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Cleveland City Guide {UPDATE}

by Stephanie

Cleveland native and Navy PR founder, Mary Peffer appreciates all of the assets, features, and amenities a big city has to offer. As a previous NYC and LA dweller, it was actually her hometown of Cleveland that kept calling her name, and this past year she finally decided to return to her roots and reintegrate into the metropolitan city that is having a “rebirth” of its own right now. She shares with us some of the many shopping, dining and lodging gems this Ohio city has to offer, as well as some great must-see and -do options. –Stephanie

Read the full guide after the jump…


photos by Mary Peffer

Cleveland is the home of Rock and Roll and some of the world’s finest works of art, so it’s not entirely surprising that the city is filled with individuals possessing an innate gift and energy for culture. Most recently, the city has garnered national attention around the re-opening of distinguished contemporary art museum, MOCA, serving as home to the Gay Games 2014, the return of LeBron “King” James to the Cleveland Cavaliers, and the controversial selection to serve as host city for the 2016 Republican National Convention. Even tech companies are taking notice, as Uber — an app service providing alternative transportation options around the world — recently added Cleveland to their program. (A good thing to know about if you are traveling here without a car!)

In 2014, after a decade in New York, followed by a move to Los Angeles, I returned to my hometown. Thrilled to see how much Cleveland had grown while honoring its rich heritage, I rediscovered landmarks and talented friends, and began exploring emerging communities within the great city.

This guide was written from personal experiences, and explores, through my limited 34-year-old lens, what makes Cleveland so special and what keeps the natives coming back, the talent growing, and the proprietors unique. Cleveland is definitely having another moment, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to share it with you. This one is for the foodie, the fashion-forward, the artist, the lifestyle guru, and the architect. I hope you enjoy Cleveland as much as we do, and remember to bring a warm coat and a good sense of humor.


NAVY PRoject
6602 Detroit Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44102
I opened this shop with my sister-in-law and business partner, Melinda. NAVY offers unisex clothing that focuses on classic androgynous runway trends rooted within vintage daywear. We wanted to create an environment that feels as special as the clothes we’ve curated while paying homage to the pop culture that influenced us along the way. All items are priced under $100, including a selection of Pendletons, Levi’s jackets, Fendi tops and ponchos. The store also exhibits artwork by Ohio natives, Deanna First, Ivy Axe, Susan Greenspan, and Cleveland supporter and Bad Girlfriend musician Savannah King


Hausfrau Record Shop
1388 W 65th Street
Cleveland, OH 44102
Buy, sell, and trade rare vinyl records. The owner (my brother, Steven) has been collecting and playing music for over 20 years in Cleveland, including recording and touring with various bands, hosting at the local radio station, WCSB —my radio station recommendation while in town— and working at indie record stores before branching out on his own. Check out the listening station inside his shop to vet records before you buy. I am biased, of course, but I hear touring artists and seasoned local collectors love this spot, too.

Guide to Kulcher
1386 W.65th Street
Cleveland, OH 44102
Directly next to Hausfrau is Cleveland’s grooviest independent bookstore, specializing in text, art and news. The downstairs is twice as large as the upper level and feels like you’re hanging out in the punk basement of someone spiritually enlightened. Co-owner Rafiq’s chill vibe is inviting to people of all ages and backgrounds. You can usually spot a group of teens hanging around outside on skateboards or sitting in the vintage bowling alley chairs just talking for hours. Gil Pender would love it.

Big Fun
1814 Coventry Road
Cleveland Heights, OH 44118
A one-stop-shop for all things nostalgic, located on the most bohemian street in Cleveland Heights, Big Fun is exactly as the name boasts. Think of the toy that made you smile during your childhood, they probably have it. If you’re into collectible Barbies, Transformers, Garbage Pail Kids, My Little Ponies, or Star Wars toys, meet your new best friend.

The Cleveland Flea
3615 Superior Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44114
A monthly market that (outdoors from April-October) partners with popular local businesses in the Cleveland area. A must-see if your trip is timed accordingly. Visit their website for additional pop-up locations (including off-season).

Unique Thrift Store
3333 Lorain Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44113
I’ve been shopping at the Cleveland outpost of this thrift chain since I was 12 years old. Unique remains one of the best spots to collect that flannel in the rough. So, if you’re into digging through racks and piles of clothes, this is your jam.

Four and Twenty Mercantile
12433 Cedar Road
Cleveland Heights, OH 44106
A concept store featuring vintage and custom designed furniture, found objects, art and housewares. Each item stands on its own, and is functional, emitting a clear design point of view.

Small Box
The corner of West 6th Street & St. Clair Avenue
A retail marketplace made from converted shipping containers is located in the Warehouse District. Vendors range in aesthetic and clientele from fashion, to home goods, to Cleveland Browns apparel and memorabilia.

Nature’s Bin
18120 Sloane Avenue
Lakewood, OH 44107
Cleveland’s organic and natural grocery store. Think Whole Foods without the lines. The easy-to-navigate health store has a nice selection of organic food, wines and all-natural beauty products. A great spot for produce and grains, too!

15613 Detroit Avenue
Lakewood, OH 44107
Creative streetwear shop iLTHY — the name stands for I Love The Hype — developed a cult following for their pop culture-inspired apparel designs. The team recently moved into a new expanded store / event space in Lakewood (a bordering suburb). Be sure to check out their collaborations with influential natives, including personal heroes, Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, or just pass by for a game of paddleball against the always friendly man-about-town, Jordan.


Rising Star
1455 W 29th Street
Cleveland, OH 44113
A beautiful reclaimed red firehouse in Ohio City is home to Cleveland’s most delicious pour-over. If you enjoy Blue Bottle and Intelligentsia, this is a gem of a coffee spot. I recommend starting your day here and taking a ride around Hingetown (the particular section of Ohio City), admiring the stunning historic homes from one of the bike shares located outside.

Beet Jar
1432 W 29th Street
Cleveland, OH 44113
Across the street from Rising Star lives a seriously good lunch spot offering plant-based foods and cold-pressed juices. Their “Bravocado'” sandwich tastes like Gwyneth Paltrow’s infamous avocado toast recipe, if the avocados decided to make a rap video and go triple platinum cleanse. It’s a super filling, probably addictive, sammy and the owners are pretty cool, too.

Side Quest
17900 Detroit Avenue
Lakewood, OH 44107
Referred to as “Geek Bar” by regulars, they are a relatively new gaming joint with a nice craft beer selection, friendly clientele and delicious sliders (all food is designed to be eaten with one hand). I’ve spent hours here playing board games with my friend Russ (Ohio native and fellow NY transplant). Don’t bother getting all dolled-up, some patrons were spotted wearing footie-pajamas and we scored an abandoned Hello Kitty mask from the barkeep (an Instagram dream come true).

Pure & Supreme Cuisine
530 Euclid Ave
Cleveland, Ohio
Located inside the 5th Street Arcade food court, expect casual (in presentation and service) organic soul food, that caters to both vegan and gluten-free diets. Their food leaves you feeling clean and the portions are generous. Count on leftovers.

Mason’s Creamery
4401 Bridge Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44113
Cute couple Helen and Jesse moved to Cleveland from LA a few years ago. They now make small batches of inventive ice cream flavors out of their new Ohio City storefront, which caught my eye because of the adorable exterior. The PB&J vegan ice cream (I couldn’t taste the non-dairy difference) will knock your socks off.

Le Petit Triangle
1881 Fulton Avenue
Cleveland, Ohio 44113
A French cafe located in Ohio City. Excellent for brunch, lunch, or dinner. The Parisian decor and sidewalk seating welcome great conversation, long meals and people-watching. Try a savory crepe, they are beyond.

The Root
15118 Detroit Avenue
Lakewood, OH 44107
I’m typing this guide as I enjoy Root’s delicious Thursday raw vegan menu. My childhood friend Julie owns the indie cafe, regularly serving vegetarian food and organic baked goods. It’s an excellent place to read a book, have a healthy-but-hearty meal, catch up on some work or unwind with a cup of tea. The cozy space doubles as a community venue featuring local art, music and events. Good to stop in, day or night.

1365 West 65th Street
Cleveland, OH 44102
A farm-to-table restaurant using local produce, serving uncommon wines and unique cocktails. The presentation is always gorgeous and the staff is incredibly knowledgeable. Recommended for date night or business meetings. Oh, and there’s no TV’s anywhere in the restaurant, which is a much welcomed touch in a city dedicated to sports. The burger here is AMAZING and served with homemade chips.

Daily Press
6604 Detroit Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44102
Around the corner from Toast and next door to Navy is my friend Jodi’s juicery and vegan cafe offering delicious food and cold-pressed juices for all your well-being needs. Her intense ginger shots fight off sickness, energize and leave you feeling like you just went to brain camp. Look out for her adorable dog Miles who is usually sporting a pretty solid outfit.

Malley’s Chocolates
14822 Madison Avenue
Lakewood, OH 44107
A trip to Cleveland isn’t complete without stopping into this family-owned confectionary chain. It’s a sweet-tooth staple to mouthwatering locals since the 1930s. All candy is made right here in their Cleveland factory and it’s a solid place to grab dessert or edible gifts on your way out of town. I recommend the candy bars and my mom can’t live without their “famous” hot fudge.



Clifford House
1810 West 28th Street
Cleveland, OH 44113
A classic B&B in a historic neighborhood, known for their large rooms, expertise on Cleveland and killer breakfasts.

Metropolitan at the 9
2017 E. 9th Street
Cleveland, OH 44115
A buzzworthy new hotel located downtown. The modern boutique getaway is part of Marriott’s luxury hotel division (though thankfully, it’s not really apparent) and includes fun perks like an indoor dog park.

1111 West 10th Street
Cleveland, OH 44113
Located in the Flats, this Starwood hotel boasts contemporary flair. The neighborhood might be up-and-coming, but the aesthetic is sleek. They’re targeted towards the younger generation, offering tech-forward amenities and a gamified special where your second night’s stay equals in cost to your birth year.

Glidden House
1901 Ford Drive
Cleveland, OH 44106
A boutique hotel built in 1910 and located in University Circle is an excellent part of town to stay if you are planning to visit the museums or Case Western Reserve. Each room is decorated with unique vintage flair.

Renaissance Cleveland Hotel
24 Public Square
Cleveland, OH 44113
Historic hotel in Cleveland’s Public Square with direct access to East 4th street where you can stroll a walkable strip of bars, cafes and restaurants. Fun fact: The Beatles stayed here in 1964.

Tudor Arms
10660 Carnegie Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44106
Originally a men’s athletic club, the historic building was restored and now serves as a (wait for it) gothic Double Tree by Hilton getaway. Architecturally the structure is breathtaking, despite big name branding.

Hyatt Regency Cleveland at The Arcade
420 Superior Avenue East
Cleveland, Ohio 44114
An affordable option located in the East 4th street entertainment district. The rooms are simple, but the location is spot-on if you are on a budget, on foot, or relying on public transportation.

J. Palen House
2708 Bridge Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44113
A cozy B&B offering rates that include deals to local attractions like the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame and brewery tours. The Victorian home is covered in antiques and maintains its original charm from the 1800s, including stained glass windows, gas lighting, and original French doors.

The Ritz Carlton
1515 West Third Street
Cleveland, Ohio 44113
You know what to expect: tradition, elegance and views of Ohio’s Great Lake, Lake Erie. There is also an indoor walkway, helpful when avoiding the lakefront winter winds, that leads you to downtown shopping, stadiums, and the new Horseshoe Casino.

The Brownstone Inn Downtown
3649 Prospect Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44115
A peaceful 19th century Victorian brownstone marked by peacock blue doors. Traveling for and extended amount of time? Longterm furnished apartments are also available on the property.


S E E / D O

11400 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44106
Cleveland’s contemporary art museum re-opened to the public in 2012 in its new home located in the cultural hub of University Circle. The museum was designed by famed London architect, Farshid Moussavi. There are approximately eight exhibitions each year.

Franklin Castle
4308 Franklin Boulevard
Cleveland, OH 44113
Thought to be Cleveland’s most haunted home! The castle has a bit of a sorted past, with multiple short-term owners, and some visitors claiming to have captured images of ghosts on camera that were not visible to the naked eye. Drive by Franklin Castle on a clear night and snap a few photos of the exterior, let us know what you see —I always get too scared.

Cleveland Metroparks
4500 Valley Parkway
Fairview Park, OH 44126
Cleveland has some pretty magnificent nature to take in. Experience the seasons change through a myriad of organized activities like archery, fishing, horseback riding, cross-country skiing and cycling. Or venture out on your own for a jog, a light hike, or a picnic.

Cedar Point
1 Cedar Point Drive
Sandusky, OH 44870
Get to the point. Take a day trip to this truly great amusement park and ride some of the tallest and fastest coasters in the world. Get scared on and off the rides when the theme park doubles as a haunted house during Halloweekends in the month of October.

Terminal Tower Observation Deck
50 Public Square
Cleveland, OH 44113
One of Cleveland’s most iconic architectural structures provides 360-degree views of the skyline from their observation deck, and it costs less than a craft beer. Definitely something to check out if you’re looking to have that Ferris Bueller-esque experience, in Cleveland.

Now That’s Class
11213 Detroit Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44102
Do you like dive bars, canned beer and punk music? Go here. It’s super fun, super smelly, super loud, and the spot to meet local musicians.

Little Italy
Cleveland, OH 44106
Take a walk through Little Italy and admire the Victorian homes, sample the authentic food, and visit the local bakeries, independent shops, and several dozen galleries along the way. It’s an afternoon adventure that will leave you full of food, drink and culture.

13200 Madison Avenue
Lakewood, OH 44107
Old school bowling at its best. The vintage alley has multiple rooms (so much more than a bowling destination) and is the place to be if you’re looking for a happening bar, hipster hangout, groovy date night, live music, or the occasional dance party.

Cleveland Public Theatre
6415 Detroit Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44102
A theater and arts complex located in Gordon Square. Each year, around the winter holiday, expect the highbrow / lowbrow David Sedaris Christmas comedy, “Santaland Diaries,” a personal story about Sedaris, who worked as an elf in the mega-retail chain Macy’s. This is just one example of the slightly offbeat performances to experience year-round.

Velvet Tango Room
2095 Columbus Road
Cleveland, OH 44113
Stop in to sip a fancy (and kinda pricey) craft cocktail at this unassuming speak-easy-style haunt located in Tremont. This is not a loud bar, they show black-and-white films on silent, make a slow and artful drink, play a bit of jazz and request a respectable dress code of no hats, bad attitudes or t-shirts. Pro tip: Look like a regular and explore the somewhat secret back room. Be nice to the staff, and they will treat you like gold.

Suggested For You


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

  • 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.

  • 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 (http://www.redthesteakhouse.com/), 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 (http://www.artchitecturegallery.com/) 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. (http://www.amycaseypainting.com)

  • 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!

  • 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 (www.hubbub.com). 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?

  • 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?

  • 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.

  • 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 Cleveland..it’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:)

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • I LOVE seeing my chosen home city on Design Sponge!
    Sue– besides the hotels, there are some great air bnb spots– this one in Hingetown is right above Beet Jar and across the street from Rising Star. There’s also a museum across the street, and a spin studio below. https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/3057963?s=_bRw

    PS. I have no affiliation with this air bnb– i just know the neighborhood and the space is cute.

    Also, if you are in Cleveland, visit the Cleveland Museum of Art and enjoy some French cuisine at L’Albatros while you’re over there

  • Thanks for featuring Cleveland! I second the Cleveland Museum of Art and also recommend the West Side Market.

  • From a Clevelander’s perspective this guide rocks – awesome job. Love our city.

    But I can’t help make the comment .. describing the RNC as “controversial” is waaaay ignorant. The international attention and ridiculous economic spillover that the small businesses listed above are going to receive from the RNC is nothing but good news for all Clevelanders .. even Democrats!

  • What timing for this update. It’s hard to read this and not think about the mother whose 12 year old son was killed by police in a Cleveland park while playing with a toy gun. See: http://nyti.ms/12iGWCc. These policing policies must change, especially in such segregated communities.

  • YAY an update guide! This city has grown so much since I moved here 3 years ago, it deserves another update. The first Cleveland City Guide helped me throughout my move and around this city when I first arrived from California and can’t thank you enough for sharing your love for Cleveland. Cleveland is awesome and I’m very lucky that I ended up here!!! (*fist pump)

  • So happy to see this feature on NAVY PRoject! I cannot wait for my next trip home. Cleveland has so much to offer and I am proud to call it my hometown. :)

  • SO THRILLED to see Cleveland here… must say wish there was more on Cleveland Heights (hello crepes at Luna Bakery) and Tremont (hello best tacos and margaritas at Bario). Just saying. Pretty cool that there are still WAY more great things in Cleveland not mentioned here.

  • Perfect timing before my trip home to Cleveland! Other great restaurants: Greenhouse Tavern, The Rail, and Momocho. Cleveland is a great town on a great lake.

  • Can’t wait to try out this guide the next time in town! Cleveland born and raised, though we now live in Michigan. My personal favorites, Art Museum, West Side Market, and restaurants, L’Albatross, Momocho.

  • Also pleased to see a Cleveland update! Yes, there are some great places missing from the list, but if anything, that goes to show how much there is to do it! Certainly I’d say the key to seeing the best parts of Cleveland involves exploring the neighborhoods more so than downtown. I’m surprised not more in Tremont is mentioned— Barrio is a favorite taco/margarita spot.

  • Add to the list Coquette for treats near the Case campus and we do have a nice new hostel on West 25th for cheap lodging next to the best tattoo parlor in town.

  • Small box is the perfect addition to your CLE City Guide! Thank you so much! We are poised to build more, in the city and elsewhere. Micro-retail development for startups, niche retailers & “mom & pops” is what people want to see.

  • As a fan of Cleveland it’s nice to see this guide for the city updated. As a fan of D*S I’m a little surprised there isn’t any allusion to what Cleveland is currently in the news for. I understand that this isn’t that kind of blog, and that it adds to the current Cleveland narrative to give people a picture of a whole city, not just the bad news. But it feels pretty tone deaf to have a post with no nod to the last few week’s events. You mention the convention controversy, LeBron…it’s not like you are avoiding non-design-shop info here.

    • Alice

      I’m sorry if that omission felt in any way like a slight to the great tragedies that have happened in Cleveland recently as well as Ferguson and beyond. This guide was written and uploaded prior to the Tamir Rice shooting, so it was not something the guide writer would have been considering at the time. I regret not catching this earlier and apologize for any upset that the omission caused.


  • Thanks for a great review of my hometown! Even though I don’t live there anymore, once a Clevelander, always a Clevelander.

  • Great review of Cleveland! I’ve lived here all my life and I’m clearly missing out on some cool things. Thank you for covering not just one aspect of our great city but many different aspects – the things that really make this city special.

  • Such a comprehensive list of all of the wonderful things that CLE has to offer. Wonderful article Mary!

  • Staying in Cleveland? Feeling adventurous? Try the Alcazar hotel. A truly unique experience.
    Visiting the Cleveland Museum of Art? Take time to go outside and walk around the lagoon. What other city has an outdoor space like this?
    Also while in University Circle Check out
    Amazing gothic architecture: Church of the Covenant
    Live bands and beer in a juice jar?: The Euclid Tavern
    Have a beer outside in an old gate house? The Barking Spider
    Great upscale dining? Club Isabella
    These are all Cleveland staples, in a city that is reinventing itself all the time.
    If you like Knitting you have to check out Fine Points on Larchmere. Very expensive yarns but i have never seen such a wide selection of things to knit with and patterns and help beyond your dreams.
    And if you visit Coventry, stand in line for Tommy’s another Cleveland staple. Get a milk shake!!
    Just my two cents…