Go ahead, get your Cleveland vs. Pittsburgh hangups out of the way. I’ll wait…
Like Pittsburgh, Cleveland can get a bad rap sometimes. But they are both two beautiful (former) Rust Belt cities that are often misunderstood. And seriously underrated. I was thrilled to be invited by the Convention & Visitors Bureau of Cleveland to a special bloggers-only excursion. The itinerary for our three-day stay was suggested and decided by fans of Positively Cleveland on social media. Along with two bloggers from Cincinnati (Adventure Mom and The Food Hussy!) another fellow Pittsburgher (The Steel Trap and a breakfast blogger from Columbus (Breakfast With Nick) we got a look, taste and feel of the locals’ favorites.
LODGING: we stayed at the newly-remodeled Holiday Inn Express downtown — and this hotel is BEAUTIFUL. The room itself was very large — furnished with a super-comfy king bed, chair-and-ottoman, desk and bar area; I was in a corner suite that had high ceilings, wood floors (*swoon*) and a window facing Euclid Avenue. Did I mention it’s in a perfect location? The bed had those stupid square pillows that I hate, but THANK THE CLEVELAND GODS there were two firm (labeled, even; nice!). My bathroom was also big, clean — and contained a shower (no tub). The hotel also serves breakfast at 7am every day (I didn’t have the opportunity to check it out). I can’t begin to tell you how friendly the staff was upon my arrival too.
When I checked in, I had a welcome package reserved for me too; a messenger bag filled with Cleveland-centric items: coffee mug, coozie, bag of Campbell’s Dichotomy popcorn and a Lilly’s Chocolate bar. What a nice touch!
FOOD: Besides my hotel snacks, you might have heard that Cleveland is an epic foodie city, with local celebrity chefs a-plenty (um, Michael Symon, Jonathan Saywer, Zach Bruell, Chris Hodges to name a few). Not to mention, there are entire DISTRICTS devoted to the food scene.
ADVENTURE/LEISURE: Cleveland borders Lake Erie and is home to a park system of epic size. If the outdoors doesn’t appeal to you, there’s a block of theaters or a neighborhood filled with several world class museums — most of which are centered around University Circle; you’ll find the Cleveland Museum of Art, MOCA, Western Reserve Historical Society here. I love a city that appeals to the adventurous and outdoorsy and cultured traveler all alike.
NEIGHBORHOODS: Similar to Pittsburgh (maybe on a bit smaller scale), Cleveland is divided into neighborhoods — Ohio City, Detroit Shoreway, Tremont, Gordon Square, Uptown, etc. Each has its own character and highlights (many anchored by one of those aforementioned amazing restaurants), and unique entertainment, culture and shopping options.
OVERALL: We were positively EXHAUSTED (but well traveled!) by the end of the long weekend. There were definitely a few places that I wish I could have spent more time exploring (MOCA, one of several highlights of the trip for me), and there are only so many meals in one day for so many amazing restaurants. At only a two-hour trip from the ‘Burgh, this certainly won’t be my last trip to Cleveland.
THERAPY: I made some new blogger friends!
And hey, sometimes you just can’t beat a bed to yourself.
Stay tuned for all the details on the fun!
Disclosure: Positively Cleveland provided accommodations, meals and admission for my participation in this socially-driven trip. All opinions herein are my own. Thanks to April & Corinne at Positively Cleveland for the group pics too!