Welcome stranger! We look forward to your visit. Below, you will find recommendations and advice compiled by the collective LGT community through Fanposts of days of old, subject to change at any time and only definitive as deemed by me. Whether it's a game-day trip or extended weekend, you can't blame us for not having a good time in Cleveland. A google map with locations for all linked suggestions is found after the jump.
View LGT Guide to Cleveland in a larger map
While at Progressive field:
Tour of Progressive Field - You'll be sitting in your seat for 3 hours; take the time to see every other part.
Seating - Your personal seating preference is your own. Upper box behind home plate ($12-16), Lower Reserved in right-center field ($24-30), or the Bleachers ($10) are some of my favorites. Good deals can be had for pretty much any game.
Concessions Map/Menus - Classic and modern fare available, with an emphasis on modern becoming more the norm. Food Network items are getting attention with Buffalo Chicken Mac 'n' Cheese and a Sausage and Hot Dog bar (But let's get honest: get a Sugardale dog, load it up with onions and Cleveland's own Bertman's Ballpark Mustard. If you prefer Cleveland's Authentic Stadium Mustard, you'll have to sneak it in yourself.) Even onions are getting their own special place in sections 184 and 530, where red, vidalia, and sweet join traditional white as hot dog toppings. Also in 184, Pulled Pork and Cleveland Bomber (?) sliders join the fray as a new specialty item.
Great Lakes Brews can be found at specialty Beers of the World stands, and the great taste of award-winning Hoppin' Frog can also be found if you can swallow the upcharge. These two, and other local breweries, are featured at the Spirits of Ohio stand in section 152.
Terrace Club - For finer dining inside the ballpark while maintaining a view from the left field line (must have Terrace Club ticket for access).
What's new for 2012 - One of the biggest changes in my eyes is a re-entry policy through Gate A only.
Pre-game/Post-game food and beverage:
Great Lakes Brewing Company - The Unofficial Official Beer/Microbrewery of LGT gets first mention above all else. Their flagship beer Dortmunder Gold Lager can be found on tap at most Cleveland watering holes, yet a visit to the brewery is a must. Tours are available, and the Fatty Wagon will take you to and fro the ballpark for a mere dollar. Don't spend all your time at GLBC, as Market Garden Brewery is helping make W. 25th Street a renowned beer destination.
In the immediate vicinity of Progressive Field, The Winking Lizard, Panini's, Harry Buffalo, and Local Heroes provide the typical sports bar atmosphere with average-to-above average food at each. For a nearly unlimited beer selection, head to the Winking Lizard.
For a step up from the sports-bar type establishment, E. 4th Street is your nearest hot spot. That link provides all the choices, but it ranges from a $5 sub at Jimmy John's to Iron Chef Michael Symon's Lola or Jonathon Sawyer's Greenhouse Tavern or Noodlecat, drinks at Wonder Bar to bowling at Corner Alley. Everything and anything falls in between.
What would an insider's recommendation be without something off the beaten path? Slyman's, on St. Clair and E. 31st, is a lunch staple for native Clevelanders and offers larger-than-fist-sized portions of corned-beef between two slices of rye bread Monday through Friday only, up to 2:00.
Cleveland downtown and proper:
League Park - No bells and whistles, nor tours available. It's nice to see for its historic significance, but you likely won't spend more than 10 minutes there. However, work is slated to begin in June 2012 that will change all of that.
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum - Probably the town's most well-known tourist spot.
Great Lakes Science Center - As described and located next to the Rock Hall.
The Cleveland Zoo - It smells, but all good zoos do.
Outside of downtown:
A quick trip to the east side can bring you to the following spots:
Little Italy - Restaurants, cafes, bakeries, boutique shops; what you'd expect from our fine Italian friends.
Coventry (Cleveland Heights) - Dining at Tommy's, shopping at Big Fun, or a concert at the Grog Shop. Drinks to be had at additional Winking Lizard and Panini's locations. Personally, I'll take a hoagie the size of your head at Grum's.
Head past the west side of Cleveland for:
Lakewood - More bars per square mile than any other city in northeast Ohio (this map is far from conclusive).
Melt Bar and Grilled (Lakewood) - Famous for 2-hour waits on weeknights and appearances on the Food Network's Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives and Travel Channel's Man vs. Food, the sandwiches and beer menu are worth the wait. If you're already doing the east-side tour, stop by their location in Cleveland Heights, or the newly opened 3rd location in Independence right off of I-77 on Rockside.
If Microbrews are your thing (if you couldn't tell yet, they're mine), the West Side also has 3 more great offerings: Rocky River Brewing Company in Rocky River, Fat Head's in North Olmsted, and Buckeye Beer Engine in Lakewood.
If a weekend visit leaves you with a half-to-full day of no plans:
Lake County Captains or Akron Aeros baseball, the Low-A and AA affiliates of the Indians, respectively - In case one baseball game isn't enough (Lake County is 30 minutes east of downtown; Akron is 45-60 minutes south)
Cedar Point - Arguably the best roller-coaster amusement park in America (approximately 1 hour west of downtown)
Pro Football Hall of Fame - Northeast Ohio has it covered between football and rock n' roll with another fairly impressive museum (approximately 1 hour south of downtown)
Additional bits of information:
Utilize the Cleveland RTA, particularly the Rail system known as the Rapid. Here's a handy-dandy Google-map tool that will help you plan your travel. If flying in to Cleveland Hopkins International Airport and not renting a car, the RTA Rapid Rail system can take you from the airport directly to downtown for $2.25, a heavy discount from the cost of a cab.
Parking map (prices are outdated, sorry!) provided by the boys at Mistake By The Lake Sporting Times. If you're not parking right next to the ballpark, don't pay more than $6. Odds are the $10 garages turn to $5 if you walk 60 seconds further away.
Just ask a friendly face for a recommendation; if you find someone who loves this town as much as I do, you'll get twice as much info as I've tried to provide.
The LGT community can provide many more suggestions, but you could spend a week in our fair city on the lake and still not have visited the fine attractions and establishments that you have clicked through.