Playing away the day is hard work. But feeding a ravenous crew shouldn’t mean sacrificing flavor or breaking the bank. In Cleveland, visitors can fuel-up on gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches, “surpalious” noodles and savory milkshakes at the wide variety family and budget-friendly dining spots.
A tradition in the west side suburb of Rocky River since 1948, Beardan’s serves up steak burgers and milkshakes in an authentically-vintage diner setting. Families can try the famed “Peanut Burger,” a steak burger topped with melted peanut butter and wash it down with a thick milkshake for less than three dollars.
With four locations around the Cleveland region, the B-Spot features “Iron Chef” Michael Symon’s famous burgers, brats, bologna and craft beers. All the items on the kids menu are only five dollars and include unique side dish options such as sliced avocados or apples, yogart and salads in addition to a beverage and cupcake.
A fun dining experience for the whole family, Fourth Street Bar and Grill is located in the Corner Alley, a bowling alley in the heart of Downtown. Families can bowl for strikes and enjoy scrumptious contemporary American cuisine with a kids’ menu to boot.
Corky & Lenny’s
Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, Corky & Lenny’s is a traditional Jewish deli in the eastside suburb of Beachwood. Offering everything from smoked salmon lox to hot corned beef sandwiches, Corky and Lenny’s is a true Cleveland favorite!
Dewey’s Pizza, with locations in Lakewood and Cleveland Heights, is a hip, neighborhood pizza place with an inviting vibe the whole family. Children love watching through the window as the kitchen tosses massive pizza dough, while the adults love the great beer selection and delicious pizza flavor combinations.
Grumpy’s Café is a local favorite in the Tremont neighborhood. The classic, American menu with some southwest-inspired flair features great, big breakfasts and lunch and dinner specials of all at budget-friendly prices.
Hard Rock Café
What better way to celebrate Cleveland’s rock and roll roots than with a visit to the Hard Rock Café? Conveniently connected to Tower City Center, the Hard Rock features down-home American cuisine seasoned with rock music and loads of rock ‘n roll memorabilia. Children’s menus are available.
House of Blues
From alternative to heavy metal, the House of Blues showcases an eclectic variety of live entertainment through its doors every week. While the restaurant is connected to the music venue, it is not intrusive or are you required to have a show ticket to eat in the restaurant. The House of Blues restaurant serves distinctive Creole cuisine with kicked up contemporary flavors created by celebrity chef Aaron Sanchez.
As an Akron institution for more than 60 years, the family-owned Luigi’s Restaurant is known for its famous pizza and Italian dishes for which the recipes remain the same since it opened. While small in size, Luigi’s is big on taste and welcomes families with children.
What kid doesn’t like noodles? Chef Jonathon Sawyer plays to this strength at his whimsical second area-restaurant, a Japanese noodle-house named Noodlecat. In addition to the “Noodlekid” menu featuring items such as customized steamed buns, kid-friendly portions and even noodlekid “cocktail” specials, the Sawyer family often hosts “Noodlekid” nights which are overwhelmingly popular for both locals and visitors alike.
For families who want some deliciously inexpensive pizza they should look no further than Mama Santas. Located in Little Italy, Mama Santas is a great family restaurant which has been a Cleveland tradition for more than 60 years.
Melt Bar and Grilled
A rockin’ restaurant with four area location, serves up every kind of grilled cheese possible! But this isn’t the typical piece of American cheese slabbed between two slices of white bread. Melt features more than 20 different takes on the original all with their own unique twist. Try a “Parmageddon” stuffed with onions, kraut and a potato and cheese pierogi.
Conveiently located in Tower City Center in the center of Downtown, Susy’s Soup is a family-friendly fast-casual deli serving specializing in hearty soups, chowders, bisques and chili, as well as deli sandwiches, wraps and the ever-popular grilled cheese.
The Greenhouse Tavern
While traditionally The Greenhouse Tavern may not appear to be a “family-friendly” dining location with its upscale, French-inspired farm-to-plate menu but as a father himself, Chef Jonathon Sawyer aims to make new flavors and cuisines accessible to all. So, instead of a formal kid’s menu at East Fourth Street restaurant, Chef Sawyer and his staff will make anything “kid-friendly,” in both portion and price.
Soon after Tommy’s started out as a small soda fountain in the Coventry neighborhood in 1972, Rolling Stone magazine voted it “Best Milkshake East of the Mississippi.” While the shakes and menu stayed the same since then, Tommy’s is now in a much bigger venue with a menu that pleases any type of customer including vegetarians, vegans, meat-eaters, health-conscious and the just plain hungry.
This family-owned restaurant group operates eight quick-serve restaurants throughout the region. Since the 1980s Yours Truly has been serving up everything from omelets and pancakes to mac and cheese and pie, combining good, old-fashioned neighborhood friendliness with a standout menu.
The Winking Lizard
Since its inception in 1983, The Winking Lizard is a favorite with the locals, as it offers high-quality food served in a friendly, unique atmosphere. At any of the Winking Lizard’s 12 locations across the Cleveland-area, the restaurants are a great spot for catching a game while enjoying delectable wings, pizza and burgers.
For daughters who dream of mermaids and sons who carry home frogs, Cleveland, Ohio has the perfect combination of exhibits for families to explore. A family vacation to Cleveland Plus costs 40-60 percent less than one to cities like New York, Philadelphia or Los Angeles – without sacrificing any of the experience! Check out these exhibits to peak your children’s curiosity this summer and let their imaginations soar.
Mythic Creatures: Dragons, Unicorns & Mermaids, The Natural History Museum
What creatures live in dark places, are covered with fur, scales or slime, have a long tail, too many eyes or not enough? They also love to create wind, fire and destruction. What are they? Mythic creatures – our favorite imaginary friends. They used to come to life in books and movies, but now, through eye-popping models, preserved specimens and prehistoric fossils, kids can investigate how these legendary creatures sprang to life in our imaginations. This wonderful exhibit highlights our favorites, water creatures like the Kraken, sea monsters and mermaids; the land creatures, like griffins, unicorns and ape men; and the flying creatures: the Phoenix, sphinx, and Pegasus and dragons. For a scarey-good time, families can take a walk with their favorite mythical creatures. Open through August 12.
Frogs! A Chorus of Colors, The Great Lakes Science Center
What’s more fun than one slippery, green, croaking and hopping little frog? 70 of them all in the same place! In this exhibit, families discover more than 70 live frogs from around the world, showcased in detailed habitats complete with rock ledges, live plants and waterfalls. Encounter visually stunning creatures, who look as colorful as their names, such as the Chinese Gliding Frog, Amazon Milk Frog, Fire-bellied Toad and Smokey Jungle Frog. Hear noisy croaks, yaps, chirps, whoops, snores and whistles. Test your frog IQ, create a chorus with recorded frog calls, perform a virtual frog dissection and more. Admission to Frogs! A Chorus of Colors is included with general admission to Great Lakes Science Center. Members receive free admission.
– Cindy Hill
Welcome to Cleveland Plus, the 22-county region that borders Lake Erie and surrounds and includes the metropolis of Cleveland, Ohio.
We are home to family favorites like the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo (home to the African Elephant Crossing), the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, University Circle (the nation’s most concentrated square mile of arts and cultural institutions) and PlayhouseSquare (second largest theater district in the country second only to Broadway).
A family vacation to Cleveland Plus costs 40-60 percent less than one to cities like New York, Philadelphia or Los Angeles –without sacrificing any of the experience! Below you’ll find a list of free, fun, kid-approved attractions in Cleveland Plus to help make your vacation one you’ll never forget.
Wade Oval Wednesdays
Take a mid-week break and enjoy live music in the heart of University Circle. Have a picnic on Wade Oval or relax in the beer and wine garden with a great view of the stage. The lineup includes a wide variety of music to suit everyone’s tastes. Location: Wade Oval is the park in between The Museum of Art, The Cleveland Museum of Natural History and The Cleveland Botanical Garden, University Circle. June 13 – Aug. 29, 2012
Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland – Learning Center & Money Museum
Ever wondered how we bought things before money existed? And, who makes our money anyhow? All these answer and more answered at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland’s Learning Center and Money Museum. The museum regularly hosts temporary exhibits exploring currency and the value of money from other times and cultures. Kids can get a look at the Money Tree where they can track counterfeit money and follow the history of money through the ages. Opened Mon. – Thurs. from 10am-2pm, the museum offers free admission and a unique tour through the Federal Reserve.
Cleveland Police Museum
Delve into the history of Cleveland law enforcement at the Cleveland Police Museum—free of charge. See confiscated firearms, uniforms, artifacts and more from Cleveland’s past including things from the legendary crime fighter, Eliot Ness, and the Torso Murders investigation.
Stearns Homestead is a working farm is operated by the Parma Area Historical Society as an educational and historic farm. It features a barn complete with animals, two homes dating from the early 1900s that now serve as museums, gardens and a display of historical farm and household items.
Share in the Amish heritage through the discovery of horse-drawn buggies, homemade family-style foods and exceptional craftsmanship in Northeast Ohio’s Amish Country. You’ll find antique stores, craft houses, traditional Amish restaurants and excellent inns.
Summer in the City Free Concert Series – The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum
Many free concerts are offered this summer at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. Check out their calendar of events of on their website for upcoming shows.
Lakewood Front Porch Series
Bring blankets, chairs, snacks and friends and have an entertaining evening in this open air theatre located on the front steps of the Lakewood Public Library. Entertainers range from jazz and indie music to early 60s Americana and folk music.
Lake View Cemetery
Lake View Cemetery is filled with sculpture, architecture and tributes to those who made great contributions to the area’s industrial and civic development. The interior of its Wade Memorial Chapel was designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany, including the focal point “The Flight of Souls,” a leaded glass window done in the Favrile technique. Lake View Cemetery counts J.D. Rockefeller and African American inventor Garrett Morgan among its famous residents. And here’s a tip–on a clear day stand atop the memorial for President James A. Garfield for a fantastic view of the city.
International Women’s Air and Space Museum
The International Women’s Air and Space Museum at Burke Lakefront Airport documents women’s past and present accomplishments and contributions to the fields of aviation and space. A collection of memorabilia and historical artifacts preserve the memory of women aviation pioneers.
Cleveland Plus Beaches
While surfing in Ohio might sound crazy, the truth is that Cleveland Plus offers a variety of accessible (and FREE) beaches along its Lake Erie Coast with swimming, sailing, surfing and some of the best walleye, perch and bass fishing in the world. After a beach-bum weekend on Lake Erie, visitors might forget about their yearly pilgrimage to the shore. Check out some of these notable beaches:
- Fairport Harbor Beach – Fairport Harbor Beach was made for adventure seekers. With activities ranging from kayaking, canoeing, boating and fishing, this beach offers water-related programs, festivals and events suitable for every member of the family.
440. 639.9972, http://www.lakemetroparks.com/select-park/fairport.shtml
- Headlands Beach State Park – Forget about a trip to the shore when you can experience the Mentor Headlands, Ohio’s longest natural sand beach. The size of Headlands Beach allows plenty of room for travelers to play beach volleyball, Frisbee, cook out, sunbath and relax.
- Edgewater Beach – Fly a kite, have a picnic or take a swim. With an unmatched view of the Cleveland skyline, Edgewater Park is a popular west side beach that boasts a variety of summertime activities like swimming, boating and fishing. Enjoy the upper level for a shaded picnic, or head to the lower level for swimming and beach access.
- Huntington Beach – Known for its family-friendly environment and its commitment to cleanliness, the Huntington Reservation Beach caters to swimmers and sunbathers alike. After a day at the beach, visitors can head to the nearby Honey Hut Ice Cream Shoppe for some of Cleveland’s famous handmade ice cream.
- Lakeview Park Beach – Think: relaxation. Rich with history, adorned in rose gardens and engulfed in the natural beauty of Lake Erie, Lakeview Park Beach is the perfect respite from the hustle and bustle of daily life.
Almost Free for the Kids ($5 and under)
Discover more than 50 breeds of farm animals on a trip to this hands-on science center. While here, milk a cow, take a wagon ride, stroll through gardens and enjoy animal shows and demonstrations.
Admission: adults $6, seniors (60+) $5, children (2-11) $4, under 2 free.
Enjoy the great outdoors all year round with more than 3,100 acres of beautiful plant collections and spectacular fall and summer gardens, beautiful colors, winter splendor, trails and picnic areas at the Holden Arboretum. Trails offer a variety of distances and levels of difficulty.
Admission: adults $6, seniors (60+) $5, children (6-12) $3, children 5 and under free.
The Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage
The Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage showcases the history of Northeast Ohio’s Jewish community through artifacts, unique exhibits and interactive displays.
Admission: adults $12, seniors (60+) and students (13+ and college students) $10, children 5-11 $5.
Century Village Museum
Experience more than 100 years of history as you explore the restored 1806 village of Burton at Century Village Museum. You’ll find treasures including a cabin from 1798, vintage barns, an 1872 schoolhouse, five furnished historical homes, a jail and a country store.
Admission: adults $7, children 6-12 $5, children 5 and under free.
Western Reserve Historical Society
Cleveland’s oldest cultural institution is home to a library and two museums in University Circle. The Western Reserve Historical Society’s History Museum features a 1911 mansion and the Chisholm Halle Costume Wing. The Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum displays nearly 200 antique, vintage and classic automobiles and aircraft.
Admission: adults $8.50, senior $7.50, veteran $6.50, children 17 and under $5.
Take a tour of the USS Cod, an unaltered World War II vintage submarine and the only submarine in history to perform a submarine-submarine rescue.
Admission: adults $7; seniors, inactive/retired military and college students $6; students (K – 12) and active military with ID $4; children under 6 years and military in uniform and wives/family of active duty submariners are admitted free.
Kent State University Fashion Museum
Explore the history of fashion as we know it today at the Kent State University Fashion Museum. Find European and American gowns as well as traditional dress, celebrity dresses and nine galleries devoted to great fashion designers and artists from the 18th century to the present.
Admission: adults $5, seniors $4, students and children (7-18) $3, children under 7 free.
Built in 1824, this is Cleveland’s oldest building still standing on its original site. It was once a stagecoach stop on the old Buffalo-Cleveland-Detroit post road, and today features an original parlor, taproom and items of early Americana including 19th century Ohio antique furniture.
Admission: adult $3, children (3-12) $2, children under 3 are free.
Stan Hywet Hall + Gardens
Frank A. Seiberling, co-founder of the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, once called this 65-room country estate home. French and Italian reproduction furniture, eighteenth-century British portraits and priceless antique heirlooms make up the homes original furnishings. Lagoons, formal gardens, a greenhouse and stunning rows of silver birch trees make the outside just as inviting as the inside of this home, one of the finest examples of Tudor Revival architecture in the United States.
Admission: Adults $8, children 6 to 17 $4, ages 6 and younger free;
Cleveland Botanical Garden
A beautiful senior getaway is the Cleveland Botanical Garden, a combination of indoor exhibits housed in a magnificent glasshouse and ten acres of diverse outdoor gardens. The spectacular Glasshouse includes two major exhibits, the Costa Rica Rainforest and the Madagascar Spiny Desert. There are also several beautiful outdoor gardens, including a rose garden and Japanese tea garden, for your exploration. The grandkids will love the Hershey’s Children’s Garden, a kid-friendly exhibit with signs and pictures at kid level and fun features, like a barn and a treehouse.
Admission: Adults $7.50, seniors 60 and older $5.50, children 3 to 12 $3, 2 and younger free
Parade the Circle – FREE!
Be there June 9 as international and national guest artists join the Cleveland Plus’ community of artists, families, schools and community groups to parade around Wade Oval in University Circle.
The free event, which celebrates the community arts, draws more than 60,000 people every year. The celebration incorporates the drama and artistry of colorful floats, giant puppets, bright costumes, handmade masks, stilt-walkers, dancers and musicians.
After the parade, children and adults can enjoy a bevy of free make-and-take arts and crafts projects, food and beverage. Many of the area museums throughout University Circle offer day-of discounts. Visit www.universitycircle.org for more information.
For more information visit www.positivelycleveland.com.
– April Ingle
As if the Great Lakes Science Center‘s already spectacular offerings weren’t enough, the six-story Omnimax dome theater is among the first in the nation showing the new IMAX movie Hubble – and it is nothing short of an absolutely jaw-dropping wonder.
I took my 12-year-old daughter and we both could easily run out of superlatives trying to convey just how amazing this movie is. In just 45 minutes, you’ll not only relive the story of the Hubble Space Telescope’s deployment and the NASA missions over the years that kept this wondrous eye on the cosmos working, but through the telescope’s galaxy-spanning images, you’ll also take a stunning journey across space and into the heart of the Orion Nebula.
And, because the movie unfolds on the enormous curved screen, you can look around and feel like you’re there . . . impossibly suspended in a vast “star nursery” where suns and planets are born, drifting in zero-gravity with the crew in the cabin of Atlantis or standing in an open space shuttle cargo bay, the Earth shining overhead.
You’ll also get a great sense of the astronauts themselves, including Cleveland-area native Michael Good, who’s featured prominently as a member of the crew sent up in 2009 to carry out the final – and one of the most challening – missions to Hubble.
Hubble‘s rated G and I can’t imagine anyone who’s ever run around with a toy rocket, imagined flying to the stars or even just looked up at the sky for a few quiet moments could help but fall in love with it. Even if you’re not a space nerd like I am, the engrossing story and vivid photography will draw you in and take you on an unforgettable journey.
There’s never been an eye on the universe quite like Hubble, so it’s only fitting that there’s never been a movie quite like this, either.
Hubble runs three to four times daily – check the GLAC site for details here. And, although you can buy a ticket just to catch an Omnimax show, there are bargains to be had in purchasing combined tickets which include admission to the Center or the neighboring Steamship William G. Mather Museum. –Submitted by John Booth (read more from Cleveland Plus writer and guest blogger, John, here on his site.)
Voted “Best Holiday Display” in Scene’s 2009 “Best of Cleveland” issue, the Cleveland Botanical Garden Winter Show is an impressive display of festive holiday cheer. Gingerbread houses judged in competition and Christmas trees sponsored and decorated by local organizations sprinkle the hallways leading the way to model trains and Santa’s workshop activity center.
When you’re finished pretending it’s summer inside CBG’s glasshouse, head outside for some ice skating on The Rink at Wade Oval. Skating is free (skate rental is $3 if you don’t have your own) and guests can purchase hot beverages and snacks at the nearby concession stands.
Visit www.cbgarden.org for more information. –Submitted by CA
West of Cleveland, near the Lake Erie shores of Sandusky, there’s a supernatural sort of fun brewing. They call it Ghostly Manor and the spooky castle looms large off of U.S. Route 250, on Woodlawn Avenue near Oakland Cemetery. Visitors from all over the country come to explore 6000-square foot foot of high-startle, non-stop horror action thrills in 21 unique rooms at one of the best haunted houses in the United States.
“Our acclaimed haunt has recently received additional national recognition,” says owner/operator Bill Criscione, a lifelong Halloween enthusiast who opened the haunted house with his wife Jayme in 2001. “Just recently Ghostly Manor was recognized by Haunted Attraction Magazine as one of the ‘Top 25 Must-See Haunts in the United States’ and we’re proud of that honor. Also, Darkride and Funhouse Enthusiasts ranked us as one of their top ten walkthrough attractions for 2008.” And Ghostly Manor has been nationally ranked for the last five years, taking the number four spot the last two consecutive years.
The doors of Ghostly Manor rarely close (it is open year-round) and the mansion seems to grow more expansive and shuddersome every season (explore bedrooms, bathrooms, a nursery, dining room, kitchen, den, library and more than a few dark corners). Each room is haunted by live actors, state-of-the-art props, animatronics and lots of unexplained apparitions. “Each room in Ghostly Manor can scare you from at least four different places,” warns Criscione.
Britain’s most famous governess only needs an umbrella to arrive in Cleveland for her eponymous musical Mary Poppins (July 17-August 9, 2009) at the State Theatre. But this summer Ms. Poppins has choices. On Continental Airlines she can fly nonstop from Heathrow between May and September. Her fans may fly from anywhere to spend the weekend enjoying one of America’s largest performing arts complexes, PlayhouseSquare. Between East 14th and 17th Streets are five theatres, a half-dozen resident companies ranging from Opera Cleveland to the Tri-C Jazz Festival, plus top touring productions such as Young Frankenstein and In the Heights via KeyBank’s annual Broadway Series. The area also boasts enough first-class hotels, restaurants and enlightening excursions to make any nanny smile.
I finally went to the Visitors Center at the NASA Glenn Research Center near Cleveland-Hopkins International Airport. My nephews (7 and 11 years old) were in town from Chicago and ever since I mentioned that we had a NASA facility here they have wanted to go. What a great place to see and a great place for families. It is free to get in and the boys had a wonderful time with the hands-on machines explaining gravity and aerodynamics. There was a simulator so guests could try landing a lunar modular on the moon (I crashed 3 times) or fly over Burke Lakefront Airport and the Statue of Liberty.
We spent Sunday morning at a private beach in Rocky River, playing in the water and collecting sea glass along the shoreline. My 4 ½ year old daughter couldn’t get enough of jumping in the waves and searching for treasures. She’s an expert at filling her pail with bits of green, white and brown glass that Lake Erie has tossed about and finally washed upon the beach. When she finds a blue piece of glass, she is thrilled because they are so rare. The lifeguards were busy cleaning the beach and building giant pyramids of driftwood for bonfires when the cooler
evenings set in. In the distance, a great handful of sailboats dotted the horizon, taking full advantage of the warm summer day and light breeze. Weather was perfect, water was crisp and refreshing and it was a beautiful way to spend the morning in Cleveland. –MS
This weekend we were looking for somewhere to go that would get our two year old out of the house. We’d already worn out the playground this week, so I decided we should go to Huntington Beach in Bay Village for the beach party. The place was packed.
The Cleveland Metroparks and Lake Erie Nature and Science Center were both there down on the beach with displays. Our son was excited to see a hawk up close, but he was afraid to pet a chincilla. Plus, there was a woman creating a large, very cool sand sculpture. So, when my husband wasn’t taking our son into the water, we made a sand sculpture of our own–a sand crab.
I can’t believe we live less than a mile away from the beach and this is the first time we’ve taken our son there. He’s been on beaches in California, Hawaii and Hilton Head, but he’d never been to the one only ten minutes away. There were many kids playing in the water and overall I think it was less intimidating for him to be there because the waves were smaller than other beaches we’ve visited.
There were a couple of added bonuses to our outing. First, there is a Honey Hut Ice Cream shop at Huntington Beach, so I was able to indulge in my favorite Peanut Butter Cup sundae while we were there. Talk about a great place to catch a sunset–ice cream and the beach! The other perk? There is a full-sized red train caboose across the street that our son was able to climb into and “drive.” He couldn’t have been happier.
We enjoyed ourselves at the lake so much on Saturday that we went back on Sunday. Our neighbors were taking their twin girls to Edgewater Park for a Sunday stroll, so we met them up there. We didn’t get very far at all before the kids decided to run around on the big lawn. They watched watched people flying kites and then headed down the pier to see people fishing. Our son wore himself out while I enjoyed the view of downtown and the breeze off the lake.
Our son had so much fun this weekend that he slept very well last night! And today he was asking to go back to the beach. I think we may have found our regular weekend activity . . . at least until it starts to snow. –LS