Who vacations in Cleveland?
Surely, not enough people. Like many Rust Belt cities, Cleveland’s associated with joblessness, dilapidation, and general unsavoriness. But contrary to these common views, the city's been slowly transforming into an affordable enclave for the trendy, the foodies, and cost-conscious travelers of all kinds. The Tremont district, for example, is filling up with boutiques and quality restaurants -- even Iron Chefs love the famous West Side Market. The next time you have a weekend to spare, here's what you should include on your Cleveland itinerary:
What to see: It’s easy to think that the only recognizable monument in Cleveland is the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame. But instead of paying the $24 admission for the HOF, there's also lots of world-class art here to explore on the cheap. The Cleveland Museum of Art, located next to Case Western, is a free public museum featuring the works of Monet, Jackson Pollock, Picasso, Van Gogh, and countless other famed artists. Plus, at 5 p.m., guests can head to the balcony for a wine tasting happy hour or linger in the greenhouse-like open courtyard and sip a beer in the gardens. Of course, how could one go to Cleveland without spending some time on Lake Erie? Jet skis next to the Rock ‘n Roll HOF run $30 per half-hour. You can walk to the nearby USS Cod Submarine Memorial ($10 admission), an intact WWII submarine, and glimpse into life under the lake. Better yet, just relax in Wendy Park on Whiskey Island and let the lake breeze cool you after a day of sightseeing.
What’s nearby: One of the best parts about Cleveland is its proximity to other Midwest destinations that are otherwise challenging to access. First, any visit to Ohio, let alone Cleveland, deserves a stop at Cedar Point Amusement Park. Locally known as “America’s Rockin’ Roller Coast,” Cedar Point’s a mere hour drive outside of Cleveland, quite convenient for one of the world’s best parks. Tickets begin at $50, but most grocers and even gas stations in the area offer $10 discounts on tickets -- plus, the park boasts a world-record of 72 rides and 16 roller coasters to enjoy with admission. If the thought of looping rides makes you queasy, Amish country welcomes visitors to experience life in the 1800s, roughly a 1.5-hour drive. Spend a day working on a farm and tasting the local produce, adventure on the back of a buggy, enjoy a delicious roll, or even spend a night in an authentic cabin. You’ll be surprised with how much you can do without your electronics.