So you've just moved to Cleveland—welcome! You've found yourself in one of the best cities on the planet, full of things to do, eat and see. But before you settle in, there are a few things you should know. 1) We prefer brown mustard to yellow. 2) We love craft beer. 3) We are a city full of sports fanatics.
That's right! Cleveland is definitely a sports city, home to the Browns, the Cavaliers and the Cleveland Indians, so don't be surprised if you start painting your face and collecting jerseys—it's expected when you live here.
To help you get acclimated to being a Cleveland sports fan, we rounded up the essential teams in the city. On this list, you'll find a team for almost every sport from baseball to rugby and roller derby. We hope you'll get a kick out of it!
Baseball is more than just a sport in Cleveland—it's a religion. And there's no team you'll hear about more than the Indians. Since they were established in 1901, they've brought home two World Series championships. Attending an Indians game is practically a Cleveland rite of passage, so head out to Progressive Field for a game ASAP.
Cleveland's Minor League Baseball team is the Lake County Captains. Many Major League Baseball stars have gotten their start as a Lake County Captain, including Victor Martinez, Chris Archer and CC Sabathia. You can catch one of their games at Classic Park in Eastlake.
Established in 1970, the Cleveland Cavaliers, or the Cavs, is one of the most famous professional basketball teams in the country. Even if you aren't a basketball fan, you've probably heard of them once or twice due to LeBron James, who got his start on the team in 2003 and lead the team to victory in 2016. Today, you can watch a game at the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse or follow them around the country during their season—which many hardcore Cavs fans do on an annual basis.
Cleveland State University is home to an abundance of fantastic sports teams, from basketball to golf to swimming to wrestling. Plus they offer plenty of women's teams that you can cheer on any time of the year including basketball, fencing, softball and volleyball.
Just because Case Western is a prestigious, nationally acclaimed, private research university, doesn't mean they don't also love competing! The Spartans feature several highly ranked teams, including football, cross country, basketball, baseball, softball, soccer and more.
While the Browns are definitely an underdog in the NFL (with one of the longest playoff droughts in NFL history and one of the only teams to ever complete a season without winning a single game) that doesn't mean Clevelanders don't still love the team with a fiery passion. You can catch a game at the FirstEnergy Stadium this season or by visiting one of our favorite sports bars in the city.
The Cleveland Gladiators is an arena football team that was established in 1997. While they were first based in East Rutherford, New Jersey and then later in Las Vegas, Nevada, they finally found their home in Cleveland in 2008. The team is currently on hiatus while the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse is being renovated, but they hope to play again in 2020.
The Fusion is Cleveland's full-contact football team founded in 2001. They compete with teams all across North America as a member of the Women's Football Alliance. While you might think their main goal as a team is to win games, it's actually to make Cleveland a better place to live. That's why they give back via volunteerism and partnerships with the Girl Scouts of Northeast Ohio and the LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland and provide a coaching clinic for girls playing flag football.
Don't worry, hockey lovers—Cleveland has something to offer you too! The Cleveland Monsters, formally known as the Lake Erie Monsters, are our local professional hockey team. They play their home games at the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse downtown and have one Calder Cup championship under their belt, which they nabbed in 2016.
The Burning River Roller Derby is the premier skater-run flat-track roller derby league in Cleveland. There are several different teams that play in this league including the All-Stars, the Pyromaniacs, the Rolling Pin-Ups and many more.
While the Cleveland Guardians are a part of the Cleveland Men's Roller Derby league, the team is open to all 18+ people that want to skate for fun, fitness and competition. They compete both locally and nationally with teams all around the United States and Canada. Interested in joining? They offer practices for every skill level every other Wednesday in Brunswick.
The Cleveland Rovers Men's Union Rugby Football Club is made up of men from all walks of life—including students, military veterans, doctors, lawyers, engineers and businessmen. They are a USA Rugby affiliated Men's Club and currently contend in the Division III Midwest East Conference. You can find them playing their home games at Rugby World or taking a break at PJ McIntyre's, where they like to relax over a pint after practice on Thursday nights.
While rugby is traditionally a "gentleman's sport" as many fans like to say, the Iron Maidens have set out to change that stereotype. Founded in 2003, the Iron Maidens are Cleveland's premier women's rugby club. In addition to being national rugby finalists, they frequently work with Cleveland Fusion to promote and grow women's professional sports.
The Cleveland Soccer Club is a semi-professional, men's soccer team that competes in the National Premier Soccer League. The team roster is currently comprised of both college players and former college players that are looking to continue their competitive careers.
New to the Cleveland athletic scene, the Cleveland Comets recently moved to the area from Akron in 2018. They are a women's professional fastpitch softball team that has been garnering a lot of attention as of late due to their recent partnership with Team Mexico for the 2019 season, bringing a ton of great talent to the area. You can catch one of their home games at Sprenger Stadium in Avon this season.
The Barley House is an Akron staple that invites you to sit long, talk much and laugh often. They offer over 30 beers on tap at any given time along with the friendliest staff in town. Stop in for their annual St. Patrick's Day celebration or any day of the week to catch the game on one of their many TVs. This neighborhood favorite has been located in Massillon for over 26 years. They offer great food, service and even live music from time to time. No matter whether you're a local or not, you'll still feel welcome at this cozy pub! Irish Jack's is North Hill's only Irish pub, serving drinks until 1 a.m. (or until everyone goes home) Tuesday-Friday. Here, you'll find good food, drinks and even Irish dance classes! If you need somewhere to throw your Irish celebration, Irish Jack's also rents out their Brendan Hall — which is the perfect venue for almost any occasion. Arnie's Public House is more than just a bar — it also happens to be one of the best eateries in Akron! They offer incredible classics like steaks and burgers along with out-of-the-box selections like chicken and waffles and sweet potato tacos. Plus, the amazing service will have you coming back again and again. Harmon's Pub has been serving the Canton community for over 28 years. This institution serves an affordable array of generous appetizers, homemade soups, fresh salads, juicy burgers and their famous steak on a stick. Harmon's is the perfect spot to chat with friends over a cold drink. Brubaker's Pub is Summit County's original Irish American neighborhood pub, now with six locations around the area! They offer a large menu of signature cocktails and craft beers on tap along with delicious food selections like a Reuben flatbread, Bavarian pretzels and more. Stop in for happy hour, every day from 3-7 p.m.! Dublin's is the perfect spot for those looking for classic Irish pub ambiance. This traditional pour house is bursting with great food, beer and hospitality. Whether you're just looking to watch the game with your friends or want to grab a sandwich and a pint after work — J. Dublin's is your new home away from home. Established in 1988 and revamped in 2018, the Irish Pub & Grill is a Massillon destination. They offer a spectacular menu full of pub favorites including burgers, wings, sandwiches and more along with signature cocktails and any type beer your heart desires. When you stop in, make sure to try their soon-to-be-famous Reuben sandwich — we promise you won't regret it. Locally owned and operated since 1991, the Irish Exchange is the perfect place in Canton for a relaxing lunch or dinner. From their mouth-watering char-broiled burgers to their emerald green salads — they have something for everyone on their extensive menu.
Photo courtesy of the Hooley House Sports Pub & GrilleHooley House is an Irish and American sports pub that serves moderately priced, fresh and delicious pub fare along with classic Irish fare. Settle into their comfortable dining room that exudes a friendly and open atmosphere. It is also one of the best places in Northeast Ohio to catch a game, no matter what sport you're passionate about! Sully's provides the ultimate Irish pub experience that will make you believe you're actually in the Emerald Isle. Order their incredible fish and chips with a fresh pint of Guinness and settle in for an afternoon of friendly conversation. They also play host to several live music events throughout each month. Check out their calendar so you can make sure not to miss their next show.
Photo Courtesy of OliversNestled in the heart of downtown, Olivers is a hip industrial eatery with an exceptional menu and a full bar. This central hotspot is known for their live blues shows every Friday and Saturday night and weekday happy hour from 3–7 p.m. With its full bar and delicious pub grub, Olivers is a great place to be during Buckeyes games. 775 Yard Street This modern restaurant was founded by the Heisman Trophy-winning Ohio State football star Eddie George, so it is naturally an exceptional place to watch the Buckeyes. The award-winning menu and beverage program completes the experience at this hotspot not far from the South Campus Gateway. 401 North Front Street #150 This Irish-American tavern always has something going on — including live music, darts, pub trivia, rugby, soccer and just about any sporting event. With over 15 televisions and two giant projection screens, you won't miss a single play of the Buckeyes game at Three-Legged Mare! 780 North High Street
Photo Courtesy of Short North Pint HouseThis trendy and vibrant pint house is situated in the heart of the action in the Short North Arts District. The modern industrial interior (with an open roof!) provides the ideal environment for a relaxed brunch or an exciting Buckeyes game. Short North Pint House offers tasty bar bites and an impressive selection of craft beers. 1480 Bethel Road Coaches is the place to be during any major sporting event, especially Buckeyes games. This neighborhood hotspot has over 50 TVs, good pub food and a spacious patio. Coaches offers a number of specials throughout the week, including $4 long islands, $5 craft beers, $3 Fireball shots and more. 20 Frambes Avenue Out-R-Inn is undeniably one of the most beloved bars for Ohio State fans. In fact, this mainstay has been voted one of the college bars in the country for its pre-game festivities and abundance of drink specials. The distinguishing factor of Out-R-Inn is its unbeatable atmosphere and energy, which keeps patrons (and alumni!) coming back again and again. When the weather is nice, relax on the spacious outdoor patio with picnic tables, TVs and cornhole, or retreat inside to play pool and darts when the weather cools. During big games in the fall and winter, the patio will often be open and equipped with space heaters. 278 West Lane Avenue
Photo Courtesy of Varsity ClubLocated just steps from the Horseshoe, the Varsity Club is a staple for Ohio State fans. This old school pub dates back to 1959 and still offers one of the best game day atmospheres for fans, plus one of the largest tailgate parties in the city. The cozy, wood-clad interior is accompanied by a large outdoor space in the back, where all the tailgating fun takes place! 1516 North High Street Chumley's is another popular destination for Ohio State students for its proximity to campus, abundance of drink specials and lively atmosphere. This relatively new addition to the local sports bar scene has plenty of room to roam and large high-res TV screens in every direction. On game day, Chumley's will typically open early in the morning (sometimes as early as 7 a.m.!) for the ultimate pre-game experience. 2195 North High Street The Little Bar is another favorite amongst Ohio State students, but on game day, you'll find a mix of all ages. As can be implied from the name, the inside of The Little Bar is pretty small, but there is a spacious outdoor area with a giant projector playing the game. Plus, you'll find 16 flat-screen TVs throughout The Little Bar, which means you won't miss a play! Don't miss Tiny Gate, considered one of the best tailgate parties in the city.