For many Pittsburgh residents, a road trip to Cleveland is an annual event. After all, the two cities are only 130 miles apart and the Steelers and Browns square off twice a season. The rivalry is one of the oldest in professional football, and for visiting fans, an expeditious post-game exit is standard procedure. What is often lost during trips to Cleveland is the fact that “the mistake by the lake” actually has a lot going for it. In fact, when you take away the sports rivalry aspect, Pittsburgh and Cleveland are a lot alike. Make it a point to set differences aside and check out some of the great shopping, culture and dining available in Cleveland. Just don’t do it on game day.

Getting There

From Pittsburgh, head north on I-279 for 12 miles, then merge onto I-79 north. Travel six miles to exit 77 near the Ohio border to enter Turnpike I-76 west. Drive roughly 90 miles on I-76 west until you reach Akron and the I-77 north interchange. Travel I-77 north for 34 miles to reach Cleveland.

What To Do

West Side Market
1979 W. 25th St.
Cleveland, OH 44114
(216) 664-3387

Dedicated in 1912, the West Side Market has been serving Cleveland residents and restaurants the freshest meats, seafood and produce for more than 100 years. Think of Pittsburgh Strip District only bigger. More than 100 individual vendors comprise the Cleveland marketplace offering every food imaginable. From ethnic delicasies to rare fruits and vegetables, candy, nuts and fresh herbs and spices; if you can’t find it there, you can’t find it anywhere. The West Side Market has been featured on the Travel Channel and The Food Network. 

Related: Best Scenic Drives Within 60 Miles Of Pittsburgh

A Christmas Story House and Museum
3159 W. 11th St.
Cleveland, OH 44109
(216) 298-4919

Price: $10 adults/$6 children 

One of America’s most beloved Christmas tales was filmed on the outskirts of downtown Cleveland in 1983. When the house went up for sale on ebay in 2004, California native Brian Jones bought it, and with permission from Warner Brothers, turned it into A Christmas Story gift shop and museum. Some of the items for sale, both online and on location, include Ralphie’s replica pink bunny pajamas, Life-Buoy Soap, Red Ryder BB guns and, of course, the burlesque-style leg lamps made famous in the movie. 

Photo Credit: Mike Lawrie/Getty Images

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
1100 Rock and Roll Blvd.
Cleveland, OH 44114
(216) 781-7625

Price: $22 adult/$13 children 9 to 12

At first glance, the architecture of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame immediately calls to mind the Louvre museum in Paris. Architect I.M. Pei, who designed the Cleveland landmark, also oversaw the 1993 expansion of the world famous Louvre museum. The exhibits on display inside are a different story: In Cleveland it’s all about the music. This year’s inductees include Guns N’ Roses, The Beastie Boys and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. There is a tremendous sense of history and evolution that comes with a visit to the HOF and music education is an integral part of the experience. 

Cleveland Museum of Art
11150 East Blvd.
Cleveland, OH 44106
(216) 421-7350

Price: free

While the similarities between the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Paris Louvre end at the door, the city’s showcases of great artists do not. At the Cleveland Museum of Art, delight in the works of such masters as Dali, Rodin, Regnault and Picasso. One of the most recent additions to the museum’s vast collection is The Seated Scribe of Medthdu. The ancient Egyptian sculture dates back to 1497 B.C. 

The Cleveland Arcade
401 Euclid Ave. #155
Cleveland, OH 44114

Don’t dismiss the Cleveland landmark because of its obvious association with video games and skee ball tables, it’s not that type of arcade. Built in 1890, the Cleveland Arcade is a five-story structure that offers another kind of entertainment, its America’s oldest indoor shopping mall. The Hyatt Regency hotel “bookends” both sides of The Arcade, so it’s the perfect place to shop until you drop. The Cleveland monument to capitalism is so impressive it was featured on an episode of the History Channel’s “Made in America with John Ratzenberg.” 


Glidden House
1901 Ford Drive
Cleveland, OH  44106
(866) 812-4537

Price: $129 to $229

Whether you opt for a modern suite or one of its vintage-style accommodation packages, a night spent at the Glidden House is one you’ll not soon forget. First-class luxury, history and beauty fill each and every room of the renovated 1910 Glidden mansion. Recapture some of your old college days during your stay in Cleveland when you reserve a room at the Glidden House. You won’t have to go far to find it; the hotel is actually situated on the campus of Case Western University. 

Related: Guide To Romantic Bed And Breakfasts

Marcel Tourdot is a freelance writer from Pittsburgh. His work can be found at