Best Of 2015

Lakewood Skate Park has the honorary distinction of being the area's first skate park, and according to you, it's still the best. It might have taken years of wrangling, fundraising, and fighting with city council to get it approved, but since construction finished, it bore out none of the worries of unruly teenagers and problems that opponents had predicted. Instead, it's a safe and friendly spot for families and teens and a draw for skaters all over the county.

14530 Lake Ave., Lakewood,

Sports & Recreation

Sports & Recreation

Listen, we love Mahall's. We love the alleys and the food and the beer and the friendly owners and the shows. But it's possible to love more than one bowling alley, and though Cleveland's bowling heydays are far behind us, there are still plenty of corner alleys out there that deserve your love and attention. Our choice: Dickey's on West 25th. You've probably driven by a million times and never once believed that the business was still operating, which is part of what makes Dickey's such a hidden gem. It's DIY scoring here, and the pinsetters aren't completely reliable, but the beer and bowling are cheap and you can bring in your own food. Call ahead to check on league times.

3275 West 25th St., 216-741-9774

A Class A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians, the Lake County Captains began playing at what was then known as Eastlake Stadium shortly after it opened in 2003. The ballpark, which seats about 7,200, has a real intimate feel (and is family friendly). It's also played host to several rock concerts: Bob Dylan has performed there on two occasions. Despite winning a Midwest League Championship in 2010, the team has had losing records each season since. But the games are still good fun.

After emerging from another interminable North Shore winter, the only thing we want to do is get outside and play. We're blessed locally with some of the finest big-city parkland in the country, so what are you waiting for? Up near Westlake and Lakewood, the Rocky River Reservation features winding hiking trails, golf courses and plenty of river activities: standup paddling, anyone?

24000 Valley Pkwy., North Olmsted, 440-734-6660

When the Zen mood strikes, head to Cleveland Yoga, conveniently located in both Uptown and Beachwood. Here, you'll find everything from beginners' classes like Power Yoga Basics —where the moves are easy but the workout is tough — to more advanced Hot Yoga sessions, as well as private lessons, workshops, and even massage appointments. Afterwards, refuel with a nutrient-dense snack from Anna in the Raw, which is available for purchase in the Beachwood boutique.

Ever since the Cleveland Metroparks took over this slice of Lake Erie shoreline, the place has really developed into majesty. It's clean, it's green and there are plenty of spots to lay out or run around. Along with some of the best vistas for you budding Instagrammers, Edgewater boasts the finest midday escapes from life in the big city.

6500 Cleveland Memorial Shoreway, 440-331-8111

So you haven't quite got the nest egg built for the boat yet, and you're more of an active sort of person anyway, so sitting back with a lukewarm domestic lager really isn't your idea of fun anyway. You've been kayaking and canoeing. What now? Standup paddling, that's what. SUP Cleveland, based out of Edgewater, offers classes and rentals as well as get-togethers every Thursday during the summer. It's easier than it looks, which isn't to say it's not physically demanding. But you should have to work a little bit to get out on Lake Erie far enough to really enjoy the view of the city behind you.


It might not look like much as you fly by on Valley Parkway, but it's exactly what our furry friends want and need: an area to run around and mingle with their pals. More than anything, Lakewood Dog Park has come to harbor a really great community of pups and their owners. It's a staple for anyone who likes getting outside with their dog and meeting those who enjoy the same.

1699 Valley Pkwy., Lakewood,

As much as you might say that you're tired of hearing about LeBron, the numbers tell a different story. You, or someone very much like you, can't stop reading about all things LeBron. Which is fine. He's the King! We love the guy. And besides the on-the-court stuff, we want to know about his movies, his charities, his family, his friends, his hairline, and his political beliefs. Where oh where to find such unique information? Yes, everyone covers the King, but no one covers it with as much fun and knowledge as FSO's Zac Jackson, who not only is the master of all things LeBron but also boasts an uncanny historic sense of Akron, which means he can connect the dots and put LeBron in proper perspective for you while all the other reporters are busy transcribing the King's press conferences in a flurry of useless tweets.,

A little more than a year ago, the fine folks at Iggy's totally redid the place — new lights, new stage, new everything. It still retains its dive-y charm, but now the three pool tables in the one room fill out nicely as one of the best spots in the region to shoot a game or two. It's a tight-knit place with a real sense of community. Grab yourself a whiskey neat, toss some Dead on the jukebox and rack 'em up.

13405 Madison Ave., Lakewood 216-472-4449.

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