Photo courtesy of Hilltop HikersFor over 25 years, Hilltop Hikers has been bringing local nature lovers together. They hike year-round, exploring all types of trails around the area. This friendly hiking group is open to any skill level, just make sure you check the trail difficulty before you head out. And, if you aren't sure you want to officially join HillTop Hikers yet, you can try out a few hikes as a guest. Just visit their calendar to see when the next hike will be, suit up in the proper footwear, fill up your water bottle and hit the trail! WhyNot Adventures is the perfect group for outdoor enthusiasts who have a passion for hiking, biking, kayaking, camping and more! During their hiking season, October through April, they host regular Sunday hikes throughout Northeast Ohio. But when they aren't traversing Ohio's natural landscape on foot, they're exploring the area in other ways—from touring local wineries by bike to taking train rides throughout the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. You can learn more about their weekly events by visiting their Meetup page.
It's important to live a more eco-conscious lifestyle and be friendlier to the environment. This doesn't have to be complicated––maintaining a sustainable lifestyle can easily start right at home. When you're outside of your own space, you're not completely in control of your environmental impact, but ensuring that your home is as eco-friendly as possible gives you a big head start in the sustainability game.
Of course, it takes more than a commitment to recycling to create a truly sustainable home. Here are a variety of tips for reducing your home's eco-impact.
How many items in your house are plugged in right now? The answer is (probably) more than you would initially guess. Any average home contains around 40 electronic items that are continually drawing power, even after they've been turned off. While separately these items seem like they're using a minimal amount of energy, altogether the items that you leave plugged-in can add up to 10% of your home's total energy usage. Of course, you won't want to get in the habit of unplugging your refrigerator every time you leave the house, but devices like TVs, phone chargers, coffeemakers, and gaming consoles can easily be left unplugged overnight, or while you're out of the house during the day. Not only will this help you conserve energy, but it could also save you over $100 a year on your electric bill.
You can also cut down on energy consumption by developing simple habits like turning off lights when you leave a room and wearing sweaters in the winter instead of cranking up the heat. These practices might feel like small contributions, but when it comes to sustainability, every little bit counts.
Reducing water usage is often seen as a low priority in developed countries where access to water is taken for granted. Right now, there are over 2 billion people in the world facing some form of water scarcity, and with population, numbers increasing the issue will only get bigger. So what can you do? Besides simple things like turning the faucet off while you're brushing your teeth, washing your face, and shaving, there are several changes you can make to your home that will help you use less water.
Utilize a rain barrel to collect rainwater that you can later use to water your indoor plants, lawn, or your garden. Rain barrels provide you with a natural supply of water that doesn't have to come from your tap!
Install low-flow fixtures in your home that will automatically limit the amount of water you're using. You can find low-flow shower-heads, faucets, and even toilets. When these items are used in conjunction with one another, you can be saving thousands of gallons of water per year. If you're not able to purchase a new low-flow toilet, there is a pretty simple way to convert your existing toilet to use less water on every flush.
Speaking of your plumbing, when you're saving water, it's crucial to fix any leaking faucet or appliance as soon as possible. Letting a leaky faucet drip can add up over time––in fact, the EPA notes, household leaks can waste nearly 1 trillion gallons of water annually across the United States. So just make sure there's a reputable plumber near you that can help you out when you need them.
This may not be quite as obvious, but even your choice of clothing has a massive impact on the environment. When you consider everything from the pesticides used to grow the plants, to the amount of water used in production, and the chemicals used to dye the fabric, the conventional cotton industry starts looking rather unsustainable.
You can do your part to counteract these practices by buying clothing made from organic cotton for you and your family. Organic cotton production uses 71% less water and 62% less energy than conventional cotton, while also using none of the chemicals or pesticides that are harmful to farmers, consumers, and the environment.
Even if your wardrobe is already made from sustainable materials, you still have to find a way to keep them clean. We've already talked about water conservation, and while waiting to run your washer until you have a full load of clothes is certainly a big help, what about the detergent you're using? Many of the most popular laundry detergents are made with harmful chemicals, which over time can be damaging to both your clothes and your skin. At the very least, you should be using a plant-based, eco-friendly detergent. If you're really looking for an all-natural solution, try using soap nuts in your wash for a 100% zero waste solution.
Stocking your house with all-natural organic food is crucial for maintaining a fully sustainable home. Although these days it feels somewhat trendy for brands to put the word "organic" on every single product, you can actually rest assured they mean it. Any food that's marked as "organic" on their packaging, by law must be made with 95% organic ingredients. Companies who do not obey this law can face up to $10,000 in fines!
If you're still not convinced by the supermarket labels, you can opt for the even more eco-friendly route of shopping local! Community farmer's markets are an excellent source of locally-grown produce, organic eggs, and homemade baked goods. By buying local, and skipping the middleman you're not only guaranteeing freshness, but also supporting local farmers and producers, by giving your money directly to them.
Photo courtesy of Sarah Alessi, @caffeine_and_carbs, via BrewnutsBrewnuts is a collaboration between two Cleveland locals, Shelley and John Pippin, who gave up their full-time jobs to pursue their passion for beer, donuts and their hometown. The shop is a combination of a charming corner bakery and your favorite happy hour spot, offering local craft brews alongside craft-beer-based, small-batch donuts. The beer pairs perfectly with any one of their unique donuts, from maple bacon to those topped with Captain Crunch cereal. 17112 Detroit Avenue, Lakewood Vegans love brunch too which is why we're so glad to have Cleveland Vegan. Using fresh, locally sourced ingredients, they create incredible dishes without the use of animal products. Committed to being both environmentally friendly and health-conscious, they'll work with you on any and all dietary needs — both in the cafe and through their catering service. They offer some truly life-changing vegan brunch options such as delicious avocado toast, cheesy mashed potato cakes, homemade biscuits with pepper gravy and a shiitake Benedict. 2537 Lorain Avenue Crop Bistro recently landed on a list of the best restaurants in Ohio by Thrillist— and with its fresh take on American cuisine, there's no mystery as to why! Their decadent, high-end brunch spread includes a buffet complete with a carving station for house-roasted prime rib and ham as well as a chilled seafood section bursting with shrimp cocktail, snow crab, lobster salad and more. There's even a dessert station for those of us with a sweet tooth. This all-you-can-eat experience is offered every Saturday and Sunday and costs $39 for adults or $20 for children ages five to 12. 2247 Professor Avenue
Photo courtesy of Dante Next DoorThis casual Tremont restaurant only serves brunch and lunch, offering menus that feature fantastic morning-to-mid-afternoon dishes. We recommend the bananas foster French toast, which is covered in a banana compote and vanilla cream. You also don't want to miss their famous shrimp and grits or the pasta carbonara frittata. 34205 Chagrin Boulevard, Moreland Hills Flour is a must-visit Cleveland brunch destination for their eggs Benedict alone. They put a perfectly poached egg on top of a crispy English muffin and cover it in creamy hollandaise. And if that hasn't got you salivating already, what about that sweet Nutella French toast smothered in maple syrup, peanut butter powder and strawberries? 777 Starkweather Avenue This coffee shop turned restaurant in Tremont has truly redefined the meaning of cooking from scratch. Here, you'll find the epitome of comfort food, including fluffy cheddar scallion biscuits topped with sausage gravy and a classic Reuben with house-brined corned beef. The beloved cafe sources as much as it can from local farmers and vendors, grows its veggies in the garden out back, and makes all of the bread and pastries in house. Does breakfast get any better? We think not. 2482 Fairmount Boulevard, Cleveland Heights | 34105 Chagrin Boulevard, Moreland Hills
Photo courtesy of Erin Seedes via Luna Bakery CaféLuna Bakery Café puts out delectable baked goods all week long, making it the perfect spot to run in for a quick, buttery croissant and a cup of coffee before work. One of our favorite weekend activities is spending the mid-morning relaxing in their cozy café with a foamy latté and a light bite. No matter when you stop by Luna's, you should definitely try their homemade granola which will ruin the store-bought stuff forever. 2207 West 11th Street For a legendary Bloody Mary, you have to visit The South Side in Tremont. They start pouring their liquid gold at 10:30 a.m. along with a side of perfectly greasy chicken and waffles. If you're looking for something slightly lighter, try the jalapeno cheddar toast or their brunch cobb which features earthy greens, bacon, tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs, shredded provolone and grilled chicken. 1824 Coventry Road, Cleveland Heights Soon after opening as a soda fountain in 1972, Rolling Stone voted Tommy's the "Best Milkshake East of the Mississippi" and the menu has stayed the same ever since. Their breakfast menu has something for everyone, no matter your preference, including a few wacky dishes you can't find anywhere else. The Elsie, for example, features a triple-decker sandwich saddled with two fried eggs, bacon, cheese, peanut butter (yes, peanut butter) and mayo. 1325 East 6th Street Urban Farmer is one of the most famous restaurants in the greater Cleveland area, so it should be no surprise to anyone that it's on this list. This popular eatery combines a farm-to-table menu with a cosmopolitan setting to create an unforgettable eating experience. On the weekend you can enjoy their brunch menu, full of decadent choices like brioche French toast and beef bourguignon hash. 1979 West 25th Street Cleveland's beloved West Side Market is the oldest indoor and outdoor market space in the area — and a must-see destination for out-of-town guests. The market itself is housed in a historic, architecturally stunning building, and features local farmers, chefs, cheesemakers, butchers, artisans and, unsurprisingly, one of the best brunch spots in town! Not only are there Bloody Marys, but there's also an affordable breakfast full of brunch favorites (eggs, home fries and toast) for just $5.
Photo courtesy of Taste of BelgiumFindlay Market is Ohio's oldest continuously operated public market and one of Cincinnati's most loved institutions. Here, you can peruse local produce, meats and handmade items from more than 40 indoor merchants all year long. While you could spend an entire day meandering through the market and trying something from every vendor, we recommend heading here for breakfast. Taste of Belgium is one of the most popular spots in the market, serving warm, mouthwatering Belgian waffles and foamy lattés. After you've eaten your fill, spend time perusing the market. A few of our favorite, must-visit spots include Saigon Market, Blue Oven Bakery and Artichoke. For details on everything you can do and eat in Findlay Market, check out: 25 Must-Visit Places in and Around Findlay Market.
Photo courtesy of Washington ParkHonestly, we can't imagine a better way to spend a sunny mid-morning in OTR than exploring the 6-acre beauty that is Washington Park. Not only does this park offer plenty of green space to roam, there's also a dedicated dog park, a kids' playground castle, spray grounds and the American Classical Walk of Fame. The park hosts various entertainment events and festivals throughout the year — including music performances, markets and outdoor movies — so be sure to check out their website to see what happenings are going on when you're visiting!
Photo courtesy of Taft's Ale HouseYou can't pay a visit to OTR without visiting at least one brewery. Taft's Ale House is a local favorite, located in the old St. Paul's Evangelical Church building. At Taft's, you can experience the history of Cincinnati while sipping on a cold pint of craft beer. If you're still hungry when you stop by, don't hesitate to order the Alehouse, which features their juicy tri-tip steak, Alehouse onions, bleu cheese and red ranch sauce.
You can never go wrong with a good candle. The Candle Lab sells pre-poured natural soy candles in more than 100 fragrances, but they also invite you to customize your scent. One of their Scent Stylists can help you narrow down your list to just a few scents that blend perfectly together. Then, you'll design your own label, pick your favorite jar and mix your oils at the Fragrance Bar. The process of candle cooling takes about 90 minutes, so you're welcome to wait or you can spend some time perusing the neighborhood and pick it up later.
The Know Theatre of Cincinnati is a non-profit theater company that produces a wide variety of shows throughout the year. In their 99-seat contemporary black box theater, you can experience unique performances from local actors and really feel like you're a part of the show. Afterward, take advantage of Underground, a full bar and cabaret stage where you can hang out and enjoy a second show for free!
Photo courtesy of the T. So-Asian FestivalThis free festival welcomes more than 100,000 visitors annually and continues to grow in popularity. Boasting sports, games, cultural exhibits, delicious food, shopping, martial arts and stunning performances — the festival showcases the best of Asian culture and promotes the importance of diversity. Don't miss it! The Memorial Tournament is a premier event on the PGA Tour held annually at the Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin. The tournament was founded with three goals in mind: to honor those who have distinguished themselves in the game of golf; to showcase the world's best golfers competing on one of the most challenging courses in the world; and to benefit many greater Columbus charities. Proceeds from this popular event go to the Nicklaus Children's Healthcare Foundation, Nationwide Children's Hospital and numerous other local organizations. The Columbus Arts Festival has been a must-see event for more than 50 years, and it's no wonder why. It has been rated as one of the top festivals in the nation by several national publications and includes interactive activities, performances, food & beverages, and incredible work from local, national, and international artists alike. Catch it every June on the Scioto Mile. With approximately 500,000 visitors each year, the Columbus PRIDE Festival is one of the largest pride events in the Midwest. The event usually includes a massive downtown parade along with 150+ vendors, two live music stages and a family area! Red, White & BOOM! began in 1981 when 30,000 locals gathered in Bicentennial Park to watch a small fireworks display. Since then, it has grown into the largest Fourth of July event in Columbus and one of the most widely recognized fireworks displays in the entire Midwest! Two words: jazz and ribs — need we say more? This highly anticipated summertime event offers a little something for both jazz and rib connoisseurs, providing the Columbus area with the best of both. Plus, this unique festival is held annually along the Scioto Mile, a revitalized downtown riverfront that provides the perfect location for hot ribs and cool jazz. Agricultural exhibitions, a massive midway full of rides, and an incredible lineup of musical performances are just some of the fun festivities in store for you at the Ohio State Fair. The cherry on top is the gigantic helping of mouthwatering fair food — which will have you looking forward to this event every year!
Photo courtesy of the Dublin Irish FestivalThe Dublin Irish Festival is the largest-three day Irish festival on the planet, offering a plethora of acts and performers each year. The event has been held on the first weekend in August for over 30 years and more than 100,000 guests attend each year! Every summer on the Columbus riverfront, you can sample delicious food from more than 70 Ohio food trucks all on one extraordinary day! In addition to the massive amounts of food, there's also always plenty of live music and arts & crafts for all ages. Celebrate everything you love about Greek culture at this colorful annual festival! Featuring Greek song and dance, cathedral tours, traditional costumes, and delicious food and drink, this event truly provides an opportunity to experience Greek culture without the expensive plane ticket. Every summer, explore the shops, dance to live music, and enjoy a unique Greek tasting experience that whisks you away to another time and place. This annual Labor Day arts festival draws more than 25,000 visitors each year and is considered Upper Arlington's signature event! It takes place in the idyllic Northam Park and showcases the works of local, regional and national artists working with a variety of media. Additionally, there is always live performances, a family-friendly activities area, and a variety of food and beverage booths.
Photo courtesy of Spirit Photography via the Columbus OktoberfestPut on your lederhosen and raise your beer stein for Columbus Oktoberfest! This fun, annual celebration puts Columbus' German heritage on display with plenty of beer, polka and delicious food. Even the kiddos are invited to hang out in the Kinderplatz while you enjoy beer-hall style dining with the adults. PROST! This massive fair showcases hundreds of vendors from more than 25 states selling antiques, vintage items, handcrafted goods, arts, furniture, home decor, clothing, jewelry, specialty foods and so much more. Meet the editors of Country Living Magazine and HGTV superstars, attend seminars and how-tos, see artisan demonstrations, and shop the Harvest & Gourmet Market. There's no better place or time in Columbus to get inspiration for your home decor! Unbeknownst to many, Columbus is a fashion capital of the world. Don't believe us? Attend the annual Fashion Week Columbus, which showcases couture from our best local designers, fashion icons and spots to shop for your next head-turning fashion look! This annual Halloween festival is one you don't want to miss! This event is free and appropriate for all ages with a number of kid-friendly activities, including live music, games, a haunted trail, escape rooms, character interactions, pumpkin painting, trick-or-treating with local organizations, and more. Every year during Halloween time, head to the vibrant Short North Arts District for a Halloween party unlike any other! HighBall Halloween is considered one of the nation's most elaborate costume parties, bridging runway style with the culture of this lively area. This festive weekend attracts over 40,000 costumed participants in a celebration of costumes and creativity.
Photo courtesy of Firefly Beach ResortA quintessential beach destination, Firefly Beach Resort offers over five acres of private grounds for your summer vacation. Stay in their tiny, colorful cottages or park your RV on their large camper space — no matter where you stay in the resort the beach will be only a few feet away. And if you get hungry during your waterfront relaxation session, pay a visit to the Erie Kai, the onsite restaurant that serves up fresh fish, grilled sandwiches and other delicious dishes. 29 East Church Streets, Milan Milan Inn-Tiques is located on Milan's Village Square close to the Edison Birthplace Museum and several other historic destinations. Downstairs, peruse for gems in their antique store, enjoy the colorful murals in the "Edison Room" and take a break at the Coffee Station. And if you're looking for a truly unique place to stay in Milan, there is a one unit room for rent upstairs that can sleep up to 10 people! The cozy apartment features, of course, antique decor along with modern amenities like a TV, full kitchen, wireless internet and a laundry space. 545 West Lakeshore Drive, Port Clinton Why should you settle for being near the water when you could literally be on the water? Well, we're happy to tell you that you can, indeed, stay right on Lake Erie in a Coastal Floating Home! These one-to-two-bedroom homes are floating on the water, with a boat dock at your door. As an added bonus, each home offers a fully equipped kitchen, washer and dryer, satellite TV and are located just steps from downtown Port Clinton and ferry service to the Lake Erie Islands. 2001 Cleveland Road West, Sandusky
Photo courtesy of Cedar Point's Castaway Bay Indoor WaterparkFor a fun, family vacation, there's no better place to stay on Lake Erie than Cedar Point. Not only can you have a blast at the famous amusement park and the beach right out front, but the Castaway Bay Indoor Waterpark brings the fun right to your hotel with a wave pool, water coaster, slides and so much more. Plus, in your resort, you'll also find a fitness center, arcade and several fantastic restaurants! 225 Erie Street, Put-in-Bay This Caribbean-style hotel is a vacationer favorite in Put-in-Bay offering the best of Lake Erie's natural beauty and the feeling of an exotic vacation at the same time. Throughout the resort, you can find four huge pools, a 30-person jacuzzi and two swim-up bars. So spend your days lounging by the water with a drink or rent a golf cart from the hotel and explore the historic island!
If you're a coffee and cat lover, you may never want to leave Eat, Purr, Love. When you visit this eclectic "cat café," not only can you enjoy fantastic local coffee, baked goods and board games, but you can also play with adorable cats that are all available for adoption. By providing a comfortable space to hang out and meet new feline friends, Eat, Purr, Love has been able to send hundreds of cats to new homes. If you want to learn more about this eclectic small business, check out An Inside Look Into Eat, Purr, Love: Central Ohio's First Cat Café! 1166 West 5th Avenue Do you know what's in your beauty products? More often than not, soaps, shampoos, lotions and other products are full of harmful chemicals that aren't good for you or the environment. That's why Glenn Avenue Soap Company uses completely natural ingredients in all of their products, which are also made using environmentally friendly practices. Either online or in person at their Craft Soaphouse, you can purchase anything from all-natural shaving cream and body butters to bath bombs and beer soaps — guilt free! Plus, they donate a portion of their proceeds to local charities. If you have an organization that you would like to be considered for a donation you can contact Glenn Avenue on their website. Multiple Locations
Photo courtesy of Hot Chicken TakeoverIn the fall of 2013, owners Joe DeLoss and his wife Lisa visited Nashville and experienced their famous hot chicken culture for the first time. After tasting the chicken and getting hooked on the community surrounding the iconic dish, they decided to bring it to Columbus. Today, Hot Chicken Takeover is one of the most successful restaurants in the city, but HCT is about more than the chicken — it's about the people who work and eat there as well. That's why they provide supportive jobs to anyone in the area who needs a fair chance at work, regardless of homelessness, previous incarceration or any other barrier to employment. Multiple Locations Even if you aren't from Columbus you probably know about Jeni's. Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream creates some of the most famous ice creams around, and they've even been named one of the best ice cream shops in the country. And it all started right here in Columbus when Jeni Britton Bauer decided to open a trendy ice cream shop in 2002. We love them, not only because the ice cream is so good, but also because they care about the environment and the Columbus community. They recently switched to long-handled metal taster spoons and ditched the plastic ones and work exclusively with local growers, makers, producers and suppliers. 495 South 3rd Street | 2424 East Main Street, Bexley
Photo courtesy of Kittie's Hand Crafted CakesFormer professional golfers Mollie and Kelly are the brains behind Kittie's Hand Crafted Cakes. After traveling the world for 10 years during their golf careers, the pair decided they wanted to open a new cake experience in Columbus. At both of their locations, one in Bexley and the other in German Village, you can try their incredible cupcakes that look just as amazing as they taste. But it isn't just Kittie's fantastic cakes that landed them on this list, they are also very dedicated to the Columbus community, donating any leftovers to local charities and getting highly involved with charity fundraising. 424 West Town Street Land-Grant Brewing is a craft brewery located in the historic Franklinton neighborhood of Columbus. Not only is Land-Grant one of the most successful breweries in the area, but they're also a leading pioneer in the sustainability movement in Columbus. They've worked tirelessly to upgrade their building to make it more eco-friendly. And it isn't just environmental sustainability they are committed to — Land Grant also donated over $38,000 in 2018 to local area education, sustainability and community building initiatives.
Photo courtesy of Cuyahoga Valley National Park1.4 Miles Brandywine Falls is one of the most gorgeous sights in Ohio making this trail one of the most trafficked in the park. While it might be busy when you go, we promise the views are worth it! This trail starts at the historic Inn at Brandywine Falls and follows the edge of the gorge, eventually taking you down to creek level. If you want to avoid the crowds, try parking at the Stanford House and hiking the 3.8-mile trail through the woods. 1.7 Miles The Ledges hike is one of the most iconic trails in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Traverse the intermediate hike or drive straight to the parking lot to reach the Ledges Overlook, which offers breathtaking views of the valley. This trail is rocky and rough, so make sure to wear sufficient footgear and adhere to any closure signs for your safety. 3.4 Miles This 3.5-mile loop is perfect for trail running or for walkers looking for a good workout. Not only does this trail offer plenty of hills to get your legs burning, but it's located along the river, giving you the chance to spot plenty of beautiful wildlife. We recommend avoiding this trail after rainfall as it can get pretty muddy. Insider tip: At the beginning of the loop, take a left to go down the hill so you don't have to climb up it at the very end! 3.7 Miles Nearing four miles, this loop hike will lead you through some of the most beautiful rolling terrain in the park. Park at the Valley Parkway which intersects the trail and is a more secluded section of Cuyahoga Valley and then hit the trail! Along the way, you'll see creeks, a picnic area and the lovely Deer Lick Cave.
Photo courtesy of Rosati's Frozen CustardEnd your day on the highest note at Rosati's Frozen Custard, a famous Ohio spot for a good reason. They offer fresh, creamy custard that is made in-house and serve it in cones, sundaes, shakes and even blended with different toppings. Plus, their neon and vintage building is the perfect spot to hang out and snap a few shots for your Instagram!