Joe Baur is a writer and filmmaker with a passion for travel, craft beer, and adventure. His work has taken him all over the world, but for this Cleveland native, there’s nothing better than coming home. Here are a few of Joe’s favorite things about the pride of Ohio, the Forest City.
Cleveland is My City
When someone comes to visit me, the first place I take them is Ohio City, an artisan neighborhood just over the Cuyahoga River from downtown. First, we head to the 100-year-old West Side Market for surprisingly filling falafel at Maha’s. We then play “eeny, meeny, miny, moe” to pick which brewery we’ll stop at to wash down lunch.
Fall is the best time to visit my city because Cuyahoga Valley National Park offers the best views of the changing leaves. Bike down the Towpath Trail from Cleveland to Akron for — you guessed it — more beer at Thirsty Dog before heading home on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad.
Native Cleveland, in awesomely gritty North Shore Collinwood, is the place to buy authentic, local souvenirs.
My city’s best museum is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame because despite the inherent irony of glamorizing rock’s most notorious rebels in a glitzy museum, it’s a comprehensive display of music history that can swallow an entire day.
If there’s one thing you should know about getting around my city, it’s to take the Rapid and bring a bike onboard for a little extra freedom.
My city really knows how to celebrate the Fourth of July because you can hear fireworks blasting throughout several neighborhoods as Clevelanders of every stripe come out to celebrate.
You can tell if someone is from my city if they’re excited to tell you about Cleveland, good or bad.
For a fancy night out, take your significant other out to dinner at Crop Bistro, housed in the grandeur former United Bank building from the 1920s, and marvel at the ornate artistry on the ceiling.
Just outside my city, you can visit Chagrin Falls. The mid-19th-century downtown area is filled with shopping and great views of a natural waterfall plummeting into the Chagrin River. Find your inner-zen at Yoga by the Falls, and treat yourself to one (or more) of Jeni’s “splendid” ice cream flavors.
My city is known for being “The Mistake on the Lake,” but it’s really finding a renaissance at the heart of its gritty Rust Belt core.
The best outdoor market in my city is North Union Farmers Market.
To find out what’s going on at night and on the weekends, read Cleveland Scene Magazine.
My city’s biggest sports event is a Cleveland Browns home opener. Watch it at Cleveland Browns Stadium (First Energy? Never!) in the heart of the Dawg Pound. Here we go, Brownies. Here we go! WOOF-WOOF!
To escape the crowds, I go for a bike ride west along Lake Avenue through Lakewood and Rocky River.
If my city were a celebrity (or character) it’d be Charlie Chaplin’s Tramp because no matter how bad life dishes it, we find a way to smile.
The dish that represents my city best is anything with pierogies and Great Lakes Christmas Ale is my city’s signature drink.
Terminal Tower is my favorite building in town because it symbolizes everything Cleveland was and can be again.
The most random thing about my city is that not only is the inventor of the traffic light from Cleveland, but the first one was installed on Ontario Avenue near Public Square.
- Nat Geo Expeditions
Beachland Ballroom is the best place to see live music, but if you’re in the mood to dance, check out Touch Supper Club.
Burning River Fest could only happen in my city.
In the spring you should grab a pussy willow or squirt gun and celebrate Dyngus Day in Detroit-Shoreway where polka music echoes throughout Detroit Avenue.
In the summer you should go to Wade Oval Wednesdays in University Circle for live music and food trucks.
In the fall you should watch or partake in the Head of the Cuyahoga Regatta.
The best book about my city is Rust Belt Chic: The Cleveland Anthology by Richey Piiparinen because it allows Clevelanders to define life in Cleveland.
When I think about my city, the song that comes to mind is “Burn On” by Randy Newman. It’s the only time Cleveland has been referred to as the “city of magic,” and we’ll be forever grateful for that.
In 140 characters or less, the world should heart my city because Cleveland is family.