Cleveland Rocks!

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Cleveland is home to the world’s largest rubber stamp. There is so something charmingly American about roadside attractions, particularly ones that boast to be the world’s largest anything.  

I think in the 60s thru 80s some Canadian cities tried to borrow this tourism strategy but Canadians are so modest, boasting about being superior in anything but hockey didn’t catch on and so America reigns in the world’s largest category.

Before the mother of all voyages, Geof and I ventured on one last road trip – this time to Cleveland. When I shared our plan with with friends and coworkers I received the same puzzled, turned up nose reaction, even after reminding them of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

It was apparent Cleveland wasn’t on the top of must-see lists for others. But we were not worried about the Mistake on the Lake; while we have been to glorious Montreal and immaculate Ottawa we had also had a legendary time in decaying Buffalo.


And Cleveland delivered. It was a cold, grey, rainy weekend but we were overwhelmed with the architecture and art in the city. It is filled with old buildings and scenery that you would often equate with Philadelphia or other cities.

Clevelanders/Clevelandites? are also incredibly nice. The Couchsurfing group offered suggestions for what to see, Cleveland Public Art tweeted a walking map of the public art in the city and the staff at the Hampton Inn were so pleasant. We did head outside the core and even the dodgiest areas seemed to be warming up to neighborhood gentrification.

But as you know with every rose there are some thorns:

1)The only recycling bin we saw was outside City Hall. There was no composting/green bins. This includes in our hotel, around the city and in restaurants. It was sad to see such a disregard for something so easy to do.

2)Excessive packaging and most of it styrofoam.  Take out sandwiches were wrapped in foil wrapping and placed in unneeded styrofoam. Phoenix Coffee had a great atmosphere but when I saw the hot coffee came in styrofoam I couldn’t bear to order one (I avoid styrofoam and plastic, especially when heated). We read on the cup that styrofoam was chosen because it could be more easily recycled than paper cups. However, there’s a fatal flaw as identified with thorn number one.

3) It was really hard to get a cab from outside the downtown core. We waited at a bar for nearly an hour. Our cab driver did make up for it by telling us a whale of a story that amused us so this thorn isn’t as prickly.

Overall I think Cleveland gets a bad rap and would be a great city to visit in the summer, the photos below do no justice to the fun that could be had on a sunny day by the waterfront.

But I’m not the only one who loves the city, check out Cindy’s guide to great things to do in Cleveland.

Join the Conversation

  1. Love the pic of Mr. Bacon by the stamp. I agree with your point about the world’s largest items here in Canada. They’re not really marketed the same way here as I think world’s largest items are in the US. Still I love passing by cheesy roadside attractions like those.

    I can’t say Cleveland was ever on my ‘must see’ list, but it looks like a pretty neat city. I might have to go just for The Rock ‘N Roll Hall Of Fame. I’m surprised that coffee shop you went to used Styrofoam cups. I wonder if you brought in a travel mug that they’d let you use that for coffee.

  2. I know I am bias but you should be a writer!

  3. I really enjoyed this post. It feels like an experience only Canadians could have, but I’m certain I’m wrong about that perception. Especially since I’ve never been to Cleveland. I pretty only know the city as one of the most down-on-their-luck sports cities in the country.

  4. I love Mr. Bacon so much. I’m sure Cleveland is lovely, but forgive me for being more excited about your NEXT trip!!!

  5. Cornelius Aesop says:

    I never really thought of Cleveland as a tourist spot because my roots are from the greater Cleveland area. The West Side Market is a wonderful place to see if you ever get a chance to go back, especially in summer. Keith – you are right but Cleveland will prevail. My greatest Cleveland sports moment was seeings someone with a Brows jersey on in Rio de Janeiro.

  6. Thanks for shouting out my hometown. I used to hate Cleveland growing up, but they’ve really jazzed up the city in recent years. I want to just tell you about some other great things. Did you try any restaurants? There’s a really great food scene there now, farm to table and all that jazz. There’s also a lot of really great bars opening in the downtown area. I also love the vintage and thrift shopping as well. My fav plus size store from nyc, re/dress has relocated to nearby lakewood. There’s also a great vintage shop in ohio city called deering vintage. The sympohony(sp) is world reknown, as well as Cleveland Clinic(lol). So feel free to have a heart attack from all those corn beef sammiches you should be eating! Glad you had a good time in “my” city.

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