First, let's face facts: July is a beautiful month in Cleveland. The average high is a not-too-sweltering 81 and the low is a very pleasant 62. For a town that thinks of itself as possessing a horrendous climate, this is the month to stay outside and start changing that misbegotten perception.
While the Cleveland Metroparks are the undisputed jewel in the crown of outdoor recreation in our region, there are plenty of other gems in the tiara. University Circle, with its newly renovated Wade Park Oval, is a one-of-a-kind destination combining the best of all worlds: outstanding museums, family-friendly attractions and convenient accessibility, all nestled in an unmatched, parklike square mile.
But the real story of Cleveland's life out-of-doors can only be found by exploring its neighborhoods. The gallery districts of Tremont, Little Italy and Larchmere are lovely areas begging to be explored on foot. With the added attraction of locally owned ethnic restaurants and clubs, getting lost in Cleveland's authentic neighborhoods is an affordable, enriching diversion on a warm summer day.
Whether you dive in headfirst or dip your toe in the shimmering pool of Cleveland culture, you'll find plenty to do in the great outdoors of Cleveland's streets and parks.
Cain Park Arts Festival Where else can you experience more than 150 artists in a nationally recognized, juried fine-art and Wine-crafts show, in a beautiful outdoor setting in the heart of the Heights? A healthy selection of eclectic music and other exciting events make this affordable annual event a perennial favorite. It runs July 9 from 3 to 8 p.m., July 10 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and July 11 noon to 8 p.m. Admission to the festival is free. For more information, call (216) 371-3000. Located at Superior and Lee roads in Cleveland Heights. www.cainpark.com
Puerto Rican Parade & Latino Festival Three days of red-hot salsa moves, traditional and spirited music, plus plenty of authentic and spicy foods. Connect with Cleveland's rich Puerto Rican culture and live the essence of Latino life for one weekend July 16 from 5 p.m. to midnight, July 17 noon to midnight and July 18 noon to 10 p.m. For more information, call (216) 631-1081. Cleveland Municipal Parking Lot, South Marginal Road near East Ninth Street
Painesville Party in the Park Ωust a few miles east of Cleveland, explore Northeast Ohio's biggest outdoor free music festival, which serves up regional musicians kicking out hot Latin, bluegrass, jazz, folk, swamp rockabilly, R&B, ska and reggae to keep you jamming all weekend long in an open park atmosphere. Dig into eclectic selections of ethnic and American food. Bands include Roberto Ocasio's Latin Jazz Project, Lords of the Highway, Redheaded Step Child and Cats On Holiday. July 16 through 18. www.painesville.com