Cleveland’s Best Arts & Leisure
Most Macabre Art: In the 1930s, 13 people were brutally murdered in a crime spree dubbed the Torso Murders. Because most of the victims were unknown, police made plaster casts of their faces called death masks in hopes of identifying them. Four of these chilling masks are on display at the Cleveland Police Historical Society and Museum (1300 Ontario St., 216/623-5055, www.clevelandpolicemuseum.org, Mon.–Fri. 10 a.m.–4 p.m., Free).
Best Reuse of a Schoolhouse: Once the bane of youngsters, a schoolhouse in Little Italy is now Murray Hill School House Galleries (2026 Murray Hill Rd., www.littleitalycleveland.com, hours vary), a warren of small art galleries, boutiques, and incubator-sized studios. Best part: You don’t need a pass to wander these halls.
Best Damn Band in the Land: It isn’t just locals who fawn all over the Cleveland Orchestra (11001 Euclid Ave., 216/231-1111, www.clevelandorchestra.com); critics in London, Salzburg, and Vienna all have hailed the symphony as one of the very best in the world. Check them out at either Severance Hall or Blossom Music Center to hear what the world is talking about.
Finest Experimental Theater: For 30 years, Cleveland Public Theatre (6415 Detroit Ave., 216/631-2727, www.cptonline.org) has produced innovative and adventurous original theater. In fact, the success of this very outfit has in large part triggered the revival of the entire Detroit Shoreway neighborhood.
Sweetest Summer Concert Spot: Tucked into the densely forested Cain Park in Cleveland Heights, Evans Amphitheater (Superior at Lee, 216/371-3000, www.cainpark.com) is invisible to the casual passersby. Beneath the stars and surrounded by nature, the gently pitched lawn is a magical place to enjoy a summer performance.
Broadest Assortment of Indie Flicks: Over the course of 11 days in March, the Cleveland International Film Fest (Tower City Cinemas, 866/865-3456, www.clevelandfilm.org, prices vary) screens roughly 140 feature-length films and 170 short subjects from over 60 different countries. See how many you can cram into a workday.
Where to Find the Ripest Tomato: The North Union Farmers Market (216/751-7656, www.northunionfarmersmarket.org, Free) at Shaker Square runs pretty much all year, but it really hits its peak from June through September. Bring a cooler to this bustling Saturday market and load it up with local fare.
Where to Ride When the Snow Falls: Mountain bikers flock to Ray’s MTB Indoor Park (9801 Walford Ave., 216/631-7433, www.raysmtb.com, Oct.–Apr. Tues.–Fri. 5–10 p.m., Sat.–Sun. 9 a.m.–10 p.m.) because it truly is one-of-a-kind. Located in a 100,000-square-foot warehouse, this remarkably wild indoor bike park is almost as good as the real thing.
World’s Greatest Outdoor Jogging Track: The Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail (http://www.nps.gov/cuva/ohio-and-erie-canal-towpath-trail.htm) is a 75-mile gem that winds its way through the beautiful Cuyahoga Valley National Park. With a mostly smooth limestone surface, the path attracts millions of walkers, joggers, and cyclists each year.
Best Place to Catch a Foul Ball: Jacob’s Field is now Progressive Field, but this urban ballpark is still tops with local and traveling baseball fans. Home of the Cleveland Indians, Progressive Field (Corner of E. 9th St. and Carnegie Ave., 216/420-4487, www.indians.com) is consistently ranked among the best places in the major league to watch a game.
© Douglas Trattner from Moon Cleveland, 1st Edition