Cleveland is not the city where you’ll find a bar hidden inside an industrial freezer, or an exclusive masquerade ball in an abandoned warehouse. Part of Cleveland’s charm is its
inclusivity. If there’s something going on, you’re invited! But in a city with so much to do, there’s always a few hidden gems that aren’t on the radar quite yet.
1. The Cinematheque
Arthouse films, historical films, foreign films, foreign arthouse films... Located in University Circle, the Cinematheque is a unique place to spend an evening. They play an eclectic mix of old and new, domestic and foreign, English and foreign language, award winners and unknowns. They don't have regular screenings (most movies they only play once or twice), so make sure to have a look at the month's schedule before you go.
2. Flower Child Vintage
This place is a haven for vintage lovers. The top floor is set out by room so that it looks like Ikea was sneezed on by a hoarder from the 60s, and the basement is the house-sized, walk-in-closet you've always dreamed of. Whole lounge suites, complete with magazine racks and coasters. Dining rooms with full sets of glorious vintage glassware and ceramic. Every item of vintage clothing you could imagine. The walls are crammed with knick-knacks, accessories, books, and collectibles - just be glad you don't have to do the dusting here!
3. Heinen's Rotunda
Heinen's bought this beautiful empty downtown building, saving it from disrepair, and potentially from demolition. The rotunda is now a Heinen's convenience store and food court. There's a mezzanine level where you can browse a good selection of beer and wine. The dome itself is beautiful patterns of green, yellow, and blue stained glass, and the walls are adorned with murals that celebrate Cleveland's working history.
4. Special Collections at the Cleveland Public Library
Did you know that the CPL has the biggest collection of chess and checkers sets in the world? Well it does! There's also miniature books, so small you need a magnifying glass to read them and illuminated manuscripts. There's even a brick from the Great Wall of China. It's a perfect way to pass a lunch break or afternoon as the days get colder. It's on the third floor, so there's also a great view!
5. Sachsenheim Hall
Starting life over 110 years ago as a German social club, this giant venue serves up some of the most deliciously outrageous deals in the city. $1 tacos with your choice of up to 25 fillings, wings by the pound, and a liter of beer for $5. The exterior isn't overly welcoming, but the divey beer hall vibe inside is alive and well. Find it at 7001 Denison Ave, Cleveland, OH 44102
6. Bar 32
Perched on the 32nd floor of the new Hilton Cleveland Downtown, Bar 32 is one of the swankiest places in town. Artisan cheeses paired with craft cocktails and wines, and amazing views of Lake Eire and the city. It's 21+, so leave the kids at home and pull on those shoes you've been dying for an excuse to wear, and the tie you wore to a wedding once in 2011.
7. The Museum of Divine Statues
Located in a former Polish church in Lakewood, this museum might be one of the most unique in Cleveland. The collection is made up of rescued and restored religious statues, stained glass, and relics from local churches that have shut down over the years. Curator, restorer, and former makeup artist Lou McClung gives old religious statues new life. It's only open for four hours on Sunday afternoons, making it a perfect (and unique) post-brunch trip.
8. Dittrick Medical History Center
Competing with the Museum of Divine Statues for title of 'Strangest Museum' is the Dittrick Center. Browse through centuries of medical philosophy, practice and instruments. The real gem of this museum is the Percy Skuy Collection on the History of Contraception. Learn about the social, cultural and medical history of contraceptive technology with the 650-strong collection of books, documents, and contraceptive devices.
9. Mason's Creamery
Hidden in an unsuspecting corner of Ohio City, Mason's serves up some of the most unique and delicious ice cream in the city. Rotating and ever-evolving flavors include taro, Lucky Charms, Sriracha, and Cleveland Whiskey. Have a killer idea for an ice cream flavor? They take suggestions! They also have the most extensive and diverse list of vegan ice creams in town. Oh, and they also have the occasional ramen pop-up, just to switch things up a bit.
10. b.a. Sweetie Candy Co.
What's better than being a kid in a candy store? Being an adult in a candy store! No more begging for quarters from your parents - you can buy any and every candy you ever wanted. This is the biggest candy warehouse in the US (and therefore probably in the world). If buying jelly beans by the pound isn't enough sugar, there's even an on-site Soda Shoppe. They also have a whole collection of 'nostalgia candy', with even more Pez dispensers than you knew existed!
Have you been to any of these hidden gems? Do you have any Cleveland secrets? Share them in the comments!