5 Best Things to Do in Little Italy, Cleveland
Whether you’re new to the Cleveland area or a lifelong resident of The Forest City, there’s plenty to explore in our dynamic city. If you’ve never been to Cleveland’s Little Italy neighborhood, you’re in for a treat. From breathtaking historical landmarks to delicious plates of pasta, you’ll find plenty of culture in this urban enclave. To help you get the most out of your trip to Little Italy, we’ve put together a guide to five of the best things to do in Little Italy in Cleveland from morning until evening.
Browse Murray Hill Market
Start the day off with a trip to Murray Hill Market, a charming neighborhood grocer that transports you back to a simpler time. This vintage-inspired market carries all kinds of specialty merchandise, from delicious Italian goods to quirky local brands, such as On the Rise Bakery, Old Brooklyn Mustards, Kaffee Bitte, and Mount Granita Italian Ice. Explore the aisles and pick up a few fun nonperishable items you can keep in the trunk of your new car, like a bottle of vineyard wine or a bottle of top-notch olive oil.
Murray Hill Market isn’t just a grocery store. It’s also a cafe, and you’ll need some fuel to carry you from one end of Little Italy to another. Grab a lox bagel topped with cream cheese, capers, onions, and tomato, or a breakfast sandwich with eggs, cheese, and veggies. For some extra protein, opt for the fully loaded breakfast sandwich, which comes with your choice of meat. Choose a taste of Italy, pancetta, which is savory Italian bacon that goes great on pasta, sandwiches, or soups.
Explore The Italian American History Museum of Cleveland
If you’re exploring Little Italy, you might be curious how Italian-Americans have influenced the culture of Cleveland. For an educational afternoon that will shed an interesting light on the rest of your day’s activities, visit The Italian American History Museum of Cleveland. This small but informative local museum partners with the Western Reserve Historical Society to showcase Italian history, examine how Italians shape Ohio, and preserve the legacy of this dynamic cultural group.
The museum’s current exhibit is “Faith Family Ambition: The Italian Americans of Northeast Ohio”. Using photographs, displays, historical items, and more, the exhibit explores the migration of Italians to the Cleveland area in the late 19th century and confronts harmful stereotypes about Italian-Americans. In the summer, you can visit the museum for a guided walking tour of the Little Italy district, and if you’re looking to learn more about Italian history from the comfort of your own home, you can participate in the museum’s educational webinars.
Visit the James A. Garfield Memorial
Head to the Lake View Cemetery to visit the James A. Garfield Memorial, a visually stunning tribute to the former president, combing art, architecture, and history. A 180-foot tower encapsulates the former president’s casket with an ornately painted ceiling, stained glass windows, and a statue of Garfield. Surrounding the tower are over 100 full-size sculptures that tell the story of Garfield’s life. The memorial also honors Garfield’s family, with caskets beneath the tower for both him and his wife and urns celebrating the lives of his daughter and son-in-law.
As beautiful as the memorial is from the inside, the sights don’t stop there. You can climb the stairs to the tower’s balcony and look out onto Lake Erie and the Cleveland skyline. The Garfield Memorial is a great afternoon activity for a history buff, art fanatic, or anyone who wants to appreciate Cleveland from a whole new perspective.
Enjoy the Outdoors at Tony Brush Park
If you’re looking for a family-friendly spot where kids can get their energy out and adults can get some fresh air, plan to take a break at Tony Brush Park. Named for a famous boxer from Cleveland’s Little Italy neighborhood, Tony Brush Park is a great place for the whole family to get a little exercise. Start with a quick pickup game on the basketball court or a few laps around the baseball diamond.
Next, you can let your youngest family members run free on the playground, which features slides, swings, and structures to climb. Safety is key here, too. There are plenty of benches nearby, so they never have to leave your sight. Once everyone’s worn out, put a picnic blanket down under the gazebo and wind down with a snack. Full of green grass and sunshine, Tony Brush Park is a perfect place to spend an afternoon with loved ones.
Eat Dinner at Guarino’s
After a long day spent exploring some of the most historic parts of Cleveland, it’s only fitting to end the day with a meal at Cleveland’s oldest restaurant. Enjoy some of the best Italian-American cuisine in the area at Guarino’s, a local favorite that’s been serving Cleveland since 1918. Known for reasonable prices and hospitable service, Guarino’s offers favorites like Linguini & Clam Sauce, Fettuccine Alfredo, and Gnocchi Pesto.
There’s nothing like spring in Cleveland, and Guarino’s takes full advantage of the mild evenings with outdoor dining. Celebrate the return of warmer temperatures, book a table in the restaurant’s picturesque garden, and dine al fresco. Some evenings, local musicians play live music, scoring your dinner with a peaceful soundtrack. With classic dishes, friendly service, and plenty of elegant ambiance, Guarino’s is a great local spot for date night or a celebratory family dinner.
That wraps up Honda of Cleveland Heights’ list of the best things to do in Little Italy, Cleveland. If you know of a great way to spend an afternoon with friends or family in Little Italy, reach out to us and we’ll add it to the list. If you’re looking for a new car to explore Cleveland’s historic neighborhoods in, our team at Honda of Cleveland Heights is eager to help you find the right vehicle for your lifestyle. Plus, we offer flexible financing and regular specials to help you find a dependable new vehicle that fits your budget.