If you haven't already begun scoping out gifts for friends and family, rest easy, you are definitely not alone. There's still, thankfully, plenty of time to secure that special something for everyone on your list, and we're here, as always, to help make it as easy and painless as possible.
From sports to art, from fashion to food, from music to beer (of course), we've assembled a helpful, curated gift guide filled with delightful, affordable, unique choices sure to dazzle, and you get the benefit of supporting local makers, businesses and organizations at the same time. Get shopping', Cleveland.
For only $35, the film lover in your life can become a member of Cleveland's only true arthouse cinema. Housed in a glorious new theater at the Cleveland Institute of Art, the Cinematheque showcases a select slate of domestic indies, obscure foreign fare and film classics in new editions or refurbished formats. Members receive $2 off admission price and receive the famed low-tech Cinematheque quarterly schedules via the U.S. Postal Service. Membership also includes invitations to exclusive film events and the gratification of supporting adventurous filmmaking at a unique local institution.
11610 Euclid Ave., cia.edu/cinematheque
Climb Cleveland Pass
Rock climbing is the fitness trend du jour — by now, spinning and Crossfit are so passé — and as such, new climbing options are sprouting up all over town. For a long time, the Cleveland Rock Gym (out in Euclid) was the only venue that local climbers had for indoor bouldering and big wall practice. But with Climb Cleveland, a bouldering joint and yoga studio in Tremont, folks eager to diversify their exercise have a more centrally located option. A day pass at Climb Cleveland is $14, but a monthly pass, good for unlimited yoga classes and use of the bouldering walls, is $60, and well worth every penny.
2190 Professor Ave., climb-cleveland.com
'You Gotta Know Cleveland' Sports Trivia Game
If there's one thing we're all taught as children growing up in Cleveland, it's that you've gotta know your way around the Browns deplorable depths of failure and obscure Indians bullpen names if you want to get by. And if there's one thing we're all taught as adults, it's that trivia is awesome. Which means you just gotta get this game. As You Gotta Know's Brad Riter puts it: "Teams. Players. Coaches. Buildings. Moments. Traditions. Numbers and records. It's all in here. With 125 cards and 500 questions, it's good for hours and hours of play. Each card has a point value based on difficulty, for easy "race to 21" game play — or just ask the questions to your buddies while you're drinking beer." Pretty simple stuff. And fun! Find the game at 4th and Goal, Big Fun, C-Town Sports Cave, Cle Clothing Co., Erie Sports Store and Rally House.
Automatic Weapons: Young Lovers/Dystopian Future on vinyl
The new project from Ohio Sky's Vincent DiFranco and Michael Bashur will complement the impending wintertime chill sessions at home. It's a moody album, evoking the shifting emotions of youth and the drifting hope that we all feel. Check out the video for "Antenna," which captures the ethereal vibe of the album; it's more restrained at times than previous Ohio Sky material, and it gives the listener a chance to really revel in the space between the notes. DiFranco's voice is as strong as ever, and Bashur shows off some new approaches to chords and effects here. The vinyl will run you $20, and you'll want to be spinning a small part of Cleveland in your living room all winter.
Six-pack of Sibling Revelry Pecan Brown Ale and assorted merch
Listen: You know the drill by now. This is a craft beer town — a craft beer region — and you'd best be prepared when little Johnny and Susie come home from college. Double down on the goods and leave a nice sixer under the tree for them for Christmas. You're guaranteed to put a smile on their bleary faces on Christmas morning, which is about the time everyone's gonna want to start drinking anyway. Sibling Revelry's Pecan Brown Ale is a great wintry option; the Westlake brewery is a rising star on the scene. While you're there, pick up a trucker hat or a T-shirt in the Cavs' wine and gold colors. It's a win-win proposition.
29305 Clemens Rd., Westlake, siblingrevelrybrewing.com
A Copy of Believing in Cleveland
Author J. Mark Souther is a Cleveland State history professor whose new book, Believing in Cleveland: Managing Decline in the Best Location in the Nation, explores a topic that we're interested in here at Scene: how the region's leaders have used rhetoric and marketing to combat (and sometimes, accommodate) a shrinking city and its attendant woes. Souther's book, which can be purchased for about $28 at a number of local bookstores, is an ideal gift not only for the reader but the curious Clevelander in your life. Souther is also one of the hip young professors at CSU doing very important work that's getting national recognition. Help a pal better know the city and support local authorship in the process.
Cleveland Metroparks Centennial Coffee Table Book
The Cleveland Metroparks has come a very long way since its original 1917 conception at the hands of William Stinchcomb and a team of regional visionaries. It's a blessing, really, to have leaders willing to shepherd and grow this project across the course of 100 years. Things are different, and bigger, now: The Metroparks runs the lakefront park properties, like Edgewater, thankfully, and even a restaurant. There's a zip line in Strongsville. And still there are places you can go just to find some peace and communion. Are you a birdwatcher? Of course you are. The Metroparks has plenty of birds to watch. And there are birds and so much more in the Metroparks' 100-Year Trail Centennial coffee table book. It's 252 pages of fascination for any Northeast Ohioan who enjoys nature or Cleveland history. Go ahead and gift one for a cool $39.95.
Prometheus Project Tickets
By giving Prometheus Project tickets, you're telling the giftee they have plans for five days of next year. And while no one really enjoys having plans made for them, they're going to be okay with this one, because it's Beethoven. In celebration of its 100th season, the Cleveland Orchestra is taking on all nine beastly Beethoven symphonies over seven nights. From May 10 through 13, audiences will hear Symphony No. 1 through No. 8. Then everyone gets a break to regroup before coming back the next weekend, May 17 to 19, to enjoy a nightly run of Symphony No. 9 (the one you know as "Ode to Joy"). This is a huge commitment from audience and musicians alike, but this sort of opportunity doesn't come along often. Call the Severance Hall Box Office for all ticket pricing options at 216-231-1111.
11001 Euclid Ave., clevelandorchestra.com
A Upcycled Gem from Reincarnation America
Settled in its new Hartville home for just a few months, Reincarnation America's loyal customers are willing to follow them anywhere. It's not every day you find someone with Mike Boyd's eye for creatively repairing and refinishing furniture. Previously headquartered in Brimfield, Mike and his wife Ginger have offered pieces that reimagine what a thing can be since 2015. Vintage doors become chairs; old windows become part of a table. The shop even has a section full of door knobs, boxes, window frames and stacks of miscellaneous items perfect for your own creations. The new homey location offers all the same kind of items as before, as well as art classes, and is that much closer to Hartville Kitchen.
1138 West Maple St., Unit C, Hartville, reincarnationamerica.com
Jose! Jose! Coffee Blend
What better accompaniment for Hot Stove season than some hot coffee. While the Indians fan in your life continues to digest the end of the Tribe's fun but disappointing 2017 season and await spring training, they're going to need some energy. Which means: coffee. Jose Ramirez partnered with the Cleveland Coffee Company to craft his very own blend, and it makes a perfect stocking stuffer. The coffee, an earthy blend of Guatemalan and Colombian beans, tastes like sunshine in a cup, which is the closest thing to a July afternoon in the bleachers we're going to get for now. A bonus: You can feel great purchasing the Jose! Jose! blend, as portions of the proceeds benefit the Boys and Girls Club of Cleveland. Individual bags of the 12-oz. whole bean blend can be found while supplies last at most places where the 14-year-old company retails.
Cleveland artist Lauren Herzak-Bauman makes pottery you can use in real life. Her geometric creations are microwave, dishwasher and food safe, and bring a welcome whimsy to your home. One of her most imaginative items is a ring mountain, useful for holding jewelry as well as looking artfully cool on your shelf/dresser/bathroom sink. Produced individually in her Screw Factory studio in Lakewood, the silver or gold-capped item is perfect for those who frequently misplace their precious rings. Depending on how many "peaks" you'd like (two or four) cost varies from $36 to $60.
Visible Voice Books Loyalty Program Membership
After a three-year hiatus, Visible Voice Books reopened earlier this year in the former Komorowski Funeral Home building on Professor Avenue in Tremont. The store has added more magazines and literary gifts in addition to its vast selection of books. They also feature a rotating array of seasonal wines and craft beers, as well as locally made pastries from Sweet Tooth Confections, specialty teas and brew-in-house coffee from Gimme! Coffee. The loft-like space includes an area where the bookstore hosts everything from ukulele jam sessions to book readings. The store's "loyalty" card costs $25 per year. A subscription includes $10 off every $100 spent, one coffee or tea and pastry, or one glass of a featured wine or beer per month, as well as the opportunity to meet authors. It's a helluva good deal.
2258 Professor Ave., 216-961-0084, visiblevoicebooks.com
A Painting by the Sign Guy
Originally a graffiti artist, Tremont-based Dave Witzke shifted his attention to slightly more conventional artwork a few years ago. He now makes paintings under the moniker the "Sign Guy." Witzke, who created the murals on Prosperity Social Club's patio, sells his work at local businesses and festivals. He also paints superhero saltshakers, fire-breathing "Catzillas" and other bright cartoony creatures that often have a slightly mischievous (sometimes even malevolent) edge. And he does it all on repurposed materials and found objects. He doesn't update his Facebook site on a regular basis, so your best bet is to look for him at a local craft show or email him at [email protected].
A Copy of Lost Cleveland
Organized chronologically, Lost Cleveland, a new coffee table book featuring photos of old Cleveland institutions that no longer exist, includes photos from places such as Leo's Casino, the Hippodrome, Hough Bakery, Cleveland Municipal Stadium and Memphis Drive-In. Plain Dealer reporter Laura DeMarco did the painstaking research and wrote the copy that accompanies the vintage photos. The coffee table book chronicles the "iconic architecture, legendary events, and fascinating true tales behind a city that was one of the largest and most prosperous in America." With 65 entries and more than 200 photos, the 144-page hardcover book is a nostalgic blast from the past and perfect for the history nut in your life.
Dead Boys 1977: The Lost Photographs of Dave Treat
One of punk rock's most significant acts, the Dead Boys emerged from Cleveland in the late 1970s and would go on to achieve national (and even international) acclaim before quickly imploding. Photographer Dave Treat captured the band during that time period. Dead Boys 1977: The Lost Photographs of Dave Treat, edited and designed by locally based writer and graphic designer Ron Kretsch, chronicles the group's early days, which were documented but not widely enjoyed; many of the photos have never been seen by the public. The book is available locally at Visible Voice, Loop, Black Market, the Bookshop in Lakewood, My Mind's Eye, Weird Realms, Guide to Kulchur, Blue Arrow and Mac's Backs.
Stop by the Cleveland Museum of Art Gift Shop
An impressive exhibit at the Cleveland Museum of Art that even includes an American-made Rolls Royce — something you don't see every day — The Jazz Age: American Style in the 1920s represents the first major museum exhibition to focus on "American taste in art and design during the dynamic years of the 1920s and early 1930s," a time when the country became a leader in the global marketplace. To accompany the exhibit, the CMA gift shop has a number of related items for sale, including Jazz Age ties, pocket squares and "sparkly" jewelry, as well as a hardcover book that provides an overview of the exhibit.
11150 East Blvd., 216-421-8671, clevelandart.org.
Road Trippin' T-Shirt
Beloved former Cavaliers forward Richard Jefferson was traded at the end of training camp and ended up on the Denver Nuggets, but the podcast that he started with Cavaliers' sweet-shooting big man and close friend Channing Frye lives on. Road Trippin' is continuing in Cleveland with Frye, Fox Sports Ohio's Cavaliers' sideline reporter Allie Clifton, and the Spanish radio announcer Rafael Hernandez Brito, while Jefferson has started a knockoff pod for his new team. Homage, the Columbus-based apparel company, created a T-shirt — Richard vs. Channing, Pod on Pod — to christen the rivalry. Visit the Homage store at Crocker Park and pick one up today, or grab one online.
West Side Market Gift Card
A gift certificate is often considered the gift to get when you don't know what else to buy. A gift certificate to the West Side Market is quite the opposite: It's the perfect gift when you know exactly what to buy the food lover in your family, but it just so happens to be everything under the historic roof. Specialty items, fresh produce and meats, Steve's gyro, endless beef jerky, artisanal cheeses, spring rolls, the best fish in town, fresh bread and oh so very much more await. What says "I love you," better than "Hey, do this week's grocery shopping on me, with a view to boot"? Gift certificates can be purchased at most stalls.
A One-Year Subscription to the Athletic
We know: Why should you pay for journalism when so much can be found for free? Well, there's a ton of really bad writing out there, for starters, and journalism costs money. If you know someone who would want the best coverage of the Cavaliers, Browns, Indians, Blue Jackets and Ohio State, get them a subscription to the Athletic; they'll be grateful for it. Because the site's writers aren't working on deadline, they can write deeply reported articles you won't find elsewhere, whether it's Cavaliers' writer Jason Lloyd analyzing what actually caused the Kyrie Irving trade or Tribe reporter T.J. Zuppe examining how Trevor Bauer started throwing more curveballs and used advanced analytics to reach his full potential as a pitcher. It's a helluva lot better than Terry Pluto talkin' to himself for the 5,935th time in a row.
Cleveland Tote Bags
We're all a little more environmentally conscious these days, but that doesn't mean we don't need a reminder to stock up on reusable bags. And since they're going to be around for a while, those bags should be cool. Thanks to Snakes and Acey's, you can load up on tote bags for friends and family that fit that description. Offering Cle-centric designs like one reading "The Land Will Never Die," these affordable creations ($10) are perfect for lugging groceries, laptops, books and whatever else needs carrying around. Stop by Hannah and Anthony's brick and mortar store in Little Italy or check out their Etsy shop to peruse those and other works. (They even do custom printing, if you've got something particular in mind.) They print everything by hand, so rest assured you're getting a quality product done locally.
2015 Murray Hill Rd., snakesandaceys.com
'The Deck' by Cleveland Independents
When you deal your friends into this game ($29.95), they'll be treated to a full year of savings at the restaurants of their choosing. Unlike a traditional gift card, which is good only at the place it was purchased, the Deck features deals good at any of 49 independent Northeast Ohio restaurants. Pick a card — any card — and you'll get to shave $10 off any food purchase of $30 or more. The deck is stacked with all of your favorite places, new and classic, including Bac Asian American Bistro, Flying Fig, Tremont Taphouse, Jammy Buggars, Marotta's, Luxe Kitchen, Sarita, Pier W and many more. The cards don't just save you or the recipient money, they serve as a helpful resource when trying to pick a destination.
Stamped Pencils From Triple Threat Press
For the analog person in your life who still believes in writing things down — to-do lists, love notes, passive aggressive office signs — look no further than Triple Threat Press for the perfect set of pencils to keep them scribbling. The four-packs, offered with a variety of phrases — "Get to the fucking point," "Write that shit down," "Make something" — pair nicely with one of Triple Threat's other products — say, a notebook or custom greeting card. Everything's hand made by partners Dave Koen and Laura Drapac, a couple of Northeast Ohio natives who moved back from Texas a couple of years ago and set up shop in Slavic Village.
Christmas Ale Beer Soap
Love Christmas Ale so much you want to bathe in it? Welp, that's a reality thanks to Suds Brewing Company, a small, local artisanal soap outfit founded by two kids. Yes, two kids, Noah and Giles Foster. Made with Christmas Ale, almond oil, coconut oil, shea butter, nutmeg, allspice and rosewood essential oils, this bar is pure holiday magic. Check out their other soaps, like Lemongrass Oatmeal Spice, all reasonably priced, and ensure that your loved ones smell damn great in 2018.
Three-pack of spices from Fire Spice Company
Rather than scouring the spice aisle at two, three or four different grocery stores to stock up on a multitude of spices you need for a recipe, but may never use again, get them all in one place, custom mixed for the perfect aromatic blend. Doug Katz, the beloved chef and owner at Fire, offers a healthy roster of combinations online at Fire Spice Company. Get a three-pack for just $27 and pick from Vietnamese pho, Jamaican jerk chicken, Burmese yellow fish curry, Ethiopian spicy vegetable stew and others. The accompanying recipes are free on the website.
Ape Made Duffel Bag
The Land Don't Scare, and neither will you with the custom, hand-printed Ape Made duffel bag bearing that slogan. Featuring a variety of Cleveland-focused designs, Ape Made's products can be found at a couple of dozen local shops and boutiques, and online at their Etsy store. We're particularly fond of the duffel bag, since it's around that time when everyone makes a resolution to hit the gym more often. You'll probably be more inclined to follow through if you're toting around this gem (just $26.95) that you'll want to show off to all your friends and coworkers.
A Gem from Asia Plaza
After dim sum at Li Wah, do some last-minute stocking stuffer shopping at the gift shops of Asia Plaza. You'll never know what you'll find. Serving as the heart of Cleveland's Asiatown, the plaza has been furnishing locals with Asian food and retail for years. Jewelry, flowers, dresses, gifts, unique sauces and herbs abound. There's plenty to peruse, but check out the Asia Food Co. and Oh! Lala gift shop. (And while we hate to be so unoriginal, we rather doubt anyone would complain about a gift certificate to Li Wah. That dim sum really is Cleveland's best.) And if you're looking for a Holiday activity for family or friends, might we recommend the Galaxy Karaoke Bar around the corner on E. 30th? Private rooms start at just $40.
2999 Payne Ave., asiaplazacleveland.com
Everarbor is an outdoor lifestyle company located in Tremont that sells nifty outdoor apparel alongside fertilizer and landscaping services. The business owner is a nice guy who's really into the environment, so naturally we support. The product lines are still limited -- patches, sweatshirts, tees, tanks, gaiters -- but they've managed to produce a number of impressively styled ball caps, including a grey wool version with the stitched Everarbor logo in Army green. Styles and colors vary, but that logo is A+ in our book. You can purchase in-store or online. And if you like the hat, feel free to call them up for any arborist subcontracting you've been putting off.
2617 Scranton Rd., everarbor.com
Stop By S'Wonderful Gifts and Grab Something Amazing
You're probably filling up your Amazon Prime shopping basket as you read this, right? That's fine. We'll wait. ... Now then: If you're ready to actually go out into the world and support a local business, you might need some guidance. You haven't been out into the world in ages, you suddenly remember. Has society changed at all? Well, sure it has, but places like S'Wonderful Gifts haven't, and for that we're thankful. The Cleveland Heights gift and jewelry shop, right in the heart of the Cedar-Lee District, is a fine place to start to look for both small items and grand gestures. The reaction from my customers has been absolutely terrific," owner Bill Wort tells us. "Visitors constantly tell me this is their favorite store, that I have the best gifts and cards." Sounds like a good plan to us.
2254 Lee Rd., Cleveland Heights
The Lebron XV, the 15th signature LeBron James sneaker from Nike, was released before the season began with a pop-up shop at the corner of Euclid and East 9th. The launch had three colorways -- the 'Ghost' and 'Pride of Ohio' have sold out but the 'Ashes' colorway, a black and white weaved pair with Nike's battleknit material, did not. You can still get your pair if you head over to Xhibition, the apparel and sneaker store in Ohio City. The price is steep at $170, but the 15th Nike LeBron sneaker is considered one of the best LeBrons ever released.
2068 West 25th St., Xhibition.com
A Dog Photo Session With Greg Murray
Even if you don't know Greg Murray's name you're probably familiar with his work: the Lakewood photographer is the guy behind the peanut butter dog book that you've surely come across on Facebook or the pages of your friendly local newsweekly. If those and other shots have given you a bit of pup envy, take advantage of a private session with Murray. Whether it's in studio or on location, Murray will capture your best four-legged pal in all his glory. And since your significant other loves Fido more than you anyway, a professional portfolio of him in action is really the only logical gift this holiday season.