Cleveland Travel Guide
We sent one of our favorite Yodeler’s Tiffany Mitchell to the amazing Hilton Cleveland Downtown to experience the property, have some fun and make some beautiful photos. Located right in the heart of downtown Cleveland, Hilton Cleveland Downtown sits perched on Lake Erie with beautiful skyline views and incredible access to everything. But don’t take our word for it, check out Tiffany’s beautiful photos in the slideshow above and throughout the feature.
We sat down with longtime Cleveland local Molly Theilling, Hilton Cleveland Downtown Marketing Coordinator, and asked her about life and culture in her city. Check out her interview below. It is full of great local insight and some secrets to give any traveler an especially unique visit!
Name: Molly Theiling
Preoccupation? Travel! Before working at Hilton Cleveland Downtown I was mainly traveling. I worked for an insurance company for about 9 months after graduating college so I could afford to explore Europe and different US cities.
How long have you lived in Cleveland? 16 years (minus a few years when I went to college in Michigan).
What is the best thing about Cleveland? It has everything: the four seasons, the feel of a city, rural and suburban comforts, the Metroparks, a lake (and therefore endless water activities in the summer), an incredible food scene, three professional sports teams (NBA, NFL, MLB), one of the cheapest airports in the USA to fly into and out of and Midwestern friendliness.
Can you sum up Cleveland? Our CVB says it best, “world-class experiences without the world-class ego”.
What is a perfect day in Cleveland? There is nothing better than a Cleveland summer. So, a perfect day in Cleveland would be a Saturday in the summer (80 degrees, sunny and not a cloud in the sky) spent on the lake. My favorite summer evening activity is going to an Indians game, especially when its $1 hotdog night! There’s nothing like a warm summer night at a baseball game. The atmosphere is happy and exciting and because of the recent renovations to Progressive Field, you have the opportunity to enjoy different tastes of Cleveland with dozens of local restaurant stands throughout the stadium.
What are the people like in Cleveland? The people in Cleveland exhibit Midwestern friendliness and are also very passionate about their city. If someone insults Cleveland (99.9% of the time it’s someone who has never been here), it feels almost like a personal affront. We just want people to appreciate our city as much as we do.
If Cleveland was a person who would it be? The Underdog. Cleveland is a humble city but packs a punch when you least expect it!
What makes Hilton Cleveland Downtown special? The thing that makes the Hilton Cleveland Downtown so special is that it didn’t come in trying to change the city. Hilton Cleveland Downtown came in to join Cleveland:
Its architecture showcases the lakefront, a valuable asset to Cleveland. The building is shaped to enhance the original design of The Cleveland Mall area (the park-like land the hotel overlooks). In fact, The Burnham Restaurant inside Hilton Cleveland Downtown is named after Daniel Burnham, one of the original architects of The Cleveland Mall.
Eliot’s Bar is named for famed Clevelander and prohibitionist, Eliot Ness. The adjoining restaurant, The Burnham Restaurant, is eclectic Cleveland cuisine, incorporating local products for its local dishes. For example, the Sautéed Shiitake Pierogi: our chefs take on a popular Polish dish (Cleveland has a strong polish community) that includes Stadium Mustard (created in Cleveland) and local sauerkraut.
The grab-and-go marketplace Noshery sells dozens of local products such as Cleveland Clothing Co. tees, Malley’s Chocolates (delicious!), Campbell’s Popcorn, Cleveland postcards, and more. Local Cleveland products are also used and sold in the restaurant and bars, such as Great Lakes Brewing Company beers served in Bar 32 and Eliot’s Bar and Mitchell’s Ice Cream served with desserts in The Burnham Restaurant.
Over 90% of Hilton Cleveland Downtown’s artwork is commissioned from local artists.
If a friend was visiting Cleveland what would you suggest they do?
If a friend was visiting the Hilton Cleveland Downtown for 24 hours and I wasn’t able to take him or her around this is the itinerary I’d provide:
Arrive in CLE at Cleveland Hopkins Airport.
Take a cab or Uber to the Hilton Cleveland Downtown (about a 20 min. trip) and check into your room.
Head over to Ohio City and grab breakfast at Bonbon Cafe but don’t eat too much because you’ll need room for your next stop.
Walk from Bonbon Cafe to the historic West Side Market where you can sample and buy fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses, seafood and gyros and crêpes that are to die for. Try Steve’s Gyros Stand. Crêpes de Luxe is second only to the crêpe a street vendor made for me in Paris
You’ll need a drink to wash down all of this delicious food so walk down West 25th and have a beer at some of our local breweries: Great Lakes Brewing Company, Market Garden Brewery, TownHall, and Nano Brew.
By now you’ll probably be stuffed to the brim and will probably want to work off some of that food and drink so I’ll give you a few options:
Head to the Metroparks where you can explore an abundance of beautiful paths, wildlife, rivers, waterfalls and even a zoo. Edgewater Park has a great beach full of activities, such as kayaking and paddle boarding.
Head to the east side of town and explore the Cleveland Museum of Art in University Circle. Admission to this world-renowned museum is free.
Check out the world famous Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. It’s truly a Cleveland institution that people from all over the world come to tour.
Make your way back to the Hilton Cleveland Downtown to freshen up because Happy Hour awaits!
Eliot’s Bar Happy Hour menu honestly has the most delicious French fry plate I’ve ever had: The Polish Boy Fries (fries with kielbasa, BBQ pulled pork, pickled cabbage slaw, and hot sauce). But, again, don’t eat too much because you’ll need room for your next stop.
It’s so hard for me to pick one place for you to eat for dinner here in Cleveland so I’ll give you options and you can choose based on what you’re hungry for:
Asian Fusion: Parallax
Barbecue: Mabel’s BBQ
Burgers: Johnny’s Little Bar or Flip Side
Cheesy Plates: Melt Bar & Grilled
Contemporary American: Pura Vida
Hotdogs: Happy Dog
Italian: Trattoria on the Hill
Mexican: Barrio (delicious margaritas)
New American: Lola
Pizza: Angelo’s, Edison’s or Crust
Seasonal New American: Spice
Wherever you end up choosing for dinner, for dessert you must go to Mitchell’s Ice Cream. My favorite flavor is Caramel Fudge Brownie but honestly whatever you choose will be delicious.
After dinner, for drinks, you have to go to Porco Lounge and Tiki Room. They have a wide variety of amazing cocktails. I recommend a Painkiller II. The cocktails are served in tiki glasses, they play beachy music, the bartenders are in Hawaiian shirts and everything here makes you feel like you’re on a tropical island.
Next stop for pre night-out-on-the-town drinks would have to be Hilton Cleveland Downtown’s Bar 32. The daytime views at Bar 32 are definitely a sight for sore eyes, showcasing the lakefront and some of the most incredible sunsets you’ll ever see. But at night you can see the city of Cleveland lit up and it’s a completely different vibe. The cocktails are also delicious, which makes sense because the genius responsible for Porco Lounge & Tiki Bar, Shannon Smith, is the General Manager of Bar 32 and created Bar 32’s cocktail menu.
After Bar 32, head down to the Flats East Bank for your night out on the town (within walking distance). There are so many different bars and restaurants to choose from. The Big Bang is a dueling piano bar, always featuring live entertainment. Punch Bowl Social is a multi-bar venue that features table games, bowling, a vintage arcade and more!
Once the night is over, sleep peacefully in your hotel room.
Now, unfortunately, it’s time for you to split, so grab an early bite to eat at The Burnham Restaurant (I recommend the CLE Eggs Benedict) and then cab it back to Cleveland Hopkins Airport. I hope you had a great trip & fly safe!
About the photographer:
Name? Tiffany Mitchell
Place you live? Nashville
Your favorite camera? Canon 5D Mark II
What do you love about traveling to a new place? I love experiencing a new way of life. Observing the locals and learning about what they love to do, where they love to eat, how they spend their time, that’s my favorite. Ideally, in any new place I visit, I’ll make friends with a local and tag along for a day so I can really immerse myself in their world.
Can you sum up the people of Cleveland? Sweet. The people in Cleveland were really sweet. They have a love and pride for their city that really stood out to me, and it wasn’t pretentious in any way. It was genuine and truly charming.
What was your first impression of Cleveland visiting for this shoot? Cleveland surprised me. I was immediately captivated by the beautiful historic architecture. There were so many neighborhoods I wanted to explore. While wandering on foot I discovered the restaurants, cafes and shops. There was so much to choose from, and it was all really good. I was especially impressed by the culinary scene. The fact that all of these magical things were happening right on the shores of Lake Erie was the cherry on top.
The Hilton Cleveland Downtown was stylish and comfortable. I loved the artistic touches around the hotel, especially the stunning green wall at check-in. The room was clean and cozy, perfect for sleeping in and enjoying a late breakfast. The tiny waffles were my favorite. The view was killer — Lake Erie was right outside my window!