So, I think a lot of us are feeling like 2016 was long and filled with a lot of negativity. But here’s the thing…like any year, there was both good and bad. And frankly, while I think there’s a lot to learn from some of the not so good things that happened this year, I’d much rather focus on the good for now.
I wanted to share my personal Best of 2016, Cleveland-style:
People catching on to Cleveland’s fabulousness. The RNC, the NBA Finals, and the World Series shined an almost perpetual spotlight on our town this year. And we shone right back.
Best New Hangout
Cleveland Public Square is back this year and is an absolutely amazing gathering space! From the summer fountains and colorful critters to the Christmas tree and skating rink, it’s all happening in the Square!
Best Perpetual Hangout
Oh, Mitchell’s Ice Cream, you have my heart. It has been suggested that I live there. I do not. But I would.
Best Sports Moment(s)
It’s honestly a toss-up for me between the Cavs winning the NBA Championship and Game 7 of the World Series, which might not have had the outcome we wanted, but had everything you could ask for in terms of excitement.
Best New Restaurant(s)
So many great additions to our dining scene in 2016! Mabel’s BBQ is everything a Cleveland restaurant should be: hearty, meaty, casual, and unpretentious, with just a bit of “yeah, an Iron Chef cooked this, you gotta a problem with that?” And The Plum Cafe and Kitchen is inventive and delicious and as pretty as it is tasty.
Best New Attraction
The Rosebrough Tiger Passage at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo opened in June 2016. It is really beautiful and allows for an amazing, up-close experience with the tigers. Our Zoo just keeps getting better and better!
We went to Kalahari this past February and had a great time! If you’re looking for somewhere close by to get a splash of summer, I highly recommend it!
Best Photo Opp
I love the script Cleveland signs that popped up around town this year! Instagram away!
Best Birthday Party
The Cleveland Museum of Art celebrated its centennial year in 2016 with a lot of fanfare, including (my first) Solstice that packed this incredible Cleveland institution.
Best Birthday Party Runners-Up
Jeffrey’s second birthday and my thirty-fifth were both memorable and fun and wonderful!
Best New Business(es)
I love everything about GroundSwell Collective, from the practice space to the instructors to the philosophy to seeing it’s backstory on “Cleveland Hustles.” It’s been an awesome addition to Gordon Square this year! And Merchant’s Mrkt is just a great concept: local small businesses coming together to share space and sell their wares collectively.
Best Volunteer Opportunities
I’ve been honored to work with Playhouse Square Partners, the John Carroll University Cleveland Alumni Chapter, and the Autism Speaks Cleveland Chef Gala Committee this year.
Best Thing I Never Thought I Would Do
When Be Studios invited me to come in for a pole dancing class, I did what any girl would do: I rounded up some of my favorite ladies, threw on my glitter booties, and went for it! But I think the bigger part of that was feeling that I’ve grown a lot this year in my self-confidence and my ability to show that.
Best Cleveland Day
It was hot and long and crazy and worth every minute to attend the Cavs Championship Parade. And even more than seeing the players and the trophy, I loved seeing how everyone came together and how happy and kind we all were to each other. And the confetti. The confetti was cool.
Best Jeffrey Day
Jeffrey’s first day of school was really hard, but also really wonderful. I can’t believe how he’s grown in confidence and independence and how proud I am of him! Every day with him contains wonder and happiness, but this is the biggest stand-out from 2016.
Just the Best
What would make your Best of 2016 List? Take a moment to acknowledge the best of the year almost gone by! Here’s to an even more fabulous 2017!
***Disclosure: I am the vice co-chair of Playhouse Square Partners and the President of the John Carroll Cleveland Alumni Chapter. I have been invited to complimentary events mentioned in this post at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, the Cleveland Museum of Art, and Be Studios. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***