There are a few things in life that make me lose my cool. These include, but are not limited to, the lack of applesauce in the dining hall and drivers who rev their engines at poor pedestrians who want to safely cross the street so they can walk back to their residence halls unscathed (I fear for my life crossing Belvoir every day). What’s number one on my list? People’s complete and utter ignorance of what Cleveland has to offer.
Don’t start laughing. I know you’re probably thinking, “All Cleveland has to offer is bipolar weather and mediocre sports teams. Pittsburgh is much better.” To be fair, I was only in Pittsburgh for about four hours, so I can’t compare. However, if you bash my city one more time, you will be sure to witness my raging Mr. Hyde side instead of my levelheaded Dr. Jekyll persona. If you dare utter the words, “mistake on the lake,” I warn you – things will not end well.
Cleveland doesn’t have the best reputation. Yes, I realize that. Yet, people are quick to jump on the bandwagon and criticize our city. Many think, “Well, all the cool kids are saying how reminiscent Cleveland is of hell, so I will, too.”
I’ve often been at the forefront of debates defending Cleveland’s good name. In fact, I feel like there are more people who argue against me than take my side. As soon as someone dare’s to criticize Cleveland, I ask, “well, have you even seen what Cleveland has to offer?”
This is the part where the Cleveland-hating opponent turns a shade of “Casper the ghost white,” and looks as though they may not be able to hold down their chicken patty from lunch. This is also the part where the blood rushes through my body, and I prepare to deliver my main arguments like a fire and brimstone speech. I can smell victory.
I then grill the opponent about where they have been in Cleveland and what they have done. My main places are as follows:
Number one: The West Side Market. This is perhaps one of my favorite places in the Cleveland area. Each trip never disappoints. Sometimes, I have to remind myself I’m actually in Cleveland and not at a marketplace across the ocean. Just down the street is located some of the tastiest bites such as Great Lakes Brewery. However, ever since the market’s recent publicity, many of my Cleveland-hating acquaintances have expressed interest in going to the market. I guess a place isn’t worth going to until it gets set on fire.
Number two: the vast array of museums and attractions. We have everything from the internationally known Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to the Museum of Science and Industry. There’s no excuse if you haven’t been to the Cleveland Museum of Art. First of all, you can spend hours walking up and down the hallways as you are transported from ancient Greek art to contemporary works. Plus, it’s free. You should be hopping into your cars right about now.
Number three: Little Italy. If you haven’t tasted a cannoli from Presti’s, you haven’t lived life.
And to piggy back off of Little Italy, Cleveland is overall culturally diverse. From everything from Middle Eastern grocery shops to Indian restaurants, our city has it all.
Number four: Cleveland has all the benefits of a big city without the hassle of being held up in traffic for hours on end. Have you ever driven in Chicago? If not, you don’t want to. Plus, it’s more than feasible to raise a family in the suburbs twenty minutes away from the joys of downtown.
Number five and my personal favorite: the culture. The Cleveland Orchestra has been ranked one of the top 10 orchestras in the world, beating out Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Los Angeles and New York Philharmonics. Even if you’re not a classical music fanatic, I’m sure you can still appreciate the accomplishment.
Not only can you attend a concert at Severance Hall, but you can also witness professional theater and dance for a reasonable price at Cleveland’s Playhouse Square. Even if you’re too cheap to pay to watch live theater, just wander into the complex and admire the architectural beauty. You’ll feel as though you’re king or queen of the palace.
What do Drew Carey, Bob Hope, Paul Newman and Molly Shannon all have in common? They were all from the Cleveland area.
I realize my brief explanation of Cleveland does not do the city nearly enough justice. But, there’s only so much greatness you can squeeze into a limited space.
As a born and bred Clevelander, I will defend my city to its death. Both of my parents were raised in Cleveland and know the city like the back of their hands. Although I may leave one day to explore other cities and embark on new adventures, I will always return to the place I call home.