The perfect day on the West Side for East Siders: Guide to the Other Side

By Joey Morona, cleveland.com | Posted May 28, 2019 at 07:25 AM | Updated May 29, 2019 at 11:48 AM

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- East Siders, I know what you're probably thinking. The West Side is nothing but shopping malls, chain restaurants and unsightly but, I'll be damned, super convenient freeways. Why would I ever venture all the way out there for anything  besides the occasional jaunt to the airport or zoo?

Turns out, there are a lot of reasons-- from the area's landmark attractions and beautiful natural surroundings to its many restaurants and hidden gems.

So, it's time to cross that bridge and open your mind to discover everything the West Side has to offer. We've enlisted some of our longtime West Side residents on staff to curate an itinerary for a perfect day west of the Cuyahoga River.

Cleveland.com's Guide to the Other Side

Thanks to reporters Emily Bamforth, Marc Bona, Mary Kilpatrick, Anne Nickoloff and Mike Rose for their recommendations. 

Don't like the suggestions in our Guide to the West Side? Share your picks in the comments.

And get ready for two Guides to the East Side:

Without University Circle and downtown

With University Circle and downtown


A perfect day begins with a perfect breakfast

For a West Side breakfast, choices abound. We narrowed our many choices to two very different food offerings: The 100th Bomb Group sits on the edge of Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. Buffet choices seem limitless, and it doesn't hurt when servers come around with trays full of Mimosas. The views of the planes aren't bad, either. 

Astoria Café and Market in Cleveland's Gordon Square neighborhood embraces tasty Mediterranean influences, with a menu that covers souvlaki and eggs, ricotta pancakes, spanakopita, stuffed French toast and Saganaki and eggs with pan-fried Kasseri cheese. 

100th Bomb Group, 20920 Brookpark Road, Cleveland

Astoria Café & Market, 5417 Detroit Road, Cleveland

Get movin'

Sure, you could take a themed spin class at Harness Cycle or break a sweat on the VersaClimber at a boutique gym like Tremont Athletic Club, though both now have locations on the East Side, too. 

For a uniquely West Side, not to mention free, workout, climb up the Fort Hill Stairs at the Rocky River Reservation in North Olmsted. The reward for a brisk jog up the 155 steps isn’t just closing out the rings on your Apple Watch before 9 a.m., but also the breathtaking views from the top of the Rocky River valley.   

Harness Cycle, 2901 Detroit Ave., Cleveland

Tremont Athletic Club, 2306 W. 17th St., Cleveland

Rocky River Reservation, 24000 Valley Parkway, North Olmsted

Coffee break

Want coffee that tastes like Starbucks? Go to Starbucks. Erie Island Coffee makes all your favorite fancy espresso drinks with its proprietary blend of five beans. The result is a taste that may be stronger than you're used to, but packing plenty of flavor without the bitterness. 

For some post-workout carbs, the best bagel in town is at Cleveland Bagel Company. Get a hand-rolled Everything Bagel with a schmear (Chorizo Chipotle is my favorite), lox or as an egg, bacon and cheese sandwich. 

Erie Island Coffee, 19300 Detroit Rd., Rocky River

Cleveland Bagel Co., 4201 Detroit Ave., Cleveland

Life's a beach

The two best beaches in Northeast Ohio, hands down, are both on the West Side. The beach at Cleveland Metroparks' Huntington Reservation in Bay Village is an 103-acre park nestled along Lake Erie that offers something for everyone: swimming, fishing, hiking trails, picnic areas, and an old-fashioned ice cream stand serving Honey Hut ice cream, another West Side favorite. Take a stroll along the shore with views of lakefront mansions in one direction and the Cleveland skyline in the other. It feels like vacation!

Closer to downtown is Edgewater Park. This urban gem of a lakefront park is home to a sandy beach, fishing pier, stellar views, Beach House with full-service bar, access to the Lakefront Bikeway, and, every Thursday in the summer, live music and food trucks.

Huntington Reservation, 28648 Lake Road, Bay Village

Edgewater Park, 6500 Cleveland Memorial Shoreway, Cleveland

A Cleveland landmark

Any "perfect West Side day" itinerary worth its salt must include a stop at one Cleveland's crown jewels, the West Side Market. Explore dozens of stalls featuring old-world favorites as well as fresh takes on some of your favorite foods. Snack on a smokie from J & J Czuchraj Meats, take home one of Cake Royale's famous Monk cakes, or munch on a bratwurst sandwich from Frank's while you do some people watching and take in all the gustatory sights and smells from the second-floor balcony. 

West Side Market, 1979 W. 25th St., Cleveland

Lunch time!

A stone's throw from the West Side Market is Herb'n Twine, a small artisan sandwich shop that, for my money, has the best sammies in town. You can try the Hot Chicken, Porchetta, or Daily Special, but my go-to, time and time again, is the Smoked Turkey Club. Just be sure to get their early because when they run out of their house-made bread, they’re out. 

If that's the case, head to the new Ohio City Galley, a food hall/restaurant incubator where chefs and entrepreneurs test out their latest concepts. Options include Asian-inspired rice bowls, Mexican food from the Oaxaca region, hot chicken sandwiches and burgers. There's also a shared bar serving up inventive cocktails.

Herb'n Twine, 4309 Lorain Road, Cleveland

Ohio City Galley, 1400 W 25th St., Cleveland



By Joey Morona, cleveland.com | Posted May 28, 2019 at 07:25 AM | Updated May 29, 2019 at 11:48 AM

255 shares

16 Comments

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- East Siders, I know what you're probably thinking. The West Side is nothing but shopping malls, chain restaurants and unsightly but, I'll be damned, super convenient freeways. Why would I ever venture all the way out there for anything  besides the occasional jaunt to the airport or zoo?

Turns out, there are a lot of reasons-- from the area's landmark attractions and beautiful natural surroundings to its many restaurants and hidden gems.

So, it's time to cross that bridge and open your mind to discover everything the West Side has to offer. We've enlisted some of our longtime West Side residents on staff to curate an itinerary for a perfect day west of the Cuyahoga River.

Cleveland.com's Guide to the Other Side

Thanks to reporters Emily Bamforth, Marc Bona, Mary Kilpatrick, Anne Nickoloff and Mike Rose for their recommendations. 

Don't like the suggestions in our Guide to the West Side? Share your picks in the comments.

And get ready for two Guides to the East Side:

Without University Circle and downtown

With University Circle and downtown









Marc Bona, cleveland.com


A perfect day begins with a perfect breakfast

For a West Side breakfast, choices abound. We narrowed our many choices to two very different food offerings: The 100th Bomb Group sits on the edge of Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. Buffet choices seem limitless, and it doesn't hurt when servers come around with trays full of Mimosas. The views of the planes aren't bad, either. 

Astoria Café and Market in Cleveland's Gordon Square neighborhood embraces tasty Mediterranean influences, with a menu that covers souvlaki and eggs, ricotta pancakes, spanakopita, stuffed French toast and Saganaki and eggs with pan-fried Kasseri cheese. 

100th Bomb Group, 20920 Brookpark Road, Cleveland

Astoria Café & Market, 5417 Detroit Road, Cleveland

Grant Segall/The Plain Dealer


Get movin'

Sure, you could take a themed spin class at Harness Cycle or break a sweat on the VersaClimber at a boutique gym like Tremont Athletic Club, though both now have locations on the East Side, too. 

For a uniquely West Side, not to mention free, workout, climb up the Fort Hill Stairs at the Rocky River Reservation in North Olmsted. The reward for a brisk jog up the 155 steps isn’t just closing out the rings on your Apple Watch before 9 a.m., but also the breathtaking views from the top of the Rocky River valley.   

Harness Cycle, 2901 Detroit Ave., Cleveland

Tremont Athletic Club, 2306 W. 17th St., Cleveland

Rocky River Reservation, 24000 Valley Parkway, North Olmsted

Lisa DeJong, The Plain Dealer


Coffee break

Want coffee that tastes like Starbucks? Go to Starbucks. Erie Island Coffee makes all your favorite fancy espresso drinks with its proprietary blend of five beans. The result is a taste that may be stronger than you're used to, but packing plenty of flavor without the bitterness. 

For some post-workout carbs, the best bagel in town is at Cleveland Bagel Company. Get a hand-rolled Everything Bagel with a schmear (Chorizo Chipotle is my favorite), lox or as an egg, bacon and cheese sandwich. 

Erie Island Coffee, 19300 Detroit Rd., Rocky River

Cleveland Bagel Co., 4201 Detroit Ave., Cleveland

Marvin Fong, The Plain Dealer


Life's a beach

The two best beaches in Northeast Ohio, hands down, are both on the West Side. The beach at Cleveland Metroparks' Huntington Reservation in Bay Village is an 103-acre park nestled along Lake Erie that offers something for everyone: swimming, fishing, hiking trails, picnic areas, and an old-fashioned ice cream stand serving Honey Hut ice cream, another West Side favorite. Take a stroll along the shore with views of lakefront mansions in one direction and the Cleveland skyline in the other. It feels like vacation!

Closer to downtown is Edgewater Park. This urban gem of a lakefront park is home to a sandy beach, fishing pier, stellar views, Beach House with full-service bar, access to the Lakefront Bikeway, and, every Thursday in the summer, live music and food trucks.

Huntington Reservation, 28648 Lake Road, Bay Village

Edgewater Park, 6500 Cleveland Memorial Shoreway, Cleveland


Lisa DeJong, The Plain Dealer


A Cleveland landmark

Any "perfect West Side day" itinerary worth its salt must include a stop at one Cleveland's crown jewels, the West Side Market. Explore dozens of stalls featuring old-world favorites as well as fresh takes on some of your favorite foods. Snack on a smokie from J & J Czuchraj Meats, take home one of Cake Royale's famous Monk cakes, or munch on a bratwurst sandwich from Frank's while you do some people watching and take in all the gustatory sights and smells from the second-floor balcony. 

West Side Market, 1979 W. 25th St., Cleveland


Joshua Gunter, cleveland.com


Lunch time!

A stone's throw from the West Side Market is Herb'n Twine, a small artisan sandwich shop that, for my money, has the best sammies in town. You can try the Hot Chicken, Porchetta, or Daily Special, but my go-to, time and time again, is the Smoked Turkey Club. Just be sure to get their early because when they run out of their house-made bread, they’re out. 

If that's the case, head to the new Ohio City Galley, a food hall/restaurant incubator where chefs and entrepreneurs test out their latest concepts. Options include Asian-inspired rice bowls, Mexican food from the Oaxaca region, hot chicken sandwiches and burgers. There's also a shared bar serving up inventive cocktails.

Herb'n Twine, 4309 Lorain Road, Cleveland

Ohio City Galley, 1400 W 25th St., Cleveland


Scott Shaw, The Plain Dealer


I triple-dog dare you to not go here

If you're looking for the West Side's signature attraction, the "A Christmas Story" House and Museum is it.  Featured in the 1983 holiday classic, the Tremont house has been renovated to capture the look and feel of Ralphie’s family house on good 'ol Cleveland Street. Hide under the sink, snap a selfie with the leg lamp, then shop for truly unique gifts and see memorabilia in the museum and store.

A Christmas Story House and Musuem, 3159 W. 11th St., Cleveland 


Old-school, kid-friendly fun

In my day, we didn't have fancy rides and fast passes. They still don't at Memphis Kiddie Park, a time warp of a mini-amusement park with about a dozen rides, miniature golf course and concession stand with hot dogs, cotton candy and funnel cakes.  Adults and older kids can even ride The Little Dipper coaster, train and carousel. Family owned for more than 60 years, admission and parking are free and ride tickets never expire.  

Memphis Kiddie Park, 10340 Memphis Ave., Brooklyn

Shop 'till you drop

The choose-your-adventure continues: are you looking for your favorite national retailers in one place or a walkable neighborhood with locally-owned shops and galleries?

If it's the former, Crocker Park in Westlake has all the usual suspects like Apple, Lululemon, Sur La Table, Banana Republic, Barnes and Noble, Nordstrom Rack and Trader Joe's. Sure, you can find those stores on the East Side, too, but not all at one place. And Crocker Park has West Side exclusives like Banyan Tree, Carhatt, Emily Roggenburk, plus the largest H&M and the only IMAX screen in the area.

If it's the latter, the Gordon Square Arts District is home to boutiques like Artful Living, Esparanza Threads, Fount, Oceanne, and Turn Style, and two record stores, Bent Crayon and Hausfrau. For art lovers, there's the 78th Street Studios and Glen Infante's Ilthy. When the kids get restless, take them to the Superelectric Pinball Parlor or Sweet Moses, an old-timey soda fountain.

Crocker Park, 177 Market St., Westlake

Gordon Square Arts District, Detroit Ave., between W. 58th and W. 69th, Cleveland

Dinner options: Something old, something new

A Cleveland classic, Sokolowski's University Inn gets even better at dinner service Fridays and Saturdays when the selections are more plentiful, the portions larger, and entrees come with two sides and salad bar. Eastern European favorites like pierogi, Chicken Paprikash, bratwurst and kielbasa are joined by stuffed cabbage, prime rib and seafood on the nighttime menu at this 96-year-old cafeteria.

For more modern cuisine, make reservations at salt+ a restaurant in Lakewood. James Beard-nominated chef Jill Vedaa’s eclectic menu of small plates changes every few months, so you might not know exactly what unique combinations she has in store for you on any given night. This much is certain: the experience will be delicious and never boring.

Sokolowski's University Inn, 1201 University Rd., Cleveland

salt+ a restaurant, 17625 Detroit Ave., Lakewood

Save room for a sweet treat

The whimsical, constantly rotating flavors at Mason's Creamery in Ohio City are that much more tasty when placed atop a churro or egg waffle, or in between a pair of macarons. Yum!

Mason's Creamery, 4401 Bridge Ave., Cleveland


By Joey Morona, cleveland.com | Posted May 28, 2019 at 07:25 AM | Updated May 29, 2019 at 11:48 AM

255 shares

16 Comments

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- East Siders, I know what you're probably thinking. The West Side is nothing but shopping malls, chain restaurants and unsightly but, I'll be damned, super convenient freeways. Why would I ever venture all the way out there for anything  besides the occasional jaunt to the airport or zoo?

Turns out, there are a lot of reasons-- from the area's landmark attractions and beautiful natural surroundings to its many restaurants and hidden gems.

So, it's time to cross that bridge and open your mind to discover everything the West Side has to offer. We've enlisted some of our longtime West Side residents on staff to curate an itinerary for a perfect day west of the Cuyahoga River.

Cleveland.com's Guide to the Other Side

Thanks to reporters Emily Bamforth, Marc Bona, Mary Kilpatrick, Anne Nickoloff and Mike Rose for their recommendations. 

Don't like the suggestions in our Guide to the West Side? Share your picks in the comments.

And get ready for two Guides to the East Side:

Without University Circle and downtown

With University Circle and downtown









Marc Bona, cleveland.com


A perfect day begins with a perfect breakfast

For a West Side breakfast, choices abound. We narrowed our many choices to two very different food offerings: The 100th Bomb Group sits on the edge of Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. Buffet choices seem limitless, and it doesn't hurt when servers come around with trays full of Mimosas. The views of the planes aren't bad, either. 

Astoria Café and Market in Cleveland's Gordon Square neighborhood embraces tasty Mediterranean influences, with a menu that covers souvlaki and eggs, ricotta pancakes, spanakopita, stuffed French toast and Saganaki and eggs with pan-fried Kasseri cheese. 

100th Bomb Group, 20920 Brookpark Road, Cleveland

Astoria Café & Market, 5417 Detroit Road, Cleveland

Grant Segall/The Plain Dealer


Get movin'

Sure, you could take a themed spin class at Harness Cycle or break a sweat on the VersaClimber at a boutique gym like Tremont Athletic Club, though both now have locations on the East Side, too. 

For a uniquely West Side, not to mention free, workout, climb up the Fort Hill Stairs at the Rocky River Reservation in North Olmsted. The reward for a brisk jog up the 155 steps isn’t just closing out the rings on your Apple Watch before 9 a.m., but also the breathtaking views from the top of the Rocky River valley.   

Harness Cycle, 2901 Detroit Ave., Cleveland

Tremont Athletic Club, 2306 W. 17th St., Cleveland

Rocky River Reservation, 24000 Valley Parkway, North Olmsted

Lisa DeJong, The Plain Dealer


Coffee break

Want coffee that tastes like Starbucks? Go to Starbucks. Erie Island Coffee makes all your favorite fancy espresso drinks with its proprietary blend of five beans. The result is a taste that may be stronger than you're used to, but packing plenty of flavor without the bitterness. 

For some post-workout carbs, the best bagel in town is at Cleveland Bagel Company. Get a hand-rolled Everything Bagel with a schmear (Chorizo Chipotle is my favorite), lox or as an egg, bacon and cheese sandwich. 

Erie Island Coffee, 19300 Detroit Rd., Rocky River

Cleveland Bagel Co., 4201 Detroit Ave., Cleveland

Marvin Fong, The Plain Dealer


Life's a beach

The two best beaches in Northeast Ohio, hands down, are both on the West Side. The beach at Cleveland Metroparks' Huntington Reservation in Bay Village is an 103-acre park nestled along Lake Erie that offers something for everyone: swimming, fishing, hiking trails, picnic areas, and an old-fashioned ice cream stand serving Honey Hut ice cream, another West Side favorite. Take a stroll along the shore with views of lakefront mansions in one direction and the Cleveland skyline in the other. It feels like vacation!

Closer to downtown is Edgewater Park. This urban gem of a lakefront park is home to a sandy beach, fishing pier, stellar views, Beach House with full-service bar, access to the Lakefront Bikeway, and, every Thursday in the summer, live music and food trucks.

Huntington Reservation, 28648 Lake Road, Bay Village

Edgewater Park, 6500 Cleveland Memorial Shoreway, Cleveland


Lisa DeJong, The Plain Dealer


A Cleveland landmark

Any "perfect West Side day" itinerary worth its salt must include a stop at one Cleveland's crown jewels, the West Side Market. Explore dozens of stalls featuring old-world favorites as well as fresh takes on some of your favorite foods. Snack on a smokie from J & J Czuchraj Meats, take home one of Cake Royale's famous Monk cakes, or munch on a bratwurst sandwich from Frank's while you do some people watching and take in all the gustatory sights and smells from the second-floor balcony. 

West Side Market, 1979 W. 25th St., Cleveland


Joshua Gunter, cleveland.com


Lunch time!

A stone's throw from the West Side Market is Herb'n Twine, a small artisan sandwich shop that, for my money, has the best sammies in town. You can try the Hot Chicken, Porchetta, or Daily Special, but my go-to, time and time again, is the Smoked Turkey Club. Just be sure to get their early because when they run out of their house-made bread, they’re out. 

If that's the case, head to the new Ohio City Galley, a food hall/restaurant incubator where chefs and entrepreneurs test out their latest concepts. Options include Asian-inspired rice bowls, Mexican food from the Oaxaca region, hot chicken sandwiches and burgers. There's also a shared bar serving up inventive cocktails.

Herb'n Twine, 4309 Lorain Road, Cleveland

Ohio City Galley, 1400 W 25th St., Cleveland


Scott Shaw, The Plain Dealer


I triple-dog dare you to not go here

If you're looking for the West Side's signature attraction, the "A Christmas Story" House and Museum is it.  Featured in the 1983 holiday classic, the Tremont house has been renovated to capture the look and feel of Ralphie’s family house on good 'ol Cleveland Street. Hide under the sink, snap a selfie with the leg lamp, then shop for truly unique gifts and see memorabilia in the museum and store.

A Christmas Story House and Musuem, 3159 W. 11th St., Cleveland 


Jack Hurray, Special To Sun News


Old-school, kid-friendly fun

In my day, we didn't have fancy rides and fast passes. They still don't at Memphis Kiddie Park, a time warp of a mini-amusement park with about a dozen rides, miniature golf course and concession stand with hot dogs, cotton candy and funnel cakes.  Adults and older kids can even ride The Little Dipper coaster, train and carousel. Family owned for more than 60 years, admission and parking are free and ride tickets never expire.  

Memphis Kiddie Park, 10340 Memphis Ave., Brooklyn

Photo of Banyan Tree at Crocker Park by AllisonCarey, The Plain Dealer


Allison Carey, The Plain Dealer


Shop 'till you drop

The choose-your-adventure continues: are you looking for your favorite national retailers in one place or a walkable neighborhood with locally-owned shops and galleries?

If it's the former, Crocker Park in Westlake has all the usual suspects like Apple, Lululemon, Sur La Table, Banana Republic, Barnes and Noble, Nordstrom Rack and Trader Joe's. Sure, you can find those stores on the East Side, too, but not all at one place. And Crocker Park has West Side exclusives like Banyan Tree, Carhatt, Emily Roggenburk, plus the largest H&M and the only IMAX screen in the area.

If it's the latter, the Gordon Square Arts District is home to boutiques like Artful Living, Esparanza Threads, Fount, Oceanne, and Turn Style, and two record stores, Bent Crayon and Hausfrau. For art lovers, there's the 78th Street Studios and Glen Infante's Ilthy. When the kids get restless, take them to the Superelectric Pinball Parlor or Sweet Moses, an old-timey soda fountain.

Crocker Park, 177 Market St., Westlake

Gordon Square Arts District, Detroit Ave., between W. 58th and W. 69th, Cleveland


Roadell Hickman, The Plan Dealer


Dinner options: Something old, something new

A Cleveland classic, Sokolowski's University Inn gets even better at dinner service Fridays and Saturdays when the selections are more plentiful, the portions larger, and entrees come with two sides and salad bar. Eastern European favorites like pierogi, Chicken Paprikash, bratwurst and kielbasa are joined by stuffed cabbage, prime rib and seafood on the nighttime menu at this 96-year-old cafeteria.

For more modern cuisine, make reservations at salt+ a restaurant in Lakewood. James Beard-nominated chef Jill Vedaa’s eclectic menu of small plates changes every few months, so you might not know exactly what unique combinations she has in store for you on any given night. This much is certain: the experience will be delicious and never boring.

Sokolowski's University Inn, 1201 University Rd., Cleveland

salt+ a restaurant, 17625 Detroit Ave., Lakewood


John Petkovic/The Plain Dealer


Save room for a sweet treat

The whimsical, constantly rotating flavors at Mason's Creamery in Ohio City are that much more tasty when placed atop a churro or egg waffle, or in between a pair of macarons. Yum!

Mason's Creamery, 4401 Bridge Ave., Cleveland


David Petkiewicz, cleveland.com

How about a drink?

At Fat Head's massive beer hall in Middleburg Heights, you can taste their award-winning beers (up to 20 of them) and take a self-guided tour through the facility when you want to stretch your legs. 

For wine, the recently opened Flight Cleveland in Gordon Square offers a ton of flights plus affordable bottle options. Bonus: Comfy seats. 

Fat Head's, 7450 Engle Lake Road, Middleburg Heights 

Flight Cleveland, 5712 Detroit Road, Cleveland 


Cap the night off with live music

Mahall's is the ultimate spot for a night out in Lakewood. The venue hosts live bands nearly every night of the week on at least one of its three stages. The space also boasts a bar, restaurant and 20-lane bowling alley. 

At Happy Dog, come for the hot dogs and stay for the live musicThe ultimate hipster dive bar showcases a wide variety of acts and serves build-your-own hot dogs with crazy toppings like SpaghettiOs, Froot Loops and chunky peanut butter. 

Mahall's, 13200 Madison Ave., Lakewood

Happy Dog, 5801 Detroit Ave., Cleveland