Cleveland Photo Diary

October 17, 2019
Back in January, we started planning on going to a Seahawks game sometime this year and Cleveland was the one that made the cut. I’ve visited the city once before, albeit briefly, so I was excited at the prospect of getting to really explore it. 

We like to get as early a start as possible when we’re traveling, and this trip was no different. Because this was a shorter trip than usual, we didn’t want to sleep in. We decided to visit the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame on the same day, so we headed out early for Canton. Even for someone like me who isn’t particularly into football, the HoF was pretty impressive. My personal favorite was looking at the uniforms and photographs from the earliest days of the sport. This was one of the many moments when I wished that our trip could be longer. We drove around parts of Canton that I really wished we could have explored, but simply didn’t have time to.

The Rock & Roll HoF was just as I’d remembered it, with a few changes. I was really excited to show Andrew some of my favorite parts of the museum, but they were in the middle of installations, so several of the larger areas were empty or closed to the public altogether. Nevertheless, we had a blast. We took our time through each exhibit, studying the clothing, lyrics, and instruments of some of our favorite artists and their iconic performances. 

After being tourists, we got down to what we do best in new areas: breweries and thrift stores. Savers would prove to be my favorite among the thrift stores I visited on these trips. I made out with sweaters, long sleeves, and even a vest that I never thought I'd be able to pull off. I’ll have an autumn favorites post coming up soon! After a quick thrift trip, we headed out to dinner. Andrew found Saucy Brew Works and put it at the top of his list. They’re known not only for their beer but also for their pizza. We hung out for a while, cozying up in our sweaters while the temperature outside dropped. 

We made our way to Brewnuts afterward for another beer for Andrew, a chai latte for me, and a donut for each of us. I had the blueberry vanilla bean and Andrew had the Count Chocula donut. These things were massive and I had to save the other half for the next day. On our way from the parking lot, we came across Superelectric Pinball Parlor. It's exactly what it sounds like. We peeped a crowd of people hanging out playing pinball and we needed to learn more. We stopped in after Brewnuts and had a blast. We swapped a few bucks for some coins and went to town. They had a bunch of retro machines from the 80s and beyond. I had a great time carrying my glass of Riesling from machine to machine while refusing to believe someone can be as bad at pinball as I am.

We didn’t have concrete plans for the second day in the city, so we let our list do the work. Something new that we tried on this trip— in part because of the trip’s short nature— was to prepare a shared note on our phones of the things we most wanted to do. I included the venues’ hours, website, and a highlight or two about the location or why we wanted to visit it. This cut back on so much time that we waste figuring out what to do. Additionally, many of our map apps use Yelp, and you can create lists of your bookmarks that I used to save the places I was hoping to visit. This was the perfect city to make a few locations must-sees and then make the rest up as we go. There was something to do no matter what part of the city we were in.

We made it a point to try Bob Evans while we were in the midwest and had a great breakfast first thing. We spent the day exploring the West Side Market, various breweries, bookstores, thrift stores, ice cream parlors and more. We loved walking around the market, sampling and picking out some uncommon fruits. I also spotted a huge homemade ice cream shop and eventually made my way to the biggest scoops of wild berry crumble ice cream. Note the hilariously small cone that I picked out before I knew how big the scoops really were.


 After a few more stops, we started looking for some good dinner spots and made our way to The Harp. I kept it basic with some fish & chips while Andrew got the Shepherd’s Pie— our typical Irish pub orders. With full bellies, we headed back to our Airbnb where we relaxed, watched movies, and rested up for the day ahead. 

I wish we could be there for this because this is right up my alley.

Our last day was pretty much pre-planned with the football game. We got there early to see the teams warm up, ate stadium food, and enjoyed the Seahawks 32-28 win over the Browns. We didn’t wanna be out late since we had to be up early the next morning for our return drive home, but we still managed to fit some exploring and dinner into the mix. We headed to Boss Dog Brewing Co. under the impression that it’d be a simple brewery, but it was, in fact, a full restaurant, so we got dinner there too. This was probably one of my favorite stops during the trip. The food was great, our server was awesome, and it was an all-around great atmosphere.

We packed up Sunday night and got on the road early. Our Airbnb was right on Lake Erie so we took some time to walk along the shore and watch the lake lighten as the sun began to rise. I would have loved to witness a full sunrise or sunset, but we had to be on the road sooner rather than later. We stopped at Tim Hortons for breakfast as we passed through Columbus and headed home. Thankfully, the trip home was much smoother than the one up and made it home earlier than anticipated.

Because we did so much in so little time, it would take ages to work in every single place we visited, so I made a list of our favorite restaurants, breweries, and everything in between.

To Eat & Drink
The Harp // Irish pub type food and a cozy atmosphere. Our table had a nice view of Lake Erie and part of the Cleveland skyline. 

Bob Evans // Traditional breakfast, think Cracker Barrel. Good coffee and generous portions.

Saucy Brew Works // Original pizzas, great craft beer, sports, and a lively atmosphere.

Brewnuts // A unique donut selection that changes weekly, as well as a craft beer selection from local breweries and even some coffee and tea offerings. They have the cutest decor and even cuter bathrooms. I’m glad I went before leaving because otherwise, I would have missed the pink flamingo glamour of it.

Boss Dog Brewing Co // Another brewery that has mastered the art of offering a full menu selection. Great food, and a comfortable atmosphere with the option to sit outside in the cozy patio area or sit at the bar for some sports on their flat-screens. Aside from the bar where they have some sports, the rest of the space feels more like a sit-down restaurant.

Mitchell’s Homemade Ice Cream // Some of the best ice cream I’ve ever had. Extremely generous portions, so keep that in mind, lol! Unique flavors, lots of seating, and similar to a brewery, there are large windows where you can see the ice cream being made!

Bad Tom Smith // A traditional brewery that offers some bar snacks, think pretzels. Has a large bar and some high top seating. It can feel crowded, but it's such a great atmosphere, more people just means you can make even more friends with the other patrons!

Nano Brew // Brewery that serves food as well, lots of seating indoors, as well as an outdoor bar and a lot more seating.

Just for Fun
Superelectric Pinball Parlor // a good collection of retro and modern pinball machines as well as a bar with craft beer, wine, and cocktail offerings. There’s a seating area and the entire space feels very nostalgic. Strong Stranger Things vibes here.

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame // The house that rock built. When it’s in full swing, you can get lost for hours looking at anything and everything you can imagine. So much to learn and relive. They have a small restaurant, coffee shop, and eating areas as well as some food trucks outside. Endless photo opportunities, no flash photography! It’s right on Lake Erie, so you can walk around outside, or just sit by the water.

They added a Vans Warped Tour section that wasn't there the first time I was there and my little heart was so happy.

Pro Football Hall of Fame // Everything from the earliest days of football to current super bowl rings, busts of every player who’s been inducted, a large gift shop, and an area where you can toss the ball around outside. No photography allowed!

Horizontal Books // Discount bookstore with some new and used titles. The more books you buy, the higher the discount!

West Side Market // So many vendors selling fresh produce and more. We went when it was winding down, but still picked up some fruits that we snacked on while exploring. Lots to see and sample, I wish we lived locally so we could really shop around and have somewhere to put our stuff.

Although we only had three full days in the city, we were able to check most things off of our list. We returned to our Airbnb every night exhausted but so satisfied with what we were able to do. We’ve been to quite a few places over the years, but Ohio has held a special place in my heart since the first time I visited. Everything from the people to the atmosphere has me wanting to go back to the midwest. We both miss it so much, and I think it was more than just missing vacation spots once you’re home. Both of us felt an immediate attachment to the area that has us genuinely missing the people, the atmosphere, all of it. Here’s to hoping we find our way back soon.

Finally fulfilled my dream of trying out Tim Hortons