This is not a scientific poll based upon a vast cache of data about what Clevelanders enjoy best about their city or what tourists visit every year. Just one resident’s, hopefully thoughtful, view of what defines the city and distinguishes it from other American locales.
12.) Mr. Hero
The sandwich maker started here on Cleveland’s west side in 1965. In this eater’s opinion, there’s nothing quite like the Romanburger. The lightly cooked onions. And that bread! And what about those big wafer fries?! Plenty of locations in and around Cleveland, so if you’re here visiting…make sure you find one. You won’t regret it. To find a location near you, click here.
11.) Cleveland Orchestra
2018 is the centennial year for this world-class organization. Routinely ranked in the top-10 of international orchestras, they not only perform classical favorites, but incorporate fun events like performing the music to Star Wars movies and classics like West Side Story, in addition to performances at Blossom Music Center and on Public Square. So, head over to the gorgeous Severance Hall to see them in person and try not to walk away breathless.
10.) The People
After decades of national jokes, and half a century without a sports championship, Clevelanders developed some tough skin. And probably a little cynicism too. Displaying neither the disingenuousness of many southerners, nor the harsh diffidence of northeasterners, Clevelanders also developed a shared bond with each other while national depictions of the city so often missed the mark, creating a steadfast loyalty to their hometown that defines their affinity.
The Cleveland Clinic has treated royalty and millionaires alike while in the process becoming internationally renowned as one of the single best hospital systems in existence. The nearby University Hospitals (home of Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital-one of the highest ranked places for neonatal care in the world) is affiliated with Case Western Reserve University. The partnership has produced one of the leading biomedical research entities in America. Meanwhile, MetroHealth system houses one of the best trauma units in the U.S. and the administration, led by the enlightened Dr. Akram Boutros, remains committed to serving their patients and neighborhood alike while undergoing a major transformation at their main campus on West 25th St. As a result of these institutions, Cleveland is one of the world’s recognized leaders in the medical field and a top destination for those in the vast medical services industry.
8.) West Side Market
There’s a reason why nearly every Travel Channel or HGTV show that discusses Cleveland, either stops by the Market or makes mention of its length of service to the city. It’s hard to imagine a place where you can get nearly any type of food you’d want. From hallmarks of the Cleveland/Midwestern diet like sausages and kielbasa to pork, chicken, cuts of meat, endless arrays of desserts. And the produce section alone is worth leaving the house for. And on Saturdays alone you can expect up to 10,000 to make the trip themselves. Check out some of their vendors and see their hours here.
7.) Ballpark/Stadium Mustard
Though some can tell the difference between these two delectable Cleveland originals, or at least they claim to, the very fact that Clevelanders debate which is better should tell you all you need to know. Bertman’s has been around for nearly a century and still gets served at Progressive Field. Since the ’60s, Stadium Mustard has served as a worthy competitor. If you go to an Indians game and put ketchup on your hot dog without at least adding Bertman’s, you run the risk of getting glared at. And possibly slapped by an aficionado. The greatest satisfaction is hearing baseball announcers from other cities come here and talk about the distinctive taste of our brown mustard. Even famed Cleveland chef Michael Symon uses it in his BBQ sauce. I won’t tell you which one I prefer (supposedly BallPark is a little sweeter while Stadium is a little spicier) because you can’t go wrong with either one. I’m such a fan that when I lived out-of-state, a friend once sent two bottles of ________ Mustard unannounced to me as a gift.