The Forbidden Neighbor

By: Amanda Narcisi

There is this well-known rivalry between Pittsburgh and Cleveland. It goes from football to baseball and into how the city grows and how each city is different. Funny thing is the cities can learn from one another and are more similar as you think you know.

We only met one person who wasn’t friendly when we were out walking in Cleveland and honestly he took one look at Steve’s Steelers hat and tuned out anything he said after that; he was selling us a bottle of wine. The rest of the city was friendly and offered suggestions on where to go and what to see and see since the second we reached valet at the hotel. One group of guys even wished us Happy Thanksgiving as we crossed a street downtown.

The city is similar in their love of sports. In Pittsburgh if you go out during a game (especially during a playoff berth) the city and surrounding areas can be dead. The same was true in Cleveland on the night before Thanksgiving when we found out the Cavs were playing. No one was out as we walked from our hotel to the restaurant. After we went to a cocktail lounge and it was dead; possibly about 10 patrons, until the game was over and then it was standing room only. It was that way all the way down 3rd street a popular street in Cleveland that no traffic was allowed on, except to walk and it was all bars and restaurants.

Pittsburgh needs one thing Cleveland has: The downtown shopping. Tower City is an indoor mall that also has the trolley and train station in the basement. There is a food court and regular shopping like clothes and specialty gifts. Tower City also is connected to Jacks, the casino which was like any other casino. If you also want to know what Jacks and Tower City is famous for: A Christmas Story. Remember the Higbee windows in the one part of the movie? Tower City used to house Higbee Toy Store and still has elaborately done windows and one highlights A Christmas Story. We need a downtown mall, something more than Fifth Ave Place. In addition to Tower City there are two walk through arcades; coincidentally named Fifth Street Arcades, that have small storefronts that house small businesses. We visited a local kilt maker. He explained that during Cleveland’s version of Light-Up Night the shop owners have small tables out front and other vendors come in and the arcade is packed with people shopping.

We got sneak peek of their holiday celebrations as they were testing them. Cleveland has a celebration like Light-Up Night that was scheduled to happen the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

We were fortunate to stay at The Marriott at Key Center. It was in walking distance to Tower City, The Browns Stadium, Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame and other museums. The room was spacious and comfortable and there was a restaurant and bar down in the lobby. There is also a fitness center with pool and sauna on the fourth floor.

The restaurant and cocktail lounge we went to for dinner and after drinks deserves its own piece, however I want to talk about Colossal Cupcakes. During our walk around to see the downtown area we came to Colossal Cupcakes on Euclid Ave. The entire shop is pink and fun and their cakes are no joke! I was reminded of the cupcakes in NYC and they were the size of a fist. With fun flavors like Watermelon and Dirt there is something for everyone. They do deliver local and recently partnered with Uber for food drop off on promotional days.

If you want a nice short trip away or Cleveland is on your list of travel for a concert or sporting event there are a ton of things to do and see. Check out for events and local fun.