Local Guide: Top 5 Events to Visit in Cleveland with Kids this Holiday Season

Kid tested…mother approved!

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1. Crocker Park Christmas Tree Lighting- Westlake, Ohio

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Enjoy decked out holiday shopping in this open air shopping center. Each year Crocker Park comes alive with their annual Christmas tree and lighting countdown. Eat at popular restaurants such as Cheesecake Factory and the Yard House. You can walk the plaza while the kids drink warm hot cocoa cooled with vanilla ice-cream from the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory.

Invite family and friends to experience their new outdoor ice-skating rink that opens on November 18th. Top the tiresome evening off with a movie and a stay at the beautiful Hyatt Regency within the center.

 

2. Snow Tubing – Boston Mills Brandywine, Boston Heights, Ohio

BOSTON MILLS

This wintertime activity is safe and enjoyable for family members 3 and up! For only $25 per person, grab a snow-tube (no worries, you get a nice lift up the hill) and slide down the best hills ever! If your family is feeling extra adventurous, enjoy sliding down the hills at night too. Afterwards, enjoy a small snack bar which does carry hot cocoa.

3. Coventry Village Holiday Festival – Cleveland Heights, Ohio

COVENTRY

This eclectic, hippie, earthy street is known for its love of nostalgia. A trip to Coventry Village is great anytime of year, and the Christmas theme just adds to the fun. Among shopping at the cool unique shops such as Big Fun, and City Buddha, Coventry sets out a money machine (fake money can be used at stores on Coventry only)!

The B-Side Liquor Lounge turns into a kids only club for the afternoon. Kids can dance with a DJ and sing to Frozen (among other kid favorites) on the Karaoke machine. Other activities include photos with Santa at Piccadilly Vegan Ice Cream, and a throwback movie. Grab a selfie with Rudolph, The Grinch, and Frosty!

Enjoy great eating at Tommy’s Restaurant who is know for their great handmade milkshakes, handmade french fries, and huge vegetarian selections.

4. Winter Lights Lantern Holiday Circlefest and GLOW – Cleveland Museum of Art & Botanical Gardens

ART MUSEUM

Known as one of the top art museums in the country, the Cleveland Museum of Art and Botanical Gardens creates a beautiful “Glow” theme on its lawn during the Christmas holiday. Admire beautifully glowing art pieces on the lawn. Throw on those ice skates and don’t fall eating freshly made kettle corn from the local vendors. Come early before the Museum’s annual artsy night parade to enjoy a craft. Watch chefs prepare you an exquisite dish in the cafe, or snack on fresh baked cookies along with a glass of wine or champagne. Of course, there will be plenty of hot chocolate. Best of all – entry into the art museum is FREE!

5. Light Up Lakewood! Lakewood, Ohio

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Usually happening on the first weekend in December, this outdoor walk around festival caters to both the very young and old at heart. This annual event is full of plenty of activities for the kids such as Santa pictures and crafts in the library (come early enough to grab a number to meet him!). Eat at the nationally known, Cleveland born restaurant Melt Bar and Grilled for fantastic grilled cheese and beer. Grab glow sticks and free hot cocoa while you pass people dressed as Star Wars and other characters on the street (was that just a black Santa Claus? YEP!). Don’t forget to stay for the night parade and tree lightning. Did I happen to say that a DJ spins the tunes while you’re taking this all in?

 

Cleveland Bop Stop Jazz Club, Ohio City

The Cleveland Bop Stop is not new to the Cleveland scene. Although, at times it can seem as if this spot has been only known through word of mouth.Donated and partnered with the Cleveland Music Settlement since 2013, the Bop Stop has been bringing an eclectic, intimate musical setting to the Lake Erie skyline for over 15 years.

My first experience at The Bop Stop 10 years ago was amazing. The light and heat from the cozy fireplace, coupled with a live band was like no other experience I had felt from Cleveland. I truly felt like I was in New York City or some other happening “major city.”

When I went again a few years later to see an electric violin player, I knew The Bop Stop was becoming one of my favorite places to go out to.

 

 

Location, Location

The Bop Stop is located at 2920 Detroit Ave in Cleveland’s Ohio City area within a beautiful view of Lake Erie.

Ohio City has quickly become Cleveland’s oldie but goodie location for sticking with a few popular landmarks throughout the years, such as The West Side Market and giving us new favorites such as Bar Cento.

 

Pom Frittes at friesBar Cento – DELICIOUS!

A visit to the Bop Stop makes for a great drop in to the City’s neighboring bar and restaurant night life that surrounds the area.

Although the parking lot is small, plenty of free parking can be found along Detroit Avenue.

 

Inside

Walking inside the Bop Stop you find small intimate seating of small tables and chairs that surround the stage.

 

Inside the Bop Stop

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 A full service bar with seating and a fire place with chairs make up the first floor. On warm summer nights a small patio overlooking the Lake make for a romantic feel when partnered with your favorite cocktail or wine.

The attire would be dependent upon who is performing that night (anywhere from casual to semi-formal) and tickets can be purchased online atwww.musicsettlement.com or at the door for a higher price. Tickets are very reasonable ranging in price from $10 to $35.

 

Calendar of May Events

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Menu

Small plates and appetizers seem to be the choices at this venue. Snack on ranch popcorn or pulled pork sandwiches. Definitely not a “get your grub on” type of dining. The music is definitely the main event.

Donations & History

The Bop Stop was donated to the City’s beloved Music Settlement with good reason! The Music Settlement was founded on the belief that every child should learn, love and experience music at some point in their life.

Donations and scholarships are awarded annually to potential students who may not otherwise receive private lessons. It also helps to pay for other activities, supplies, and projects within the school.

During the day, The Bop Stop provides young artists with the practice of performing on stage.

At night, the location becomes a full-fledged adult jazz club. Every drink purchased at the location goes towards a student’s scholarship at the School (The Music Settlement)

 

Featured Artists

The variety of performances from the Bop Stop ranges from classical violin to R&B jazz funk. There seems to be something every month that should pique the interests of music enthusiasts from almost all genre of music.

 

The R&B Jazz Group The Xperience

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The Bop Stop also caters to private parties and corporate events! The Bop Stop is a must to visit on the blossoming Cleveland Scene.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Gin, Cider and Soul Food; Lakewood, Ohio

As a native Clevelander who has carried the travel bug for a long time, I love when I come across hidden treasures in my own town. It kind of ties me over until my family and I can go on our next out of state adventure. I believe every state and city have their own hidden jewels. You just have to get out and find them and on occasion sometimes they find you!

As we are slowly getting our dates night back, my husband and I have been venturing into other neighboring cities in Cleveland. One evening, we decided to set our sights on Lakewood, Ohio. Or, I should say, he surprised me by finally driving us to a few spots we had our hearts set on visiting.

The city of Lakewood like other nearby Cleveland cities has been revitalizing it’s streets with friendly enticing nightlife that not only lures the locals, but their neighboring city friends as well. You can find many favorites such as Melt Bar and Grilled (delicious colossal grilled cheese sandwiches), or if you are looking for something new I highly recommend giving Griffin Cider House and Southern Café a try.

 Griffin Cider House in Lakewood, Ohio

GRIFFIN

 

Griffin Cider House, a Lakewood favorite since 2015, has five star ratings for good reason! Not only is the ambiance and vibe cool inside, but it has the largest selection of gin in the state of Ohio, 10 cider taps, 3 craft beer taps and home to one of the most expensive gin’s I have ever come across called Nolet’s Dry Gin “The Reserve. If you love this particular type of gin they can make you a $100 drink called “The Gold Reserve.” It comes with Nolet’s “The Reserve”, Noilly Pratt Dry Vermouth, Saffron and little gold nuggets to garnish.

Can’t decide? Take a “flight.”

PHLIGHT

 

If you aren’t necessarily a gin drinker, this bar is called Cider House for a reason. The Cider selection of beer would be appreciated by any Cider beer lover. We were so overwhelmed by the variety of selections that we decided to do a “flight” of ciders to sample.

The four we sampled were called After, Pear, Wake and Cranberry. If you like sweet I suggest the Cranberry and Pear. After and Wake had a soft tasting apple finish. All the samples were a delight on the tongue.

To top it off our bartender (the awesome lady with the cool tattoos) was super cool and was a wealth of information. She schooled us on the different ciders and gin’s and did a great job recommending places to eat nearby.

The owner was also super-friendly and welcoming and made a great House Martini (yes, I have a sweet spot for a good local Martini).

You can sit at the bar and chat it up with the locals, or you can venture to the back room for a comfortable setting of plush couches and small tables to enjoy your drink.

 

Southern Cafe in Lakewood, Ohio

As hungry as we were, we took the advice of our bartender and ventured a few streets over to Southern Café for some southern comfort soul food. My husband and I had been craving some really good soul food since our trip last summer to Winston Salem’s Sweet Potatoes Soul Food Restaurant near downtown historic Winston Salem, North Carolina.

 

 Southern Café surely did not disappoint at all! Oh my goodness this food was finger lickin good – and I do not say that often! Good vibes, friendly staff and great music greeted us again when we opened the door. We immediately were given a seat and greeted by a friendly server who offered us water in mason jars (just like my southern grandma would, I love it!).

 

Fried Green Tomatoes with house hot sauce remoulade.

GREEN TOMATOES

After wanting to order absolutely EVERYTHING on the menu, we ordered fried green tomatoes with a hot sauce remoulade as an appetizer to start. Talk about DELICIOUS! Hot, crispy, seasoned perfectly!

There was not a long wait at all until our main dishes came. My husband ordered fried perch fingers, nicely sweetened sweet potatoes, and some the creamiest, most delicious grits we had ever tasted.

Fried turkey breast with gravy and onions, Mac and cheese, greens and corn bread muffin.

SOUTHERN

The mac and cheese lover that I am, I had to order a side of mac and cheese, collard greens with a hint of sweet, and fried turkey smothered in onions and gravy. Mouthwatering!!Everything was seasoned so perfectly. I  truly appreciated our kind waiter mentioning that the turkey was purchased and selected carefully from a local butcher (you could definitely tell!). Each of our meals came accompanied with a cornbread muffin (not too sweet) that was the perfect complement to our perfectly seasoned food.

Without a doubt, Southern Café would be an impressive and affordable choice to bring your family and friends to for an over the top satisfying and tasty meal.

Next time you visit Cleveland or if you are a local neighbor, a visit to Lakewood  to visit these two establishments is definitely a must!

 

 

 

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