Growing up on the east side of Cleveland, the city has always been there; but my want for exploring it has been lacking. I have always assumed Cleveland as a gray, dismal, and deserted city. Well, upon my most recent visit downtown it seems that not all the windows have been boarded up just yet. In fact, they may have only been boarded up in my mind. Several sweet spots in the city are alive and well and Cleveland is about to find itself again.
During an impromptu visit to the West Side Market we accidentally stumbled upon Ohio City. Even though I didn’t know about its existence until about a week ago, Ohio City is one of Cleveland’s oldest neighborhoods and has been boppin’ around since the 1830s. Built around the West Side Market, this little hub of happening is, well, happening. Welcome to Ohio City.
The West Side Market
I only have one memory of the West Side Market as a child- a giant, dead pig’s head. Well, pig’s heads are still there but I have definitely grown to appreciate the atmosphere, history, and family run operations that populate this European-style market. You can get your hands on all kinds of goodies including: meat- lots of meat, coffee, pastries, cookies, pork buns, even bones for your doggie. Nick picked up some spicy jerky. It’s already gone. Click here to to get your west side wonder on.
The Cleveland Hostel
A hostel in Cleveland? Wait. Really? Yes, really. Opened in 2012 by Ohioan Mark Raymond, this is the first hostel of its kind in the city. And what a great location it’s in. With the West Side Market just down the street for grocery shopping and a good number of restaurants for the nightlife thing, I’d say he nailed it. Maybe we’ll stay here next time we’re in town. See for yourself.
Ohio City Farm
Head down Bridge St. and you’ll find an old shipping container box at the corner of W. 24th. Painted purple- you can’t miss it. There’s an awning propped up so you can its insides boasting deliciously ripe produce. That’s just the beginning. Those vegetables are grown on a six-acre plot transformed in 2010 from some dormant land to a booming garden that overlooks the city. Many restaurants in the area are taking advantage of the fresh produce and the farmers from Ohio City Farm now have a stand in the West Side Market. Check it out!
The next time you find yourself traveling between NY and Chicago (or the other way around), consider stopping at the little hub of Ohio City. You may just find something you didn’t know you were looking for. What treasure did you find in Ohio City?