7 Great Real-Life Dates in Cleveland, for All You Skeptical "Bachelor" Viewers

Wednesday, January 29, 2020


Monday's episode of The Bachelor hit the road, with Pilot Pete & his crew of young, whiny, thus-far-universally-terrible women making their way from sunny Los Angeles to not-quite-as-sunny Cleveland, Ohio. The reactions were... as expected, I guess, & thus infuriating.

I am surprised, honestly, that after all this time, the rest of the country is still so happily shitting on this great city, which is not only inexpensive & easily accessible to the East Coast, but is also actually full of really fun things to do. And we're Midwestern, so you know we're friendly, unlike some cities. (Lookin' at you, coastal elites.)

Also, need I remind you that recent seasons of Bachelor shows visited Virginia & Rhode Island, for crying out loud? Don't talk to me about "exciting," please.

Anyway, I saw a lot of social media reactions about how difficult it must've been to come up with date ideas & fun things to do in Cleveland. "The devil works hard but the Ohio tourism board works harder," blah, blah, shut up, you're a jerk. Instead of just bitching on Twitter, though, I thought I'd put together a list of just a few of the many fun date options here in the CLE, should you ever find yourself looking to get romantic in the 216.


1. Catch a concert, big or small, at one of our many music venues. 

As home of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland is a stop on nearly every major musical tour, from Taylor Swift to Beyonce to Billy Joel to whomever the hell else you listen to. Big concerts are held downtown at The Q (home of the Cavs), First Energy Stadium (the Browns), or Progressive Field (the Indians); in the summer, head south to Blossom, Cleveland's outdoor music venue, located in... my hometown!

But it's not just the big guns: Medium-sized venues like the House of Blues, The Agora, & Beachland Ballroom regularly host slightly smaller shows, & underground spots like Mahall's, The Grog Shop, & Coda host current indie faves, nostalgic emo throwbacks, & performances in less mainstream genres, like jazz, reggae, & metal.

We meant what we said: Cleveland rocks.

2. See a Broadway show at the second-largest theater district in the country.

That's right, Cleveland's theater scene is second only to actual Broadway, which means that all big shows come to the CLE. Sure, they don't come when they hit Manhattan, but we're usually first in line once a show hits the road. (See: Hamilton)

Check out upcoming shows (hello, Cats, Anastasia, & My Fair Lady!) & even score $10 tickets to some shows using the Smart Seats option. As a frequent Smart Seats buyer, trust me when I tell you: There's literally not a bad seat in the house.


3. Get out of town & off the grid - in less than an hour's drive. 

If nature & hiking & kayaking & the like are your jam, Northeast Ohio is the perfect place for it - without having to live out in the actual wilderness. Head in any direction from downtown Cleveland & in under an hour, you're sure to hit at least one of our many parks.

Trying to hit every national park? Hey, we've got one of those. Want to hike to a waterfall? We've got a few of those, too. Just want to hike some beautiful scenery, period? Welcome to the Metroparks. I love that Cleveland is so accessible to nature without making me, you know... live in nature.

4. See world-class art, including Picasso, Warhol, & more.

The Cleveland Museum of Art is the fourth-wealthiest art museum in the U.S. & one of the most heavily visited art museums in the world. And guess what? It's free! Home to more than 61,000 works of art, including world-renowned Asian & Egyptian collections, the CMA is not your average art museum.

For a low-key great date, just wander the museum - or visit during one of their special events, many of which are open to non-members for free or at low prices. The museum's monthly MIX event is themed opportunity to eat, drink, dance, mingle, & explore the museum with hundreds of other enthusiastic, cultured visitors - many of whom arrive dressed to impress & even in costume.


5. Get your booze on at a brewery, a vineyard, or distillery.

Know what's inexpensive in the Midwest? Real estate - which means you can spend way less money for way more space than in a bigger city. As an agricultural region, we also have easy access to grains - & science shows that hops fare well here, too. You know what all that means? Craft beer. Lots & lots of craft beer.

Visit Great Lakes Brewing Co., the oldest in the state, or newer favorites like Saucy Brew Works, Noble Beast, Terrestrial, & Platform. We're close to wineries, too, like Sarah's in Cuyahoga Falls & Gervasi in Canton, plus Western Reserve Meadery in Ohio City & Western Reserve Distillers in nearby Lakewood.

What I'm saying is we're really good at booze here.

6. Eat world-class food. Yeah, seriously.

If you don't believe me, you'll believe Thrillist, right? How about the Food Network? What about TIME, which called Cleveland one of the best foodie cities in America? I mean, don't take my word for it; this is the experts weighing in!

But really. Cleveland is home to some truly amazing eats. No matter what cuisine you love most, you're likely to find it in the CLE.

From celebrity chefs like Michael Symon (Lola, Mabel's) & Jonathon Sawyer (Greenhouse Tavern, Sawyer's) to James Beard Award nominees like Jill Vedaa (Salt+), Jeremy Umansky (Larder), & Michael Schwartz (Michael's Genuine)... & those are just the big names. This city is full of great food & humble, creative chefs who don't give a damn about bug-city fame if they can keep this hungry city happy.


7. Do something a little kooky.

Escape rooms. Author talks. Movie screenings. Comedy shows. Podcast tapings. A witchcraft museum. Trampoline parks. Murder mystery parties. Film festivals. River cruises. A giant entertainment center with arcade games, go-karts, bumper cars, & laser tag.

And let's not forget the festivals. There are plenty of music festivals & general summer-in-theicty festivals & art festivals... the list goes on & on & onnn. And then the list gets quirky: There's a pierogi festival. And a garlic festival. Oh, & in February, we host BriteWinter, an outdoor music festival held under a bridge next to the river - yes, I said in February.

And dare I forget to remind you: The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Yes, you do want to see Michael Jackson's studded glove.

*****

So there you have it, folks, my list of just a few of the many fun things to do in the CLE - on dates or otherwise. As you likely know if you're a regular reader of this blog, I love my city, & I don't take kindly to unfair criticism of it. Is it perfect? No. But is it worthy of the degradation the rest of the country seems to levy against it without any prior knowledge of what's actually going on in this city? Hell no.

So give Cleveland a try, wouldja? Or, you know, what, don't. If you're so convinced it sucks here, we'd rather you not visit. We're a friendly, good-vibes kinda city, & we don't need that negative energy here. We're too busy enjoying everything the CLE has to offer.

What's your favorite date spot in Cleveland - or in your own city? Have you ever been here? And if you visited, what would you want to check out? 



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