CLEVELAND — It can be easy to overlook some of Cleveland's main attractions.
As locals, we sometimes walk right through Public Square without taking the time to look around. We might go to the dive bar around the corner instead of venturing downtown to have dinner on E. 4th Street. We might avoid the downtown area altogether because we think we already know all it has to offer.
But this weekend is an opportunity to embrace our city and all of its attractions, big and small, familiar and undiscovered.
Destination Cleveland is challenging Clevelanders to "Be a tourist in your hometown" this weekend by launching a number of events across the city to encourage residents to discover their new favorite place. Several places are offering special discounts, tours and events to celebrate.
Destination Cleveland is also challenging locals to step outside their comfort zone. Hingetown residents may think West Side is the best side, but consider this weekend a challenge to cross the river. There will be challenges, prizes and special events as part of the East Side West Side Challenge to nudge you into unfamiliar territory. Learn more about it here.
Now, take a look at all the events and activities taking place to help you rediscover all the reasons why you love the 216.
Things to do:
Aretha Franklin Birthday Bash
Celebrate the queen of soul's birthday at Music Box as Detroit native Thornetta Davis pays tribute. Bring your East Side West Side Challenge book to receive food and drink discounts at the show. Get tickets here.
When: Saturday 8 p.m.
Where: Music Box, 1148 Main Ave., Cleveland
Chateau Hough vineyard tour
Did you know there's a vineyard in Cleveland's Hough neighborhood? Get a tour this Saturday, sample some wine and learn all about the vineyard's history for $15. Get tickets here.
When: Saturday 12-6 p.m.
Where: Chateau Hough, 1650 E. 66th St., Cleveland
Cleveland History Center tours
Get a free, guided tour of the Cleveland History Center with paid admission. Learn all about the stories, landmarks and artifacts that represent our great city during a tour of the Hay-McKinney Mansion or the Crawford Auto Aviation Museum on Friday. Learn more here.
When: Friday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. (check times on website)
Where: 10825 East Boulevard, Cleveland
Cleveland Independents Restaurant Week
Here's your chance to try some new food in the 216. Cleveland Independents Restaurant Week offers the opportunity to sample special menus from more than three-dozen restaurants. Most eateries offer three-course meals for $33. See the full list here.
When: March 18-30
Cleveland VA Medical Center tours
Take an hour-long tour of the VA Medical Center to learn about the organization's impact on the community. The free tour begins at 12:15 p.m. Friday and meets at the Information Desk. Learn more here.
When: Friday 12:15 p.m.
Where: Cleveland VA Medical Center, 10701 East Boulevard, Cleveland
East Side Kickoff Party
Head to the East Bank of the Flats for this kickoff party before you begin your weekend of touristy activities. You'll find free entertainment from Graffiti Heart, Cleveland bingo and food specials. Learn more here.
When: Thursday 5:30-9 p.m.
Where: Thirsty Dog, 1085 Old River Road, Cleveland
Historic Hotels tour
Even Cleveland's hotels are full of history, which you can learn about during a guided tour. The tour is divided into two parts, with the first half visiting:
- Drury Plaza
- The Hyatt Regency at the Arcade
- Holiday Inn Express
- The Metropolitan at The 9
Part 2 takes you to:
- Kimpton Schofield Hotel
- The Residence Inn by Marriott in the 5th Street Arcade
- The Renaissance Cleveland Hotel
When: Saturday -- Part 1 is 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Part 2 is 1:30 - 3 p.m.
Where: Drury Plaza, 1380 E. 6th St., Clevelan
Ingenuity Flow N' Go
Let your artistic side loose through movement at this free event. Attend the free yoga session, then stick around for the flowing artform session, which allows you to practice your favorite form of movement. Learn more here.
When: Friday 6-10 p.m.
Where: Ingenuity Labs at the Hamilton Collaborative, 5401 Hamilton Ave., Cleveland
Before you dive into your tourism adventures, head to this kick-off party to celebrate. The free event features live music from The First Offenders, and gives you a good reason to explore the West Bank of the Flats.
When: Thursday 7 p.m.
Where: Music Box Supper Club, 1148 Main Ave., Cleveland
Pickwick & Frolic tour
Did you know Cleveland's favorite place to laugh was once an opera house? Pickwick & Frolic, which houses a restaurant, martini bar and the Hilarities comedy club, is offering free guided tours and a chance to win tickets to an upcoming show.
Where: Pickwick & Frolic, 2035 E. 4th St., Cleveland
Playhouse Square tours
Get a free behind-the-scenes look at the iconic theaters of Playhouse Square. Guests will learn all about the five historic theaters and how they were nearly knocked to the ground. Tours last between an hour to 90 minutes. Register here.
When: Saturday 10 a.m.
Where: KeyBank State Theatre, 1519 Euclid Ave., Cleveland
Pro Football Hall of Fame: free insider tours
Canton's Pro Football Hall of Fame is offering special behind-the-scenes tours, meaning it's a chance to see some cool artifacts and exhibits on display. Tours are free, just pay general admission to get inside the Hall of Fame. Learn more here.
When: Wednesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Where: Pro Football Hall of Fame, 2121 George Halas Drive NW, Canton
Severance Hall: tours
Take a free tour of the iconic Severance Hall, home of the Cleveland Orchestra. You'll learn all about the beautiful, historic building and those who have passed through it. Register here.
When: Thursday 1 p.m., Friday 2 p.m.
Where: Severance Hall, 11001 Euclid Ave., Cleveland
Tai chi class
Take a free tai chi class inside the Asia Town Center thanks to OCA Greater Cleveland and the Bai Wei Herbal store. Once you learn all about the graceful form of exercise, explore the rest of the Asiatown neighborhood's shops and restaurants. Learn more here.
When: Sunday 3:30 p.m.
Where: Asia Town Center, 3820 Superior Ave., Cleveland
Trolley tours of Cleveland
There's a good chance you've seen a red and green lolly trolley throughout Cleveland, have you ever thought to take a ride? Fares will be discounted to $10 and $15 this weekend, so take advantage of the one-hour and 2 1/2-hour tours through Cleveland's neighborhoods. Learn more here.
When: Friday through Sunday
Where: 1101 Winslow Ave., Cleveland
Walking and tasting tour of Asiatown
Explore one of Cleveland's best cultural neighborhoods on a guided tour full of food samples. You'll visit Asiatown's gems, including the Asia Plaza, Li Wah and Koko Bakery. Buy tickets here.
When: Saturday 1-3 p.m.
Where: Asia Plaza, 2999 Payne Ave., Cleveland
Walking tours of downtown Cleveland
You can't truly see all the little things your city has to offer if you're whizzing past them inside a car or bus. Take a walking tour through Cleveland and learn about the Arcade, Playhouse Square, Trust Company building, Lake Erie and more. Save $5 with the code "BETOURIST19" here.
When: Wednesday through Sunday
Where: Public Square, Cleveland
Walking tours of University Circle
Head to the east side and see all that University Circle has to offer in a free, guided, 90-minute walking tour. Register here.
When: Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. and 11 a.m.
Where: Wade Oval, 10820 East Boulevard, Cleveland
Several area businesses are offering special discounts throughout the weekend. From wine tastings to free candy, check out the full list here.