweet tooth.

Lilly Handmade Chocolates- Artisanal chocolates, as well as a great selection wine and craft beer. The staff are very knowledgeable, and can help pair any number of tasty beverages with their little sweet treats.

Loop- Part coffee shop, part record store, you can scope a great selection of tunes while sipping on your coffee, they roast their beans on-site.216.298.5096 2180 W. 11th St.

Lucky’s Cafe – This is definitely on the sunday brunch rotation, great savory and sweet brunch items on the menu. you order at the counter and they bring you your food once you sit down.

Velvet Tango Room – I have never heard a bad thing about this place, I still have to go it has this air of mystery to it!

Pat’s in the Flats – Music venue hosting local and national acts.


Just over the bridge from Downtown and a block south of the lakefront, Gordon Square has really come alive in the last 3 years or so.  With a thriving arts scene and growing roster of great restaurants and bars, this neighborhood has much to boast.  Some of the items listed in this category are outside of Gordon Sq. technically but in the neighboring community of Lakewood. FOR NEIGHBORHOOD WEBSITE CLICK HERE.


Happy Dog – with nearly every Scene Magazine “BEST OF” title this year THIS IS A MUST VISIT!  Happy Dog serves up amazing hot dogs with nearly 100 toppings (veggie options too!). Menu by part-owner Chef Eric Williams of Momocho (see Ohio City section above).  Happy Dog is also one of Cleveland’s TOP music venues in town.  While this is typically a rock, indie, alt-country etc. venue, they recently joined forces with members of the CLEVELAND ORCHESTRA for several performances by members of our world-class orchestra for sold out performances in this unconventional setting.  (WRITERS NOTE:  This is where I have chosen to hold most of the after parties for my events.)

XYZ Tavern – From the owners of ABC Tavern, XYZ great food and drinks!

Luxe Kitchen & lounge –Luxe, has taken over an old bank building, even leaving the old vault exposed as his wine cellar, the decor is one of my favorites in town: a mix of antique and clean modern touches and the dynamic moderately priced menu has something for everyone.

Stonemadd – If you visit in summer, be sure to sit on their elaborate stone patio, as it is stunning, but if you like indoors better you will not be disappointed as this is one of the most thoughtfully re-designed places I have ever been. They even have an indoor bocci court, a nod to the Italian neighborhood in which this Irish/Italian pub lies. 216.281.6500  1306 W.65th

Rose Angel- The newest offering from the head chef at the aforementioned Luxe Kitchen and Lounge. Tasty new spins on the taco. 216.961.5800  5800 Detroit Avenue

Gypsy Beans & Baking Co. – this historic space updated to be everything a good coffee shop ought to be…a place to get your morning coffee (and in this case, amazing pastry, smoothie or lunch as well).

Latitude 41 – open for breakfast, lunch and dinner 216.961.0000   5712 Detroit Ave.

Reddstone - Neighborhood restaurant and bar with a rock-n-roll bent.

The Parkview Nite Club – Cleveland staple, This is a great breakfast spot. they have live music on the weekends…usually Blues, but not always.

Battery Park Wine Bar – in the old Everready Battery factory now exists a wine bar.  I have not yet been there as it just recently opened, but as I love a good wine bar, I am certain to check it out soon!

Minh Anh – Vietnamese restaurant. They features a fine selection of ethnic cuisine, offering everything from frog legs to chicken curry. 216.961.9671  5428 Detroit Ave.


duoHOME – is a design-driven home furnishings and accessories boutique offering unique items not found in other home stores here. Hand-selected by the store owners, the merchandise changes often, making every visit a new adventure in design discovery…and the owners, Tim & Scott (or “the boys” )are super duper friendly and helpful.

1POINT618 Gallery – In a stunning space, designed by local architect, Robert Maschke, this gallery is exquisite and shows extraordinary local, national and international artists’ work.

The studios at 78th – this historic warehouse is home to many of Cleveland’s finest galleries, artist studios & businesses including AP magazine, several galleries owned/operated by my friends such as: 1300/Third Gallery legation, a gallery Survival Kit as well as many more great spaces including: Accent Gallery Cleveland West Art League Forum Artspace Kenneth Paul Lesko Gallery Kokoon Arts Gallery Matthew Fehrmann Editions No Quarter Tattoo Gallery Tregoning & Company Walken Frame & Art


Cleveland Public Theater – CPT is the place for new, adventurous and politically relevant works of performance. This is a Cleveland staple and at the TOP OF MY PERSONAL list of CLEVELAND GEMS. (also of note!! ALL of their graphic design is done by the SUPER talented Sean Higgins of the duo that makes up THE BUBBLE PROCESS).

Near West Theater – Near West theater’s mission statement is that the soul of their theater is ‘belief in the healing, transformative power of the theatrical arts…This great Cleveland theater is currently residing in the Ohio City neighborhood but is building a new state of the art theater here in the Gordon Square this year.

Capitol Theater – Built in 1921 but vacant for the last two decades, this historic structure has re-opened as a state-of-the-art movie with its 1920′s architectural details in tact.

Edgewater Park and Beach - Cleveland has a beach! actually, there are quite a few as we are situated on Lake Erie’s shoreline, but this one is right in the city and has a park attached.

Whisky Island Park – Marina, Bar, Park and Vollyball…come to play or come to watch, either way I am told its quite a party!

LORAIN AVENUE ANTIQUES DISTRICT & LAKEWOOD Just a car or bike ride away from the Gordon Sq. these areas boast great vintage shopping and some of the area’s popular restaurants and bars.


Suite Lorain – 1920′s-1970′s vintage clothing, furniture and home accessories…Fun place to spend an afternoon, There is virtually every type of item here, a prop shoppers’ dream place!

Reincarnation Vintage Design- Owners Ron and Cyndy have an incredible eye, designing great furniture pieces from reclaimed materials. 216.651.9806  7810 Lorain Ave

Michael Rolf Antiques – Sophisticated, well-curated, there is nothing here i do not want…ever. - 216.651.8888 – 7900 Lorain Ave.

Flower Child – vintage from 1930′s -1970′s, this is always one of my first stops for mid-century furniture, but I usually end up with some sort of vintage kitchen accessory or pair of vintage Frye boots while I am there as well!

Cosmic Collectibles –  all the digging has already been done by the owner, Robin, ensuring this store is brimming with only cute things… 216.221.1085 -14532 Detroit ave.

Chelsea’s Vintage Clothing- giant vintage warehouse…best stop for halloween costumes!  - 216.226.9147 1412 W 116th St

Deja Vu – Little gem of a shop, vintage/antiques, really dense with items. 216. 228.7212 14411 Detroit Ave.

The Cleveland Shop- Open for 30 plus years, a good spot for vintage finds as well as costumes.

The Bent Crayon - great independent music shop.

Big Fun – As the name suggests this place is big fun! This is where you go to have a photo booth pic taken while wearing a feather boa and big giant clown glasses


Melt – A grilled cheese restaurant, this place is ALWAYS packed, even with their new expansion, but I have to say…it is worth it! Their website says it all: “WARNING: you must love cheese, bread & beer to enter!”

The Root Cafe- Becoming a bit of a fixture on Detroit Avenue in Lakewood, offers organic pastries and lunch type options, along with coffee a wide range of tea, and even craft beers.

Aladdins – Middle eastern menu, multiple locations throughout the city- this is one of my favorites for quick, healthy & unique meals.

Pier W – recently renovated, this place is right on the lake with views additional views of downtown. Beautiful any time of day, and the sunday buffet brunch…wow, major.

The Liquid Planet – fresh fruit smoothies and great pita sandwiches, I always get one of these smoothies with a vitamin boost before flying to strengthen my immune system.


Situated by several Universities and Colleges, these near East side neighborhoods are a hub of arts and culture, education, commerce and nightlife.  University Circle is where you will find world class institutions such as the Cleveland Museum of Art and Severance Hall: home of the Cleveland Orchestra, as well as some of the region’s best schools & world-class hospitals all punctuated by some great dining experiences and parks.  Coventry boasts a strip of stores and casual eateries, while Shaker Square & Little Italy are foodie destinations.


Cedar-Lee -art-house movie theater

Cane Park – Besides being a beautiful park this is also an outdoor amphitheater which plays host a wide variety of events all season long.

The Grog Shop – The venue for live music featuring local and national acts of indie rock, rock-n-roll and more….stop downstairs to their B-Side Liquor Lounge for another full bar and DJ.

Cinematheque – The Cleveland Institute of Art Cinematheque features films in CIA’s 616 seat auditorium. Known for it’s viewings of more obscure Independent and foreign films and documentaries.

The Cleveland Museum of Art - Under a major renovation, this museum has just re-opened several sections. Boasting one of the most impressive collections in the country, the architecture of the museum alone will impress.

Severance Hall - Home to the world-class Cleveland Orchestra and an exquisite home it is. Renovated in recent years this place truly shines.

The Botanical Gardens – The Butterfly Sanctuary is an experience. Be sure to brush off your clothes when you leave, as the sign will remind you…you don’t want to take any butterflies home that may have attached themselves to your shoulder!

Lakeview Cemetery & Garfield Monument – While visiting a cemetery to some may be a bit macabre, I find this cemetery to be one of the most beautiful places in all of Cleveland. Somewhere in the midst of the cemetery you’ll find the Garfield Monument, a monument to the former President of the US who is actually buried here along side his wife. Climb to the top of the monument for a stunning view of all of Cleveland and Lake Erie.


Brigade - A bit more contemporary than Saks Fifth Avenue but similar in price.  Brigade features both mens and womens apparel from top contemporary designers like G Star Raw, Wings and Horns, J Lindeberg , Nice Collective, APC and more.

The Tudor Arms Hotel by Doubletree – This is one of my favorite buildings in all of Cleveland. The gorgeous bones of this historic hotel are being updated into a contemporary designed Doubletree hotel and restaurant, with gorgeous ballrooms available for events.  I recently took a tour of this space during it’s renovation and was blown away!

(image by Danielle DeBoe)

Next – Cleveland’s premiere urban wear resource.

Attenson’s Antiques and Books – Antiques, art, books, clothing, collectibles and more!

Heart & Sole- Great place to get hip kicks and streetwear.

Mac’s Backs - Great independent bookstore (be sure to check out the basement) attached to Tommy’s restaurant.

Big Fun – As the name suggests this place is big fun! This is where you go to have a photo booth pic taken while wearing a feather boa and big giant clown glasses. 216.371.4386  1827 Coventry Rd.

Murray Hill School House -This old school house is host to many different art galleries and studios, some shops and you can even live in the condos here too! 2026 Murray Hill

American Apparel – I was not going to include any chain stores’s on this list, as those are never terribly hard to find, but this rounds out the shopping experience in this neighborhood well.

City buddha – unique collection of well travelled treasures.  Gifts, home goods, personal accessories.

Revive Store – This shop only sells Fair Trade Items, made from around the world, great t-shirts and bags. I bought a bib here for a gift that said ” give PEAS A CHANCE”


La Cave Du Vin – tucked away in a basement on the Coventry strip this dark, cavernous (hence the name), candle-lit wine bar features a help-yourself wall of an impressive selection of refrigerated beers, and little cafe-style tables as well as tasty cheese-boards… Everyone there is really helpful and knowledgeable about their wine and beer selections.

Mint Cafe - This Thai restaurant is incredibly good with a crisp and fresh decor.

Nighttown – Eclectic American menu available until midnight, and fabulous outdoor patio with waterfall make this a popular destination. You can catch some of the greatest jazz acts from all over the world.

Lopez – Stop here for some gourmet mexican fare, and be sure to have some of their yummy margarita’s in this festive environment.

Fire Food and Drink- another of cleveland’s great restaurants, and on my rotation of brunch stops.

L’Albatros- Esteemed Cleveland chef Zack Bruell’s eastside french brasserie- food and service are impeccable. (Try the escargot. Seriously.) I truly LOVE this place.

Saravá – WIth a stunning interior the restaurant intends to evoke the rhythm, sophistication and energy of Brazilian street life. (& my best friend was married here!)

The Gellateria – Best Gelato in town, my friend Megan makes her choices on the color (her favorite, the perfect shade of pink) but you can be sure any choice will melt your heart!

The Stone Oven – makes all their bread right on site, as well as yummy pastries, soups and sandwiches. The couscous is a nice alternative side to chips.

Tommy’s – Vegetarians, vegans, meat-eaters, health-conscious and the just plain hungry. Whatever category you fall into, Tommy’s will take care of you…and they will accompany it with the best milkshake EVER.

Phoenix Coffee Shop – Their fair-trade beans are roasted right downtown. Wifi is free and simple lunch options available.

La Dolce Vita – Corner sidewalk cafe-style Italian restaurant. Come here on Monday’s for Opera night and be treated to live opera and a traditional 8-course meal.

Presti’s Bakery – Local Coffee and Pastry shop with sidewalk cafe tables.

Sergio’s - If you are spending the afternoon in the University Circle area, this would be a great lunch or dinner spot with a menu featuring Italian, French, and Mediterranean inspired dishes with an emphasis on the freshest seafood.

Baricelli Inn – Designed and built in 1896, It has become an internationally recognized restaurant and Inn.


On the outskirts of downtown and just a block away from the Lake, this working-class cum neighborhood of the arts is a great evening destination…go to dinner at Grovewood, do a little shopping then be sure to check out a show at the Beachland.

Beachland Ballroom + Tavern +This Way Out downstairs!- 2 rock clubs in one, with the Ballroom on one side and the Tavern on the other, this venue place host to some of my favorite acts. They also have a surprisingly tasty menu in both bars and a vintage store downstairs!

Music Saves – An independent record store specializing in indie rock and it’s extended family.

Native – a great Cleveland T-shirt and gift shop new this year!

Blue Arrow Records - the floor is entirely made up of LP covers!  Die hard music & vintage lovers (and genuinely GREAT people) Pete & Debbie’s shop is a MUST visit. A.MUST.VISIT!!!

Grovewood Tavern – Situated in a cozy neighborhood setting, this restaurant has an award-winning food and wine list, yet feels incredibly casual, stop here before going to a show at the Beachland.


NO, this is NOT on the outskirts of downtown; But this Turn of the century town (about 30 minutes east of downtown Cleveland,)  is well-worth the excursion as it is a great dining and shopping excursion all set in a Rockwell-type setting, waterfall and all!  On your way there or back, nearby Chagrin Blvd., is also host to some great places; some bigger name national stores and restaurants can be found here, as well as some local GEMS!

Lingg Showroom - not exactly in Chagrin, but close enough and one of the best jewelry and personal accessories locations in town!

Paladar – The space is really beautiful and the latin menu delicious.

Knuth Shoes – clothing, accessories, and as the name suggests…shoes! 216. 831. 960630619 Pinetree Rd, Cleveland

Stash Style – This would be another of those vintage shops where all the digging has been done for you. There is nothing but choices here, everything in this vintage chic showroom is incredible. This is where I would go for crystal chandeliers or distressed white furniture, but I would also probably end up walking away with a vintage french language book and pair of 1920′s earrings.

Three Home – Home accessories, furniture and design services, this funky shop will no doubt inspire!

Nola True – charming little shop featuring affordable but unique apparel for the fashion saavy gal not wanting to trail trends too closely.

Deborah Nicholl Interiors -stunning windows, this interior designer carries Flavor Paper, one of my favorite wallpaper lines out today!

Hedges Designs -fun gift destination…you can shop for yourself to your grandmother, the assortment is diverse, yet feminine.

The Little Monogram Shop – Monogrammed items make for great personalized gift-giving!

Fireside Book shop -open a bit later, i have lost hours in this bookstore before!

Juicy Lucy – very special apparel shop with stunningly chic selections of designers. 31 W. Orange St. 440.247.5748

The Popcorn Shop - This quintessential small town ice cream and popcorn shop is a popular summer destination. Situated right alongside the waterfalls here, you can get some Euclid Beach Custard and walk down their steps to a viewing area of the falls.

Umami- Definitely one of my favorite restaurants in Cleveland, Chef Matthew Anderson serves up amazing Asian fusion menu that propels me to Chagrin several times a month. 42 North Main St (440) 247-8600

Ricks Cafe – Perhaps the best ribs in Cleveland (at least one of), this Chagrin Falls staple is named after the bar in the film Casablanca and the art deco decor reflects that.

Gamekeepers Tavern - You will feel as if you are at some rural upstate lodge inside this incredible restaurant, In the summer their outdoor patio is tucked away and private.

87 West Wine bar – a great wine, martini & beer bar with a splendid patio and delicious appetizers.

Hunan By the Falls – My favorite Chinese restaurant in Cleveland, the staff is so incredibly nice and the food outstanding.


(image by Danielle DeBoe)

Towpath –  This amazing path, starting right in the heart of Industrial Cleveland fools you into believing you are far out in the country! While on this path all you see is the canal that flows along side and nature! It is beautiful and a great reprieve from urban life…you can walk, jog, or ride the towpath.

OR If you brought your Mountain Bike, check out the Mountain Bike options with CAMBA.

if you do take a bike with you to Cleveland, here are some bike resources:


T.R.E.A.T.S dog park – Like a party for your pet, this park has a huge, fenced in area with water dishes, and benches for the ‘parents’. If you travel with your pet, this is a great way to tire him out so that he sleeps at night at the hotel!

Voinovich Park – situated behind the Rock Hall and Science center this park is right on the water and great for a little stroll!

Rockefeller Park Greenhouse – Lovely, quaint, beautiful gardens and FREE. Head over to the Art Museum when your done – it’s a walk away.


Cleveland Foodie

a prolific blogger, Michelle and her husband do a lot of dining out around town and she writes about all of her experiences, giving you the nuances of each restaurants’ true experience.

I heart Cleveland

Charity, who owns CHARTREUSE, a design firm, writes nearly daily on things to do around town.

Ohio Authority – Great local resource for everything.  A website that I am a contributor to.

Positively Cleveland

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i was in cleveland for about 24 hours and i went to melt. twice.
i want one to open in madison, now.

style scout

Way to go superchica Danielle! Thank you for giving chops our super soul city!
I love that my town is featured on my fave blog! There is so much to love there!


no visit to Cleveland is complete with out a visit to the Bent Crayon. Make sure to say hi to “crabby” Johnny.


I’m so happy to see my hometown on here! More places to explore!

One more note, there’s also a GREAT antique store in Coventry which I think is called Attenson’s. Two stores full of antiques and a bargain basement!


I miss Cleveland! Great job and I’m so glad you included Cleveland in your list of city guides. I’m still looking for a way to move back!


I just moved to Cleveland from Brooklyn, NY and I’ve been feeling very sad about it recently. This has renewed my hope for this city. Thank you so very much for posting this.


Thanks for a beautiful guide to an underrated city! Can’t wait to explore all the places on your amazing list!


I’m originally from Cleveland and I’m so happy to see my great hometown featured on D*S! Now I’m so excited for my next trip home!


I lived in Cleveland for 6 years before moving this past December. You forgot Johnny Mango’s in Ohio City…amazing guacamole and smoothies. So happy you included Nate’s! That will always be my favorite Mediterranean dining experience…used to go once a week.


Danielle & Design Sponge, THANK YOU for including me amongst Cleveland’s best! Your vision and enthusiasm make me even more excited to search out the next best new and interesting things to do in our wonderful city. Keep up the great work.


Danielle….you have OUTDONE yourself!!!! Thanks for showing the world that Cleveland really does have alot to offer!!!!! :)


Very impressive mix of many neighborhoods Danielle. Thank you. You may want to add Pacific East on Coventry and fire food and drink in Shaker Square. Both are very good.
In Lakeview Cemetary, Wade Chapel is a MUST see stop.


Hi Grace! Is there a St. Louis Guide in the works? I just moved here last week from NYC and would love to work on one. It would be a great excuse to go shopping! Let me know – either way, I think I’ll work on one. I can always just send you a link when it’s done. I read your blog daily and always find it very inspiring. Keep up the great work!


I’m excited to go back to Cleveland and check out the places I’m not familiar with–thanks for the great guide. Two beautiful get-aways in the area are: Cuyahoga Valley National Park, with terrific scenery, hiking (and canals mentioned above). And there is also Nelson-Kennedy Ledges, with its cool rock formations. (When is a Pittsburgh guide coming out?)


Thanks for doing a fantastic job covering the Cleveland Metro Area. I’ve become a Cleveland enthusiast since moving to the area four years ago to the day! It is a friendly place and lots to do, sophistication is part of this city and you really showcased it.


Yay! Cleveland finally got its own design guide.

I grew up in Cleveland but didn’t appreciate how wonderful it is until I moved back 2 years ago.


Hooray! Danielle, this is awesome. Thank you for taking the time to point out some of the cool things going on in our city! One other place to check out in the “COVENTRY – SHAKER SQ. AND BEYOND” category is On the Rise Bakery (3471 Fairmount Blvd). Their sticky buns, croissants, and fresh breads and extraordinary, truly.


Thanks for the Cleveland focus!! Good job showcasing so many of the different districts — not easy with so many great pockets of culture here. Add the Metroparks and all the beaches, what a great place to be!


Thanks so much for this wonderful guide! I’m going to be in Cleveland with my daughter in a couple of weeks, and this information will be really helpful.

amy k

As a Cleveland expat and frequent re-visitor, I had to put in my 2 cents.
4 Food: anything Michael Symon does, RED the Steakhouse (, La Bodega (yummy sandwhich shop in Tremont), and definately get your wine and cheese on at La Cav Du Vin on Conventry- the single thing I miss most about living in Cleveland.

For Shopping, Suite Lorrain and Cosmic Collectables are great for fun kitsch and retro stuff.

For art galleries, Spaces is your best bet. The MOCA usually has great stuff up too. But check out Artchitecture Gallery ( for sweet Street-art by perhaps lesser known folks. Also look out for Cleveland Artist Amy Casey – she shows a lot around town, and her work IS the goodness. (


Thanks, it is nice that the cities featured on this site (i.e. Detroit, Cincy) are ones people might not think of as cool. A really great record store for punk rock type music is My Mind’s Eye on Madison Avenue in Lakewood. I know from experience that is is hard to find a good record store in a foreign city. Lakewood is great overall. If you’re a beer fan, check out the Beer Engine, also on Madison. They have about 25 different craft beers on tap and about 100 others to choose from, with a nice neighborhood atmosphere that is not hip or trendy feeling. Melt is in Lakewood too. Also, for some of Cleveland’s best pizza try Angelo’s on Madison, or Danny Boy’s on Lake Road in Rocky River.


Excellent job, Danielle. I smiled at the gellato shout-out. Pink grapefruit was the flavor – the “perfect shade of pink”. You made Cleveland proud with such a well, thought out city guide featuring all the best. Muah!


This is an awesome guide. Danielle did a great job. Thanks for adding Cleveland to design guide!


you’re right, there are plenty of places to eat in cleveland – which is about the only thing that there is to do! :/

there is nothing centralized downtown (eating AND shopping, for example), and everything worth experiencing is too scattered – a car is definitely required for any resident or tourist, unfortunately.


i just moved to cleveland and am so psyched about this great guide to art and design around the city. :)

p.s. melt has awesome food.


I lived in Cleveland for 25 years and you really made me want to go back for a vacation to check out all that I missed out on with my girls!!! I think I might just do that!!!!!! Kudos!


Yay Cleveland. My home town! Although it was not so hip in the 70′s. Well done. you made me homesick and very intrigued to go back and explore.


Thanks for the great guide to Cleveland. I lived in the area for my first 32 years & am familiar with many of the places you listed. I’ll use this guide on my next trip home. I was especially excited to see businesses run by an old friend and a college classmate, Gypsy Beans & Baking Co and The Glass Bubble Project, respectively. Thanks, again!


Bent Crayon is overpriced, the best record store in Cleveland, hands down is My Mind’s Eye in Lakewood on Madison.


Flower Child and Suite Lorain were my little secret! Did you include the Christmas Story movie house in Tremont?


This is an awesome guide to some wonderful places in Cleveland. I have lived in Cleveland all my life, and have been to many of the places listed, and yet there are so many more still to try. There is also a great mix of neighborhoods throughout the city, and yet so many more places which are not listed and one can just come upon when out and about.


I wish I would’ve had this info two weeks ago when I was in town! Awesome! My daughter will be attending Cleveland Institute of Art. I am thrilled to know there is so much for her to experience and see.


I just moved back to Cleveland (Shaker Hts) after 20 years away, and it’s been great rediscovering the city. Thanks Danielle, for more ideas. Incidentally, I wandered into Danielle’s shop this past Saturday for the first time, and it’s wonderful. She has a great curatorial eye. For lovers of Vietnamese cuisine, Minh Anh, mentioned above, has the best pho EVER, and Nighttown, also mentioned, is a premier jazz club (on Down Beat’s list of the best jazz clubs in the world)–and if you like jazz, Cleveland Bop Stop on the West side is also fantastic.


Glad Danielle took the time to compile this list, which is a great start with so many more FANTASTIC places to mention: Big Fun on Coventry, Planet Green on Old Detroit, Paul Duda Gallery in Tremont. Cleveland truly rocks for those who seek out all that each area offers. I encourage everyone to check out complete listings for every area of town: University Circle, Little Italy, Coventry, Cedar Lee, Tremont, Ohio City, Midtown, Slavic Village, Gordon Square, Collinwood Art/ Waterloo, etc. It’s easy to do online and a little research will pay dividends. You can learn about cross promotions of neighboring retailers, bike routes to get to the destination area, restaurant deals. Show Cleveland some love!


I don’t quite understand how Chagrin Falls ends up on a “best of” Cleveland list – and what if I don’t want to deal with criminals and hipsters on the near weat side?


Great list. I discovered tons of new things to do…even though I’ve been a Clevelander all my life. Thanks for compiling the list. One you missed in Coventry is the Inn on Coventry-best pancakes ever!


You should add Larchmere to the list of Shaker Square area destinations– antique stores, a good used book store and some restaurants. Elegant extras, esp. has great antique dishes, furniture and jewelry– and they’re willing to bargain with you!


Awesome!!! I love our town!

Just to add to your list of bike shop resources is Hubbub Bicycles in Chesterland ( Not only is it a bike shop, yoga studio and organic coffee house all in one, the owner, who has been in biz for over 35 years, does custom fittings *for free* to ensure the best fit for you on your bike so you can ride for miles without any discomfort!


We’re going to Cleveland for a wedding in June – can anyone recommend somewhere cool to stay in the $100 price range?

Jill Dufin

For Sue looking for place to stay in our great city – Wonderful boutique inn – Glidden House in University Circle – may be a bit more thatn $100 but will be worth it.


This is a great list of places! I live outside of Cleveland and never realized there were so many great places!! Thank you for this post! :)


For a young design student considering the move back to Cleveland after college, this list has really put things into perspective for me!


Thank you so much for compiling this list! I’m getting ready to head to cleveland in a few weeks for a needtobreathe show @ the beachland ballroom and it’s nice to have a guide of other cool things to do! This is great :)


Gordon Square is no longer happening and completely closed on Sundays! Kitsch has closed and my friend and I were very disappointed to have figured out how to get there on public transport only to find nothing to do.


WOW! This is a great guide! Been to many of these places, but will make it a point to go to all!!! I hate hearing there’s nothing to do in Cleveland! Look at this list!!!! LOVE IT!


Although it hasn’t stopped my from planning on moving to NY, this guide has really shown me that Cleveland DOES in fact have some really wonderful things to offer!


Help! I am going to be in Cleveland for one day/night on June 20-21.
I want to book a hotel but it is very difficult to sift through all of the fun neighborhoods. What it is my best spot for food, bars and shopping in a centralized location?

jane b.

i live in northeast ohio and it’s so great to learn about all the great things in cleveland. i absolutely *love* melt!


Such perfect timing to find this! We’re moving to Cleveland from Louisiana next week :-) I can’t wait to start exploring!!


Wow… I am shocked! I’ve been convinced for years that I made the right choice getting the heck out of there, but now I’m kind of curious to check these places out. At least my parents still live there, so I’ll have to check some out the next time I’m there! Thanks for making this… I’m quite surprised that there seem to be so many interesting and fun things I never knew about!


I agree with Brian. Lakeview Cemetery is a gem, with many of our most illustrious residents buried there. The Wade Chapel within it, only open seasonally, is one of the most stunning indoor spaces ever. It is designed by Tiffany and decorated entirely of glass pieces, mosaic and stained, and the guides tell you something new each time.

urban explorer

thanks for your thorough cleveland coverage – i think you listed all of my favorites! i live outside of ohio now, but am always working to spread love for cle!


Thanks so much for the update! After moving to Cleveland a year ago, I used your guide as my city bible, and had many great dinners thanks to you. I do want to second “Shakerite,” though, and recommend the Larchmere District. Loganberry Books is the BEST bookstore in the city, Flying Cranes is an adorable spot for afternoon tea and/or amazing homemade Japanese cuisine, and Felice’s has a great vibe and delicious Spanish inflected food. Enjoy Cleveland Everyone!


Urban Explorer, I greatly appreciate your spreading love for CLE. It has to at least start with the natives themselves (even those who are not currently in the city).




Hey Danielle, thanks so much for including me in your list of cool places. I have loved Cleveland since I moved here from the Steel City in 94! Look for awesome new changes coming to Cosmic Collectibles!!


A new VINTAGE URBAN LIVING store is coming to Detroit Ave in the Lakewood/Cudell Area- opening early this summer. I’m sure there’ll be a lot more about it as the weeks go by!!


ARCANE is coming to’s official! They’ll be on Detroit Ave:)
A great NYC couple with original solid roots in the area…
CANT wait to see you guys -YAY! No longer a need to go to NY to see you on 25th.
We are proud and honored to have you here :) WELCOME to our city:)

kimmi siren

Kim..( my dear friend )
Thank you for your advanced advertising!!

It is true.. we are opening our new vintage industrial/urban lifestyle shop at 11102 Detroit Ave on June 4th 2011 at 9am
Having moved back to the area from NYC, my fiance and I are very excited to finally have a bricks and mortar store behind our name ARCANE.

Hope to see you Design Spongies- PLEASE stop in sometime…
AND Thank You Cleveland for the very warm welcome; we have felt overwhelmed by the generosity, help and kindness shown by so many strangers ( now new found friends), in the past weeks !!

What a fantastic neighborhood we have found :)


I think its odd to compare the Bent Crayon and My Mind’s Eye. They are aimed at entirely different clienteles. Both have been around forever and we are lucky to have as many different, independent record stores as we do.


Not seeing much about the Larchmere area of the city?
It’s awesome with some of the nicest antique and general treasure shops!
Cool cafe’s, hip vibe. Super friendly shop owners and artists.
Word on the street is that there’s a couple of new home/ life stylists moving into the neighborhood- opening a store- and specializing in reclaimed, upcycled, and glorious vintage finds and furniture.

Looking forward to this:)

Everyone should check this area out.
The homes around here are particularly awesome too!

Kim Grey

Amazing new shop opened on Larchmere Blvd.

FOUR and TWENTY is the name – they’re across from the diner

I just came back from spending my entire tax return there!
I bought all sorts of cool stuff, from a magnificent reclaimed industrial coffee table , two repurposed mirrors made from some old molds, a vintage locker and six dining chairs!
Oh and a fab industrial desk lamp . Yes I’m broke but totally worth it. I was there for almost three hours and truth be told, I could have moved in. So so much to look at. Reclaimed, reinvented, as found, industrial and mid century.. Architectural too!
Prices were reasonable, negotiable ( they beat any competition in Cleveland ), very nice-awesomely hip owners, two cool shop cats and the look they’ve got going- well – it’s uncommon just as they say in their ad in Scene magazine.

A new spot not to missed!
Best in Cleveland- hands down!

Catherine Boutelle

One of my all time favorite restaurants in Cleveland is Fire Food and Drink on Shaker Square. Chef Doug Katz does amazing and unique farm to table selections. The meat dishes are cooked to perfection in a tandori oven. The ambiance is loft/chic/casual and the bar is cozy.
When we moved from Cleveland this was the place I missed the most!


It should be noted that Dredgers Union and Powter Puff boutiques are no longer in business. In their physical places are Society Lounge (downtown), an upscale vintage-style handcraft bar; and Miranda’s Vintage Bridal (Tremont). Both offer exquisitely detailed service and goods.

Lucy B. Martinez

It is more than a year since the last comment. I have just discovered this wonderous site…Design Sponge. I am a Cleveland lover since moving here in 1960. Since this was first written in 2008, there have been many changes. Some places have closed…others have opened. But it’s all (well, if your personal favorite place has gone, you may not agree) for the good!! The city looks great! The Gay Games will be starting here, next month, which will be a fine thing! LeBron is back!! And the Republican National Convention has selected Cleveland for their meeting in 2016! Wow!

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