That was partly a joke. Cleveland should not be anyone’s ultimate destination. But it is an incredibly awesome city, and I’m reminded of this so often that I’ve felt the need to document my reasoning and share it. Because there’s quite the pool of people who sometimes hate this city or just consistently bitch about it. Don’t listen to those people. Here’s the truth.
Tourist check list first.
Art museum? Renowned.
Pro Football Hall of Fame? Canton’s not THAT bad.
“You’ll shoot your eye out kid?” Put us on the map.
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? Seeing just the outside might suffice.
Mike Tyson’s abandoned mansion? Yeah. Look it up.
Science center? Um, Imax movie?
Record-breaking roller coasters? It’s an enjoyable two hour drive across some of the best flat land Ohio has to offer.
HAVE YOU BEEN TO OUR METROPARKS? And done.
Cleveland hits more than the basics. It’s a prime candidate for a National Lampoon’s Griswold adventure, complete with the necessary urban history pit stop at St. Clair and E. 99th.
But there’s more than just Bone Thugz and Drew Carey to this city, there’s niche neighborhoods.
My parents have “date night” at Mama Santa’s in Little Italy. This restaurant confuses me, because how can you call yourself an authentic Italian restaurant and serve “bottles” of wine in containers the size of blood vials? Italians drink more than that. Trust me. Or, trust my dad. His office used to double as a winery.
Yes, we have a Chi-town. I’ve been eating at Bo Loong’s (39th and St. Clair) since I was a little girl, and can credit that place with the first time I ever saw live lobster in a tank. Man, that is trippy when you’re six. You just want to know what happens when the rubber bands come off.
The West Side Market is the most glorious dining Cleveland has to offer. A necessary stop on my Cleveland tour. There’s always a good time to be had walking around stuffing yourself with smokies of varying hotness, getting produce at a ridiculously cheap price, and staring at butchered pigs and cow tongue.
Wait till I get to to Tremont, Ohio City, University Circle, Coventry, damnit, the list is endless.
But first, I’ll say that I love this city largely for the people who fill it. The people are really, really nice here. You wouldn’t believe it.
I’ve done experiments on this idea. Accidentally. Variable is usually one or both of my 100 pound dogs. I let them off-leash in areas where I really shouldn’t. Oftentimes, I’m left chasing them as they take off to greet other dog civilians, screaming, “THEY’RE FRIENDLY!”
The way people react to that, I think, says something about the friendliness of an area. For instance, I can’t remember the last time someone responded condescendingly to my Rottweiler and lion/mastiff mix coming full speed at them. I always end up entrenched in a conversation with that person about something irrelevant.
Speaking of dogs, the Browns are 2-5. At this point, we’ve accepted our fate. We’re happy we’ve kept our losses close. But we’ve never booed this team out of the stadium.
Might’ve thrown bottles, which was awesome, but we’ve never stooped so low as to harass the team we endure below freezing weather and lake effect snow for. At least I’ve never seen it.
Cleveland has some of the best fans in the league. They’ll sit through anything. Our loyalty is tested every Sunday. The insane elements and consistent defeats only reinforce it.
The Browns Backers are one of the NFL’s most well-organized (and largest) fan groups.
I’m tearing up, so I’ll stop. This is going to have to be a four-part series.