Things to Do With a Kid Downtown

Don’t get me wrong – I love our new house in the ‘burbs and all that our new little city has to offer – but I do miss our lives downtown. There was always something to do, always something going on, and it was great walking everywhere (especially to work). And even after we got married and had kids – yes, there was still kid-friendly stuff to do!

Are you thinking of living in downtown CLE with kids? Or just looking for stuff to do with kids downtown? Here are some of the ways we had fun and the things I loved to do downtown with FW:

1. Take advantage of all the free attractions

When you’re a kid, there are so many things that are exciting — and the best part is, so many of these things are free! For example, FW, loves just watching trains, trolleys, buses, boats, etc. These are all things you can see— and ride— downtown. There are several trolleys that ride around downtown for free and you can hop on and hop off whenever you want. Also, FW LOVES looking at pretty much any vehicle, especially trains and boats and airplanes. The best place to do this? Walk down to Voinovich Park. On the walk, you’ll cross over train tracks. At the park you’ll see planes landing into Burke airport as well as boats in the water. If you walk down to the Flats, you’ll also get a glimpse of boats and trains. Walk along the waterfront path near FWD Night Club and you may even be able to catch not only a boat along the water, but also a train cross the bridge. Public Square is also a great, free place for kids. Not only can you watch the buses, but there’s also green space to run around, a splash pad in the summer, ice skating in the winter and plenty of year-round events.

2. Be willing to spend some money

In addition to the free attractions, there are other things to see and do right downtown. Some of the attractions that cater to children include:

3. Know the child-friendly restaurants

My husband and I lived in two apartments downtown, one near East 4th Street and one in Playhouse Square. Both areas had restaurants we’d frequent with our baby and toddler. Some of them include Winking Lizard (they have a kids menu AND a lizard that kids may enjoy checking out), Masthead Brewing Co. (they have high chairs and quick food, which is perfect for kids; it’s also loud, which is great for blending in with your loud baby), Corner Alley (they have games for older kids) and Hofbrauhaus (they have a giant enclosed patio with a playscape and live music). During sporting events or at night, these places can become not as friendly, so we stuck to them mostly during the day. Around the Flats, there also were so many places great for kids because they’re near the water (see above: cool views of boats and trains and bridges) and casual. Some of our favorites include Coastal Taco and Dante’s Inferno. Both are casual, have games for the older kids to play, and are on the louder side, so a screaming child may not get noticed.

There are so many great places to eat downtown, and the best part is, so many of them are child-friendly, especially if you go earlier in the day. If you’re not sure, definitely call ahead and ask.


4. Frequent the family-friendly events

All year long, Cleveland is home to child-friendly events. Most of these are events that people from all over Northeast Ohio attend. Some include:

Whether you’re looking to spend money or not, there’s so much to do in downtown Cleveland year-round. We loved our time living there with our toddler and hope you are able to enjoy some of the fun activities we loved, as well.

Do you live downtown with your baby or small child? OR do you spend a lot of time downtown with your kids? How do you keep them entertained?

A version of this post was shared on NortheastOhioParent.com.

Fitting In Running

The theme for this week’s running post “Fitting it in.”

Some weeks, running is harder than others to fit in. Work has been really busy these days, and I’ve been up late working nearly every night. So, waking up at 5 a.m. to run before work has been harder and harder.  I was also on a work trip this week, which meant not only working late and not being home, but getting up even earlier if I wanted to run (disclaimer- I did one morning, I didn’t the next). And if I do run, I often only have 30-40 minutes, so I’m not getting in the mileage I’d like.

So, it’s getting harder and harder to find time to run. And instead of getting down on myself, I’m going to look at the positive:

  • I still ran 5 days this week.
  • I ran outside 4 of those 5 days

Am I making excuses? Yes, somewhat. Was this week the worst week I’ve had in running in history? Hardly. But the lack of sleep  is taking its toll, and I need to do something to get more sleep so that I feel not only good to run in the AM, but also whole during the day!

Some questions for you:

  • What does a “good” running week look like to you?
  • How early do you wake up to run?

Double the linkup today! I’m linking up with the weekly wraps and linking up with My No-Guilt Life, Marcia’s Healthy Slice, and MCM Mama Runs. 

It’s Good to be Home

I was gone for a few days on a work trip this week, and all I can say is, man, it is good to be home! This was the first time I’ve been away from LM and the longest I’ve been away from FW in more than a year and it was not easy. But I’m home now and got to enjoy part of the weekend with them. Part of the weekend because I didn’t get in until later in the afternoon on Saturday … and Sunday evening included some sick kids. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

The first part of my weekend started in sunny, warm Orlando! Looks nice, huh? Unfortunately I was only outside for about 15 minutes the whole time I was there- I was in a lot of meetings!

One of the things that I now need to do when traveling is pump. I was so greatful for the Mamava pods in the Orlando airport!

When I got home, it was a cool, fall afternoon. So, we hung outside for a little and FW had fun playing tee ball.

B made an awesome dinner that was perfect with the weather – a caprese salad and meatballs!

Sunday was B’s family’s annual golf outing. We had plans to go to a fall festival or apple picking on our way there, but FW slept in (yay!), so our morning got off to a late start and we didn’t have time.

On the way there, FW decided he wanted to golf, too. He got a kick out of riding in the cart.

And had fun hanging with his aunts and uncles.

We had a good time! That is until the hour ride home … FW got sick a ways from home. And by sick, I mean sick sick and we had to pull over and put him in new clothes. Before he got sick again. So, we ended the weekend on a not-so-great note, but he is hopefully on the mend today (while B is now getting sick …). Should make for an interesting week! My Monday will include lots of this — couch, empty bowl/basin, and a sick toddler. Fingers crossed LM and I stay out of the way of the sickness!

Some questions for you:

  • When was the last time you were sick sick?
  • Do you travel as part of your job?

Linking up here today.

Tips for Living Downtown With a Young Child

It’s been about a year since we moved our then family of three from downtown Cleveland to the suburbs. And while I love how family-friendly our neighborhood is in the ‘burbs, there are so many things I miss about living downtown. When we announced we were expecting, one of the first things people often asked was if we were leaving downtown Cleveland. Many people could not fathom how we could live downtown and have kids. Well, we not only made it work but we LOVED it! If you’re thinking of moving downtown or living downtown with babies or young kids, here are some tips.

1) Find a child-friendly place to live

When I lived downtown, there weren’t many self-proclaimed “child-friendly apartments.” That being said, we made our place child-friendly — we were lucky enough to have a 2-bedroom apartment in a relatively quiet downtown neighborhood before we even brought our son home from the hospital. Some other things to look for in a place to live include:

  • Working elevators — Can you survive with a walk-up apartment? Absolutely; people do it. But you’ll be happy you have an elevator when you’re lugging a stroller and groceries (and diapers!).
  • Lowish level — Bonus points if you’re not too high up in case said elevator breaks down (it’s bound to happen sometime!).
  • In-unit washer/dryer — Kids make a lot of laundry at all hours of the day. Depending on their age, there is spit up, diaper blowouts, other bodily fluids, finger foods, etc. Having an in-unit washer and dryer will make your life so much easier.
  • Close parking — In my apartment, we parked across the street, and sometimes that seemed far — especially in Cleveland winters! When you’re carrying a carseat (and aforementioned diapers and groceries), it will be really nice to have a parking spot that is close to your destination.
  • Thick walls — In our first apartment that we lived (sans baby), one of the interior walls was so thin, you could hear every single conversation that the couple next to us was having. This is NOT something you want when you have kids. You’ll not only be paranoid that your baby’s crying is bothering your neighbors, but you’ll worry that every little sound will wake him/her up.
  • Bonus: Friendly management — Yes, this is important whether or not you have kids, but I personally found myself needing to talk to building management after having kids. Have your parents visiting and need an extra key? Diaper delivery running late and you need to get into the office to retrieve it ASAP? Need to park in a special spot for a day or so as you’re recovering from giving birth? Having an understanding building management — as well as one that loves kids — is a plus.

2) Get used to living with less

Babies and kids themselves don’t take up a lot of space. But there’s so so much stuff that they often come with – bouncers, endless diapers, changing tables, cribs, bassinets, playpens, bottles, etc. Since we had such a small place, we only registered and purchased the essentials. What does that mean? Our baby’s bedroom had a crib and a comfy chair (that had previously been in our living room). We did not have room for the traditional dresser or changing table. So instead, my husband made some drawers that would fit underneath the crib. He also built a changing table that would open up and close back into the wall. We didn’t have a bouncer or many toys. And, it worked out! Most of the time, we simply told family and friends to not get us stuff outside the essentials, and instead donate to our son’s education fund.

3) Be prepared to leave downtown for some necessities

One of the best things about living downtown is being able to walk everywhere — the grocery store (hooray for the downtown Heinen’s!), the mall (GREAT for AC in the summer and warmth in the winter), restaurants, entertainment like a splash pad, etc. But, while living downtown Cleveland is great, it does lack some essentials that you’ll need more of as you have kids. So, be ready to hop in a car and leave downtown for some things. For example, we found great childcare just outside downtown, in Tremont. Our pediatrician was in Lakewood. And, the urgent care that was walking distance from our apartment was unable to see babies, so we needed to seek emergency care elsewhere. Also, I love running with the stroller, but I found many of the sidewalks downtown a little bumpy for running with a baby. So, I typically headed to the Metroparks or Towpath when seeking a longer stroller run.

Some questions for you:

  • When you had kids, did you move? Or if you are thinking of having kids – would you move?
  • Have you lived in a major city with a child or baby?

Please note: I’m now blogging with Northeast Ohio Parent magazine! And, the original version of this post was on their site.

Last September Weekend

If you can believe it, September is gone. And to celebrate, I’m sharing a quick weekend recap, one-sentence-per-photo style.

We kicked off the weekend with a trip to the Natural History Museum.

It was a gorgeous Friday to enjoy their outdoor animal area (which has some play areas for kids).

Saturday we did some shopping at the West Side Market.

It had been too long since we had been there.

We took an afternoon stroll around the neighborhood.

And ended up on the nearby playground.

The weekend also included a little run with this lady in the stroller.

We also got in a nice walk around the neighborhood.

And finished up with dinner at the grandparents’ house with the cousins!

A quick post for a weekend gone way too quick.

Some questions for you:

  • How many cousins do you have?
  • Did you run this weekend?

I’m linking up with the weekly wraps!

Feels Like Fall Up Here

It finally has started feeling like fall here! Which makes sense, because Saturday was the first official day of fall and it was only in the 50s all day.

Do I prefer summer? Yuppppp! But it was still a good few days.

Some of the fun included:

Finally getting to see the Infinite Mirrors exhibit by Kusama at the art museum.

If you ever have a chance to so this, i HIGHLY recommend it. It was amazing.

After the exhibit, we decided to get some wine and cheese, which was the perfect way to end the night.

The weekend also included some homemade pizza. FW helpes with the dough.

Saturday was pretty fun, too. We started off the day with a trip to one of the coolest playgrounds nearby and met up with Celia and Maura and Maddie.

FW had a blast with Celia.

And I’m sure LM had fun with Maura, too.

The day also included some basil picking and pesto making.

And even a short walk.

And B and I made dinner together, which hasn’t happened in FOREVER.

Penne with bacon, leeks and mushrooms.

The night ended pretty boring- catching up on work with football and ice cream as aids (I had a Sunday a.m. deadline and a call that started at 11pm).

Sunday morning fun included a family run!

We brought our nephew and niece along for the ride, too.

The day also included a walk and ANOTHER playground visit!

And some monkeying around with the cousins.

I have another busy week at work coming up, so I also tried to get in all the snuggles I could.

We finished off the weekend with dinner at B’s parents’ house. And make-your-ow sundaes!

And now I’m ready to take on a crazy week! Some questions for you:

  • What’s your favorite sundae topping? I’m team caramel ober chocolate syrup any day!
  • Did it feel like fall near you?

I’m linking up with the weekly wraps

Too Much Fun Stuff

Well, I think we outdid ourselves this weekend. In just 2-ish days, our weekend included (and not in this order):

  • 2 Indians games
  • A date night
  • Cookie baking
  • Muffin making
  • A visit to a new local bar/brewery
  • A block party
  • A family birthday dinner
  • A 5K race
  • A nature walk

See what I mean? I didn’t even include work, which took up a few hours of my weekend as well! Good thing I like being busy.

Friday night started out with a date night! B and I went to the new Southern Tier and grabbed drinks. I of course had to get a Pumpking- they had a coffee stout kind that was amazing!

We will definitely be back.

After that, we were off to the Indians game! This is our 9th game of the season together.

It was just the 2 of us at the game for the first time all season! It was nice to just relax and enjoy the game.

Saturday morning FW and I let LM and B sleep in, so we started off the morning by making muffins!

Later in the morning, we took a walk to the nature center. It was packet pickup for a race we had planned for Sunday. FW enjoyed checking out the turtle.

And then we went fot a short nature walk.

That afternoon included some cookie baking.

And then we took said cookies in our wagon and headed to our block party!

Everything was really kid friendly. FW loved the chalk.

And the donut game- you had to try to eat it on the string without any hands!

There was also a game that involved eating whipped cream with no hands.

And an egg toss.

Not a bad block party, right?

Sunday morning started early with a 5k race around the Shaker Lakes.

It was my first race pushing the stroller the entire time – B pushed LM and I pushed FW – and it was fun!

My goal was to do under 10 minute miles and we did it – so I was happy.

In the afternoon, we headed to another Indians game. This time, with FW.

After the game, it was time for dinnernat B’s parents’ house. We celebrated his birthday with his favorite- steak for dinner and chocolate cake with chocolate frosting for dessert.

And that’s a wrap! Some questions for you:

  • Do you like chocolate cake?
  • Did you get to do any races this weekend?

I’m linking up with the weekly wraps