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Better city to visit Cleveland or Columbus?

BIRMINGHAM
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Better city to visit Cleveland or Columbus?

Hello I need your advice I am stoping at Pittsburgh with my mom and dad for 5 nights in September to a bit of sightseeing and maybe watching a baseball game there. After visiting Pittsburgh I want to visit Ohio for 5 nights but I am undersided where to go Cleveland or Columbus I need your help which city is better for sightseeing,shopping,food and maybe watching a live sport game?

I be very grateful for your help

Columbus, Ohio
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1. Re: Better city to visit Cleveland or Columbus?

If you've got five nights to devote, you could easily go to both cities. They're only about two hours apart. Maybe even throw in Cincinnati, which is an hour and a half drive from Columbus.

Between Columbus and Cleveland:

Cleveland's an older city with more history, so probably better for sightseeing, unless you're particularly interested in seeing the state capitol, Ohio State University campus, or the Columbus Zoo.

Shopping -- depends on what exactly you're interested in looking at, but I feel like Columbus may have a bit more (disclaimer: I live in Columbus, so I do a lot more shopping here than in Cleveland, and am probably not aware of all of the options up there)

Food -- Both cities have gotten a fair amount of attention of late for their dining scenes. As with shopping, I know Columbus better, and I think there are a lot of great dining options here, from fancy to trendy to hole-in-the-wall ethnic places. But I think Cleveland has lots of good options along those lines as well. Probably a wash between the cities.

Sports -- If you're a baseball fan, Cleveland will have major league games going on in September. Columbus has a really nice ballpark, but it is AAA ball (the farm team of the Cleveland Indians, in fact). If you could get tickets to an Ohio State football game in Columbus, that is quite an experience. I don't follow the NFL, so I'm not sure exactly when the Browns season starts, but if they're playing, that's an option in Cleveland. Late in September, the Columbus Blue Jackets (NHL) may have a preseason game, but those games aren't anything special. The Columbus Crew (Major League Soccer) would also be playing in September, and those games are fun.

Cleveland
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2. Re: Better city to visit Cleveland or Columbus?

Five nights is a long time in Pittsburgh, unless you're visiting family.

Of the three cities you're considering, Cleveland is by far the cultural center, if that's an interest. The Cleveland Museum of Art is one of the nation's best (especially when its famed Asian art collection is on display, which it is not at the moment due to expansion construction) and admission is free. The Cleveland Orchestra is one of the world's best and performs in Severance Hall, arguably the most beautiful concert hall in the U.S. Playhouse Square is the nation's second largest theater complex after Lincoln Center, and features three modern and uniquely intimate performance spaces in the Hanna, Allen and Second Stage Theatres. These three theaters are technically advanced theaters built within in the shells of beautiful classic vaudeville/movie palaces.

Cleveland has a downtown, full-service casino opening in a few months, in the old Higbee's building in Tower City. The Terminal Tower's observation deck showcases the view from what was North America's tallest building outside New York City for several decades and is open to visitors on weekend afternoons in September.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tower_City_Center

Pittsburgh has better museums than Columbus, the Pittsburgh Steelers, and what many believe is the best major league baseball stadium, although Cleveland's Progressive Field is very good.

Having said that, few sporting events can top attending a Buckeyes football game at Ohio Stadium. From the free Skull Session pre-game pep rally, to the other game rituals, all featuring TBDBITL, if you like sports don't miss any chance to attend an OSU home game. Tickets are normally tough to obtain, despite Ohio Stadium's 105,000 capacity, but September non-Big Ten tickets sometimes are much easier to purchase and more reasonably priced on websites such as stubhub.com.

I'm not certain about tailgating for Steelers games (I'm certain it is good), but the OSU and Cleveland Browns tailgating parties are awesome.

Downtown Cleveland is very compact and with much better mass transportation options, including rail and bus "rapid" lines and free bus trolley lines on weekdays during business hours, than Columbus. All major Cleveland sports venues are within at most 10-15 minute walks of most downtown locations.

The Columbus Zoo often is rated among the best in the nation, but many persons prefer the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, which features one of the nation's best Rainforest exhibits, one of the nation's largest (if not the largest) collections of primates, and reportedly the nation's best exhibit of African elephants. The Columbus Zoo has manatees and a small aquarium. Both are worth visiting and Pittsburgh also has a very good zoo and aquarium.

Cleveland has the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, the exquisite West Side Market, the extremely good U.S.S. Cod and Steamship Mather historic ships, and some of the best restaurants in the Great Lakes region, especially if you like meat and locavore creations. Having eaten widely in both cities, the culinary scene in Cleveland is a level beyond Columbus, as evidenced by the exceptional West Side Market.

The Holden Arboretum in Kirtland, about 30 minutes east of downtown Cleveland, is one of the largest and best in the U.S.

German Village in Columbus is an upscale historic residential district, with few equals in the U.S. and none in Ohio. It's very enjoyable to stroll with some excellent restaurants and Schiller Park, where you might catch a free play in September in its amphitheater.

Cleveland does have some great neighborhoods to visit, however, such as Coventry Village, Tremont, or even Shaker Square. The latter is a short rail ride from Tower City downtown and features IMO the Balaton, offering likely the best Hungarian food in Ohio. Sokolowski's in Tremont features traditional Polish ethnic food and is a favorite of Clevelanders, tourists and cable food networks.

cmhgourmand.com/2010/…

…nytimes.com/2009/09/20/travel/20hours.html

http://www.shakersquare.net/

With Graeter's (factory tour available in Columbus) and Jeni's, Columbus definitely has better ice cream than Cleveland!

Definitely plan to spend some time in Ohio Amish country, the largest Amish community in the world, centered around Walnut Creek in Holmes County. It's about two hours from all three cities. Check out Malabar Farm State Park, one of my personal favorites in Ohio, and just west of Ohio Amish country, but it's not everybody's cup of tea. It a mid-20th century Hollywood escape and pioneering center of sustainable agriculture set on some beautiful geography, featuring the Big House frozen in its mid-20th century splendor when it was the home of arguably America's greatest 20th century Renaissance man.

http://www.experience-ohio-amish-country.com/

http://www.bookthink.com/0078/78brom1.htm

Check out the Mohican State Park Lodge as an overnight stay near Malabar Farm.

Leading Ohio Amish country as Ohio's greatest tourist attraction is Cedar Point, one hour west of downtown Cleveland. If the roller coaster capital of the world is not your cup of tea, check out the Lake Erie islands, which should be less crowded during weekdays in September.

…chicagotribune.com/2009-08-30/travel/090827…

If you like history, Dayton is the aviation history mecca of the world. Visit Huffman Prairie Flying Field, where the Wright Brothers after Kitty Hawk risked their lives repeatedly and displayed their genius to develop the first airplane capable of controlled and reliably sustained flight. That plane, the Wright Flyer III, is lovingly housed at the very good Carillon Historical Park, where the excellent Wright exhibit is part of the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park, administered by the National Park Service.

Additionally, Dayton also is the home of the U.S. Air Force National Museum, the largest and oldest military air museum in the world. This superb museum has free admission and features a collection of presidential airplanes which visitors can walk through!

There are many fall festivals in Ohio in September, and the excellent Cleveland National Air Show on the lakefront on Labor Day weekend.

Definitely consider spending some of your time exploring more than just two cities. The travel distances are very manageable.

Enjoy your visit to the Buckeye state!

Edited: 17 January 2012, 19:42
Westerville, Ohio
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3. Re: Better city to visit Cleveland or Columbus?

Another consideration in this area, if you are an amusement park/roller coaster person is Cedar Point. Some will argue that Cedar Point is the coaster destination of North America. Cedar Point is 1.5 hours from Cleveland.

I agree that splitting 5 days between Cleveland and Columbus has merit.

If an Ohio State Football game is on during your visit, you'll find it a lifetime experience. Tickets for the early September games prior to student arrival offer 15,000 seats for sale to the public. The team has a new coach with a large following and these tickets will sell immediately. Your parents will have to monitor for you. If budget is no issue, you can always purchase an after market seat at a premium.

Cleveland, Ohio
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4. Re: Better city to visit Cleveland or Columbus?

Also, Cleveland's new aquarium opens this weekend:

http://greaterclevelandaquarium.com/

Cleveland
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5. Re: Better city to visit Cleveland or Columbus?

If shopping is an interest, Easton Town Center in Columbus is one of the great shopping meccas in the Midwest.

eastontowncenter.com/shopping/…default.aspx

However, the combination of Beachwood Place and the nearly adjacent Legacy Village in Greater Cleveland, both connected to Cleveland's downtown by RTA rail/bus connections, offer a similar shopping experience. In fact, Beachwood Place has both a Saks Fifth Avenue and an upscale Dillard's department store, the latter chain is not available in Columbus (Saks Fifth Avenue has a store at the Polaris Fashion Place in Columbus). Both Easton Town Center and Beachwood Place have a Nordstrom department store.

http://www.beachwoodplace.com/directory

http://www.legacy-village.com/Directory/

Polaris Fashion Place in Columbus:

http://www.polarisfashionplace.com/directory

Polaris has a Von Maur department store, an upscale 27-store chain headquartered in Iowa.

Hope this helps if you're interested in shopping.

Fort Collins...
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6. Re: Better city to visit Cleveland or Columbus?

In september, I'd definitely say Cleveland, you can take a short trip west and visit the Lake Erie Islands.

Super fun happy time

New York City, New...
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7. Re: Better city to visit Cleveland or Columbus?

Cleveland has the Rock hall of fame plus a lot of good places to visit and the water front and eating in downtown is just a walk away. The prices at restaurants and clubs are good.

In Columbus Ohio I got Robbed tying to get a cab plus they hit my wife with a there car no police around!!!!!

New York City, New...
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8. Re: Better city to visit Cleveland or Columbus?

Cleveland has the Rock hall of fame plus a lot of good places to visit and the water front and eating in downtown is just a walk away. The prices at restaurants and clubs are good.

In Columbus Ohio I got Robbed tying to get a cab plus they hit my wife with a there car no police around!!!!!

California City...
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9. Re: Better city to visit Cleveland or Columbus?

If you have 5 nights to spare then you can definitely divide between the two cities. Spend 3 nights in Cleveland and 2 nights in Columbus. Cleveland has lots of options for sightseeing. And as far as sports games are concerned, if you are interested in baseball then again Cleveland is better because there will be games going on September. The remaining two nights in Columbus can be spent easily as Columbus also is a nice city. For shopping both cities are good.

Cleveland
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10. Re: Better city to visit Cleveland or Columbus?

Being from Cleveland my opinion is going to be a bit weighted. Both cities are often overlooked as destinations and have a lot of good to offer.

Columbus has plenty of good. We have many friends down that way and they've shown us around. Sightseeing isnt bad. They've got a great science center. Not just for kids either. I'm 26 and can't wait to go back. Unfortunately, we haven't done much sightseeing in the area. So I can't be much more help in that area.

Shopping and food can both be done on the Short North. There is no shortage of small and large locally owned stores and restaurants. All within walking distance of each other. The Arena district is also close by. Fun restaurants and entertainment. Polaris shopping area is at the north end of the city. It's a massive mall surrounded by an endless supply of restaurants. Easton is on the east side of the city. It's an outdoor shopping and restaurant destination (that may be perfect for September).

The neat thing about Columbus is that is has the opposite sports teams as Cleveland. Columbus has a AAA baseball team (annually competitive and very good), and the Columbus Blue Jackets NHL team.

Cleveland on the other hand has Cavs, Browns, and Indians. In September, you'll be lucky enough to watch the Indians compete for the number 1 spot in the AL Central (that's right, we're winning it this year) as the season winds down. Progressive Field is a great place to watch a game too. Affordable seats and a great atmosphere. And for a really neat experience, catch Browns training camp, or a preseason game. Training camp is located in Berea, OH about 20 minutes south of the city. It's a great way to meet players and watch the team come together.

I have to give the food edge to Cleveland. There is a resurgence of new restaurants in the area. East 4th street downtown has a block full of unique restaurants and great atmosphere. Also look at the West 6th street corridor downtown. Many great places as well. Cleveland Hts. and the Coventry area (about 15 minutes east of downtown) are great communities to eat and be entertained for the evening. On the west side, the Gordon Arts district, Kamms Corners, W.25th in Ohio City, and Detroit Rd. in Lakewood offer great spots for dining and entertainment day and night.

If I had to pick one area to eat and entertain it would be W.25th in Ohio city. The West Side market is a great place to pick up unique foods and local produce, and some great desserts. On the same block is the Great Lakes Brewing Company. Great food. Simple as that. (and there's a ton more in the area).

Good shopping happens in the same areas as the restaurants and dining mentioned above. For an outdoor shopping experience (similar to Easton in Columbus), check out Crocker Park in Westlake, or Legacy Village in Beachwood.

Finally, I think sightseeing goes to Cleveland hands down. Cleveland has a lake, that's better enough already. There are a variety of beaches and piers to catch a bite to eat, walk, and enjoy the summer to fall transition on the lake. Science Center, Rock Hall, Terminal Tower observation deck, Art Museum (University Circle), History Museum, Botanical Gardens, and more.

I can't do the whole city of Cle justice, so here's a couple of links I always check out when I want to find a spot to eat or something to do:

http://www.clevelandmagazine.com

http://www.clevescene.com/

And I think it's very worth it to spend a day at the Shores and Islands out near Sandusky if its going to be a nice day. http://www.lake-erie.com/

Good luck, enjoy either way.