CLE Winter Traditions

Start Some CLE Winter Traditions This Year!

By John Butler
In December 4, 2014

As a life-long Clevelander (with brief working vacations to other glamour spots in the Rust Belt like Detroit and Pittsburgh), I am up to here with people complaining about my favorite time of year in my favorite place in North America. What follows is a by-no-means-exhaustive list of traditions that everyone should do at least ONCE a year, at this TIME of year:

  • Take a long walk in the Cleveland Metroparks, ideally after a big snowfall.
  • Visit the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and share a hot cocoa (from a safe distance) with the Polar Bears.
  • Hit the Toboggan Chutes at the Chalet in Strongsville! Interesting side note: the word “toboggan” is derived from the French word “tabaggane” which describes a Native American runner-less sled. Impress your more-easily-impressed friends.
  • Go see the Great Lakes Theater Company’s “A Christmas Carol,” even if you’ve seen it a million times before—nothing gets you in a good mood like hanging around an old, cranky miser for a winter evening! Spoiler alert: Tiny Tim gets eaten by Christmas zombies.
  • Sip a Great Lakes Christmas Ale or two (but definitely not three) directly from the source at the Great Lakes Brewery in Ohio City.
  • Spend a perfectly snowy Sunday afternoon at the Cleveland Museum of Art.
  • While you’re in the neighborhood, what could be better than an evening at beautiful Severance Hall listening to the world-renowned Cleveland Orchestra?
  • While we’re on music, if there’s anything better than seeing a live show at the Beachland Ballroom, with a Ballantine Ale in a can, I haven’t experienced it.
  • You cannot consider yourself a true Clevelander if you haven’t had a meal at Sokolowski’s University Inn in Tremont. It’s where the idea of comfort food came from.
  • Have a gourmet hot dog and some tater tots at the Happy Dog. Yeah, you can do this any time of year, but did I mention the tater tots? And, for your added convenience, if you are an Eastsider not looking to enhance your cultural resume, there’s a “new” one on Euclid. I guess.
  • Watch a Browns game at an AUTHENTIC (read: old man bar) Cleveland bar. Here are a few recommends:
    • Parkview Nite Club
    • The Merry Arts – Detroit Rd, Lakewood (there’s no URL, this is the Merry Arts we’re talking about…)
    • Hooples – Columbus Rd., Cleveland (ditto)
    • Johnny’s Little Bar – Frankfort Rd., Cleveland (ditto)
    • Becky’s – E. 18th Street, Cleveland (ditto)
  • Don’t travel hundreds of miles to ski with persons who didn’t have the good sense to be born in NE Ohio, ski at Boston Mills/Brandywine.
  • If you prefer blades to boards, take a glide across the rink at Wade Park Oval!
  • Truth be told, there’s something vaguely creepy about this movie, but going to the “A Christmas Story” house does have the unique quality of feeling vintage Cleveland-y while also Holiday-y.
  • They don’t do a particularly good job of updating their digital information, but the December Art Walk in Little Italy is a nice Friday or Saturday evening. I highly recommend watching the snow fall with the bar staff at Maxi’s while sipping a little wine and noshing an appetizer.
  • Yes, it’s going to be a wait, but Lucky’s in Tremont for breakfast on a weekend puts you right in the heart of Cleveland and there’s no place cozier in the winter.
  • Go to this damn thing (Brite Winter Festival) on February 21st just because you’ll be cooler if you do.

I am sure I’ve left your favorite Cleveland Winter tradition off of my list—but that’s what lists like this are for! Let us hear yours—and then get the hell away from your computer and check all these off your list! You’ll be happier, and a lot more Cleveland-ier when you do.

John Butler

I am a lifelong Clevelander and have spent nearly 30 years in the marketing communications industry. It is my belief that you need to have a diverse range of interests in order to bring perspective to a client’s marketing needs. So my blogs will generally be about social media, dogs, music, media planning, historical fiction, content marketing, professional sports, brand positioning, restaurants I like, quantitative research analytics, science fiction movies, target audience segmentation, running/cycling or the impact of digital media on advertising messaging. You get the idea.

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