While visiting family in Ohio this summer, I took a slight detour and opted to visit Cleveland for a few nights. With the help and support of Cleveland Tourism, I was able to enjoy a quick trip to the Cleve. Here’s a brief photo tour of my weekend in Cleveland!

I started my short stay in Cleveland with a late-afternoon aperitivo at the Ritz-Carlton. Happy hour included some delicious appetizers but the real highlight was the cocktail menu. The Cleveland Ritz offers “Rocktails” — cocktails inspired by hit songs from each year the hotel doors have been open. I, of course, went with the Lady Gaga cocktail!

During the cocktail happy hour, I also learned a bit more about the Gay Games which will take place in Cleveland in 2014. I couldn’t believe that Cleveland beat out other USA cities such as Boston. This was my first hint that Cleveland might be more hip than it seems.

Since I was already going strong on the drinking, I kept it going the rest of the night. I took a brief tour through Cleveland’s Tremont neighborhood which is the Williamsburg-equivalent. Lots of yuppie professionals, artists and hipsters. A short drive from Tremont is the Ohio City district—where all the beer bars are. I visited the newest one on the block: Nano Brew. I was intrigued by their very hipster logo!

The next morning, after a very hearty breakfast at Latitude 41, I decided to put on my tourist shoes. The first stop, the West Side Market, is one of Cleveland’s National Historic Landmarks. But it’s probably most famous for its pierogi and falafel stands! Priorities.

After my walk through the Ohio City district, I went straight for Cleveland’s most popular tourist destination: the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. I didn’t expect to like the museum as much as I did—they literally have everything inside from glittery jackets to listening stations. And even Elvis Presley’s old car.

Getting a bit restless on my weekend tour through Cleveland, I left the museum after a few hours and wandered around the downtown area. It was a pretty quiet city for a weekday afternoon, but there was plenty of public art. And even a food truck festival.

Eventually I made my way to the Cleveland Museum of Art. The museum is one of the only museums in the USA to offer free admission to its permanent collection, so I wandered through the air-conditioned building for a while. Spotted a few Warhols before leaving.

The museum is in the popular University Circle—not far from the city’s “cultural gardens.” The park has different monuments and areas celebrating Cleveland’s ethnic diversity. I spotted a lot of Eastern European ethnicities, which probably explains why I had so many pierogies.

Continuing my quest for ethnic food in Cleveland, I decided to try a quintessentially American delicacy—the grilled cheese sandwich. In Cleveland, the Melt Bar & Grilled offers way too many varieties of the American classic to count (mine had pierogies on it, obviously). It’s an insanely popular restaurant and bar. The food was pretty good but it was over the top and incredibly unhealthy.

I ended my weekend in Cleveland with a visit to one of the city’s gay bars: Twist Social Club. It was nothing special, and kind of dead for 11pm. But I’m told it’s most more popular on other nights. Still, it was a slightly older crowd, but their outdoor patio would’ve been much more comfortable on warm summer nights.