You may not see pretty little snowflakes or fluffy white snow when you look around, but you will see people celebrating Christmas. If you haven’t caught on yet, Christmas in July has become a fun and very special tradition right here in Cleveland Plus.
And, really, what’s not to love about this newly created holiday? Restaurants, bars and attractions are all getting into the holiday spirit by serving holiday food, creating Christmas-themed promotions, showing holiday cartoons and even offering the opportunity to meet Santa Claus himself!
So, for all you Christmas lovers out there, get your ho-ho-ho on in Cleveland Plus by caroling to some classics, tipping back a frothy mug of Christmas ale and noshing on delectable Christmas cookies that we won’t see again until December.
It’s time to say “Feliz Navidad” this Christmas in July:
A Christmas Story House
Open year round, check website for hours
3159 W 11th St Cleveland, OH 44109
If you’re in the Christmas spirit, get to A Christmas Story House, open year-round, which features movie memorabilia and the opportunity to meet actor Ian Petrella who played Ralphie’s little brother, Randy, in the classic Christmas film.
Buckeye Beer Engine
15315 Madison Ave, Lakewood, OH 44107
Join Buckeye Beer Engine as they serve a plethora of Christmas ales including Lagunitas Brown Sugga, Sierra Nevada, Troeg’s Mad Elf and Weyerbacher Winter Ale to name just a few.
Christmas in July Classic Car/Motorcycle & Craft Show
July 30, 10am-4pm
425 Crestview Drive Boardman, OH 44512
Bethel Lutheran Youth Group is putting on its annual Christmas in July event, The Classic Car/Motorcycle & Craft Show. Experience great food, raffles, a DJ, auction and other fun activities with your friends and family.
Need an island Getaway? Kelleys Island Venture Resort has what you need.
Located at 441 West Lakeshore Drive on Lake Erie’s beautiful Kelleys Island, Kelleys Island Venture resort boasts 31 luxury suites equipped with all the amenities of home and they’ll make your bed for you. In every room you’ll find refrigerators, microwaves, free internet access and more. A lakeside swimming pool offers spectacular views and a lakeside deck complete with grills, picnic tables and lounge chairs will get you into vacation mode in a heartbeat.
Kelleys Island Venture Resort is situated in a way that every suite provides a view of Lake Erie. Hang out at the pool, take a hike, grab a drink at a lakeside bar, catch at tan at the beach or just sit and enjoy your quiet surroundings.
– FC + CA
Desperate for an island escape this summer? Look no further than the Lake Erie Islands, just a 45 minute drive (and a 20 minute boat ride) west of Cleveland, Ohio.
This summer we made our way to Kelleys Island to discover the best ways to enjoy the island. Of the Lake Erie Islands, Kelleys is the most laid back, take-it-easy, sip a drink while soaking up some sun, appreciate nature, lose connection from the rest of the world kind of island. Those most excited to arrive are those who aren’t in the mood for a huge party. Unless it’s Island Fest weekend, in which case everyone gathers downtown for a high energy island celebration, Kelleys is great for a romantic escape, a family outing, a slow-going trip with friends or a solo getaway.
The largest American island in Lake Erie, Kelleys in its entirety is on the National Register of Historic Sites. From the glacial grooves to architecturally pleasing historic neighborhoods, there’s a lot to see and do. Popular activities include, in no particular order:
- Bird watching
- Bike riding (This is one of the best ways to tour the island. Plan stops at the Glacial Grooves and the Quarry.)
- Scuba diving
- Watching the sunset (or rise)
- Enjoying the view
- Sipping a Brandy Alexander from the Village Pump or a Bloody Mary at the Casino
- Putt-putt golf
Golf Carts are the preferred mode of transportation on the island and there are plenty of places to lay your head including B&Bs, cottage rentals and one resort style hotel situated on Lake Erie complete with views from every room.
For a more private stay make reservations (well in advance, we’re talking a year or so here) at A Water’s Edge Retreat Luxury Bed & Breakfast where guests enjoy daily gourmet breakfast, homemade breads and pastries, guaranteed relaxation and a home away from home (where you don’t have to make your bed, scrub the shower or cook for the kids). For a slightly faster pace, make reservations at Kelleys Island Venture Resort. This lakefront hotel holds 31 suites, each equipped with refrigerator, microwave, internet access and patios with lake views. Other amenities include a swimming pool, hot tub, children’s playground, corn-hole, bicycles, and lake-side picnic tables, lounge chairs and grills free for guests of Kelleys Island Venture Resort.
– CA + FC
Summer is officially here and what better way to celebrate than with a night in the circle. University Circle that is, where on Wade Oval Wednesdays dancing with your shoes off while basking in the setting sun is a must.
This small evening concert series turned “party in the park” attracts more than 10,000 visitors each summer and accommodates a wide variety of musical tastes. Head down for your favorites, or get inspired with something new. From R&B, motown, disco and funk to afro-beats, country, rock, latin and swing, there’s something for everyone.
Food and beverage vendors line the circle for hungry folks coming straight from work and picnicking is encouraged. This year, University Circle Inc. will also host a weekly Farmers Market.
Wade Oval Wednesdays take place Wednesday evenings now through August 31 from 6-9pm in University Circle’s Wade Oval.
2011 WOW! Wade Oval Wednesdays Concert Schedule
Heart & Soul (R & B, Rock, Motown, Disco, Funk, 80’s Pop)
One World Tribe (Afro-Beat, Funk, Latin & World Beat Orchestra)
Lost State of Franklin (Americana/Country/Rock)
*Movie Night: How To Train Your Dragon
Mojo Big Band (Swing/Duke Ellington, Count Basie)
Speedbumps (Indie Rock)
Please note schedule change: New Barleycorn (Irish Celtic)
*Movie Night: The Karate Kid
Carlos Jones & The P.L.U.S. Band (Reggae)
Mo’ Mojo (Zydeco Jam Band)
August 17: GREEN WOW
Cats on Holiday (Rockabilly/ Swamp Rock)
*Movie Night: Wall-E
Son Gitano (Latin/Salsa/Rumba/Flamenco/Merengue)
Sultans of Bing (Rock and Roll)
From the glorious sunsets to the Cleveland skyline glittering at dusk, there’s nothing like a summer evening spent on the waters of Lake Erie. Whether you’re talking a party of two or 200, taking a ride on one of Northeast Ohio’s well-known cruise ships is a hallmark of the season and a highlight of a visit to the region.
What better way to follow up a day at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame than with a quick walk to the neighboring dock where the Goodtime III— a Cleveland tradition for more than half a century–awaits? Long known for its guided sightseeing daytime trips, the Goodtime III offers nighttime weekend dinner and dance cruises that make for an ideal grown-up night out.
Want to dine on the water? Catch the Goodtime’s first evening departure and enjoy a full buffet while the sun dips to the west. Stick around, though. After dinner, the boat swings back to port to pick up guests for late night dancing on the lake, with a live band on the main deck and a disc jockey cranking out music on deck two. And from the two uppermost decks of the 1,000-passenger ship, take in the unparalleled scenery and summertime air.
Meanwhile, the Nautica Queen, based on the Cuyahoga River in the Flats District, fills its summer schedule with a variety of themed cruises, special events and family-friendly offshore fun.
Wednesdays, for instance, are tropical nights on the Queen, bringing the tastes and sounds of far-off seas and emerald islands to this corner of the Great Lakes, while Thursday nights are set aside for dinner and Dancing through the Decades, cruising through four musical eras just offshore from the city crowned “rock and roll” king.
The Nautica Queen is popular for their Mother’s Day or Father’s Day brunch cruise, making for a gift that’s sure to beat breakfast in bed or that box of personalized golf tees you had in mind. And wine lovers should make plans to spend at least one summer Friday on board for the Wine on the Water wine tasting and dinner cruise.
If you’re interested in a little Lake Erie lore, the Nautica Queen’s Friday “Legends of Lake Erie” lunch cruises are held from June through October, treating guests to tales of sunken treasure, ghost stories and shipwrecks galore.
Depending on weather and water conditions, both ships also offer tours along the winding mouth of the city’s crooked river, providing close-up views and passage beneath some of the amazing bridges connecting some of Cleveland’s oldest neighborhoods.
One sure-fire spectacular night on the lake, naturally, is the Fourth of July, when the offshore viewpoint of the city’s fireworks display offers an unparalleled experience of the extravaganza. As one-night-only events, of course, these trips book up fast. But if you’re in town for Independence Day, there’s simply no better seat for the show than one on the water.
– Submitted by John Booth, guest blogger
If you don’t know Steve Presser (and everyone should know Steve, or someone like him), you might not know that his goal in life is to make people happy. He’s the kind of guy that brings out a smile no matter the circumstance.
Cue Big Fun. When I think Big Fun I think Carebears, G.I. Joes, Sonic the Hedgehog and the Smurfs, feel good memories from my childhood brought back to life by Steve, a kid at heart.
If you had it (or wanted it) when you were a kid, you’ll most likely find it inside the four walls, graffitied in nostalgic goodness, of Big Fun. Super Mario watches over guests from the
ceiling heavens and the Yellow Brick Road winds its way through shelves of toys, stuffed animals, games, action figures, cabbage patch kids and the like.
Library catalogue drawers like these
filled with whistles, pins, erasers and finger traps invite kids to open them, but be careful because
But, a trip to Big Fun isn’t just about remembering the old days, it’s about making new memories too. Take a minute to strike a pose in the vintage photo booth…
choose the perfect mustache…
and marvel at Pee Wee’s ride.
Originally located at 1814 Coventry Road in Cleveland Heights, Big Fun became so much fun it can now also be found at 11512 Clifton Boulevard. You’ll know the spot when you see the giant gorilla couple happily wiling away the hours on the park bench out front. For more information visit www.bigfunbigfun.com and for even more fun watch our video…
– CA & FC
When children imagine growing up, they may dream of becoming a dancer, a singer, a policeman or an astronaut – or maybe all four if they’re really ambitious. The Great Lakes Science Center is opening an exhibit that will give children and adults alike a chance to see what being an astronaut is really like.
The new Facing Mars exhibit, which runs Jan. 29 – Sept. 5, is a fun and educational journey to the exotic world of Mars. With 28 stimulating exhibits, visitors can become an astronaut for a day and experience what it’s like to walk on Mars at reduced gravity and discover the effects of motion sickness in the spinning chair. Not only can visitors explore the physical challenges of space travel, but also the psychological and scientific challenges.
A unique aspect of the exhibit is that it asks questions with no known answers, challenging visitors to think like astronauts and solve problems. In one visit, a guest will become a space surgeon, a planetary geologist and a spacecraft technician – with a spotlight on the real-life obstacles of sending humans to Mars.
The exhibition is a perfect fit with the NASA Glenn Visitor Center featuring 20 astronautic artifacts including shuttle and rocket models, a moon rock, a lunar lander model and more. And, with hundreds of more hand-on exhibits, daily demonstrations and themed traveling exhibits, the Great Lakes Science Center is wonderful place for kids and parents to explore.
You should know:
- The museum is located at 601 Erieside Avenue, right next to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in downtown Cleveland
- The science center is open daily 10 am – 5pm
- Admission is $14.95 for adult non-members and $12.95 for children, which includes admission to all the other exhibits at the Great Lakes Science Center and NASA Glenn Visitor Center, or an OMNIMAX film. Admission is free on Tuesdays for all youth 18 and under when accompanied by an adult.
- While there, make sure to check out the Steamship William G. Mather Museum to tour a real 614-foot historic Great Lakes freighter set to reopen for the season in May.
- Discounted parking is available for guests in the attached 500-car garage
- For more information, visit www.glsc.org or call 216.694.2000.
Kids are always looking for their next kingdom and Northeast Ohio is a treasure map of interesting activities that will excite and entertain.
Take for instance the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and its newest program this spring — The Scoop on Poop! Fish do it, frogs do it, pythons, eagles and elephants do it, yet poop is one of those subjects we find difficult to talk about with a straight face. “Kids however are positively fascinated by it,” says Sue Allen, manager of marketing and public relations at the Metroparks Zoo. “Poop is interesting stuff — really.”
Zoo visitors can improve their No. 2 IQ in Stool School by listening in on an animal’s digestive system, learn the language of poop in countries around the world, compete in dung beetle races, track wild animals by clues left in scat and much more. This is, of course, on top of everything else awesomely interesting about the Metroparks’ zoo including its animal shows, dinosaur exhibit and more than 3,000 creatures roaming 168 rolling, wooded acres.
Most things about planet earth are pretty interesting, but everything about space is totally engrossing. At the Great Lakes Science Center (one of the nation’s leading science and technology hubs and home to the awe-inspiring OMNIMAX Theater), the Return to the Moon exhibit will be sweeping young minds off their feet and placing them squarely on the lunar map.
You may be familiar with the always free Cleveland Museum of Art unveiling renovations one amazing gallery at a time, or the well-known Akron Art Museum, but did you know that Cleveland Plus is also home to the largest art gallery between Chicago and New York? Recently, I had the opportunity to visit four Cleveland art galleries where I met some of the friendliest locals and learned that the region’s art scene is both inviting and affordable.
The Brian Jones Gallery
2021 Murray Hill Road, Cleveland
216.229.5110 / www.brianjonesart.com
In 1999 Brian Jones, a native Clevelander, decided to pick up a paint brush. With no formal training and a little encouragement from his daughter, he quickly took to the hobby. Today, his colorful pieces can be found in 38 states and nine countries and now in his charming Little Italy gallery on Cleveland’s near east side. Packed with Italian eateries, boutique shopping and a handful of galleries, Little Italy is a popular Cleveland spot for tourists and locals alike and the perfect place for him to display his eclectic taste and bright palette. Jones offers original pieces as well as prints at varying price points providing something for everyone. He also showcases work by local sculptors. Note: Cleveland’s historic Little Italy neighborhood dedicates the first weekend of June to their annual art walk. More than 20 galleries and studios feature international, national and regional art in all media. Meet visiting artists and browse special exhibits featured throughout the galleries and shops.
The Bonfoey Gallery
1710 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland
216.621.0178 / www.bonfoey.com
Monday-Thursday-8:30am-5:30pm, Friday-8:30am-4pm and Saturday-9am-3pm
Established in 1893, The Bonfoey Gallery is Cleveland’s oldest, most comprehensive gallery and the largest art gallery between Chicago and New York. Making no waste of their 14,000 square feet, Bonfoey offers a wide selection of artwork in various mediums from both regional and national artists, custom framing (thanks to a huge storage of various moldings and frames), art appraisal and art restoration. The gallery also offers professional artwork installation in corporate or residential settings, as well as full-scale pick-up and delivery services. Art consultants can provide on-site consultation in the home or office to help you choose pieces and arrange them appropriately. For more information or to schedule an appointment to meet with a consultant call 216.621.7033.
MOCA – Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland
8501 Carnegie Avenue, Cleveland
216.421.8671 / www.mocacleveland.org
Tuesday- Saturday-11am-5pm and Wednesday-11am-5pm
As Cleveland’s forum for interpreting culture through contemporary visual art, MOCA Cleveland connects visitors to the dynamic art and ideas of our time. MOCA, now in its 42nd year, started as the New Gallery in a small storefront on Euclid Avenue. Today, you’ll find the museum housed in a series of converted Roebuck’s Department store spaces connected to the Cleveland Play House on Carnegie Avenue (parking is free in the Cleveland Play House lot if no events are being held). MOCA hosts between nine and 12 exhibits per year, changing every three to four months in more than 10,000 square feet of space. In addition to not having a permanent collection, they generally focus on living artists or artists from the past 50 years, many of whom are regional. MOCA is always free on Fridays and it takes anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour to make your way through the museum. The guards are very knowledgeable and always willing to answer questions. But, if you’re interested in more information while touring the museum, use their guide-by-cell program. Small icons on labels indicate a number you can call to hear the artist speak more about a particular piece. (They have a version for children too!)
1305 West 80th Street, Cleveland (Located within 78th Street Studios)
216.832.8212 / www.wgsproductions.com
Kokoon Arts is more like a large living room than a gallery. An intimate setting provides a place to sit and chat and eclectic art lines the walls throughout the space. On view is both contemporary and historic work largely from Northeast Ohio, changing every three months or so as well as the occasional exhibit from artists outside of the region to keep Clevelanders educated on what’s happening elsewhere.
Kokoon Arts, part of the 78th Street Studios, is located on Cleveland’s west side in the up-and-coming Detroit Shoreway neighborhood. The building itself is incredibly charming, housing Kokoon Arts as well as several other galleries and workspaces. Monthly openings take place on the third Friday of the month allowing visitors the freedom to roam five world-class art galleries, tour artist studio space and explore architectural design, art auction, art supply, clothing design and music and entertainment businesses. –Submitted by CA
About 15 minutes east of downtown Cleveland, University Circle shines as a world-class arts and culture destination. There’s a lot to see and do in the circle so we made it our mission to discover the things you absolutely cannot miss when you visit. Read on for tips for making the most of your University Circle experience or watch the Positively Cleveland video below.
Cleveland Institute of Art
Founded in 1882, The Cleveland Institute of Art is an independent college of art and design that also offers a wide array of public programming.
11141 East Boulevard, 216.421.7000, www.cia.edu
Reinberger Gallery open 10am-5pm on Tues., Wed., Thurs., Sat. and 10am-9pm on Fri.
Various alternative and arts film showings at the CIA Cinematheque.
- CIA’s Cinematheque shows more than 250 domestic and international films each year, films you probably can’t see anywhere else. Admission is $8, parking is free (right next to the building) and concessions won’t break the bank. Tickets may be purchased at CIA’s box office before each film. View the schedule here.
- Just inside the doors of CIA’s Gund building, visitors are welcome to browse the FREE Reinberger Gallery where local artists as well as major traveling exhibits are displayed Tuesday through Saturday.
- The Visiting Artist Program invites artists of regional, national and international renown to CIA to present free lectures showcasing a wide variety of topics in fine arts and design. These lectures are free and open to the public.
Long considered one of America’s great orchestras, the Cleveland Orchestra performs in Severance Hall, located in University Circle on the campus of Case Western Reserve University.
11001 Euclid Avenue, 216.231.1111, www.clevelandorchestra.com
Various concert and event times.
- Silver aluminum decorates the entire hall and the acoustics are prime, making it a fantastic place to hear a concert.
- The Cleveland Orchestra packs their schedule with family-friendly events throughout the concert season. Browse the events calendar to find something for the whole family.
- The Orchestra has two homes. Severance Hall , the orchestra’s winter home is in University Circle. In the summer, picnic with the orchestra at Blossom Music Center, a large outdoor venue.
- Severance Hall offers free public tours on selected Sundays at 12pm and 1pm during the Severance Hall season. Call 216.231.1111 for reservations. Private tours can be arranged for a fee by calling 216.231.7421.
- Severance offers on-site parking, dining and a music-inspired gift shop.
Cleveland Museum of Art
One of the nation’s most preeminent art museums, featuring 6,000 years of the world’s great art and significant special exhibitions. The current expansion project re-imagines the museum.
11150 East Boulevard, 888.CMA.0033, www.clevelandart.org
Open 10am-5pm Tues., Thurs. and Sat. and 10am-9pm Wed. and Fri.
- The Cleveland Museum of Art is FREE (excepting some special exhibitions)
- Coming soon are galleries for Asian, antiquities, ancient Americas, medieval European and Sub-Saharan African art, textiles, and prints and drawings.
- Head to the second floor to experience CMA’s newly renovated art research library, the 3rd largest in the United States, including 401,918 volumes. Open to the public free everyday for leisurely reading.
- CMA hosts some of Cleveland’s most popular events, including Parade the Circle
Cleveland Institute of Music
CIM is an internationally known observatory of music boasting a gorgeous recital hall where faculty, visiting musicians and students of the highest caliber perform hundreds of free concerts each year.
11021 East Boulevard, 216.791.5000, www.cim.edu
Various concert and recital times.
- The public is encouraged to attend one of more than 400 free concerts performed each year by students, faculty and well-known guest musicians.
- As part of the curriculum at CIM, students are required to perform individual recitals (open to the public) to help prepare them for large audiences.