When I moved here in 2006 from Alabama what I knew of Cleveland came from watching The Drew Carey Show growing up and the jabs national media would take at the Mistake on the Lake. Needless to say I came in with low expectations but my then fiance’s enthusiasm for his hometown was hard to ignore.
We dove in and embraced the city, seeing and doing a little of everything it had to offer and I am happy to report that almost 9 years later Cleveland is still delivering. I’ve been trying for almost a decade and I still haven’t done everything worth doing here! I continue to find something new and exciting all the time.
There are the big things of course, I mean seriously The Cavs, Indians, Browns and even the fantastically exciting Lake Erie Monsters AHL hockey team are all givens. Then there is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, The Horseshoe Casino, more museums than I can start to name, botanical gardens, zoos, aquariums, etc.
Our theater district is second only to NYC and even just won a Tony, we get all the best Broadway shows and plenty of local productions too packed into any one of the 14 gorgeous theaters! (Plus, our theater district has innovative programs like their smart seats that cost only $10 and are available for most all shows allowing any income level the opportunity to experience live theater!)
There is a festival almost every weekend, more cultural groups and areas than you can count and world class dining, thanks to people like our very own Iron Chef, Michael Symon.
You can’t forget the hidden gems either like The Emerald Necklace! This amazing system of metroparks cover over 21,000 acres and offer countless nature centers, playgrounds, hiking, biking and horseback riding trails all for free!
I would be remiss not to include our public library system, regularly ranked as one of the top systems in the country for populations over 500k! The 28 branches offer creative, unique children’s play areas, tons of free programming and, of course, access to the over 11 million items available for checkout!! (Yes, 11 MILLION).
I’ve also had the pleasure of living here for the birth of both of my children which allowed me access to the world renowned Cleveland Clinic hospitals! (But don’t worry if they somehow don’t have what you need we have University Hospitals too! Yeah, two amazing system in the same city).The quality and availabilty of healthcare in Cleveland is so far beyond what I had ever seen prior to moving here.
I could literally type for days and not hit all the gems hidden in this city: Westside Market, Little Italy, The Cleveland Orchesta, The Free Stamp, Food Truck Fridays…. And what’s not to love about a place that can land the Gay Games AND the RNC? We are a diverse lot! Plus, you saw Captain America right? Our city looks cool in movies!
I will continue to watch the Cavs, have heart attacks in the 4th quarter every game, and scream my head off as we hope like crazy for a championship but I wanted to remind us that win, lose or draw this is a city worth being proud of.
We are more than titles, more than any one team, we are Cleveland. I’m ALLin and not just for the finals, this city will always have my heart. (Even when snow lasts so much longer than should ever be possible and I start to daydream about Florida because that happens every winter 😉 ).
Now GO CAVS!!!