The jokes about Cleveland are old, very outdated and, frankly, a little bit insulting. Cleveland, Ohio and its neighboring counties have so much to offer in terms of vacations, day trips and group travel. There was a time when even I would have laughed at the thought of willingly going to Cleveland (what did you lose a bet?), but those days are gone. Cleveland is a vibrant city with amazing people. Even the weather has a personality of its own.
There is a terrific website (www.positivelycleveland.com) that can help you with almost every aspect of planning a trip to Cleveland and its surrounding areas. Positively Cleveland not only covers Downtown Cleveland, but also Akron/Canton, the East Side, Northeast Ohio, Sandusky/Lake Erie Islands, the South Side, the Southeast Side, University Circle area and the West Side. Positively Cleveland is celebrating their 75th anniversary of helping to bring conventions, group tours and trade shows to Cleveland. Now the individual traveler can be assisted by this website as well. Twenty-one area visitor bureaus are represented here which will help you determine exactly where you want to visit. Whether it is Playhouse Square and the Cleveland Museum of Art or Amish communities and everything in between…it is here for you.
Please note, this information was taken from the website in 2010 and is accurate for that time. There may be updates and changes as time goes on, but I would guess the searching options would stay similar since they really do work well for website visitors.
The website offers a Calendar of Events for each area. You can search based on “What”, “Where” and “When.” Links in the event listing allow you to visit specific websites, when available, so you can find out times, dates, pricing and more. You can also search by a specific organization if you are looking for a particular event.
You can book hotels right on this website or just look to see what is available. Take photo tours, when available, check out “Deals at this Hotel,” and get accurate pricing. Bed and Breakfasts and campgrounds are also listed here. Lodging can be one of the most confusing and expensive parts of vacation planning, that is why this website has a lot of information to help you make an informed decision. Area maps are also included to help you gauge where to stay.
There is a section called “Cleveland Plus Visitors Center” which links you to electronic brochures, Cleveland and other area videos (YouTube and the like), local websites for the different regions, and Visitor Guides specifically for groups & meetings, current season events and LGBT specialized travel.
The main website is divided into sections and they are Visit, Stay, Play, Eat and Rock. These sections are similar to chapter headings in a book, they will direct you where you want to go. I will briefly give an overview of each section.
Visit consists of a basic overview of the entire area including lodging, events and eating options. This section is similar to the home section while Stay basically deals with lodging options including hotels, B&Bs, campgrounds. You can also search for vacation rentals in this section. As you can see, there is some overlap of information. For instance, you can find event listings in several places and this gives the visitor several options for searching.
Play is a very comprehensive section and includes a lot of different types of information. The sub-categories of Play include Cleveland Events, Family Attractions & Activities, Sports & Outdoors, Arts & Culture, LGBT, and Sightseeing. Then under each sub-category is more detailed information.
Under the main heading Play and Sightseeing sub-section, I found a down-loadable 14-page tour guide entitled “A Walking Guide to Cleveland Architecture and Public Art.” Once I opened it, I was amazed at the amount of information. In fact, I can’t wait to do a few of the tours myself. The tours include the Tower City District, the Historic Gateway District, the Theater District, the Civic Center District, the North Coast District, the Historic Warehouse District, the Flats Entertainment District and Ohio City District. Each district has a listing of places to see and history when available. It brings the whole city together. You will see churches, bridges, historic buildings, murals, cemeteries, museums, courthouses, art and more. I am a life-long resident of the area and never knew this existed. There are 68 total stops in seven distinct districts.
The Sightseeing sub-section also includes the following headings: Museums & Zoos & Gardens, Multi-Cultural & History, Performances & Special Events and Cleveland’s Annual Gallery Events. Also find a Shopping section where you can search by specific items or a specific area. A LGBT section that details specific entertainment options, shopping, visitor information, accommodations, traveler’s tips and other services and resources.
The Eat section is another amazing section. There are hundreds of restaurants and eateries divided by region and many have actual menu links attached so you can see exactly what delicacies are available and pricing. Since many links take you directly to a restaurant’s website you can also find out if there are other events happening or specials. The fabulous West Side Market is also listed here with its many options for ethnic foods, fresh produce, dairy products, meats and seafood and bakery items. You can even make on-line dinner reservations here.
The last main section is Rock and it encompasses more than just the incredible Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum (which you can link to from there). Concert venues are listed here with concert listings. There is live music almost every night somewhere in the area and you can track it down here. Check out the Hipster Hangouts which directs visitors to restaurant & bars, Record/CD Stores and other unique music-based shopping options. You can also buy tickets in this section for the Playhouse Square, area museums, Ticketmaster venues (such as the Beachland Ballroom or Blossom Music Center), sporting events, House of Blues concerts, the Great Lakes Science Center, the world reknown Cleveland Orchestra, scenic railroads, Nautica Queen cruises and more. That is convenience at its best.
Other miscellaneous sections include “Getting Here” which outlines flying in or driving to options, Neighborhood descriptions, Cleveland History, area maps and weather information.
I realize this is a lot of information, but in today’s economy every vacation expenditure has to count and research needs to be done to stretch the dollars and extend the fun. I really believe this free resource is a great start for those adventurous travelers who are ready to get off the beaten path and head to beautiful Cleveland, Ohio and surrounding areas. There is a lot to see, do and eat here. I hope you consider Cleveland as a vacation destination in the future. Happy Travels!!