Cleveland Attractions September 28, 2022
18 Cool Things To Do In Cleveland’s Little Italy
Cleveland’s Little Italy is rich in culture, cuisine, and good times. There are so many great things to do in Cleveland’s Little Italy, and this neighborhood crawl is the best way to see its top attractions. Grab a group of your friends, take a selfie (be sure to follow
Only In Cleveland on Instagram, where you can tag us in your pics), and start planning your trek throughout this absolute gem of a neighborhood.
To paint some color around this vibrant Cleveland neighborhood, Little Italy is the region surrounding Mayfield Road. Like many districts, this area once supported immigrants with similar backgrounds. It attracted Italians, primarily from the Abruzzi region, in large numbers. As these Clevelanders of yesteryear settled in, they established businesses, restaurants, and a culture that endures to this day.
The Best Things To Do In Little Italy
When it comes to the best things to do in Cleveland’s Little Italy, you will find that there are many,
many exciting attractions in this charming neighborhood. Prepare to embark on a sightseeing journey, because this district in Cleveland will keep you busy as a bee! 1. Dine at the oldest restaurant in Cleveland Guarino’s
is an incredible dining destination in Cleveland, and it’s one of the city’s most coveted spots. Its roots date back to 1898, when Vincenzo Guarino settled in what we now know as Little Italy. Since circa 1918, Guarino’s restaurant has served delicious authentic Italian cuisine to the neighborhood. Over the years, it has had a reputation as a speakeasy during Prohibition, a gangster hideout in the ensuing years (and one which Frank Sinatra himself was said to enjoy), and a casual lounge.
Today, that history lives on in a restaurant that’s still serving the same delicious and authentic Italian dishes. Relax in the garden patio and enjoy Victorian decor selected by Sam Guarino in the 1950s and 1960s, respectively. Try old-school Italian favorites like lasagna, ravioli, and parmigiana with rich wines and delicious sides. Finish your meal with tiramisu, cannoli, spumoni, and espresso drinks that’ll wake you right up.
Guarino’s is open Tuesday through Sunday, opening its doors at noon and closing just after dinner. It’s open late on Fridays and Saturdays, closing its doors at 10 p.m. to allow you plenty of time to enjoy your meal and the surrounding vibes.
5 Minutes Away: Celebrate Cleveland’s musical roots with a visit to Severance Hall, where the Cleveland Orchestra puts on an incredible show. 2. Admire the beauty of Holy Rosary Church
In Cleveland, churches hide some of the oldest and most striking architecture in the area. When it comes to Little Italy,
Holy Rosary Church
is the one to check out. It’s the central focus of the annual
Feast of the Assumption
celebration, which takes place around the middle of August each year. This massive Catholic festival is now observed by Clevelanders of all religious and ethnic backgrounds, as it’s one heck of a party! Parades, music, street food, and more come together on the streets of Little Italy for a weekend-long celebration. Locals flock to the neighborhood in huge numbers, and it’s an event you truly won’t want to miss.
If you’re interested in attending mass, you can find the
on their website. If not, you can still admire the Baroque-style church right from the street. It was completed around 1910, and it was the city’s first-ever Italian parish. You’ll love admiring the copper and stone details on its magnificent facade, as well as arched windows and one stunning domed cupola that towers over the street. The brick-lined church is truly a fixture of the community, and it’s one locals proudly cherish.
5 Minutes Away: Admire the gentle trickles and heavenly song of flowing waters at Dugway Brook Falls in Forest Hill Park. 3. Find hidden wonders at Murray Hill Market
In Cleveland, markets truly brought the early residents together. Instead of being seen as rival businesses and products to consume, they were perceived as community assets and shared spaces. Communities truly grew around early markets, as the stores were a part of the neighborhood; families took turns shopping and everyone knew everyone.
Murray Hill Market
may not have this legacy, per se, but it’s built on it.
The market revitalizes the atmosphere of Little Italy, hearkening back to the days of yore when neighborhood grocers dominated the neighborhood. It’s a small-town grocery store to the core, sharing fresh and local ingredients and beverages alongside made-from-scratch sandwiches, soups, and entrees. Locally-sourced products are their specialty, so you’ll find goodies from all around Greater Cleveland in their modest storefront. Their
also ensures you’ll stay well-fed during your visit.
Murray Hill Market is open daily, operating from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day except Sunday, when it operates from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Swing by and look around… you’ll find everything you need in one place!
10 Minutes Away: Observe more old-school Cleveland traditions at Cleveland Cultural Gardens off of MLK Jr. Drive. Top Things to Do at Night in Little Italy
Little Italy is a fairly sleepy little neighborhood of Cleveland, and many of its stores and restaurants close fairly early. However, these spots provide an ideal place to grab a late-night dinner, or lounge into the young hours of the coming day.
4. Enjoy a sweet treat at La Dolce Vita
When it comes to delicious
places to eat in Little Italy,
La Dolce Vita is always a hit. This cool hot spot in Cleveland is deliciously vintage. Tucked away at the corner of Mayfield and Murray Hill in a space that once housed a turn-of-the-century drugstore, La Dolce Vita feels like a traditional neighborhood eatery. With wide windows, a playful streetside patio, and bright plant-filled surroundings, this eatery feels like a home away from home. Plus, it’s been around since 1989, so locals have really grown to love it.
The owner of
La Dolce Vita
studied horticulture in school, which is evident both in the greenery-filled restaurant and in the produce-rich dishes on their menu. The whole concept is inspired by the atmosphere of Tuscany, and its flavors come alive in dishes like meatballs, eggplant parmesan, flatbreads, and pasta.
The restaurant opens at 3 or 4 p.m. depending on which day you visit, and it closes at 9 p.m. on Sunday through Thursday and at 10 p.m. each Friday and Saturday. It’s a great place to grab food after the dinner rush, and its patio offers a fantastic spot to watch the sunset from Little Italy.
5 Minutes Away: Explore more urban greenery at the Cleveland Botanical Garden and around Wade Lagoon. 5. Dig into a delicious meal at Michaelangelo’s
Ready to experience one of the best wine bars in Little Italy? You’ll find it at
Michaelangelo's Italian Restaurant & Wine Bar
! For nearly two decades, this community staple has entertained diners with its carriage-house-turned-restaurant and selection of appetizing Piedmontese dishes. This Northwestern Italian food is true to tradition, with the region perhaps most well-known for its mouthwatering truffles.
At Michaelangelo’s, the food is similar to your favorite Italian dishes… but it comes with a bit of European flair, invoking flavors reminiscent of regions in France and Austria. From delicious meats to minestrone and mozzarella-coated cavatapi, their
is diverse and unique. Pair any dish with wine and dessert for an experience you won’t soon forget!
Michelangelo’s is known for its warm and welcoming fireplace, and it opens at 5 p.m. each Tuesday through Saturday, closing at 9 p.m. on weekdays and at 10 p.m. each Friday and Saturday. Swing by and dig in, whether at dinner rush hour or later in the evening. You’re in for a treat!
10 Minutes Away: Enjoy more wine and vibes at CLE Urban Winery over in Cleveland Heights. 6. Cozy up at Little Italy’s Lounge Leo
At first glance, you might think
is a house. However, this late-night haunt in Little Italy is very much a neighborhood bar with a friendly, laid-back atmosphere. Inside, dim lights and dark colors allow the illuminating flavors of your hand-crafted cocktails to take center stage.
Lounge Leo is open late, closing between midnight and 2 a.m. on each day it operates (with the exception of Sundays, when it is closed). The bar is eclectic and cozy, and it’s an awesome place to attend a neighborhood event like karaoke. Opt for classic cocktails or specialty options like the Leotini or Bloody Mule. This neighborhood bar is a bit of a hidden gem, and it’s well worth checking out if you’re planning a late night in Cleveland’s Little Italy.
10 Minutes Away: Enjoy even more libations paired with a spooky theme at The Haunted House Restaurant in Cleveland Heights. The Best Things to Do in Little Italy with Kids
Little Italy may not come to mind as the most kid-friendly neighborhood in Cleveland, but it’s not without its family-friendly attractions! These destinations offer a great day out for the family, and they’re overflowing with fun and creativity.
7. Get your creative juices flowing at Bolt & Spool
Bolt & Spool
in Cleveland, creativity knows no bounds. This Little Italy fabric boutique is a dream come true for sewers and creative types, and it has a variety of goodies to choose from. Explore fabrics, ribbons, patterns, and a litany of sewing supplies all in one space. Quilting goods, craft tools, buttons, and so much more line the racks. If you know how to sew, then their on-site
each Thursday belong on your calendar. If you don’t, then their collection of books is a great place to start!
Whether you’re setting out to make kids’ clothing from scratch, aiming to explore a hobby with your little ones, or just looking to get crafty, this cool kid-friendly store is an awesome place to check out during your excursion in Little Italy. It is open Tuesday through Saturday at 11 a.m., closing at 4 p.m. every day except Saturday, when it closes at 2 p.m.
5 Minutes Away: Enjoy some fresh air and keep the creative juices flowing at nearby Ambler Park. 8. Explore local and international history at the Italian American Museum of Cleveland
In 2020, the
Italian American Museum of Cleveland
quietly opened its doors right next door to Presti’s Bakery on Mayfield Road. The museum is dedicated to Italian American heritage, but it also perfectly preserves memories of Cleveland’s iconic Little Italy neighborhood. In partnership with the Western Reserve Historical Society, the museum preserves “family businesses, laborers, artists, and leaders who flourished and formed our neighborhoods, communities and institutions,” according to their
On-site exhibits highlight these community leaders, never shying away from the difficulties faced by early immigrants along the way. You’ll hear stories of ambition and wonder, as well as struggle and triumph. However, the exhibits are only a portion of the museum’s offerings. You can also attend
events and programs
hosted by the Italian American Museum, including foodie-based programs and walking tours of the neighborhood and its most famous cemeteries.
The museum is open every Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 1 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. If you find an opportunity to visit, you absolutely should! This new museum in Cleveland is a real treat, and it captures Little Italy’s culture in a way nowhere else in the neighborhood can.
10 Minutes Away: Keep the fun going at the magical Children's Museum of Cleveland. Free Things to Do in Little Italy
When it comes to things to do in Cleveland’s Little Italy, you probably think of dining, shopping, and other money-centric activities. While free fun may not come to mind, there are indeed a few fun activities that won’t cost you a dime. While not included on this list, you can also always budget time for a self-guided walking tour of the neighborhood… there’s much to see in Little Italy!
9. Enjoy some fresh air at Tony Brush Park
Once upon a time, Anthony Brescia put on his game face and stepped into the ring. This Clevelander debuted as a
in 1931 and found instant success. Across roughly five years, Tony survived 34 bouts… three of those were draws and 26 were wins. Over the years, he lost a mere four games. Now an iconic Clevelander of yesteryear, Tony’s name is sadly forgotten by many… except when it comes to Tony Brush Park, which was completed in 2007 to commemorate his legacy.
park at the intersection of Random and Mayfield Roads
isn’t huge, but it’s as mighty as Tony himself. Here, visitors can set up a picnic on the grass, relax on a bench, have an adventure on the playground, or play a game at the baseball diamond or basketball court. Interestingly, the park is also home to a statue that commemorates another famous Clevelander: Rocky Colavito. This nine-time All-Star was born in 1933 and enjoyed a 13-year baseball career in the 1950s and 1960s, playing for the Cleveland Indians as well as five other fan-favorite teams. The statue was debuted on Colavito’s birthday in 2021 and, at 88 years old, he took the time to attend and celebrate. Today, visitors can celebrate the history of these two Cleveland sports legends in this quaint and welcoming park, which is open daily from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.
10 Minutes Away: Learn more about Cleveland’s sports history at the Baseball Heritage Museum. 10. Take in the beauty of Lake View Cemetery Lake View Cemetery in Cleveland
is beautiful on an otherworldly level. This stunning Victorian resting place was established in 1869, and it quickly became Cleveland's most populated burial ground. As a garden-style cemetery, Lake View features impressive Victorian mausoleums of repute, including the Schofield Mausoleum, the eternal home of one of Cleveland's most famous architects.
Those mausoleums are carved with spirals and feathers in intricate designs, but the cemetery's most famed monuments are undeniably Wade Memorial Chapel, the James A. Garfield Monument, and the Haserot Angel. Each of these monuments feature beautiful architecture that has earned them an almost legendary status. You'll find all sorts of famous Clevelanders in the cemetery, from the "inventor" of rock 'n roll (Alan Freed) to the infamous Prohibition agent Eliot Ness.
As you would imagine, there's not much to do at Lake View, but the peaceful 185-acre cemetery is a stunning place to relax, read, and hike. Circle around its lagoon, visit Daffodil Hill, or admire its magnificent trees and shrubs during your visit. The cemetery is open daily from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., and it is truly breathtaking all year round.
10 Minutes Away: Shine some light on Cleveland’s hidden history at Nela Park. Romantic Things to Do for Couples in Little Italy
When a moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that’s
amore. There’s no better place to find amore in Cleveland than on the streets of Little Italy. From romantic restaurants to dreamy neon-hued streets, this vibrant little neighborhood is a fantastic place to fall in love. 11. Sip and smile at Little Italy Wines
Italy is known for its wines. As the world's largest producer of wine, Italy has quite the reputation in the vinting world. Italian wine has a history that dates back to the Bronze Age, and the tradition has continued to this day, with wine being produced in every region of the nation. And, of course, the best place to sample wine in Little Italy is (you guessed it)
Little Italy Wines.
This charming Cleveland business is known for
weekly wine tastings
, quality wines and beers, a vast selection of charcuterie cheeses, wine-making sets, gifts, and so much more. Their staff is well-versed in the flavors of each region, so ask questions, and expect to find an array of flavors to satisfy every palate.
Little Italy Wines is open Tuesday through Thursday from 1 to 8 p.m., Friday through Saturday from noon to 9 p.m., and Sunday through Monday from noon to 6 p.m.
10 Minutes Away: Admire the vibrant colors and sounds of Playhouse Square. 12. Bond over amazing food at Angelo’s Nido Italia
For many Clevelanders,
Angelo’s Nido Italia
is a go-to date night destination. Angelo’s Nido Italia has been a local favorite for decades, and it is regarded as one of the coziest spots in Cleveland's Little Italy. Dim lighting, candlelit tables, and traditional dishes work together to craft a welcoming atmosphere. This is a lively and fun spot to spend an evening with family and friends, yet it's also romantic and intimate enough for a date.
This old-school Cleveland business specializes in familiar Italian staples like veal parmesan, ravioli, spaghetti, and calzones, but there's something for every palate. A complimentary basket of bread with butter makes for a welcome dining companion, and dessert options like cannoli, tiramisu, and gelato will round out your meal.
Dig into lunch every Tuesday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. If dinner is your jam, you can swing by Tuesday through Saturday from 5 to 10 p.m., or Sunday from 3 to 8:30 p.m. Bring your appetite!
10 Minutes Away: Walk off that heavy meal at the vibrant and welcoming Shaker Square. 13. Soak up the romantic vibes at Etna Little Italy
When it comes to dining in Little Italy,
is a name you’ll hear often. This familiar Cleveland restaurant takes its name from Mount Etna, a Sicilian volcano. This coastal landmark is famous as one of the tallest and most active volcanoes in Europe, and it's a fitting namesake for this charming Cleveland landmark.
As a nod to the Italian coast, Etna serves up both coveted and traditional Italian entrees and a variety of fresh seafood. Their daily specials include a variety of options, and each is out-of-this-world delicious. Plus, entrees like scallopina, gnocchi, ravioli, and salads round out their offerings and ensure even the pickiest of eaters have something delicious to look forward to.
You can visit Etna from Tuesday through Sunday. It opens at 4:30 p.m. every day except Sunday, when it opens two hours earlier. It closes between 9 and 10 p.m. depending on the day, so be sure to check the hours before your visit!
10 Minutes Away: Check out more Cleveland hospitality at the Dunham Tavern Museum, which is the oldest standing building in the city. 14. Dig into deliciousness at Trattoria on the Hill
Reminiscent of a 1950s diner with a mid-century flare,
Trattoria on the Hill
is always a treat to visit. While a bit more laid back than many restaurants in Little Italy, Trattoria is every bit as delicious. Since 1984, Trattoria on the Hill has been a central part of the Little Italy community and their wonderful Italian classics are enjoyed by locals and visitors alike. Enjoy classic, authentic Italian dishes like wedding soup, cheese tortellini, and fettuccine alfredo alongside meat and seafood entrees. There's something on the menu for everyone!
This is one restaurant you'll really want to bring an appetite to, as the portions are pretty darn generous. Plus, with specialty options like pizzas and familiar sides like fries and mozzarella sticks, even picky eaters will feel right at home. If you fall in love with their sauce, ask to buy a to-go container! You'll be bringing home leftovers, so might as well be prepared!
Of course, one of the best things about an Italian restaurant is that you can get some real Italian roots with your food. The vibe here is casual yet authentic, and it's one you have to check out. It opens at noon every day except Tuesday, when it opens later at 4 p.m. It closes at 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday, closing its doors at 8:30 on other days throughout the week.
5 Minutes Away: After dining at the Roman garden, view Roman works of art at The Cleveland Museum of Art. The Most Unique Things to Do in Little Italy
Little Italy is a unique neighborhood in a one-of-a-kind city. Its attractions are varied, and there’s much to do in a relatively small space. When it comes to unique things to do in Cleveland, Little Italy (and the following attractions in particular) stands out from the rest.
15. Find a darling new decoration at Keller Art Glass
Glassmaking is a true art. It takes time and patience and is all about protecting the secrets of a centuries-old craft. What better place to admire this pastime than Cleveland's Little Italy?! At
Keller Art Glass
, glass guitars, decorative vases, light fixtures, sculptures, decor, and more are offered for sale. Many of these stunning works are made at the local studio, and they add incredible flair to your home.
Since 1973, Keller Art Glass has earned awards for being one of Cleveland's most unique businesses. While much of their merchandise is made on-site, some is also imported from the Corning Museum of Glass, as well as from independent glassblowers throughout the country and beyond. You never know what you'll find in this unique shop, which is located in a very inviting setting: a 1913 brick building with a massive guitar on its facade!
Glass from this studio has been purchased and cherished by Paul McCartney, Michael Jordan, Jerry Seinfeld, and even Larry King. To schedule an appointment, call them at (216) 721-0314 or visit their
10 Minutes Away: Explore the shops and studios of Larchmere Boulevard in Shaker Heights. 16. Discover something unforgettable at Moonstruck CLE
Delightfully eclectic and wonderfully vintage, the collection at
is always fun to pick through. The warm and welcoming brick-lined storefront in Little Italy is dedicated to rehoming vintage items like furniture, collectibles, clothing, and more. You truly never know what you're going to find!
There's nothing quite like unwinding with friends while perusing some of the best vintage goods in town. Their ever-revolving collection of thingamabobs and whatzits is full of treasures... you just have to know where to look! Visit Moonstruck CLE Tuesday through Sunday. It's open from 3 to 8 p.m. on weekdays, noon to 8 p.m. on Saturdays, and from 1 to 5 p.m. on Sundays.
10 Minutes Away: Admire more vintage contraptions at the Dittrick Medical History Center. 17. Wade through a jungle of greenery at Urban Orchid
With locations in Ohio City, Little Italy, and Tremont,
The Urban Orchid
has come to be a well-known name amongst Clevelanders. This eclectic and fun gift shop and plant paradise sells beautiful and unusual orchids, including a variety of colors and varieties, as well as locally grown and organically raised plants. Custom gifts are their specialty, and you can truly create the perfect package for any occasion.
There's something especially notable about their Little Italy location: the green-filled shop is tucked away within a historic former church. Hardwood floors add a richness to the architecturally beautiful space, and a choir loft empowers you to climb high and take in the beauty from above. With custom-built furnishings adding to the space, you'll feel the history of Little Italy come to life in this unique Cleveland plant shop.
Swing by Tuesday through Friday between 9:30 a.m. and 5 p.m., or visit Saturday between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
10 Minutes Away: Admire more beauty (and uncover more hidden histories) at Loganberry Books in Larchmere. 18. Chill out at Rosso Gelato
Gelato, which means "frozen" in Italian, has a long history. Its roots go back to circa 1530, though sweet frozen treats had been around for a few centuries, at least. It wasn't until the beginning of the 20th century that these treats began appearing on Italian streets en masse, as the invention of gelato machines made this treat easy to produce. Here in Cleveland, you can dig into the historic mystery of this delicacy at
This local sweet shop opened its doors in 2020, to much acclaim and excitement. The original location in Rocky River had been around for a decade, and locals loved its selections. While many were sad to see it close, its collection of flavors (including unique options like grapefruit, chocolate hazelnut, and peach) was a welcome addition to the Little Italy neighborhood. With options like sorbetto and stracciatella to round out their offerings, you truly can't go wrong with a treat here.
Visit the sweet shop between 6 and 10 p.m. on weekdays, or between 1 and 10 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
5 Minutes Away: Visit The Boujie Bakery in Cleveland Heights for more delicious sweet treats.
Cleveland’s Little Italy is rich in culture. It has a fascinating history, great food, and romantic brick-lined streets that are overflowing with color. In addition to endless charm, there’s a variety of Cleveland businesses that call this neighborhood home. After just one visit, you’ll surely fall in love! If you’re still looking for more interesting things to do in Cleveland, take a look at our list of the
. You’ll find that the city is filled to the brim with fun for all. best things to do in Cleveland
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