Disclosure: I was invited on a two night/three day blogger tour of Cleveland in exchange for writing about my experience. Opinions in this and other related posts are 100% my own.
I was thrilled to be contacted by Positively Cleveland to participate in their Blogger Buddy Initiative where they pair a visiting blogger with a Cleveland blogger to tour Cleveland. I’ll be honest, I didn’t really have an opinion of Cleveland before this trip, other than I knew that’s where the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame was. I had been there twice before for Yankees/Indians games and had gone to the game and immediately back home, not taking time to explore the city.
In a lot of ways, Cleveland reminds me of Detroit, we are both underdogs, but are full of great people that want to see the city succeed. Speaking of great people, I want to introduce my amazing tour guides for this Cleveland trip. These women were fantastic and are true ambassadors for their city.
Gina launched Unmiserable Cleveland after Forbes published an article in 2010 naming Cleveland as America’s most miserable city (Detroit was number four in case you are wondering). From what I saw during this weekend was nothing could be further from the truth and with people like Gina, Katie and Stephanie championing the city soon everyone will know it. Check out Gina’s mission statement here.
Katie is a wonderful lover of art, culture and life. She is a fantastic tour guide and lover of Cleveland. If you want to know more about the real Cleveland then she is the one you should talk to. Katie has a blog called Forest City Forever if you want to know more.
Stephanie is the founder of the Cleveland Flea, which is sort of like an urban flea market, maker faire and food truck rally all wrapped into one. I got to experience a mini flea during my trip and it was so much fun!
Now that I have introductions out of the way, I want to share my first night in Cleveland with you.
Gina and I started our night by taking a walking tour of the city:
We then headed off to a great restaurant that is known for farm to table style food, called Spice Kitchen + Bar to meet up with Katie and Stephanie.
The food was delicious, in particular the Polenta Chickpea fries were so good! I loved the atmosphere of Spice, this would be a great place for dinner and drinks with girlfriends.
After dinner, we decided to hit Mitchell’s Ice Cream, which is this delicious handmade ice cream made right in the store! It was so delicious! You also get to see the inside of the factory – they have a little viewing area where you can watch the magic happen.
I had a triple scoop of vanilla, rocky road and birthday cake:
On the way back to the hotel, we got to drive around the city and I got to learn more about the city. We drove over the Hope Memorial Bridge where I got to see the Guardians of Traffic. There are eight figures carved into the bridge that represent the technological advances in transportation. Each guardian holds a different type of vehicle and they look like they are modeled after Hermes, the messenger of the Greek gods known for his speed. We drove by them so quickly I didn’t get a picture, but I was able to find a picture for you:
We made one more pass through Cleveland’s Playhouse Square in the theater district so I could see the giant outdoor chandelier. According to Guinness, at 20 feet, this is the world’s largest chandelier. This is brand new – they just lit the chandelier on May 2.
I had a great first night in Cleveland and I can’t wait to share the rest of the weekend with you! Stay tuned for the Day 2 and Day 3 recaps.
For more information on Cleveland, visit Positively Cleveland.