If you’ve got two free hours in Cleveland, you have just enough time to discover a city that is actively being reborn—starting with Kimpton’s newest property, The Schofield Hotel. Opened this month after a $50 million renovation, the Victorian-era building is now fully restored, right down to the original terra-cotta exterior, which was masked by steel for nearly 40 years.
Like The Schofield, Cleveland has experienced its own “renovation,” creating a city where haute cuisine, world-class art and culture, and vibrant green space collide. Head to an Iron Chef’s restaurant for dinner (you might even spot him working the line), celebrate the birthplace of rock ‘n’ roll, or lose yourself one of the largest free art museums in the world. Here’s Cleveland: pick a direction and explore.
For Foodies: Ohio City
Borrow one of the Schofield’s complementary PUBLIC Bikes and set off on a pleasant two-mile ride to nearby neighborhood Ohio City. The stretch of W. 25th Street is home to a vibrant mix of restaurants and bars and the city’s legendary West Side Market.
Explore the West Side Market—a thriving and historic market that houses a hundred vendors providing all manner of produce, meats, and specialty goods. At Crepes Deluxe, try the La Chevre, made with local Lake Erie Creamery goat cheese, baby organic spinach and tomato, or the Citron Creme, with house-made lemon curd and honey mascarpone. Swing by the family-run J&J Czuchraj Meats, whose beef jerky got a shout out as the best thing ever eaten by Iron Chef Michael Symon. Next, visit Campbell’s for Dichotomy popcorn, an addictive mix of cheese and caramel corn, and buckeyes: the chocolate and peanut butter official treat of Ohio. Market vendors are happy to hand out samples as you explore.
After you’ve worked up a thirst, head two blocks North of the market to visit Nano Brew. This brewpub serves memorable bites like the Spicy Burger, topped with cheddar, poblano peppers, caramelized onions, and spicy mayo. As the funkier little sister to Market Garden Brewery (located right next door to the market), Nano has a selection of Market Garden beers on tap, along with the house-made Nano Namber, a hoppy ale.
The star attraction is the chance to try Nano’s weekly beer. Each week, Nano brews a small batch of a new experimental beer and serves it starting on Thursday nights. The most successful of these adventurous beers graduate into full production at Market Garden, giving visitors the opportunity to taste the inventive and the imaginative.
As part of its grand opening, The Schofield is also nodding to Cleveland’s local brewers and craft brew history with the “Crafty Cleveland” package (Promo code: BEER). The package includes a 6-pack of assorted local craft beers, a Schofield bottle opener, a map of Cleveland brewpubs and a $25 gift card to Great Lakes Brewing Company.
If a cocktail is calling your name, head to the nearby Velvet Tango Room. Its unassuming exterior gives way to a sumptuous, warm bar with a live piano player and sophisticated charm. The most meticulous and delicious cocktails in Cleveland are shaken (or stirred) here, made with the finest quality liquors and house-made mixes, and served with upscale ice cubes and gourmet garnishes. Sip on a Tango Manhattan—a house-made red wine reduction and bitters, mixed with Maker’s Mark. Cocktail flights for two let you sample three delicious concoctions and appreciate the artistry in each glass.
For Yogis: Uptown
Sweat out your stress, center yourself and let your inner strength shine through, in class at Cleveland Yoga at their Uptown location near University Circle. Try the Yinyasa—a combo of power vinyasa and a deeper, slow flow. Make sure you arrive 15 minutes before class begins to secure a spot, and bring a completed new student waiver with you (available online, and printable at The Schofield). Your room at The Schofield has a mat you can take to class, if you’re not traveling with your own.
After your practice, head around the corner and up the red brick cobblestone streets of historic Little Italy to the quaint Algebra Tea House. Rejuvenate with a custom-blended world tea, house-roasted coffee or a fresh fruit and veggie smoothie.
For Culture Seekers: University Circle
Cleveland’s University Circle region is home to an amazing array of things to see and do. Grab a quick ride on the RTA Healthline bus from The Schofield and visit Severance Hall, home of the world-renowned Cleveland Orchestra. Also in University Circle is the Cleveland Museum of Art. One of the largest free art museums in the country, the museums boasts more than 45,000 works of art in its permanent collection. Be sure to explore the armor court, the notable modern art wing, and a gorgeous 14-foot wide panel of Monet’s famous Waterlilies.
If the flowers inspire you, the Cleveland Botanical Garden is just across the street. Ten acres of outdoor garden are open to explorers including a children’s garden. Inside the Glasshouse you’ll find two ecosystems: a spiny desert of Madagascar and the cloud forest of Costa Rica. In the latter, you’ll have butterflies alighting on your shoulder and songbirds singing from the trees.
Other great attractions at University Circle include MOCA, the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland; the Cleveland Museum of Natural History; the Western Reserve Historical Society; and the Cinematheque at the Cleveland Institute of Art.
For Nightlife: East 4th Street
A quick walk from the hotel is the bustling and popular East 4th Street. With quaint brick streets, strings of lights hung overhead, and gorgeously restored vintage buildings, this pedestrian-only street offers something exciting at every storefront. Some of the city’s best restaurants, including Jonathan Sawyer’s Greenhouse Tavern and Michael Symon’s Lola, are here. Catch a touring or local comic at Hilarities 4th Street Theater, or check out live music at the House of Blues Cleveland. For a high class bowling experience quite unlike any other, don’t miss the Corner Alley.
— Tori Woods Ballantine
Tori Woods Ballantine lives and writes on the West Side of Cleveland. She has written for Cleveland Magazine, NASA, Behr, the Trust for Public Land, and UAW Magazine. Check out her work at toriwoods.com.
I was born and raised in Euclid, a suburb just east of Cleveland City. I moved away from the area 40 years ago, but visit family frequently. I have witnessed from afar the rebirth of downtown Cleveland, and I think Tori provided a good itinerary to explore some of the best in downtown. Cleveland is also blessed with an abundance of parks all over the metropolitan area, hence it’s old nickname, the “Forest City”. I enjoyed reading this article!
Good to know you still enjoy your hometown roots.
Thank you, Martha! We’re so glad our suggestions were helpful – and we’re excited to be in the Forest City!