Cleveland rocks. I want to see why.
April 12, 2006 9:46 AM   Subscribe

Tell me about Cleveland.

Every year, I take a weekend baseball trip, and this year's lucky city is Cleveland. I know only two things about Cleveland: Jacobs Field, where I'll be spending my evenings, and I the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I have a few questions for those that are more familiar with Cleveland than I.

First - is the R&R hall of fame worth seeing (i know that's a completely subjective question, but I'd like some impressions of the place from people that have seen it...)?

Second, and most utopian - is it possible to stay somewhere that would allow me to get to Jacobs Field and to be in a neighborhood with good restaurants/bars, and be close enough to the park to render a rental car unneccessary? If I'm not renting a car, I can probably budget up to about $150 a night for a hotel, less of course being better.

Third - if the answer to the second question is "no", what are some good neighborhoods to either stay in or hang out in pre/post game?

Any and all help is most appreciated.
posted by pdb to Travel & Transportation around Cleveland, OH (19 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Husband and I did the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame/ Jacobs Field trip back in August of 2004.

The Hall of Fame? It was…..clothes and guitars. That’s really the only way to describe it. Lots of costumes and lots of guitars. The only place where they even list the people in the Hall of Fame is in an interactive tour thing that only runs once an hour. By the time we got to it, the old guy there was like “Come back at 4:25,” and we looked at our watches and said “It’s 3:40, forget it” and left.

About a five minute walk from the Hall of Fame there's a WWII submarine, the USS Cod. This is pretty cool - you can walk through the different areas of the sub and mess around with aiming the guns on top of the submarine (which we promptly aimed at the R&R Hall of Fame.)

I don't recall where we stayed at the moment, but we didn't need to use our car once we got there - the hotel had a shuttle service that took us to the Hall of Fame, and we were able to walk from the hotel to Jacobs Field. There are lots of restaurants/bars in the area around the stadium, if I recall correctly.

(I can let you know where we stayed when I get home and can look at Quicken...I know that I found the place thorugh
posted by Lucinda at 9:58 AM on April 12, 2006

The best thing about the R&R Hall of Fame is the ability to stand there at those music machines-with-headphones they have in record stores and listen to tons of music. That and their store, where you can buy (and listen to more) the music from upstairs. The clothes and guitars left me cold too, though some of the movies are fun. I spent far more time there than I expected to.
posted by CunningLinguist at 10:11 AM on April 12, 2006

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has more than clothes and guitars. I particularly enjoyed Jimi Hendrix's drawings of football players from when he was a young boy, and Lennon's report cards.
posted by agregoli at 10:14 AM on April 12, 2006

I know you didn't ask - but I recommend you check out the West Side Market for a lunch if you have time. I was only in Cleveland once, but this was the highlight for me! Link to market here.
posted by kdern at 10:16 AM on April 12, 2006

Best answer: The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is a giant waste of time and money.

I happen to run a neighborhood website for my 'hood, and I'm a 10 minute bike ride from downtown. We've got some of the best chow in Cleveland and great bars and art galleries.

There are all kinds of good bar opportunities and restaurants downtown, within walking distance of Jacob's Field. W. 6th Street in particular. You can probably manage fine without a rental car, although the trip from Hopkin's Airport to DT might suck. Hotel arrangements I can't help you out so much on, though you might try looking for a bed and breakfast. As long as you're in Ohio City [where the WSM is 5 minutes from Tremont], Tremont or Detroit/Shoreway areas you'll be a skip and a jump from DT.

Here is the RTA site for planning bus routes.
posted by sciurus at 10:21 AM on April 12, 2006

Cleveland rocks!

posted by emelenjr at 10:22 AM on April 12, 2006

When I was at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame they had a great display of rejection letters artists like Bruce Springsteen and U2 received from various labels. "You have a good sound but you're not right for us..." sorts of things. On the top floor they had a temporary collection of John Lennon and Yoko Ono's paintings. This was four years ago.

As for where to stay in Cleveland, there are hotels downtown, but the downtown is basically just a single big mall with a couple smaller malls nearby. If I were going back to Cleveland I'd stay in University Circle near the Case Western campus, in part because that's where I lived when I went to school there four years ago, and in part because some of the best places in town to go are in University Circle, the Cleveland Museum of Art (apparently currently closed) and the Cleveland Orchestra, most notably. I'd eat every night at Tommy's in Coventry, a short walk away.

Here are some hotels in University Circle. There are two RTA stops in the area that will take you downtown in about half an hour.
posted by BackwardsCity at 10:23 AM on April 12, 2006

Oh, forgot to mention:

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame can be free for you. My husband brought a CD of his band and showed it at the ticket booth and told them we were on tour with our band. For us, they took the CD and let us in for free.

Shhhh, it's a secret.
posted by agregoli at 10:35 AM on April 12, 2006

The Renaissance is probably the most centrally-located downtown hotel. It's connected to Tower City, which is basically a giant mall. There's an RTA station in the basement of Tower City, and there are usually cabs outside the entrance. However, both Jacobs Field and The Rock Hall are within walking distance from there. There are some good restaurants within walking distance as well, specifically on W. 6th and W. 9th.
posted by amro at 10:42 AM on April 12, 2006

Oh, and there's a Ritz-Carlton attached to Tower City as well. I haven't looked at the rates for either hotel, they may be more than you want to spend. There's also a Hyatt a few blocks away.
posted by amro at 10:45 AM on April 12, 2006

BTW, the RTA station I mentioned is for light rail, not buses. It will take you right to The Rock Hall if you don't want to walk.
posted by amro at 10:47 AM on April 12, 2006

Eh, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is somewhat underwhelming. There are videos and multimedia displays too, but it's not that exciting. You didn't ask, but I'll throw out a few other suggestions. The Cleveland Museum of Art is actually very good [particularly the collection of Asian art], although I know that they were doing major renovations when I was last there, and many of the exhibits were closed. The USS Cod & the William G. Mather are a decommissioned submarine and ore boat that can be fun to tour. If you're interested in classical music, the Cleveland Orchestra is considered very, very good. You can catch indie films at the Cedar Lee, or more obscure things at the Cinematheque [at the Cleveland Institute of Art.] If you're interested in theatre, there's a lot to choose from, most of it in areas of the city that should be relatively easy to reach with public transportation. The near West Side [Tremont, Ohio City, parts of Lakewood] and the near East Side [the University Circle area, Cleveland Heights, University Heights, etc.] tend to have the most decent restaurants, bars, galleries, etc. On the East Side, it's probably easiest to find stuff in the Coventry, Cedar-Lee, or Shaker Square areas. sciurus probably has better suggestions for the West Side.

Cleveland has a public transportation system, the RTA. It's not great, but it does reach many of the more interesting areas of the city. There are several stops downtown and very near Jacobs Field, there's an airport stop, and there are stops in University Circle [where most of Cleveland's museums, the orchestra, and CWRU all are] and Shaker Square. From University Circle, you can probably catch busses to Cleveland Heights as well. There's an Ohio City Rapid stop, but you'll probably need to look at bus lines to reach most of the rest of the West Side.

You may want to check out the Free Times [or the Scene, although it sucks] to figure out what's going on. They both list plays, movies, concerts, and local bars/restaurants. I have no idea where to look for hotels [whenever I go back to Cleveland, I stay with family], but it should be possible to find some downtown or along one of the RTA lines.
posted by ubersturm at 10:48 AM on April 12, 2006

I'd almost say stick to the west side and skip the University Circle area alltogether. It's kind of a drive for so little attraction, as well as being a construction mess at the moment - i.e. museum is closed, the roads are hellish, etc.

If you're going to Coventry, check out the Mint Cafe (same street, no link) while you're at it for some great thai food. Definately, definately check out the West Side Market.

(I've always wanted to go to edison's too but missed the last mefi meetup)
posted by bhance at 11:23 AM on April 12, 2006

To add to the confusion, I'll state that I really enjoyed the Hall of Fame. You should at least stand outside and look at it, it's great from an architectural standpoint, at any rate. Also, they have the original letters from Dr. Hunter S. Thompson to Rolling Stone magazine, arguably worth the price of admission. Not that I can recall what that was just now...

Also, Cleveland has an inordinate number of parks. I suppose the quantity of parks is less important to a visitor than the quality, but there you are.
posted by Squid Voltaire at 11:25 AM on April 12, 2006

I thought the Hall of Fame was a damned cool building. Also, it has (or had) Janis Joplin's Porsche in it, and had a few exhibits that I really enjoyed... I vaguely recall a Hendrix movie or something.

There were lots of things I didn't give a shit about also, but I just walked past them relatively quickly.

Cleveland isn't the most exciting town in the world, but if you can't entertain yourself for a weekend, I put the blame on you. It's not that bad.
posted by I Love Tacos at 11:52 AM on April 12, 2006

See if Cobra Verde's playing. Great band from Cleveland...
posted by AJaffe at 12:17 PM on April 12, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks to everyone for the tips - even though I didn't say so in my post, I am definitely looking for non-RRHF and baseball things to do, and there's some great ideas in there...keep 'em coming!
posted by pdb at 12:32 PM on April 12, 2006

Never been to Cleveland, everything I know about it comes from Harvey Pekar's American Splendor. (Not the film, his comic book.) This is his take on the R&R Hall of Fame.
posted by Rash at 2:50 PM on April 12, 2006

Glendennis Bed and Breakfast is a National Historic Landmark. It's 1.7 miles from Jacobs Field and it's across the street from Parker's which is widely acknowledged to be one of the best restaurants in the country. There's another B&B right around the corner. This B&B is on the East side and is 1.5 miles from Jacobs field. It's walking distance from the best Vietnamese restaurant (Pho Hua), best Thai restaurant (Siam Cafe) and best Chinese restaurant (still Siam Cafe) in the city. Siam Cafe has seriously good Chinese food - no matter how much faith you choose to put in my recommendations Siam Cafe will still be surprisingly good.

Bourbon House and Edgewater Estates are 2.8 miles and 4.0 miles from Jacobs Field, respectively, which is probably further than you'd want to walk. But it might be worth it. They look like really neat places. And Edgewater specifically mentions that transportation can be arranged. And it's by the lake.

Sage is another restaurant that you should consider. It's in sciurus's Tremont neighborhood. If you end up with a car and want to visit the suburbs, Moxie and fire are also excellent contemporary American style restaurants.

If you stay in Ohio City (at Glendennis or the other one nearby), there is almost too much to choose from for great quick, cheap, fresh lunches. Mexican, Puerto Rican, Lebanese, Vietnamese. I'm not as familiar with these but you almost can't go wrong. Maybe Nate's for Lebanese or Phnom Penh for Vietnamese. La Bodega for sandwiches. Lucky's or the West Side Market Cafe for brunch. Or one of a hundred vendors at the West Side Market (closed Sunday). Again, if you have a car consider El Tengo Taqueria for wide ranging Latin or Presto for amazing sandwiches. Cleveland also has a lot of good stick-to-your ribs Mittleeuropean food. I could go on and on about food. Ask about bakeries or frozen custard. Please, ask about frozen custard!

If you're looking for neighborhoods worth exploring, the locations of these B&B's is a great start: Ohio City and nearby Tremont on one hand and Millionaire's Row on the Other. Tremont must have one of the highest concentrations of beautiful old churches in the country. Forrest Hill which is near the Lakeview Cemetery is another and there's lots worth exploring at the cemetery- grand monuments, beautfil gardens and geological stuff. The rest of Cleveland Heights and into Shaker Heights is wonderful and so is Bratenahl.

Squid Voltaire is right that Cleveland has a lot of parks/scenic stuff. Consider the Metroparks, the Ohio and Erie Canal or the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. The Canalway website has a lot of information about the attractions located along the route.

Cleveland also supports a world class orchestra in addition to smaller ensembles too numerous to mention.

If I hear about an interesting event, I try to add it to I frequently find interesting events in the Cool Cleveland newsletter. Plugged In Cleveland is a local site that appears to be active but I'm not personally familiar with it. I can think of several festivals that might be interesting but without knowing when you'll be in town I don't know what to recommend. Do you mind telling us when you're coming?
posted by stuart_s at 9:24 PM on April 12, 2006

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