Take a brewery tour
Since Great Lakes Brewing Company blazed a trail for craft breweries back in ‘88, Cleveland has been killing it on the beer scene. You can get an expertly led tour of that brewery (with some very generous beer samples) for just $5. If you want to fit in several tours, Cleveland Brew Bus is the way to go, hitting up prime CLE breweries such as Platform, Terrestrial, and Hansa.
Pierogies are an essential Cleveland food, and the best neighborhood for these pockets of deliciousness is arguably Tremont. Start at the famed Sokolowski’s University Inn, then head to Prosperity Social Club, perhaps the city’s coolest bar, for their farmhouse cheese variety. Head south to Slavic Village’s Seven Roses Deli to cap off the crawl with a truly old-school Polish experience.
The West Side Market isn’t just a Cleveland gem, it is a damn national treasure. It’s a multi-ethnic melting pot of spices, meats, and cheese that’s more representative of the city than a hundred Bernie Kosar jerseys. And, pro tip for locals: it’s an excellent place to buy your groceries for the week.
Ride to the top of Terminal Tower
Sure, a ride to the top of a building sounds tourist-y as hell. But consider that this isn’t New York, and Terminal Tower is far and away the most distinctive feature of our skyline. It’s a fun way to get a panoramic city view for just $5. Just make sure to book online in advance.
Grab a drink in some old-school beer halls
Brooklyn Centre/Old Brooklyn
Hofbrauhaus draws fun crowds, but Cleveland has plenty of off-the-beaten-path options for its beer gardens. Just take Sachsenheim Hall, an awesomely no-frills former social hall with--yes, we mean it--the best tacos in the city proper. For a rowdier evening Cleveland Maennerchor, which has all the German beer and music and none of the crowds.