Suzanne Vega’s final lyrics from Ironbound/ Fancy Poultry- Solitude Standing fit the title well, especially since the song wouldn’t leave my head as we wandered Cleveland’s remarkable Cleveland West Side Market. I bet it had been over 35 years since I had been there last, so when DaringDaughter and PrettyWife suggested the Market, I thought “why not”. I am so glad I did!
The West Side Market has been operating since 1840, once the Pearl Street market before moving across the street to its permanent building constructed in 1912. The huge “Neo-Classical/ Byzantine” building is a wonder in itself, with a very early 20th century “World’s Fair” feel to it- and the impressive building alone is reason enough to visit. Periodic updates and several major upgrades have improved the experience for vendors and visitors through the years, with a major renovation in 1973 after the West Side Market was added to the National Register of Historic Places. The market has continued to expand as a one of Cleveland’s nationally recognized gems, drawing visitors from across the country and around the world. Due to increased interest and popularity, in 2016 the Market added Sunday hours for the first time in its history.
The real reason to visit the West Side Market is, of course, the food! It’s all here- produce, meats, fish, poultry, specialty dishes, pastries, candies, spices and more. Bring an empty stomach for the culinary exploration that takes place as you wander, a cooler for things you plan to prepare later. Cleveland is a culturally diverse area, and that diversity is well represented at the Market. There are many opportunities to taste fantastic things you’ve always wanted to try, or even try things you may not have heard of! We spent the afternoon eating our way through the Market, leaving with a bag of wonderful mystery (to me, at least) pastries to eat on our walk to the car. An enjoyable way to spend a day, with no cost beyond parking (unless you’re willing to walk a bit, as we did) and whatever food you can’t resist. Thanks to DaringDaughter’s recommendation, we’ve discovered when looking for an intriguing destination around Cleveland, the West Side Market is not to be missed!
Keep Riding Local, Dreaming Global, and we’ll see you on the road- Enjoy!