Free Cleveland…

No, Cleveland has not been invaded or taken hostage, unless you consider the rule of the city council and the mayor to be somewhat hostile, and I do…  But that is a discussion for another day.  Today we are going to discuss cool things to do in Cleveland for free.  Yep, costing no money at all.  Unless you hate hunting for a free parking spot and would rather spend five bucks for parking, which I do.

Yesterday evening S and I went down to the University Circle section of town.  Come to think of it, I don’t know for sure whether it is a part of Cleveland or a separate city from Cleveland.  I think it is part of Cleveland though…  Humh… I’ll have to look into that.

Anyway, in the University Circle part of town is Case Western University, the Case hospital and a cultural district known as the Wade Oval, that houses museums, the symphony hall, a cinema and a botanical garden.  There is also a vast area of green space.  Apparently every Wednesday through the summer they host this thing called Wade Oval Wednesdays or WOW.  I could never call it WOW because that sounds stupid.  I’d rather say I was going down to the Wade, but S informed me that you can’t just call it the Wade, you call it Wade Oval  or the Oval.  I’m sticking with the Wade, which just sounds so much cooler.

Once we got our five dollar parking spot we went into the Cleveland Museum of Art, which has been closed for construction since we moved to the area.  Very exciting.  And get this, the museum is free all the time.  In Pittsburgh, you had to pay $7 to get into the art museum.  Technically the museum is still under construction, so they didn’t have as many exhibits as I would have liked, but they still had some great art.

That is the new entrance into the museum.  It’s all so very modern now.  But behind it and connected to it is the original museum which opened its doors in the early 1900’s.  I found that the mix of the new design with the old was just sinfully done.  It is incoherent.  And the escalators in the new section made me feel dizzy and sick. 

After touring through the museum we went over into the green space in the Oval to listen to some free music.  Last night the band was Noel Quintana & Latin Crew.  They were very good.  They made people dance.  They made dads dance with their little daughters.  They made older women swivel their hips.  They made people smile in ways that made it look like even their cheeks were dancing.

That’s the band, kind of in the center left of this picture.  I know, kind of hard to see.  I thought I had gotten a closer shot, but no.

It seemed to be a good family event.  There were so many families and so many little kids running around and dancing.  The music genre was not offensive and appealed to several demographics.  And what was nice is that I didn’t really ever see a hoodlum presence.  And not a lot of roaming teenagers either.  All were so very well behaved.  And that includes the people in the beer garden, which they do have at the Wade.  You cannot bring your own alcohol, but you can buy beer and wine in the roped off beer garden, which is nice.

It was also a good event for people watching, my favorite activity.  The crowd was fairly well diverse in ethnicity and age, but I don’t know how diverse economically.  They all seemed like the same social class to me.

The event was free, I mention again, because it is so cool that it is free.  However, in addition to paying for parking, S and I also bought food from some of the many vendors that were on the scene.  Lots of other people brought picnic baskets, keeping the evening free, but we didn’t think ahead.  S had some greek food which she said was really good.  And she got some baklava which she had been craving for the past week.  I got an awesome Italian sausage sandwich with provolone, peppers and onions.  It was grilled right in front of me and it was so very good.

That guy there in the #5 t-shirt cooked it.  In my head I have named him Marco and I plan to propose to him next Wednesday.  Yes, the sandwich was that good.

I have no idea what that building in the background is, but I love its funky roof.

So, if you find yourself in the Cleveland area on a summer Wednesday, check out WOW, even though I don’t think you should call it that.

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