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Cleveland Rocks!

December 15th, 2012 · 2 Brilliant Opinions · US Travel

I had not been to Cleveland in nine years and wanted to stay downtown so we could walk to the various attractions.   We opted for a one bedroom suite at the Residence Inn Marriott.  The Residence Inn was a budget friendly $159/night.   We opted not to get a rental car but if you do – get a small one as the parking will not accommodate large SUVs.  The room was spacious and fairly clean (although I did find a bottle cap near the bed).  We had a full size refrigerator, stove and dishwasher.  Some rooms also have gas fireplaces.  Bedroom

KitchenThe hotel also has a buffet breakfast included at no additional charge.  The  Residence Inn is right across the street from Quicken Loans Arena where the Cavaliers play.  It is also possible to walk to the baseball stadium or football stadium from the hotel (although the latter might be better to drive to for young children and seniors).  The Residence Inn adjoins the Arcade – which used to be home to shops and small restaurants. Other than a sushi place it is now largely deserted.   The staff was wonderful and extremely helpful. When our cab driver couldn’t get us to our destination – the front desk person got us another car service and even printed out directions for the driver – just in case his GPS wasn’t working.  There is a billiards room, laundry room and computers with printers for guests to use.  My kid loved the popcorn machine in the lobby and there is a small concession area with snacks, beverages and even wine for sale.

A few of my friends who were also in town opted to stay at the Tudor Arms Hotel, now under management by Doubletree and near University Circle (the arts and music hub) and the Cleveland Clinic.

We ventured to Tower City for shopping. Tower City opened over twenty years ago when I was living in Cleveland. At the time they had high end retailers like Tiffanys, Neiman Marcus and Barneys.  The Ritz Carlton Hotel also shares an entrance.  I was looking forward to shopping at places I could only browse at when I  was younger. I’m not sure what happened over the years but Tower City had done a 360 turn.  The she-she retailers are gone. There was even a dollar store there.    From Tower City we took the Rapid (Cleveland’s rail system) to Shaker Square.  There are quaint shops and we stopped at Yours Truly (which offers simple diner food) for lunch. Tower City

The biggest thing going on downtown (besides sports) is the new Horseshoe Casino.  Whenever we walked by, there seemed to be busloads of people going in and the casino reportedly made a $20 million profit last month.  Hopefully, some of the money will help revitalize the city.  Horseshoe Casino

No trip to Cleveland, Ohio would be complete without a visit to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum. It’s seven floors and  150,000 square feet of music memorabilia, artifacts and interactive exhibits.  I don’t think tiny tots would enjoy it but tweens, teens and grandparents would.

Encapsulated in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum is the musical history of several American generations.  Exhibits are placed in chronological order with sections devoted to particular genres like Elvis and HipHop.  (Unfortunately, photography is prohibited at most of the exhibits.)   My daughter was able to learn that Rock and Roll emerged from the fusion of African-American blues and gospel music with the music of southern whites, particularly blue grass and country.  For me, it was a trip down memory lane with song after song taking me back to my girlhood, my teens and my early adult years. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum

It was a real trip to see the old American Bandstand footage.  My one pet peeve was that Soul Train didn’t get  highlighted at the Museum.  Every dance move I learned as a kid I learned from watching Soul Train.  Other than snippets of the Jackson 5 or Muhammad Ali, it was the only time you saw black people on TV.   Let’s hope the museum amends this soon.

Some museums you race through.  This one we were in for four hours!  My favorite exhibit?  I can’t pick one.  There were too many awesome things.  But the highlight of my visit was trying to keep my kid from touching Michael Jackson’s glove (which would have set off the alarm) while explaining the  saga of the Supremes.  (Mary Wilson, Diana Ross, Berry Gordy, an affair, a girl group destroyed – its like sex ed on steroids.)Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

My one regret was not taking Big P with us.   He’s a real music lover. I’m always needling him about throwing out his collection of vinyl records so we can have more space in our basement.  But he’s right. You don’t put your history or your memories out in the garbage.

Let me know in the comments section what places you’ve been to that have brought back beautiful memories. Cheers!

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2 Comments so far ↓

  • betty

    What a nice way to see Cleveland — through the eyes of one of its daughters. And your daughter had a good time too. Love those kinds of family vacations that are about both nostalgia and new discovery.

    I was able to have one of those trips in April, when I took my teen daughter to Paris with her godmother, who is one of our dearest friends.

    My first trip there was when I was about my daughter’s age. It was such a wonderful experience to be there with my daughter and our good friend. Also great to be at an age where I feel good about myself, which was the icing on the gateau. 🙂

  • Ann

    Betty – my little girl travels well. We connected over our love of music. When I lived in Cleveland, I was in my 20s and “coming of age” in so many ways as a woman and as a physician. I was glad to have this experience with her without Big P and my little boy. She would love to go to Paris again or Milan – but I’m taking baby steps with a trip abroad with her. Cheers!

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