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Best Roller Coaster
There are newer stomach-churning rides at Cedar Point, but Millennium Force remains thrill-seekers' favorite beast. Even though it recently passed its 10th birthday, Millennium Force hasn't finished lower than second in the amusement park industry's annual coaster rankings — and daily riders by the thousands agree. That's what happens when you churn guests up 310 feet in the sky and fling them around at 93 mph. Really, who wouldn't love that?
Staff Pick: The Mean Streak
Best Inn, B&B, or Guest House
An historic escape in the heart of Cleveland's most regal neighborhood, Glidden House is the place you want to be when you can be wherever you want for a night. A 1910 brick mansion at the center of University Circle, the inn devotes its days to pampering guests visiting Case Western Reserve and other walkable institutions — but it also excels in special-occasion package deals and weddings, complete with an abundance of striking locales for photography. Not to be missed on your next visit: a meal at Sergio's, the European-style restaurant that makes its home in the former Glidden carriage house.
1901 Ford Dr., 216-231-8900, gliddenhouse.com
Staff Pick: Glidden House
Best Playground for Grown-Ups
Dave & Buster's
Sometimes you simply need to race a car or shoot some vampires or smash some rodent heads, no matter how old you are. Which is why we praise Dave & Busters, our virtual heaven on earth. The Westlake destination boasts the whole arcade game lineup all under one massive roof, plus surprisingly good food — and booze, which makes everything better. Bring the kids if you want, but we won't tell if you leave 'em at home.
25735 First St., Westlake,
Staff Pick: The Boneyard
Best Playground for Kids
Who knew the best playground in Northeast Ohio sits out in Brunswick amid an apple orchard, a newly relaunched restaurant, and a bakery? Well, plenty of parents, it turns out. Mapleside built its kiddie mecca with the usual amenities, but took the playground game to a new level with a 70-foot jumping pillow. Yes, you read that right. Basically it's like a gigantic trampoline, but safer. There's also a gigantic spider web for your tyke-sized arachnoid girls and boys. That's if they ever get off the pillow.
294 Pearl Rd., Brunswick,
Staff Pick: The Children's Garden at Cleveland Botanical Garden
Best Place for (Legal) Gambling
The shiny new casino debuts in May, but even after the doors to Dan Gilbert's palace open, Thistledown will still own one crucial draw the Horseshoe can't offer: actual horses. Oh, and sunshine, which is slightly more inviting than sitting in a sterile room surrounded by incessant lights and bells. Nothing beats an afternoon outside spent plunking down a few bucks on the ponies. All the better if you hit that trifecta, but not so bad even if you don't.
21501 Emery Rd., North Randall, 216-662-8600,
Staff Pick: Nautica Charity Poker
Best Reason Next Year Will Be Our Year
Cleveland's fond of pinning its sporting hopes and dreams on the jerseys of kids barely old enough to drink, and this time it's no different. Except this kid actually can't drink yet. Kyrie Irving looks to be every bit of the superstar the Cavaliers need to climb back to the NBA Finals, and if anyone can throw off the weight of Cleveland's epic championship drought, it's the young man from Duke.
Staff Pick: It's Gotta Be One of These Years
Best Amusement Park
As long as there will be a Best Amusement Park category to win, there will be only one winner — here in Northeast Ohio and across the entire country. Who, after all, could vote against one of the premier parks in all the world, with its 17 roller coasters and untold hundreds of other means of delivering the fun every summer? And Cedar Point never rests on its laurels, adding new rides year after year and dreaming up new ways to make you scream.
One Cedar Point Dr., Sandusky,
Staff Pick: Cedar Point
Best Reason to Be a Cleveland Sports Fan
There's Always Next Year
Cleveland will watch another year come and go without a championship, but we'll always come back for more. Our strength is in our resilience and loyalty, even when our teams don't deserve 'em. We're not bandwagoners, we don't wear pink hats, we don't call ourselves a "nation." We just show up for every game and cheer and boo, because that's our cross to bear, our half of the bargain. Now if only the guys in the jerseys held up their end.
Staff Pick: We're Loyal Yet Not Obnoxious