Home for the Holidays: A guide to Cleveland must-sees for visitors

By Laura DeMarco, The Plain Dealer 

Where do you take out of towners first when they visit Cleveland? Share your first stops in the comments below!

 -1c75850bb2a0a840Clevelanders move away. A lot. But we usually come back – from college, for the holidays, to see family, to see what’s new, sometimes even to stay.

And when we come back, we often bring people with us: roommates, spouses, friends, kids.

I’m one of the locals who never left – I even went to college in town – so I’ve played tour guide for more than a few returning friends and family. They’re always impressed by what they see: This is Cleveland? Oh yes!

There’s so much to show, from the beloved classic spots that have defined us to the chic new eateries that are redefining the city. Even better are the many venues that blend the old and new in a way that is quintessentially Cleveland.

With winter break and Christmas just around the corner, I’m prepping to play tour guide again. Here are some must-sees on my list.

I’ve looked beyond obvious choices like the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, Tower City and the Cleveland Museum of Art – all worth a visit, of course – to the neighborhoods and places that define our city, yesterday, today and tomorrow.

Pay homage to Classic Cleveland

Sterle‘s Country House, 1401 East 55th St., Cleveland, 216-881-4181, sterlescountryhouse.com: Old World meets new at the revamped Sterle’s, where diners will find an expanded import and craft beer selection; an expanded musical menu that adds in alt-polka to the variety; and an expanded food menu that features schnitzel baskets and even a few – gasp! – vegetarian options. But the paprikash and chicken soup remain the same at the nearly 60-year-old favorite, phew! On Sunday, Dec. 22 Sterle’s will host breakfast with Santa at 11:30 a.m.