For a truly culture-filled date, head straight to University Circle in Cleveland. The up-and-coming, eastside neighborhood is full of high-class eats and top-notch museums, thanks to a rich history and the Case Western Reserve University.
First stop: Piccadilly Artisan Creamery
Piccadilly artisan ice creams are organic, made to order and totally customizable for you and your date. What’s more, the process for turning your raw ingredient choices into a creamery dream is based on the addition of liquid nitrogen into the mix. Watching the folks behind the counter work their magic turns an ordinary ice cream trip into an experience.
New couples can learn a lot about their partner from the ingredients they choose (are they daring, or sticking to the ordinary?), plus it’s a great conversation booster. For those who have been together longer, try ordering for each other. Pick a size, then choose the “milk,” which includes coconut milk or organic dairy milk (cow or goat). Next, choose from a hoard of fresh toppings, from fruity to savory, from sweet to salty.
Slide into a chair at the window-facing bar to watch people, or cozy up at a more-private table. Don’t make it too long, though; you have other places to go!
Second stop: MOCA
A short walk across the street and you’re at the next day-date destination. The Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland is an eye-catching, integrated part of the Cleveland community. This long-established art museum moved into its new digs just a few years ago. The abstract exterior captivates the eye, sharing a sneak peek into what’s inside—three stories of zany, thought-provoking art. Not to mention, it makes for a great photo backdrop.
General admission normally is $8, but free admission is offered for all visitors on the first Saturday of each month. Also, the museum hosts special events throughout the year that make revisiting extra tempting. Aside from those incentives, the artists and installations are ever-changing, which is the alluring aspect of contemporary art.
The setup is far from pretentious, and purposefully approachable, so regardless of your art background, all visitors are on an even playing field to interpret and comment on the installations.
At the end of your self-guided tour, make sure to check out the museum store on the first floor. Instead of knickknacks, it’s full of unique home decor, cool books, neat games and even jewelry.
Third stop: L’Albatros Brasserie
After taking in the sights of MOCA, take the six-minute walk through the Case Western campus to your dinner destination. L’Albatros is a French restaurant tucked among residential homes and the university’s Greek homes, quiet but abuzz with cheerful restaurant-goers. This Zack Bruell restaurant is sophisticated and bold, but it still feels comfortable and inviting.
The atmosphere is outstanding, and the decor is a great mix of modern and traditional. The art and tables are sleek and smooth, while the lighting and walls are warm and cozy. A pleasant level of noise keeps the room lively and uplifting.
Share the assiette de fromage (a sampling of its worldly cheese board), a glass of bubbles and splurge on an extravagant entree. The entire experience is enlightening, and your day spent together is sure to spur many memories, but the ultimate goal here is to encourage future outings with the person dearest to you.
Piccadilly Artisan Creamery
11607 Euclid Ave. Suite B
3 to 10 p.m. Monday, 1 to 10 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday, 1 to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 1 to 9 p.m. Sunday
Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland
11400 Euclid Ave.
11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday (open till 9 p.m. Thursdays)
11401 Bellflower Rd.
11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, 11:30 a.m. to midnight Thursday through Saturday and 3 to 8 p.m. Sunday