On business in Cleveland, Ohio? Take some time out of the office to get to know this culturally diverse city, where its Upper Midwest roots are fused with a burgeoning dining scene. Rock and roll venues and artisanal breweries sit alongside chic cocktail bars, independent arts venues and farmers markets. To navigate your way around this cultural landscape, follow our business traveller’s guide to Cleveland.
Where to stay: Just moments from the restaurants and bars in the heart of the city, the glamorous Ritz Carlton Cleveland enjoys an enviable location. Each room offers either a city, lake or river view, and with a 24-hour fitness centre it’s easy to fit a workout in between meetings. For a more traditional stay, check into one of the vintage-style suites at the boutique Gliddon House. An elegant mansion house, this property offers a more personal touch, with a delicious European breakfast served each morning in the parlour. Metropolitan at the 9 is another popular choice, situated in a converted 1906 bank with plush suites and a number of restaurants and bars, including Azura rooftop lounge, which offers panoramic views over the city.
Where to eat: With such a deep-rooted multicultural society, Cleveland has built its reputation as a culinary hub on its eclectic dining scene, with celebrity chefs opening their own eateries, too. One such chef is Michael Symon, whose two Cleveland restaurants Lola and Lolita reflect the chef’s Greek and Sicilian roots. Another high profile offering is Dante by celebrity chef Dante Boccuzzi, putting out international dishes that utilise the region’s seasonal produce. For the full Dante experience, go for the five-course tasting menu. Attracting the attention of famous names like President Bush and the Bare Naked Ladies is Syman’s Restaurant, a laid-back deli that’s become a bit of a Cleveland institution and that’s best known for its corned beef sandwiches.
Where to go for evening cocktails: To see the sun go down over the city skyline, head up to the chic rooftop bar Azura Sun Lounge at the top of Metropolitan at the 9. The bar hosts live music nights each Thursday and DJs play into the night at the weekend. Serving up specialty cocktails and martinis is Vosh Lakewood, a cocktail bar and live music venue with an outdoor patio to hang out on. Inspired by the tango rooms of Buenos Aires, The Velvet Tango Room was set up with the aesthetic of a classic cocktail bar. They take their drinks seriously here, and the same goes for their music – each night the bar hosts live jazz performances.
Top sights: For a culture fix head to Cleveland Museum of Art, where over 30,000 artworks from around the world span the course of 5,000 years. In addition to the permanent collection and temporary shows, the museum hosts music performances and film screenings. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum meanwhile, is dedicated to showcasing the history of the most influential people in the rock music industry through a series of exhibitions and events, including panel discussions and live performances. If you’re in need of an escape from the urban sprawl when on business in Cleveland, wander through the green oasis of Cleveland Botanical Gardens. Amidst this expanse of greenery, you’ll find the Eleanor Armstrong Smith Glasshouse, which transports visitors to the spiny desert of Madagascar and rainforest of Costa Rica.
Great gifts: Alongside homemade ice cream and root beer, Sweet Moses Soda Fountain & Treat Shop is a beloved local sweet shop selling edible souvenirs such as chocolate replicas of the city’s Terminal Tower. By visiting West Side Market, you’ll be able to pick up a variety of local products. Look out for Maple Valley Sugarbush, a small family-run company specialising in Ohio maple syrup. For something entirely unique, pick up paintings, handmade jewellery and crafts at Cleveland Handmade Market.
Going local: Dating back to 1840, West Side Market is Cleveland’s oldest marketplace. This yellow brick market house and clock tower is a landmark within the city, with both locals and tourists visiting each day to buy a diverse range of produce. Cleveland’s iconic microbrewery, Great Lakes Brewing Company is another great local favourite for beer fans – make sure to sample the craft beer at the brewery’s Tiger Mahogany Bar and take a tour to find out how it’s made.
Where to break curfew: Barley House Cleveland draws in the crowds for its American cuisine and craft beers, with pour-it-yourself technology at each table making it easy to keep the drinks flowing. As the night goes on, the bar picks up pace with DJ sets and dancing until late. For a speakeasy-style setting, check out Society Lounge. Craft cocktails are the focus here, with live music from jazz and blues to acoustic and rockabilly swing, while Bourbon Street Barrel Room specialises in craft beers and ale, with classic New Orleans cocktails on the menu, too.
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Have you been on business in Cleveland? Which locations would you recommend? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.
Written by Lauren Hill