Where will the road take YOU?

Destination Diaries

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By Angela Ash

Part of the Great Lakes Region, Cleveland is located right on the banks of Lake Erie in Northern Ohio.  This city is a complete destination... full of anything and everything that makes a vacation or getaway something to remember.  Home to world reknowned museums, infamous sports teams, and Ohio's FIRST casino, this is a city for the bucket list!

As with any travel planning, we all know that the number one thing to do is to secure that perfect hotel.  And guess what?  We already did the legwork for you!

cleveland hotel


So it is official.  I have a brand new, favorite hotel.  I would like to add that I do not alter my vault of "favorite things" that often.  I am somewhat a creature of habit, but this time I have no choice.  The Holiday Inn Express in downtown Cleveland has made the list... right above raindrops on roses. 

A lot of people say that location is everything. If this is true, then this property wins every accolade imaginable.  Situated close to Horseshoe Casino, Quicken Loans Arena, the Cleveland Browns Stadium, Cleveland Indians’ Progressive Field, and the magnificent Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum, visitng your favorite attraction or taking part of the sports and gaming action is a breeze!  If flying in, the airport is about 25 minutes away, and the public transportation system in Cleveland is cheap, clean, and easily accessible...  just steps from the Holiday Inn Express. Imagine that!

And at the end of a long day exploring, what could be better than relaxing in a jacuzzi suite?  The rooms at the Holiday Inn Express are newly renovated, and they are truly nothing short of spectacular.  The oversized windows offer beautiful views of the city and the lake, situated beautifully between 13 foot ceilings and shiny wooden floors.  The bed is like a cloud, and adding to the overall "cozy" factor is the super comfortable chair... perfect for reading or surfing on the FREE high speed internet.  

If things could possibly get any better... they do. Complimentary hot breakfast is also served, and if you've overdone it a bit, just head off to the 24 hour fitness center. 

If you are anywhere near Cleveland, make the Holiday Inn Express Downtown your temporary home.  Keep in mind that Cedar Point is also not a bad drive, so this property will make a great center base for all of your excursions. 

Visit online for more information, or to book your next adventure!

And now that we've officially mentioned Cedar Point, I am having a serious issue with self control!

cleveland gatekeper


So I will bow my head in shame and announce that I have never before been to Cedar Point.  I know this seems impossible, and probably even a bit un-American, but it is true. It has, however, been the subject of many dreams, typically ending with that long climb up a steep hill and then... yes, I wake up.  No amount of dreaming or planning could have ever prepared me for the absolute magnificence of Cedar Point.  Let me explain why.

First, I absolutely love roller coasters. And what I love even more than roller coasters is that first ride. That anticipation of the unknown should be bottled and sold on the black market. However, the worst possible thing is when that buildup leads to something bordering on mediocre. THIS, my friends, is why I am eternally in love with Cedar Point, because they could not even possibly begin to define mediocrity. The new Gatekeeper, which similar to its name should be tackled at the very entrance to the park, is a true phenomena. Forget about the fact that it is already breaking seven world records.  Climbing 170 feet, it is the tallest, fastest, and longest wing roller coaster.  Yup... she's a bit of an over-achiever.

And don't think that you have reached the pinnacle just yet. There's several more miles of unchartered tracks left to explore!

Millennium Force definitely rivals Gatekeeper for my favorite coaster.  It's either that 80 degree drop, or the speed in which you are whisked up the hill to plummet that has demanded a few trophies on its shelf.

I would also be remiss not to mention the Magnum XL-200. This is just the perfect coaster, and the ability to see Canada on a clear day while in its clutches is just showing off at this point. 

With a grand total of 17 roller coasters, Cedar Point has something for the enthusiast to the children... or the children at heart. And while it is known for its coasters, many other thrill and family rides await! 

The bottom line is that you just have to see it to believe it.  I know that I did! Visit online for more information on park hours, tickets, and rides and attractions.

Now as mentioned above, the beautiful Horseshoe Cleveland is ready to make your visit to Cleveland "lucky"!


The Horseshoe Cleveland Casino resides in the Higbee Building in Town City Center, right in the middle of the bustling downtown scene. Being Ohio's first casino means that it has to set the standard for gaming for the area, and Horseshoe Cleveland does this in leaps and bounds!

Boasting over 96,000 square feet of action, this casino knows how to bring the excitement. Everywhere you turn, reels are spinning, chips are clinking, and people are having a genuine good time.  There is truly something for everyone, whether you are a seasoned player, or a brand new gambler. The gaming options include 1,900 slot machines, 200 video poker options, nearly 90 table games... inclduing blackjack, roulette, and every form of poker imaginable. 

Wait... did someone say poker?  Horseshoe Cleveland boasts their very own World Series of Poker room, with all of the games that players just can't get enough of.  This room is always hopping with electricity, especially with promotions that include Splash the Pot and High Hand.  Aesthetically speaking, this is just a comfortable, luxurious room, with every ammenity afforded to ensure that the players feel welcome in an atmosphere that makes one forget that this isn't really Vegas. And in your car on the way to the casino?  Download the Bravo Poker Live app to your smart phone and see the table and gaming options currently available in the room.  In other words, hoping for a 30-60 stud game? Hop onto the app and see if there's a game going.  You can even see if there's a wait list.  Really... how cool is that?

This casino is simply beautiful.  There has been much attention to detail, and the effort has provided an elegant, spacious setting that provides the gambler with a satisfying atmosphere.  With an entirely smoke free atosphere, this is just wonderful for the non-smoking guests who want to enjoy their gaming experi3ence void of cigarettes and cigars.  But never fear, smokers, because Horseshoe Cleveland has not left you neglected.  Several smoking areas are available for your convenience.

And just when you think things couldn't get any better, hunger calls and you stumble upon a piece of paradise... otherwise known as the food court.

I hate to even call this a "food court", because it depicts visual images of fast food and shopping mall eateries. This is a mecca to tantalize your tastebuds.  So let's get started! 

cleveland burger

How I wish that this image could be scratch and sniff, because it is almost impossible to describe the burger oasis that is B Spot. Calling Cleveland home, Iron Chef's Michael Symon knows what Ohio expects from a burger eatery... and then some. Offering up burgers topped with everything from salami to sunny side eggs, they still manage to throw out brats, beers, shakes, and the best fries and onion rings that I have ever tasted. 

While served up in a timely fashion, the quality of the food is amazing, and beckons the diner to come back... trying every burger variety imaginable.  You can view the B Spot menu HERE to begin building the burger of your dreams!



Another exciting eatery within the Horseshoe Cleveland Casino can tempt any palate... especially those with an Italian flair, is the acclaimed Rosie & Rocco's.

A Cleveland native, Rocco Whalen, offers up delectable, comfort food, with favorites such as handmade pasta dishes, fresh pizzas, meatballs, and desserts that will make that diet a distant memory. The pizzas offer a wide variety of toppings, with a perfectly baked crust, and the pasta selections are lare portions made with the best ingredients.

Also a part of the food court at Horseshoe, the seating area is spacious, and you can literally smell the tantalizing aromas from the gaming area. A meal at Rosie & Rocco's is like hitting a jackpot... well, almost.

 cleveland stuffed pepers

On the lower level of the Horseshoe Cleveland spans 12,000 square feet of the most delicious items to hit any casino in ages. The Spread Buffet serves up breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even a Sunday brunch, always bringing patrons back for more.

Steven Varga leads a group of Ohio chefs at this 400 seat eatery, conisitently producing food for specialty stations including:  fresh salads, pastries, Italian, American, and Asian offerings. Special areas include carving and rotisserie stations, as well as a gelatto wheel to curb any sweet tooth.

While offering the typical huge platters of meats, pastas, and vegetables, this buffet also presents specialty, small plate items that definitely give the Spread an "A" for food presentation.

cleveland brownies

The Spread Buffet can be accessed conveniently through the casino, or via the base floor of Tower City Center.

And if you still feel a need for something a little different, the Horseshoe Cleveland also offers a Cork & Lenny's, Cleveland's favorite deli!  They have been around for over 50 years, and they have perfected the piled-high sandwich. 

If you are looking for a gambling getaway, Horseshoe Cleveland is the spot for you. With great food, fantastic promotions, and a convenient location right in downtown Cleveland, it can't be beat. 



Now, Cleveland offers some of the best museum and cultural experiences in the world. I am a lover of everything and anything musically related. From metal to showtunes, I am borderline obsessed with it all.  So, I am a bit ashamed to admit that I have never been to the glorious Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. As with many other things in Cleveland, this will be a first. 

I honestly did not know what to originally expect, and it honestly would not have done any good, because there is no preparation for something of this magnitude.  You just have to buckle in and get ready for the ride.

The museum fills an entire seven floors, and it includes four theaters and countless multi-sensory experiences.  One of the nicest things about the layout is that it is possible to chronologically follow the tale that rock and roll weaves with each note... sampling cds from artists that were rock and roll before it even had a name, to reveling in the majesty of the Rolling Stones, one of this year's inductees.

The artifacts in this museum are staggering... ranging from Rage Against the Machine's original touring van, Johnny Cash's bus, and clothing, handwritten lyrics, and enough photographs to fill thousands of scrapbooks. 

One could easily spend an entire day here, reliving history as it affects us the most passionately... with song.

 cleveland science

I have one last confession to make.  I am a little bit of a nerd. I know, I had you fooled with all of the rock and roll talk, but it's true.  But you don't have to be your class valeditctorian to love the Great Lakes Science Center. This is a place for learning, sharing, expression, and tons of fun!

The science center offers hundreds of the best kind of exhibits. Yes, those would be hands-on.  They are so much better than the ones that come with a "do not touch" sign.  With this premise in mind, prepare to climb a Martian landscape, stick your hand into the middle of a tornado, peek inside the Skylab 3 Apollo Command Module, and play in a funhouse.

If this weren't enough, the center also offers several additional offerings, including an OMNIMAX Theater, a steamship built in 1925, and a traveling Titanic exhibit. 

Located right next tot he Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, you could easily visit both and make it a day!

Cleveland makes a fantastic getaway for any occasion.  With a city that offers gaming, world class museums, nearby amusement parks, and the beautiful Lake Erie shores... you don't even need an excuse to go.  Just pack your bags and hit the open road.  You never know what might be waiting.