Home to Cleveland Playhouse and Great Lakes Theatre Company, you may find yourself in Cleveland for a few months, and you will be blown away by what this town has to offer. Cleveland doesn't get nearly the credit it deserves considering all that there is to explore here. Plus, the bang for your buck on everything from food to movie tickets will genuinely make you start to muse about a possible relocation....?
Felice Urban Cafe, in a turn-of-the-century house on Larchmere Boulevard, is a beautiful, casual retreat for nosh, pre or post show. During rehearsals, enjoy their Happy Hour between 5PM and 6:30PM Tues-Fri, which includes small plates between $5-$7. Or, during performances, enjoy their late-night Happy Hour deals on Friday and Saturday evenings, 9PM to 12AM. The food here is incredibly fresh and delicious. They serve up lots of local produce (including some from the restaurant's very own garden), so enjoy a wonderfully relaxing evening of small plates and drinks with the cast, crew, or friends/family in town. (The cheese plate in particular is sublime, and the cocktails here are heaven.)
12502 Larchmere Blvd, Cleveland, OH 44120 HAPPY HOUR: Tues- Fri 5PM- 6:30PM Fri- Sat 9PM- Closing HOURS: Mon- Sun CLOSED Tues- Thurs 5PM- 10PM Fri- Sat 5PM- 12AM http://feliceurbancafe.com
Lola made its name by showcasing the flavors and ingredients that make Cleveland unique while shaping them into high-class dishes. Think the most incredible pork belly you've ever had in your life. Meat is king here, and Lola chef, Michael Symon, brings astounding charcuterie to these swanky digs. Located fairly close to both Cleveland Playhouse and Great Lakes Theatre Festival, this is a special spot that is worth a stop, even if just at the bar for some small plates with the cast. It is one of the first places that put Cleveland on the national food scene, and it's still a favorite.
2058 E 4th St, Cleveland, OH 44115 HOURS: Sun- Thurs 5PM- 10PM Fri- Sat 5PM- 11PM lolabistro.com
Hot Sauce Williams
Hot Sauce Williams is a Cleveland institution. Featured on various Food Network shows, this place has lost none of its originality or high-quality, even as it has garnered national fame. Located in down to earth digs, the ribs are fantastic, the fried chicken is perfect, and get the collard greens and mac and cheese on the side. You won't be disappointed.
Sushi in Cleveland!? Yes. Pacific East Japanese Restaurant is an affordable, killer sushi joint that hits the spot in the most ideal way possible, especially on two-show days when you need that energy without the bloat. This friendly staff, always quick with a green-tea refill and a handy understanding when you need to split checks, is the icing on top, and I couldn't have fonder memories of this lovely establishment.
The Cleveland Museum of Art was constructed in 1913 "for the benefit of all the people forever", and it has continued to do just that over the years. This world famous art museum is free, so there truly is no excuse to miss it. (Sometimes certain exhibitions carry a cost, but check out their website for more information on that.) Full of almost 45,000 works of art, give yourself a healthy afternoon or two, and get away to this gorgeous complex for a daytime of art with one of the finest collections of work that our country has to offer.
Cleveland Museum of Art, East Blvd, Cleveland, OH 44106 HOURS: Mon CLOSED Tues 10AM- 5PM Wed 10AM- 9PM Thurs 10AM- 5PM Fri 10AM- 9PM Sat- Sun 10AM- 5PM http://www.clevelandart.org
The Inn on Coventry
The Inn on Coventry should be your perfect go-to breakfast or brunch spot while working in Cleveland. Affordable, unassuming, and with flavors that will whack you between the eyes (in the best possible way), this local diner shows other diners how it's done. With incredible, fresh coffee that's always full, pair with that their Lemon Ricotta Pancakes that are nothing less than obsession-worthy. These pancakes are heaven, but so is everything I have tried on this incredible breakfast menu.
Take a Monday to visit this lovely little Square that used to be where actors were housed when working at Cleveland Playhouse. There's a plethora of options within this tiny community to support local and have a brilliant (and affordable) day off here.
Stumbling into Loganberry Bookstore is like stumbling into something magical. This stunning, independently owned and operated bookstore houses over 100,000 new and used books in a labyrinth of tightly packed rooms, truly everywhere you look is packed to the gills, but nothing about this place seems sloppy or careless. Every single nook and cranny here has been given so much care and love it's almost moving. Complete with complimentary tea and a sweetheart of a cat who wanders around making friends, Loganberry is worth spending hours in while visiting Shaker.
Before or after Loganberry, visit Dewey's Coffee House, great not only for their custom, locally roasted, fair-trade coffee, but also for their homemade soups, salads, and sandwiches. A comfortable, roomy coffee shop full of locals and the nicest staff you can find, this place encourages lingering and is a great option to get out of the downtown area and do some work or reading.
Shaker Square, 13201 Shaker Square, Cleveland, OH 44120 HOURS: Mon- Sat 6:30AM - 7PM Sun 6:30AM- 6PM deweyscoffee.com
Shaker Square Cinemas
Next comes a film at Shaker Square Cinemas. With $5 movie deals all day on Monday, this special, special place will make you deeply resent paying $15 in New York City to see the same film. A little run-down, this locally owned and operated movie house more than compensates with charm and (again) wild affordability.