Date Archives: June 2017

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June
30

The Hottest Neighborhoods in Cincinnati

The locals in Cincinnati know that there's no better place to live. The city is bursting with up-and-coming neighborhoods, new restaurants, friendly people, and an overall vibrant lifestyle! In fact, the Cincinnati area is comprised of 52 neighborhoods — each with its own personality — so it can be a bit overwhelming when planning a move here. While the scape of our beloved city is constantly changing, there are some neighborhoods that seem to be on the tip of everyone's tongue lately. Whether you're a local looking for a new area to explore, a visitor trying to learn the city, or a newcomer eager to build your home here, we'd like to give you an introduction to what we would consider Cincinnati's hottest neighborhoods! And remember, if one catches your fancy, one of our Cincinnati agents can help you find a beautiful home in the area of your choice.

Photo courtesy of the Mount Adams Community Facebook Page

Mount Adams is the definition of an "I could live here" neighborhood. The charming area boasts new apartments and beautiful homes, and is commonly known as "the hill." The idea of living in one of these homes attracts young professionals from all over the country, but Cincinnati families also find it a desirable place to settle down. Residents will enjoy easy access to some of Cincinnati's best features, including the Cincinnati Art Museum, Eden Park, the Krohn Conservatory, and the best of downtown Cincy. After a day at the office, Mount Adams locals like to retire to the iconic Blind Lemon, where they can enjoy live music 365 days a year and excellent libations at one of the best bars in the country. And if you're in the area, you can't miss a show at the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park!

Photo courtesy of Bakersfield OTR

This neighborhood has undergone quite the transformation in the past few years, so much so that locals hardly recognize it for what it once was. The streets are now vibrant, filled with young professionals, families, empty nesters and small business owners who greet each other on the streets. In fact, OTR has become a must-visit neighborhood for any out-of-town guests, and one of the most booming area for foodies in Ohio! Holtman's Donuts, for example, was founded in 1960 and has been voted the city's best doughnut shop over and over again. You might need to wait in line to taste a frosted creation (maple syrup and bacon is our pick), but all good things take time. Other hot spots for happy hour, organic meals, and trendy bites include Bakersfield OTR (for tacos), Taft's Ale House (for a cold one), and the Eagle OTR (mmm fried chicken). Imagine the most charming small town you've ever been to. Got it? Okay, that's a lot like what Sayler Park looks like. This neighborhood actually sits a bit outside Cincinnati, and stretches along the Ohio River, so you'll feel a bit isolated from the concrete jungle while still having access to the city buzz! The neighborhood is marked by the gorgeous Fernbank Park, an idyllic 65-acre, park bench-dotted piece of greenery that borders the river. It's the perfect spot for a morning run with Fido or an afternoon picnic on summer days. But the real draw here is the small town feel, friendly people and small businesses. As far as dining goes, Cabana on the River is a summertime favorite that draws locals and visitors alike to enjoy the patio overlooking the river, and the friendly, casual atmosphere. Oakley has drawn in a ton of Young Professionals over the years, and it's not difficult to see why. Bordering the swanky, Hyde Park neighborhood, Oakley tends to be seen (incorrectly) as the less desirable of the two. Oakley residents will tell you to keep on thinking that, because up until recently, this was one of the best kept secrets in Cincinnati. The secret is out unfortunately, and people are starting to catch on to the fact that there's a lot to love about this convenient, up-and-coming neighborhood. Here, you'll find lower property prices on beautiful homes, easy access to Cincinnati's central business district, and a charming strip of bars, restaurants and shops that provide the perfect setting for date night. One of the main draws of this neighborhood is the Redtree Art Gallery and Coffee Shop, which made our list of the best coffee shops in Cincinnati.

Photo courtesy of the Incline Public House

The Incline District is perched on top of the western section of the former Price Hill Incline, and though it already sits at a high elevation, is undoubtedly a neighborhood "on the rise." Named for the famous Cincinnati "inclines" (a set of steep railways) that led up to this neighborhood in the late 1800s, the area is steeped in history. Meandering through the streets, you'll still find traces of days gone by in the elegant Victorian and Colonial-style homes that fill the neighborhoods. After work, stop by the Incline Public House, a gastropub offering incredible food alongside sweeping views of the city. If you're looking for a more upscale dining experience with the same excellent views, Prima Vista is your spot. The elegant Italian restaurant has earned many accolades for its inspired cuisine, including "Best Italian Restaurant" by Cincinnati Magazine. Finish off the night by splitting a bottle at SOMM Wine Bar, or by seeing a show at the Warsaw Federal Incline Theater.

Photo courtesy of Hyde Park Square

Hyde Park is the swanky older brother to the nearby Oakland neighborhood, and oozes charm and easy living from every vantage point. The neighborhood was established in 1892 by several prominent Cincinnati businessmen who wanted to create a community exclusively for the city's wealthy citizens. In fact, you might recognize the name from a wealthy neighborhood in New York, which the gentlemen were hoping to mirror. While initially, only those deemed worthy by the gentlemen were able to purchase homes here, the area has gained some diversity since the early 1900s, but still remains one of the town's most desirable zip codes. In 2010, Forbes named Hyde Park as one of America's best neighborhoods based on the education level of its residents and the high concentration of shops and restaurants, but we also admire the area for the beautiful park at the heart of the community (Hyde Park Square), the premier k-12 school (Hyde Park School), and the convenient location.

Photo courtesy of Meier's Wine Cellars

Located on the northeastern edge of Cincinnati, Pleasant Ridge is a charming residential neighborhood marked by its small business district and high concentration of artists and musicians. In fact, the makeup of the community is very diverse, housing business owners, young professionals, independent artists and small families, all living together in harmony. The amenities within the neighborhood are as diverse as the people who live here. Here, you'll  find the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens, the Pendleton Art Center and Meier's Wine Cellars. There's truly something for everyone in Pleasant Ridge!  

Photo courtesy of the Indian Hill Club

Indian Hill is Cincinnati's most affluent suburb, and is located just north of the city limits. The village actually encompasses 20 square miles, so there are plenty of opportunities to make a home here. Those who live in the area value its rural atmosphere, high safety ratings, strong sense of community, and proximity to the vibrant city next door. The neighborhoods education level is tough to beat, as Indian Hill High School boasts unparalleled fine arts, athletics and of course, academics. And if you're a fan of swimming and tennis, there's no better place to spend time in the summer than at the Indian Hill Club!

Can't Wait to Move Here?

We don't blame you! The neighborhoods in Cincinnati are incredible. If you're eager to find a home in one of these hot spots, peruse the many beautiful homes for sale in Cincinnati.
June
30

10 Things to do in Cleveland With the Kids Before School Starts

Summer is one of our favorite times of the year in Cleveland! The sun is high, Lake Erie is sparkling, and there are fun things to see and do nearly every weekend. We feel like school just let out, and we've been cherishing this time with our kids, but unfortunately it seems as though the festivities are coming to a close. In just over a month, the bells will ring and school will be back in session. Time flies! Before freedom the summer ends, take advantage of this time to tackle some last-minute adventures around Cleveland. From family-friendly events to interactive activities, there are plenty of fun things to do around town that will have your kids leaping for joy. We've gathered up a bucket list of 10 things we think everyone should experience this summer in Cleveland — all you have to do is decide which one to do first!

Hit up the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

Your kids will love the opportunity to monkey around at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, and summer is one of the best times to visit. In the mornings, the animals will be out and about and ready to see up close, and in the afternoons, you and your family can enjoy the endless interactive exhibits and beautiful scenery. In any case, take advantage of the time you have before the kids are back in school and plan a trip. With hundreds of species of animals from all over the world and fun interactive exhibits to boot, a visit to the zoo is always worth looking forward to.

Attend the Cuyahoga County Fair | August 7-13

The Cuyahoga County Fair is back for its 121st year! Come enjoy a week filled with wacky attractions, arts and crafts, derbies, live music, square dancing, fireworks, local food vendors, thrilling rides, a haunted house and so much more.

Ride a Train Through Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Photo courtesy of Robert George the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad

Traveling by train is the most entertaining, carefree way to get from point A to B, and much more nostalgic than hopping in the back of minivan. Your kids will love the adventure that a train ride through the heart of Cuyahoga Valley National Park provides. The train runs Wednesday through Sunday during summer and fall, and travelers have the option to hop off at the destination to explore the park (which we highly recommend), and then return on a later train. If you're looking to be a little more active, take your bikes on the towpath and then board the train for a relaxing trip back to your car!

See a Show at Playhouse Square

The Playhouse Square is the theater district in downtown Cleveland, constructed by a local developer following the conclusion of World War I. After nearly 100 years, the theater is still one of Cleveland's most treasured gems, and puts on shows and events for our enjoyment almost daily. In August, you have the option to choose from a number of tours, classes and productions, including Motown the Musical and Mamai Theatre Company's A Doll's House. Click here to see the full schedule!

Visit the Eleanor Armstrong Smith Glasshouse at the Cleveland Botanical Garden

Photo courtesy of The Cleveland Botanical Garden

The Eleanor Armstrong Smith Glasshouse is an unforgettable adventure for little ones and adults alike, allowing visitors to escape into the Madagascar Desert and the Costa Rica Rainforest — all without leaving Cleveland! The conservatory is filled with other-worldly landscapes, and features 350 species of plants alongside 50 different varieties of butterflies, birds, reptiles and amphibians. Make sure you're there at 2 pm for the daily butterfly release, during which newly hatched butterflies will spread their wings and take flight for the first time.

Learn Something New at the Great Lakes Science Center

School might not start for a few weeks, but that doesn't mean your kids can't learn something new! Venture to the Great Lakes Science Center for a day full of engineering and experimenting at this iconic family favorite. Exhibits include a giant domed theater that shows movies and educational flicks, a NASA exhibit, the William G. Mather Steamship, electrifying science phenomena, Legos and more.

Milk a Cow at the Lake Metroparks Farmpark

The farmpark is a family-oriented science and cultural center dedicated to connecting the Cleveland community with our agricultural roots. The interactive activities and exhibits will help people of all ages better understand where our food and clothing come from. Visitors will enjoy horse or tractor-drawn wagons to carry them throughout the park, hands-on experience milking a live dairy cow, an up-close look at how cheese is made, a walk through the horse stalls, and the chance to see baby lambs and goats in the nursery. On top of that, kids can try their luck at ice cream making with dairy from the farm, and enjoy their product after the fact.

Splash Around in the Bumper Boats at Swings-n-Things Family Fun Park

Swings-n-Things Family Fun Park is open year-round, and offers exciting activities, including mini golf, paintball, an arcade and an ice creamery, but our favorite by far is the bumper boats. This wild activity is only available during the warmer months, and allows drivers the chance to crash, splash and even engage in combat with a water-filled squirt gun can. Don't try this one unless you're ready to get splashed!

Get a Sugar Rush at Sweeties Candy Company

Your kids are going to need some energy for all of that end-of-summer adventuring. Treat them with a visit to Sweeties Candy Company — the candy shop of every child's dreams. This giant warehouse is filled with more than 500,000 pounds of every candy you could imagine, from chocolates and pop rocks to sugar free and sour varieties. There are even some from earlier decades that will take you back to days gone by! Let the sugar rush wear off a bit at the on-site putt putt range, and then grab a cone at the ice creamery if you wish. You're about to be the best parent in the world.

Don Your Lederhosen at Oktoberfest | September 1-4

Absorb a bit of German culture at what has been named one of the best Oktoberfests in the country. Visiting the iconic festival over Labor Day Weekend will make you feel like you've just stepped into Munich. Expect to be surrounded with schnitzel, potato pancakes, sauerkraut, polka music, intermittent chicken dancing, and more. There's something here for the whole family, and the adults will enjoy the endless supply of German libations. Kids ages 12 and under can enter free of charge!
June
22

9 Completely Free Workouts in Cincinnati

Summer is officially here — and some of us are still working on those summer bods! Unfortunately one of the biggest deterrents of getting fit is the hefty cost that often accompanies a gym membership. If you're only using that gym once or twice a week, it can feel like you're flushing that money down the drain. Plus, tackling the same old gym workout week after week can get old fast. Luckily, there are other options! Cincinnati is home to countless trails, rivers and parks that can make getting fit a fun experience. There are options to rack up some miles in an exercise club, and yoga and zumba classes in the park — all of which are completely free of charge. So, what are you waiting for?

Join a Walking Club

A walking club is a great way to hold you accountable for getting your steps in — and is so much more fun than a FitBit. The American Walkers' Association of greater Cincinnati celebrated its 100th birthday in 2016, making it the oldest walking club in the USA. The walks take place on Sunday mornings, and cover four to seven miles of terrain each week in different locations around the tri-state area. You'll discover new routes, take in beautiful scenery, and make some new friends while you're at it! There are no fees for becoming a member of the weekly meet-up group, so hop to it — those boots were made for walking.

...Or A Running Club

Looking to pick up the pace a little bit? There are several running clubs around the Cincinnati area for runners of all levels. Whether you're a jog-around-the-block kind of athlete, a training marathoner, a trail runner or a road runner, you'll be able to find a group that matches your fitness level and interests. Visit the Runners' Club of Greater Cincinnati for more information and to find a local group in your neighborhood!

Take a Free Class at Summit Park

Photo courtesy of Tracy Doyle Photography via Summit Park

Group fitness has never been easier than at Summit Park! Over the summer, the park hosts more than 100 classes to get your heartrate up in the sunshine. There are no fees or sign-ups required — simply show up and take the class. It may sound too good to be true, but the park has been hosting these classes for years, and they've only grown in popularity. You'll find different classes every day of the week ranging from yoga and salsa dancing to HIIT and Crossfit. Time to get your sweat on! Find your next class on the schedule.

Workout on the Green

On Tuesday and Wednesday nights during the summer months, Washington Park heats up with dance, yoga, strength and pilates classes. The classes take place at 6 and 7:15 pm every week, and are led by licensed, trained instructors. There are no contracts, and no excuses — just free classes in one of Cincinnati's most beautiful settings. Check out the Washington Park events page for more information.

Hit Your Yoga Mat for Free at Hopewell Meadows Park

Don't stay in bed, namasté instead! On Wednesdays from 6:30-7:30 pm, and Saturdays from 9-10 am, the Symmes Township will offer free yoga classes all summer long in Hopewell Meadows Park at 9131 Hopewell Road. These classes are approachable for yogis of all levels, and are sure to help you relax, as well as improve strength and possibility. The classes are completely free, and sponsored by Energy Alliances.

Take the Great Cincy Strides Challenge

Discover new trails, get fit outdoors, and earn prizes along the way! The Great Cincy Strides challenge invites you to walk or hike the roads, trails, tracks and sidewalks of our town. You'll track your progress by logging your steps, and compete against yourself and other Cincy Striders for prizes and bragging rights. Additionally, you'll have access to free events and be able to join up with other walkers with similar interests. The summer challenge will conclude with a giant festival on October 2 to celebrate your progress!

Trade in Four Wheels for Two

Biking is one of the most convenient (and environmentally friendly) ways to get around, and comes with an added fitness bonus! Whether you're commuting to work daily, or just looking for a fun summer activity, trading in four wheels for two can be an incredibly rewarding experience — and it's free once you have the bike! See a full map of Cincinnati trails here. If mountain biking is more your flavor, the Cincinnati Off Road Alliance is an incredible resource for finding nearby trails and look up real time weather and terrain conditions! The Alliance maintains more than 60 miles of public trails within one hour of downtown, so you're sure to find something worth riding.

Yoga at the Covedale Branch Library

The Covedale Branch Library hosts free yoga classes for all ages and levels at 4-5 pm every Wednesday night! The classes are taught by yoga instructor Brenda Zechmeister, and are open for everyone — just bring a mat or beach towel, a sweat towel and a bottle of water.

Get Outside!

Cincinnati is surrounded with swimming holes, rivers, trails and more — all offering new adventures for the outdoor enthusiast! Whether it's kayaking, fishing, camping, swimming or horseback riding, Mother Nature offers the greatest variety of free activities to get you in shape. And you're bound to have a good time while you're at it! Check out our guide to outdoor adventuring during the summer in Cincinnati to get inspired for your next outing.
June
22

How To Spend The Perfect Day in Akron, Ohio

Anyone who lives in Akron, Ohio knows that there are few other spots in the country that offer the same charm. The town is filled with friendly people, cozy shops, historical attractions and excellent restaurants, all of which make it one of the most attractive places in the state to find a home. Located just 39 miles south of Lake Erie, the town offers convenient access to Cleveland as well as the Ohio's capital city, Columbus, but there's really no reason to leave. There are so many amazing things to do right here in town. While it's impossible to experience all that Akron has to offer in one day, we've rounded up some of our favorite activities and created what we believe to be the perfect, day-long itinerary for visitors and locals alike. So peruse this list and get some rest, you have a busy day ahead of you!

7 a.m. First Comes Coffee at Nervous Dog Coffee Bar

Photo courtesy of William Levack via Nervous Dog Coffee Bar

We don't know about you, but we can't start the morning on a good note without a bit of a caffeine boost. Nervous Dog Coffee Bar is our first stop for this reason, and is sure to get your day on the right track. Try a signature latte if you're in the mood for something sweet (our pick is the apple pie variation with apple, brown sugar, cinnamon and caramel), or keep it simple with a drip coffee or Americano. Either way, we're sure you'll be satisfied with the incredible quality and the friendly atmosphere. Stop in to see what all the buzz is about!

8 a.m. Fuel up with a Hearty Breakfast at Fred's Diner

Photo courtesy of Fred's Diner

If it's large, hearty portions at low prices you're after (and why wouldn't you be?), look no further than Fred's Diner. This no-frills restaurant is a favorite for locals and visitors alike. We suspect they keep coming back for Fred's signature crispy bacon, but it could also be the fresh coffee, the big-as-your-face omelettes, or flavorful corned beef hash. There will likely be a line on the weekends, so plan ahead — and know that the wait is well worth it.

10 a.m. Visit the Akron Zoo

Photo courtesy of The Akron Zoo

The Akron Zoo is one of our favorite places to experience on the weekends! It is one of the best in the state, offering 35 acres of animal exhibits, lush scenery, entertaining guest amenities, and 700 animals from all over the world. Go in the morning to escape the heat and see the animals before they settle in for their afternoon naps.

12 p.m. Hungry? It's Time for Lunch at Mi Casa.

Spice up your usual lunch habits and settle down for a mid-day meal at Mi Casa. This spot may look unassuming from the outside, but is actually the best place to find flavorful tacos, fajitas, rellenos and many more of your favorite Mexican classics. Plus, nearly the entire lunch menu is priced under $7 — you can't beat that!

1 p.m. Meander Through the Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens

Photo courtesy of todd v. of Wasted Talent Media via the Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens

The Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens is one of many castles that graces Ohio's countryside, and the perfect destination for a leisurely afternoon. It is an accredited museum of the American Alliance of Museums (one of only 26 in the state), and features five historic buildings and eight historic gardens sprawling over 70 acres. All collections and furnishings in the house are original, and the gardens are tended to daily! The estate is open to the public April through December from Tuesday to Sunday. A self-guided tour is the most popular way to experience the property, but the Stan Hywet also features a number of fun events throughout the year, including Shakespeare readings and murder mystery nights. Interested in castles? Check out the 14 coolest castles in Ohio, and the fascinating stories behind them.

2:30 p.m. Get Ice Cream

There's no doubt about it — ice cream is a universal favorite as far as desserts go. Whether you're a fan of plain vanilla, a mint chocolate aficionado or a crazy flavor chaser, there are so many amazing ice cream shops in the Akron area to satisfy your sweet tooth. Many of them have been fan favorites for decades, and offer a hard-to-find old-school charm. Find our top picks here.

3 p.m. Walk Through the F.A. Seiberling Nature Realm

Photo courtesy of Summit Metro Parks

In 1898, F.A. Seiberling co-founded Goodyear Tire and Rubber, putting Akron on the map as the "rubber capital of the world." He played a leading role in developing our town, donating a large portion of his fortune to the creation of parks all over the area. The Nature Realm is a piece of land that he owned, and was converted into a metro park in 1964. This multi-use nature reserve is a popular destination for afternoon walks, bird watching, picnicking and studying flowers in the gardens.

4 p.m. Marvel at the Akron Art Museum

The Akron Art Museum is the largest collection of modern and contemporary art in the area, and takes pride in exhibiting significant art by international, national and Midwestern artists. The work here is often eclectic, but always fascinating, and rotates frequently so that every visit here is a new adventure. If you choose to take a tour with a docent (groups of 15 or more), you'll get a more in depth look at the featured work. Don't miss the chance to engage with the several interactive exhibits on site! The museum shop and cafe feature fair trade items and the work of local artists. Bonus: Take advantage of free admission and extended hours (11 am to 9 pm) on Thursdays!

5 p.m. Experience Dinner at Crave

Photo courtesy of Crave

A meal at Crave will make you feel like you've travelled to New York city. The swanky, modern atmosphere offers an eccentric yet cozy dining experience, and the food is nothing to scoff at either! We can't get enough of the inventive new American dishes, which include green curry coconut ceviche, root beer braised pulled pork and wasabi pea crusted tuna. Anything on the menu is sure to thrill, so pick something to satisfy your craving and enjoy the culinary adventure!

7 p.m. Catch a Show at the Akron Civic Theatre

Photo courtesy of CD Madden via The Akron Civic Theatre

The Akron Civic Theatre was designed by John Eberson in 1929 as one of the grand movie palaces of the roaring 20s. Today, it is one of only 16 remaining. Even after $19 million in renovations (which were completed in 2001), the theatre hasn't lost any of its antique charm, and oozes elegance from all corners. Step inside the historic venue to experience plays, concerts, musicals and more — there isn't a bad seat in the house!

9 p.m. Grab a Nightcap at Northside Speakeasy

This prohibition-era craft cocktail lounge will whisk you back to the 1920s with its swanky atmosphere and boozy creations. Northside Speakeasy is our last stop, and the perfect place to end the night (Or get it started before a fun night out!). Conveniently located in the heart of the Arts and Entertainment district in Downtown, this speakeasy was designed with comfort in mind, offering plush seating surrounded by dark velvet curtains and hidden entrances. The cocktails are all created and hand-mixed by a team of talented mixologists, and include the "Joe Juice," a twist on a classic espresso martini, and "Giggle Water," made from lemon-infused vodka, limoncello, fresh lemon, Cointreau and red wine.

Can't Get Enough of Akron? Make a Home Here!

 

This home is for sale at 885 Bath County Drive, Akron | Agent: Steve Merkle

We hope you enjoyed this itinerary — but locals will likely tell you that it is only the tip of the iceberg. And once you've gotten a taste of what makes this town so great, you might never want to leave! Luckily, there are plenty of gorgeous properties for sale in Akron. Contact one of our experienced agents to learn more! Save
June
16

14 of Ohio's Coolest Castles and the Fascinating Stories Behind Them

There are so many things to love about Ohio. Our state is home to some of the friendliest people in the country, spectacular scenery, thriving cities, and a grouping of traditional, old-world castles — yes, castles. These gorgeous buildings adorn our countryside and embellish our towns, and each one has a different story to tell. While all gorgeous in their own right, the castles all have different personalities — and were constructed for different reasons. Whether it's a cozy bed & breakfast, a magnificent library, or a haunted house, each of these castles are sure to take you back in time. Here, we've gathered some of Ohio's most famous castles, and dug into the stories of each one. Some are new, some are old, but all of them will surprise you in some way.

Loveland Castle

Photo courtesy of Loveland Castle

Chateau Laroche, more commonly known as Loveland Castle, was constructed by Harry Delos Andrews, a man whose history is almost as impressive as the castle itself. While serving as a medic in WWI, he contracted spinal meningitis and was declared dead. For some reason however, one of the attending physicians administered adrenaline, and his heart began to beat again. He wasn't declared "undead" until six months later, by which time his beloved had married another man. Instead of pursuing women, he directed his passions towards the castle. Inspired by the castles he saw while in Europe, Andrews built Loveland Castle over more than 50 years with cement, bricks and stones dragged from the Little Miami River. Though he had sworn off women, he actually received 50 different marriage proposals over his lifetime, presumably from women trying to live out their life-long dream of being queens. He declined them all, and when he passed in 1981, dedicated the castle to his Boy Scout troop known as the Knights of the Golden Trail. The boys continued to care for and renovate the castle, eventually opening it up to the public as a museum. Visitors are free to take a self-guided tour any day between 11 am and 5 pm.

Piatt Castles

Photo courtesy of James A White the Piatt Castles

When Benjamin and Elizabeth Piatt moved their family from Cincinnati to Logan County in the 1820s, they had no idea how famous their name would become. Their sons, Abram Sanders and Don Piatt made permanent homes in the county, constructing massive, Gothic castles very close to one another. The castles, Mac-A-Cheek and Mac-O-Chee have no connection to cheesy pasta, but still stand as a testament to Ohio history nearly 200 years after their construction. The castles are still maintained and owned by later generations of the Piatt family, who opened the properties for tours in 1912. Visitors will find impressive, intricate towers, painted ceilings, fancy woodwork and multiple stories. While touring the castles is the most popular way to enjoy their splendor, the grand homes are also a favorite for weddings, concerts and historical reenactments.  

The Castle Inn

Photo courtesy of the Castle Inn Bed & Breakfast

Nestled in the heart of historic downtown Circleville lies the Castle Inn Bed & Breakfast, a romantic retreat with a story to tell. Built in 1895 by Samuel Ruggles, the castle is a mash-up of several European castles and boasts stained glass windows, stunning details and marble furnishings. While the inn hasn't lost any of its old-world charm, it is now complete with modern luxuries, and is a favorite for honeymooners. Couples can stay in the heart-shaped jacuzzi suites and enjoy massages and hot breakfasts included with the price of their stay — it doesn't get cuter than that!

Ravenwood Castle

Photo courtesy of Jumping Rocks Media via the Ravenwood Castle

Ravenwood Castle is the newest castle in Ohio, and possibly the most luxurious. Construction on the castle began in September of 1994, and the main castle building was finished in 1995, but the grounds and cottages in the "medieval village" weren't completed until 1997. The building is modeled after the castles built to defend the border between England and Wales in the 12th and 13th centuries, and includes impressive turrets, fireplaces, a medieval-style great hall, a wine cellar and antique suits of armor and wall hangings. Each room is decorated in a unique, luxe and cozy fashion worthy of a romantic getaway, and the grounds are scenic and serene. In fact, over its 20 years, the castle has hosted many weddings and honeymooners on site! During your stay, don't miss out on the murder mystery events, during which you will hunt for clues, solve puzzles and avoid monsters while solving the latest mystery plaguing the castle.

The Great Stone Castle

Each of the 17,000 square feet of the Great Stone Castle is magnificent. The gigantic mansion is housed by walls of Bedford Indiana Limestone (18 inches thick), and includes intricate stone columns, turrets and a wrap-around stone porch. The structure has been transformed into a Bed and Breakfast, with a spa on the first floor, elegant suites, fireplaces and Victorian-era furniture. If you'd like to explore the outdoors, the property includes 100 acres of wooded paradise and a peaceful lake. Honeymooners might enjoy reserving the private lodge and retreat for added seclusion.

The Arts Castle

Photo courtesy of the Delaware County Cultural Arts Center

The history of the Arts Castle goes back to the mid 1800s, when William Little gifted the Arts Castle as a wedding present to his daughter, Elizabeth, and new son-in-law, George Campbell. Campbell was a renowned horticulturist known for collecting rare plants, and after a trip to China, returned with a gingko tree, which he planted in the front yard. After nearly 200 years, the tree still blooms there today. Following Campbell's death in 1898, the castle was donated to Ohio Wesleyan University, and it became home to the college's art department. The Arts Castle is now home to the Delaware County Cultural Arts Center, and offers a haven for creatives. Budding artists come to take classes in a range of topics, from painting and ceramics to ballet and theater. There couldn't be a better place to get those creative juices flowing — the spectacular architecture and storied history are enough to draw anyone in.

The Cooke Castle

The Cooke Castle is actually a very elaborate vacation home from the mid 1800s. Jay Cooke was an experienced fisherman, and a wealthy benefactor from the war, who wanted a fishing haven where he could be surrounded by the waters of Lake Erie. He purchased the 6.5-acre Gibraltar Island, which sits in the bay very near South Bass island, and constructed a 15-room stone mansion, where he and his family enjoyed summering for the next six decades. While Cooke lived there, he entertained a number of prominent names, including President Rutherford B. Hayes, Salmon P. Chase and William Taft, all of whom enjoyed their fishing adventures. While extravagant, Cooke was not greedy, and sent all of the fish he could over to South Bass Island to feed the people who lived there. The famed home is now part of Ohio State University's Stone Lab extension campus, but is open to visitors who come to admire Cooke's handywork.

Landoll's Mohican Castle

Photo courtesy of Landoll's Mohican Castle

Landoll's Mohican Castle is luxurious from every angle. The tranquil property nestled deep in the heart of Mohican County will make you feel like you've just stepped into a fairy tale, offering uniquely designed suites, adorable cottages and beautiful grounds. The resort was actually constructed in 2002, inspired by old world castles from Europe. Though you'll find modern touches and comforts, the place exudes historical charm. Popular attractions here include carriage rides through the forest, ghost tours and murder mystery dinners.  

The Brumback Library

This ornate castle was the first, public county library to be constructed in the United States, and now stands as a testament to the growth of American culture and intelligence. John Sanford Brumback (the namesake of the library), came from humble beginnings and made a name for himself in the small Ohio town of Van Wert. In conjunction with the Van Wert Ladies Library Association (who dreamed of creating a library free to the public), he made plans for the construction of the ornate castle. Sadly, he died before it was completed, but the community rallied together to make his dreams come true. No expense was spared in the construction of the library, which was designed by Toledo's David L. Stine. The library finally opened in 1901 with 1,400 books. The Brumback family has continued to fund the library and its renovations and additions over the years.

Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens

Photo courtesy of todd v. of Wasted Talent Media via the Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens

Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens is not technically a castle, but you could've fooled us — the estate is a shining example of 20th century architecture and a beloved Akron landmark. The property is a popular destination for visitors and tourists alike, boasting spectacular architecture and Victorian furniture, as well as some of the most gorgeous gardens in the state. The home was completed in 1915 as a home for Frank Seiberling, the founder of Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company. Over the years, he hosted a number of important business meetings in the manor, including a number of well-known or famous guests. After his death, the home was opened to the public — and since has received the title of the best historic home tour in America by the readers of USA today.

Schwartz Castle

Schwartz Castle, located in the heart of Columbus's German Village, is an impressive structure and well-known landmark for the community. Though it now houses apartments and is not open to the public, we couldn't help but include it on the list, as its history is perhaps one of the most intriguing (read: creepy) of the bunch. Like all great stories, this one starts with love. Frederick William Schwartz, a successful German businessman, built the impressive home to surprise his fiancée, who was still in Germany. Before they were married, however, she called off the wedding, driving Schwartz into madness. He never fell in love again, and in fact, rarely left the house again. Rumor has it that he drank only rainwater for the rest of his life, stopped cutting his hair and sunbathed naked on the rooftop. He obsessed over the castle, eventually adding a series of secret passages and five stories of basement. Rumor has it, if you look closely and the lighting is right, you can still see him looking out the second story windows, or climbing the ladder to the roof. Spooky!

Squire Castle

Photo courtesy of Thom Sheridan via the Cleveland Metroparks

Squire Castle is perhaps one of the most picturesque destinations in Cleveland. The ruins sit in Willoughby Hills in the North Chagrin Reservation, and visitors can stop by the marvel at the architecture and take photos after adventuring through the woodlands (or playing a round on the Manakiki Golf Course). Many of us would feel like royalty living in the castle, but it was actually constructed by Feargus B. Squire in the 1890s for the gatekeeper. He was planning on building a magnificent estate on the surrounding land, for him and his wife, but a tragic accident stopped him from achieving his dream. Squire's wife didn't visit the castle much out of hatred for the outdoors, and thus when she did come by to spend time with her husband, suffered from insomnia. The story goes that on these nights, she would wander through the house, carrying a red lantern for light. Late one evening, she ventured into the trophy room, filled with skulls from her husband's hunting adventures, and was frightened by something. Whether it was the trophies or something else, nobody knows, but upon fleeing, Mrs. Squire tripped and broke her neck. Squire blamed himself for his wife's death, and overcome with grief, halted construction on the project immediately. In 1922, he sold his 525 acres (and the castle) to Cleveland Metroparks. Some say the ghost of Mrs. Squire still wanders the property to this day, and at night, visitors look for the red light of her lantern. In fact, Squire's wife did not actually die on the property, but that's not a very fun story.

Glamorgan Castle

William Henry Morgan, the son of a Welsh immigrant, began construction on Glamorgan Castle in 1904. He wanted only the best for his grand castle, and set his architect Willard Hirsh to Europe to study castles to ensure that his home would be equally as grand. He achieved his goal, as the castle (made solidly with Vermont marble) is still one of the most recognizable landmarks of Alliance, Ohio. The interior strays away from tradition and towards modern luxuries, boasting a billiard room, gigantic indoor swimming pool and bowling alley.

Franklin Castle

Photo courtesy of Judge Raymond Pianka Cleveland Historical

For a truly haunting experience, come visit Franklin Castle. The home was constructed in the mid 1800s by Hans Tiedemann, a wealthy German immigrant. The house has changed over the years, but the original construction included 21 rooms, a fourth floor ballroom, dumbwaiters, wine cellars, hidden passageways and marble fireplaces. That's plenty of room for ghosts, and this house has its full share. Reports of babies crying in the walls, but the most famous ghost here is Karen. Rumor has it she lost her life in a fight between her boyfriend and Tiedemann (her father), but was then hung to make it look self-inflicted. She can occasionally be seen through windows — a tall thin figure robed in black. Ghosts, while the main attraction of the castle, aren't its only claims to fame. The mansion has also been home to the German Singing Society, a doctor's office, a German Socialist organization, a grand party house, and apartments. None of the owners stay around long, presumably due to the hauntings.

We Hope You Enjoyed Your Daily Dose of History!

June
16

The 9 Best Golf Courses in Cleveland

Northeast Ohio's gently rolling terrain and picturesque scenery makes Cleveland one of the top destinations for golfers in the state. We have a variety of well-maintained courses to guide us through a challenging game filled with birdies and bogeys. Some are elegant and upscale, and others are more casual and welcoming, but all of them offer the chance to don our golfing shoes and slacks for a day out in the sun with friends, family or coworkers. We've gathered up nine of our favorite places to play, and we certainly believe that they're better than par.   May the course be with you!

Manakiki Golf Course

Photo courtesy of Cleveland Metroparks via the Manakiki Golf Course Facebook Page 

The Manakiki Golf Course actually got its start as a summer estate. The property belonged to a prominent Cleveland industrialist, who built an ornate mansion on the lush grounds. When the property was purchased, the mansion was converted to the clubhouse it is today, and the surrounding 200 acres became one of the best public golf courses in the area. The course is elegant, and offers a variety of challenges including doglegs, water hazards, up-and-down shots, canyon holes and water obstacles.

The Tanglewood Club

Tucked into Chagrin Falls, Ohio, you'll find one of the most beautiful public golf facilities in the country. The championship course at the Tanglewood Club regularly hosts large-scale tournaments, including the PGA tour and LPGA events. Players of all levels can challenge themselves with thoughtfully placed obstacles and streamlined greens, and get an additional leg up using multiple tees ranging from 5,000 to 7,000 yards. While you're playing, enjoy magnificent views of the surrounding wooded areas.

Windmill Lakes

Photo courtesy of Windmill Lakes

Windmill Lakes opened in 1970 to immediate success, and today remains one of the most popular golf courses in the area. It's not tough to see why — the course is consistently ranked among the most prestigious courses in the state and earned the number one spot from the National Golf Course Owners Association in 2011. Here, you'll find sand traps, serene lakes, and of course the namesake windmills dotted along the well-kept greens. It's well worth a visit.

Stonewater Golf Club

The course at Stonewater Golf Club rests on 180 acres, and is filled with lush greenery, well-maintained grounds, and wildlife. Beginners and experts alike will enjoy a round, and can challenge themselves with the strategically placed bunkers and water accents. If you need a bit more training, take advantage of private lessons in the three teaching areas.

Bedford Trails Golf Course

Photo courtesy of Bedford Trails

Bedford Trails was great to begin with, but the recent renovations to the clubhouse to the greens have taken this facility to a new level. The grounds feature an 18-hole course, a driving range, chipping and putting practice green areas, a full service restaurant and bar, and a pro shop, all surrounded by majestic scenery. Plus, the prices are some of the most affordable around.

Pine Hills Golf Club

The Pine Hills Golf Club is a public, 18-hole course offering country club conditions, top-notch hospitality and luxury amenities. Located near Hinckley, the course is filled with lush fairways, streamlined greens, rolling terrain and gorgeous scenery. The facility is easily accessible, but you'll feel like you're worlds away, surrounded by forests and creeks and secluded from any nearby housing. While each hole offers a new challenge, the 18th hole is known to be one of the best finishing holes in Northeast Ohio.

Elyria Country Club

Photo courtesy of Jake Scott via the Elyria Country Club

Elyria Country Club was established in 1905, which makes it one of the oldest country clubs in the country. While the top-notch restaurants and event facilities are nothing to turn your nose up at, the golf course is the real attraction here. The course is the creative vision of William S. Flynn, one of America's finest golf course architects, and has earned a spot among Golfweek's top 200 classic courses. One 18-hole round will feature 6,750 tree-lined yards with interesting obstacles and well-maintained greens. It's a challenge and a delight for golfers of all abilities — don't miss it!  

Shale Creek Golf Club

Shale Creek Golf Club is located just minutes from I-71, and is easily accessible to golfers from Cleveland, Akron, Medina and the surrounding areas. Here, you'll find beautiful, gently rolling greens dotted with small trees, bunkers and streams, and a distinctly natural feel that sets this course apart from the rest. The grounds are perfectly manicured and are ideal for golfers of all skill levels. After a leisurely game, retire to the Shale Creek Clubhouse or settle down for a meal at the Granite Grille.

Briardale Greens

Photo courtesy of Briardale

Briardale is located in the heart of Euclid, Ohio, right next to the shores of Lake Erie, and offers all of the challenges you'll find at a typical golf course — bunkered targets, tree-lined fairways, elevation changes and the like. The design of the course (and the affordability) makes it the best option for beginner golfers in the area, but experts will not be bored by the top-of-the-line course features. After your round, pop in for a refreshing cocktail at the bar on-site.
June
16

Pet Wants: Cincinnati's Own Cinderella Story

There's no doubt about it, our four-legged friends make the world a better place. Their wagging tails and cuddles are the perfect remedy for a long day at the office, and always make coming home that much better. You make sure to feed yourself wholesome foods — doesn't your pet deserve the same treatment? Pet Wants, which has evolved into one of the most successful pet food brands in the country, is committed to creating foods every month with fresh, wholesome ingredients. And the best part? The foods are delivered straight to your door. How's that for farm to bowl? Founders Michele Hobbs and Amanda Broughton are so pleased with how far they've come,  but it wasn't a walk in the park to get to this point. We spoke to Hobbs about her mission to provide wholesome food to our beloved four-legged friends, and the hardships she faced along the way.

How Pet Wants Got Its Start

In 2009, Michele Hobbs lost her job in construction sales. She wasn't alone — 2009 was the peak of the greatest recession our country had seen in a long time, and businesses big and small were suffering. After consulting with her partner Amanda and reviewing their expenditures, the couple was unsure how to make ends meet. At this same time, they were spending a lot on vet bills for their beloved dog, Jackson, who was having health issues. Hobbs suspected that the poor health could be the result of a poor diet over the years. She knew she needed to find healthier dog food, and fast. But healthy dog food didn't really exist back then, especially in Cincinnati, a town that (at the time) was run by big-name food brands, notorious for loading their products with processed ingredients. That's when her big idea struck — why not fill this need and build a new career at the same time? Thus, Pet Wants was born. Opening Pet Wants was a passion project for her (especially after seeing the effect the wholesome food had on Jackson), and probably wouldn't have succeeded without her determination. She remembers friends and family members feeling worried for her, because who would be crazy enough to try and start a new company during the recession? Nonetheless, she scrapped her resources together and decided to start selling wholesome pet food at the nearby Findlay Market. Here she was, fighting against the current in a town loyal to big brands, with a small homemade booth, some dog treats, and a mission to change the way her community saw pet food.

The Product

You might recognize the Pet Wants brand. Since its inception in 2010, Pet Wants has expanded to 58 locations around the country with more opening every month. The company sources the best wholesome products to create healthy food that is made fresh monthly. You wouldn't want to eat something that has been sitting on a dusty shelf for months, so why would your dog? "We source everything from right here in the US, except for the products that don't make sense." says Hobbs. "For instance, we source all of our lamb from New Zealand, because that country has the best lamb available. And all of our salmon comes from Nova Scotia or Chile depending on the time of year." Pet Wants then delivers this fresh food to your door for the ultimate in convenience, all the while paying the employees a living wage and offering healthcare benefits. To make the fresh food last, she calculates how much food each dog needs, and delivers monthly rations straight to her customers' door, marking delivery dates and addresses on her calendar. The delivery service is completely free of charge, but pet owners can always visit one of her two cozy storefronts in Cincinnati to stock up on treats or get samples of new kibble flavors.

The Success of Pet Wants

With her outgoing attitude and perseverance, Hobbs quickly built a loyal customer base, and sold out of the first 1,200 pounds of food she had ordered almost instantly. Pet Wants is so successful now, it's hard to imagine a time when the small, healthy pet food brand was struggling to make ends meet. It's clear that Michele Hobbs quickly made a splash in Cincinnati with her scrappy attitude and passion for the community, an attitude that is still contagious. Typically when a customer signs up for Pet Wants, they stick with it for life — same with her employees. "You know you've got a great thing going when people stay with you," says Hobbs. "I measure success in loyalty!"

Visit Pet Wants for Yourself

Stop by her friendly storefronts to see what this incredible company is really all about, or search the Pet Wants booth out at the Findlay Market — we bet Michele will make a repeat customer out of you. Bone Appetit! All photos courtesy of Pet Wants
June
8

The 25 Best Places to Take Out-of-Town Guests in Cleveland

If you're lucky enough to live in Cleveland, you know that there's no better place to be. This vibrant town on the shores of Lake Erie has it all, from friendly people and exotic restaurants to a fun nightlife and gorgeous scenery. You've been bragging about how wonderful Cleveland is for ages, so naturally your friends and family have decided to come out for a visit. Now, you have to show them the very best of your beloved town in just a few days — the pressure's on! While it's impossible to experience everything the Rock and Roll Capital of the World has to offer, there are a few restaurants, coffee shops and activities that are absolutely essential to any out-of-town visitor. Here are our top 25 picks for locals and travelers alike that we believe showcase the best of Cleveland. Have fun out there!

Where to Grab a Cup of Coffee

Photo courtesy of Hattie Kotz via Passengers Cafe 

Passengers Cafe The rooftop at Passengers Cafe is the place to be whether you're showing a guest around or just looking for an amazing spot to hang for a bit. Where else can you sip freshly brewed coffee and enjoy sweeping views of the Cleveland skyline? While you're enjoying the rooftop setting, make sure you're munching on a homemade pop tart and sipping a cortado. Pour Cleveland Pour Cleveland opened in 2013 to immediate success. Although it is one of the newest in town, it doesn't compromise any charm. The exposed brick, open layout, and interesting hanging light fixtures invite you in to stay awhile, and the large, wooden tables make for the perfect setting to catch up with an old friend. Oh, and the coffee is off the charts. The Root Cafe The knowledgeable staff at the Root Cafe are dedicated to sourcing only the best ingredients for their house-made pastries, cakes and savory bites. Almost everything is locally produced, organic and in season, which makes for the best meals. If you're stopping in for coffee, you'll find grinds from local roasters Duck Rabbit and Rising Star crafted into soul-warming pour-overs and simple drips — no syrups here! Your guest will love the cozy atmosphere and extensive vegetarian options.

What to See

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum Rock and roll all night (and party every day) at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. Locals and visitors alike will enjoy the countless interactive exhibits, historic photos, and incredible architecture that make the museum so unique — and will also leave with some fantastic music recommendations. The Franklin Castle Cleveland's Franklin Castle is Ohio's most haunted house. The ominous building is not technically a castle, but the stone walls, turret, 21 rooms, and six-foot iron fence are certainly impressive — as is its spooky past. Terrify your visiting friend by recounting the story of Hans Tiedemann (the builder), and the many ghosts of his family members who lost their lives here. If you look closely, you might be able to see the tall, cloaked figure of his daughter, Karen, peering out of the third-floor window. Bonus: If your guest is looking to see an aspect of Ohio that is truly unique, maybe take them on a castle tour! Here is our list of the 14 coolest castles in the state. Cleveland Museum of Art The Cleveland Museum of Art is certainly worth bragging about, as it has earned a place as one of the most distinguished and comprehensive art museums in the world. The museum celebrated its 100th birthday in 2016, and through renovations and changes in ownership has gathered a collection of more than 45,000 works of art — wowza! The Cleveland Museum of Contemporary Art Maybe modern art is more your thing. In that case, make sure to visit the Cleveland Museum of Contemporary Art. Even if you don't go inside, the building itself is a statement worth seeing — but you should definitely go inside. Many local artists have found their feet here, and today you'll find ever-changing exhibitions that will shock and inspire.

 

Photo courtesy of the Christmas Story House

The Christmas Story House We triple dog dare you to visit the Christmas Story House. And if you've seen the iconic holiday flick, you'll know that that's about as serious as it gets. Ralphie's childhood home stands today in its original splendor on Rowley Avenue, and is available year round for tours and even overnight stays. In case you were wondering, the leg lamp is still proudly displayed in the window. But don't touch — it's "FRAGILE". Little Italy You may not be able to buy that international plane ticket right now, but fear not! You can find a slice of Italy right here in Cleveland. Little Italy is a culturally rich community located around Mayfield Road, and brings the best of the European lifestyle to the states. Here you'll find a wide array of art galleries, cozy cafes with patio seating, and of course Italian restaurants featuring house-made pastas, pizzas and the like. Andiamo! Playhouse Square The Playhouse Square is the country's second largest performing arts centers, and boasts nightly performances including concerts, comedy, musicals and more. The establishment is a non-profit organization that caters to the community, and was nearly destroyed in the mid 1900s, but a grassroots effort and many protests brought the theaters back to life. It is not only one of Cleveland's most entertaining districts, it is also one of its finest achievements.

Photo courtesy of Thom Sheridan via Cleveland Metroparks

The North Chagrin Reservation Looking to get out of the concrete jungle for a bit? The North Chagrin Reservation is located just a short drive from the heart of Cleveland, and features a mix of outdoor recreation areas, picnicking sites, and wildlife sanctuaries. Here you'll also find one of Ohio's coolest castles! Lolly the Trolley Don't knock it 'til you try it! Lolly the Trolley is Cleveland's most entertaining form of public transportation. The bright red bus houses charming wooden benches and wide windows that are perfect for viewing Cleveland's best sights. Even if you've lived in town for years, you're bound to enjoy this unique tour of the city. Whiskey Island Marina Cleveland's best kept secret is no longer a secret. The Whiskey Island Marina features amazing views of the city skyline, a lakefront park for picnicking and enjoying the day, and great events throughout the year. It's the perfect place to relax and enjoy the day with your out of town visitor!

Where to Shop

The West Side Market Cleveland's oldest market isn't only the best place to shop for fresh produce, baked goods and meats, it's also one of our city's most impressive pieces of architecture. You'll find more than 100 diverse vendors selling the tastiest goods our town has to offer, all housed in a gorgeous building that dates back to 1840. Whether you're looking to grab lunch with your out of town visitor or stock up on groceries, this is the place to be! The Cleveland Flea If your guest is lucky enough to be visiting during the monthly Cleveland Flea, you would be doing them a disservice by missing it! This outdoor market features highly talented local vendors and artisans showing off their best work, including arts, crafts, home decor, food and more. Trust us — this is not just your run-of-the-mill flea market.

Where to Eat

Photo courtesy of Fire Food & Drink

Fire Food and Drink Fire Food & Drink is one of the longest-standing establishments in the iconic Shaker Square — and it's not tough to see why. The chef-driven cuisine is nothing short of outstanding, and sitting on the patio during warmer months will allow you to take in the sights while enjoying your food. Look for elevated, new American dishes on this menu. L'Albatros This beautiful French bistro in the heart of downtown Cleveland never fails to please. Settle down into the cozy restaurant and take in the chic vibe before ordering the cheese plate (an absolute must). You could follow this up with the mussels or steak frites, or simply enjoy a glass of wine with good company.

 Photos courtesy of Momocho

Momocho If you're looking for a meal with a bit of a bite, Momocho is your stop. This cozy Mexican cantina was featured on Guy Fieri's Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, and certainly lives up to the hype. Order a margarita (or two) before digging into the guacamole sampler! See the other Cleveland spots featured by Guy Fieri here. Dante Cleveland's Dante features the ultimate elegant dining experience, boasting a five, seven and even 21-course tasting menu. You can choose one of these culinary adventures or order from the menu a la carte — either way, your taste buds will be wowed.

Photo courtesy of Happy Dog 

Happy Dog You can't let your guest leave Cleveland without hitting Happy Dog. This neighborhood corner bar is the epitome of the Cleveland experience, offering a hip and friendly atmosphere, live music, beer on tap and hot dogs (of course). Pick your dog, and then smother it with any combination of 50 topping choices. Sokolowski's Cleveland's oldest family-owned restaurant was established in 1923, and since has drawn in a wide array of big names — including celebrities, presidents and musicians. Sokolowski's specializes in Polish and Eastern European cuisine, including salisbury steak, chicken paprikash and pierogis. The spot earned a well deserved James Beard award in 2014, and hey, if it's good enough for Bill Clinton, it's sure to impress any visitor!

Where to Grab a Drink

Photo courtesy of 2nd and High Social House

2nd and High Social House If you're looking for an upscale but entertaining bar scene, or maybe some late-night eats after a night on the town, 2nd and High Social House is the place to be. Enjoy an extensive cocktail menu including build-your-own highballs, vodka snow cones, eclectic shots and more, as well as midnight pancakes to soothe your hunger. The Velvet Tango Room The Velvet Tango Room is one of Cleveland's most iconic bars. The cocktails are unique, boozy and delicious, and though a bit pricey, are worth every penny. Whether you're in the Cleveland area as a local or a guest, you need to visit at least once.

 Photo courtesy of Great Lakes Brewing Company

Great Lakes Brewing Company Beer lovers should not pass up Great Lakes Brewing Company on a visit to Cleveland. You can find this local brewery's concoctions in stores all over the country, but it never tastes quite as good as sampling straight from the source! Visit the tap room and indulge in the seasonal draft beers, and take a tour of the facility to learn exactly how your drink was made. Don't worry — you can take your beer with you. The Porco Lounge and Tiki Room This hideaway located between Tremont and Ohio City is one of Cleveland's most treasured escapes. The lush, exotic decor and elaborate tiki cocktails will make you feel like you've stepped off the boat onto a Polynesian island.

Enjoy Touring the Town! 

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June
1

7 Events You Must Experience Over Fourth of July Weekend in Columbus

Looking for 2019 Fourth of July events? Check out our most recent guide: 13 Fourth of July Events + Fireworks Displays in Columbus, Ohio

241 years ago, our founding fathers signed our great nation into existence — giving us freedom as well as one heck of a reason to celebrate. Fourth of July weekend is finally upon us, bringing with it the chance to gather with friends and family and enjoy one of the most anticipated highlights of the season. While hosting a picnic and lighting sparklers at home is great, there are so many exciting events in Columbus, and it would be a shame to miss out on the fun. Fireworks will go off around town on the evening of Independence Day, but we plan on celebrating all weekend long with concerts, 5Ks, festivals and more. Below, we've gathered up some of our favorite events in town, so don your star-spangled apparel and get ready to make this weekend one for the books.

New Belgium Brewing's Tour de Fat | July 1

This brewery based out of Fort Collins, Colorado knows how to bring the party, and they're bringing it to Columbus this Fourth of July weekend! New Belgium's Tour de Fat will feature a full day of live music, circus-like antics, a bike parade, costumes (highly encouraged), and of course plenty of cold brewskis. Additionally, you'll be able to try your luck in the bike arena, which offers the chance to ride (or attempt to ride) the weirdest bikes you've ever seen.

 

The Columbus Symphony's Patriotic Pops | July 1

Photo courtesy of Randall Schieber via the Columbus Symphony

This summer tradition with the Columbus Symphony is always a night to remember. Come enjoy an evening of patriotic favorites and Sousa marches with brilliant light displays. Of course, the beloved event would not be complete without fireworks, which will take place after the show.

Reel Big Fish: The Beer Run | July 1

Graphic courtesy of Reel Big Fish's Facebook Page

Celebrate the long weekend with a day of ska, craft beer and good times. While you're sampling craft brews from all over the country (and participating in a few drinking games) at Newport Music Hall, you'll be dancing along to lively tunes from the Expendables, the Queers, Tunnel Vision, and headliner Reel Big Fish.

The Charity Day 5K | July 2

Photo courtesy of the Charity Day 5K

Feel like giving back (and working off some of those burgers and brats while you're at it)? Don't miss the Charity Day 5K, during which runners and walkers alike will take to the streets of downtown Columbus in honor of several charitable organizations. During registration, participants can choose their beneficiary to be sure they're racing for a cause they truly care about! After the race, enjoy a post-race party hosted by Red, White & Boom. Register here.

Red, White and BOOM | July 3

Photo courtesy of Red, White & BOOM

More than 400,000 people will gather in downtown Columbus for the largest fireworks display in the state! Red, White & BOOM began in 1981 as a small celebration, and has grown exponentially over the years. It's not tough to see why the event is so popular! Sure, the fireworks are spectacular, but there will also be a grand parade, live music, dancing, and an after party to conclude the night!

The Doo Dah Parade | July 4

Photo courtesy of the Doo Dah Parade

The self-proclaimed celebration of liberty and lunacy will return to Columbus this year! Everything will go topsy turvy at the craziest parade in town. Antics kick off at 10 am and continue all day, and the parade will begin at 1 pm. While you're not watching, enjoy free live music, vendors, beer and bites from local restaurants.

Dublin's Independence Day Celebration | July 4

The Independence Day celebration in nearby Dublin is one of the best around, offering a full day of food, music, and fun for all ages. Come early to witness the Sherm Sheldon Fishing Derby at 8am, and then spend the rest of the day eating ice cream, enjoying the parade, watching the dogs in a canine frisbee competition, and dancing along to the tunes of Peter Frampton. The event will conclude with a massive fireworks display at the high school stadium.

Enjoy Your Long Weekend!

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