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People & Places

Best of Cleveland 2011: People & Places 

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Best Website

Perhaps this one's just the tiniest bit rigged, given that you can't even vote without a visit to our humble site ... but we'll shamelessly pocket this trophy anyway. Thank you for helping us grow an online community devoted to exalting the wild, weird, and wonderful world of Northeast Ohio. We love you, Cleveland; thanks for loving us back.

Visit us at, and follow the foolishness via Facebook and Twitter

Best Playground for Kids

Lakewood Park

In a city where your neighbors reside almost as close as your own family, it's all the more important that kids get ample acreage to run. Expansive Lakewood Park, perched on a bluff overlooking Lake Erie in the center of town, is a wonderland of kid enticements, from the wooden playground with the pirate ship, to the region's best Skate Park, to the regular family-friendly parties, concerts, and movies that take place during summer weekends and evenings.

14532 Lake Ave., Lakewood;


Best Playground for Grown-Ups

Dave & Buster's

It looks, sounds, and smells like Vegas, but this nationwide arcade and restaurant is way more fun. When's the last time you played Donkey Kong at the Bellagio? There are plenty of games that reward your skills with tickets that can be redeemed for everything from plastic snakes to video-game consoles. But we prefer sitting behind the wheel of the racing sims with a big ol' mug of beer in our hands, because this is all about escape.

25735 First St., Westlake; 440-892-1415;

Best Bartender

Jeremy Bloom at the Nauti Mermaid

"We're like your neighborhood bar down on the corner, but we're in a downtown setting that you'll want to come back to." So says God's gift to liquor slingers, 30-year-old Jeremy Bloom, who has tended bar at the Nauti Mermaid since 2004. An advertisting student at Cleveland State, Jeremy holds down Thursday nights and weekends at the Warehouse District pub — but the workload could go up or down, depending on what happens after his graduation this spring. As for Jeremy's secret to winning your heart? "I'm willing to take care of somebody, you know — make them want to come back."

1378 West Sixth St.; 216-771-6175;

Best Inn, B&B, or Guest House

Glidden House

If your night away from home is all about extravagance, Glidden House is the place you want to be. A 1910 brick mansion in the heart of University Circle, the inn devotes its days to pampering guests visiting Case Western Reserve and other walkable institutions — but it also excels in special-occasion package deals and weddings, complete with an abundance of striking locales for photography. Essential to the Glidden House experience is a meal at Sergio's, the European-style restaurant that makes its home in the former Glidden carriage house.

1901 Ford Dr.; 216-231-8900;

Best Place to Be Seen

West Sixth Street

There are other districts that vie for attention, but the beautiful people — and those looking for them — still congregate in the heart of the Warehouse District. With an eclectic roster of clubs, including Velvet Dog and Barleyhouse, and urbane restaurants like Metro and Sushi Rock, West Sixth is a gallery of Cleveland's finest from happy hour through closing time.

Between Superior and Lakeside Aves. downtown;

Best Filmmaker

Wes Craven

An icon among modern horror filmmakers, Wes Craven has been turning stomachs since the early 1970s and churning out several bona fide classics of the genre in A Nightmare on Elm Street and Scream. Though derided for their endless supply of sequels, the Cleveland native's best movies have proven to be more influential on popular culture — and young filmmakers — than anything made by his contemporaries. And as his career careens into its fifth decade, Craven is still cranking out the gore: Scream 4 lands in theaters in mid-April.

Best Place to Hold a Wedding

Windows on the River

Since 1990, this full-service events company has been a mainstay of the Powerhouse on the Flats' West Bank. Each of its banquet rooms — dubbed City View and Bridge View — offer gorgeous views of downtown and together can accommodate up to 1,000 guests. The arrival of Cleveland's aquarium on the first floor will only raise the profile of this prime spot for swapping nuptials.

2000 Sycamore St. in the Powerhouse; 216-861-1445;

Best Blog

The mission statement at Christopher Busta-Peck's blog says all you need to know: "We believe that the best way for Cleveland to move into the future is to engage with the past. Let us be your guide to those local people, places, and events that made Cleveland and Northeast Ohio unique." Through archival research and photography, Clevelandareahistory pauses for reflection on the dormant structures — and their stories — we pass each day without spending a moment of thought; in this way, the history that's so often silenced finally gets a voice of its own. As Cleveland plows forward into its post-industrial age, this is a fitting, living tribute to the people who got us this far.

Best College or University

Case Western Reserve

World-class education in a setting straight out of a collegiate fairytale? It's no wonder Case tops all challengers when it comes to area institutions of higher learning. Internationally renowned for its programs ranging from medicine to business to law, Case preps its students for prosperity and immerses them along the way in a setting steeped in cultural riches.

10900 Euclid Ave.; 216-368-2000;

Best Cemetery

Lake View Cemetery

The self-styled "Outdoor Museum and Arboretum" near Little Italy is also the final resting place of James A. Garfield, John D. Rockefeller, and Eliot Ness. It could be your final resting place too: more than 70 undeveloped acres remain, enough to plant former folks for another century.

12316 Euclid Ave.; 216-421-2665;

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