Best Place to Spend a Day Shopping
Best Place to Buy Meat
Best Place to Buy Produce
Best Farmers Marker
West Side Market
There's nothing quite like ambling around Cleveland's century-old landmark whether you're toting a grocery list or not. From fresh produce to some of the most delicious pierogies this side of the Atlantic, from sausages of every shape and flavor to more cheese than you could ever eat in a lifetime, the West Side Market has just what you're looking for, and a whole lot more you didn't even know you wanted. Grab a gyro or pizza bagel or falafel as you stroll through the endless vendors, commiserating, nibbling and buying just as your fellow Clevelanders have for over 100 years. Cleveland is a food town, and the West Side Market is the epicenter.1979
W. 25th St., 216-664-3387, westsidemarket.orgBest Place to Buy Music
Sustainable music collecting meets vast selection at the Exchange's many locations around Northeast Ohio. The trick to a good Exchange visit is going in with no particular expectations. You'll often find the albums you've been craving, but take some time to wander the aisles and seek out something fresh. The discount CD racks - with albums going for $1, $2.50, $5 - often boast some really killer pick-ups. Who knew you wanted Michael Stanley's oft-forsaken debut album Rocky River Fever? Yes, it's there; keep looking. And do ya need vinyl, movies or video games? The Exchange also has you covered there. Various locations
Best Thrift Store
If you suck it up and get over the scuzz, Unique is a treasure trove of vintage knits, sassy flats, perfect flannel, retro housewares, and bizarre tchotchkes (tittie-shaped mug or jar of "Canadian air," anyone?). Also suspicious stains, a rotating roster of crazies, and awkward public displays of advanced undress (there are no changing rooms), but it's all part of Unique's charm. You may have to dig, but you'll inevitably walk out with a one-of-a-kind steal your friends will envy you for. Half-price Mondays are a complete feeding frenzy, but if you go early to snag the good stuff, the deals can't be beat.
3333 Lorain Ave., 216-631-0205,
Best Vintage Store
Best Antique Shop
Best place to furnish your home
Flower Child is a cornucopia of mid-century finds, with pin-up posters, cigarette holders, and diaphanous boudoir dainties for the ladies and bachelor pad staples—vintage neon beer signs, Copa Cabana figurines, Tiki grotto gear, and a prodigious assortment of vintage Playboys—for the dudes. Attracting casual tattooed homesteaders and cutthroat antique hunters alike, the 15-some rooms of unique novelty items and pedigreed home décor brands mostly draw on mod and kitsch staples, from ironic Jesus miscellany to lurid velvet paintings to "Mad Men" cocktail accoutrements to Georges Briard glassware. For nostalgic Gen-Xers, there's also oodles of "Alf", Star Wars, and New Kids on the Block memorabilia, in addition to lacquered clock radios, retro landline handsets, and sock monkeys.
11508 Clifton Blvd., 216-939-9933,
Best Consignment Shop
With one location on Coventry and a new spot in Lakewood, Avalon Exchange offers the most generous gently used clothing deals around, as well as bargains on this season's designer threads. Cleaner and better organized than your standard-issue funky thrift store, this is your best bet to find coveted brands like Paige denim and cool-kid staples like Members Only jackets. It might not have the worn-in cachet of less upscale shops, but "character" isn't really a priority when what you want is on-trend classics.
1798 Coventry Rd., Cleveland Hts., 216-320-9775,