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Cleveland Date Night Guide: Gordon Square

Welcome to the Cleveland Date Night series! This series will highlight some fun date night ideas in and around Cleveland.

One of my favorite neighborhoods in Cleveland for a date night is the Gordon Square Arts District.

Known for its various performing arts theaters (and now lots of murals), Gordon Square is one of those Cleveland neighborhoods that’s done a 180 in the last couple of years. Previously a bit run down, it’s now growing into a trendy spot with lots of cool restaurants and bars – meaning it’s now an ideal spot for a Cleveland date night.

You can do two different types of date nights in Gordon Square: one that’s laid back and easy on the budget, and one that’s a little fancier.

Capitol Theatre in Gordon Square
Capitol Theatre at the heart of Gordon Square

Gordon Square date night on a budget

Cleveland in general is a pretty affordable place to go out when you compare it to other cities in the US. But even so, sometimes you don’t want to spend $100 on a night out. The good news is that you don’t have to in Gordon Square! You can have a really fun date night without spending a ton.

Step 1: A fun activity

Superelectric Pinball Parlor6500 Detroit Ave. – Start out with a few rounds of pinball at Superelectric Pinball Parlor. They have more than 20 different pinball games, some dating all the way back to the 1950s. A few games will only cost you a couple dollars.

Admire some art – Gordon Square is home to several local art galleries that people can visit. If your date night happens to fall on the third Friday of the month, you could go to the monthly open house at 78th Street Studios (1300 W 78th St.), which is an old warehouse that’s been converted into artist studios. The Third Friday events run from 5-9 p.m.

Step 2: Have dinner

There are lots of restaurants to choose from in Gordon Square, including several that can be easy on the wallet.

Happy Dog 5801 Detroit Ave. – This corner bar is famous in the neighborhood and is known for its hot dogs, beer, and live music. You can build your own loaded hot dog (with lots of crazy topping options) for $6.

Banter Beer and Wine 7320 Detroit Ave. – The tagline for this new(ish) Gordon Square spot is “Bottles. Sausage. Poutine.” And that pretty much sums up what you’ll find here! I like the Cleveland sausage (a kielbasa dog with pierogi, sauerkraut, and Bertman’s Ballpark Mustard) and all their inventive poutine options. Get half sizes of poutine unless you plan to share.

Banter Cleveland sausage and poutine
Cleveland sausage and When Pigs Fly poutine at Banter

Il Rione Pizzeria1303 W. 65th St. – Serving up New York-style pizzas, this is usually listed as one of the best pizza places in Cleveland.

Minh Anh 5428 Detroit Ave. – If you’re in the mood for something a little more international, Minh Anh is one of the best Vietnamese spots in Cleveland. You can get most meals here for less than $15.

Step 3: Drinks or dessert

Brewnuts6501 Detroit Ave. – If you want drinks AND dessert, head over to Brewnuts, where you can grab local beer and beer-infused donuts. Brewnuts is open late Wednesday-Saturday.

Sweet Moses6800 Detroit Ave. – If it’s just dessert you’re after, you can’t go wrong at Sweet Moses, Cleveland’s old-fashioned soda fountain that serves homemade ice cream and root beer. Sweet Moses has a nice indoor dining area, too, so you can absolutely go here in the winter!

Sundae and root beer from Sweet Moses
Sundae and root beer at Sweet Moses

A fancier date night in Gordon Square

If you’re in the mood for a more upscale date night, you can absolutely plan that in Gordon Square, too.

Step 1: Go for drinks

Tributary5304 Detroit Ave. – It has the feel of a neighborhood bar, but serves up really good cocktails.

Flight Cleveland5712 Detroit Ave. – The trendy new wine bar is my new go-to spot in Gordon Square. They specialize in wine flights, and even have a flight for bubbly lovers like me.

Flight Cleveland wine flight and cheese board
Wine flight and cheese board at Flight

Step 2: See a movie or show

Capitol Theatre1390 W 65th St. – The Capitol Theatre shows both first-run and indie films in a restored building from 1921. Evening tickets are $9.75 for adults, and the theater serves both beer and wine.

Gordon Square is also home to a variety of theaters. Check out what’s coming up at the Cleveland Public Theater or the Near West Theater, a volunteer community theater.

Step 3: Dinner

For a slightly fancier dining experience, I recommend:

Toast 1365 W 65th St. – Toast technically bills itself as a wine bar, but also serves up really great shareable plates made with locally-grown ingredients.

Toast Cleveland
Small plates at Toast

Spice Kitchen + Bar5800 Detroit Ave. – Spice is an exciting spot in Cleveland. It serves up New American fare off menus that rotate seasonally, and many of the ingredients are grown locally at Spice’s own farm located in Cuyahoga Valley National Park. It doesn’t get much more farm-to-table than this. Reservations are usually necessary here.

Luxe Kitchen & Lounge6605 Detroit Ave. – A good Mediterranean-Italian bistro with lots of menu options. It also does a nice brunch if you’re planning a weekend day date.

Where to park in Gordon Square

There’s metered on-street parking along Detroit Ave. in the heart of Gordon Square, but there’s also plenty of free parking throughout the neighborhood. There are two free lots on Detroit and another two free lots on W. 65th. There’s also free street parking on side streets. Find a free parking map here.

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Have you enjoyed a date night in Gordon Square? What are your favorite things to do in this neighborhood?

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Cleveland date night guide to Gordon Square

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