Penny's Passion: 30 Hours in Cleveland

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

30 Hours in Cleveland

Last weekend my friend, Debbie, and I headed to Cleveland for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.  Months ago when we learned Bon Jovi was being inducted, we knew we had to be there to see it in person!

Our flight left St. Louis bright and early on Saturday morning.  After flying through Chicago, and having a couple delays there, our flight touched down in Cleveland early in the afternoon.  We were greeted with rain - and the rain stayed with us for the ENTIRE weekend.  Sometimes it was light.  Sometimes it was heavy.  But it was always there.

The first thing we did was do a drive by of the induction location.  Since we were unfamiliar with Cleveland, we wanted to make sure we knew where we were going and scope out a place to park.  After that was accomplished, lunch was our next priority.  We decided to pop in Wahlburgers.  Not going to lie, I voted yes on this joint because I just love Mark and Donnie.

Turns out that brother Paul cooks a pretty mean burger!  As you can tell by the amount of food we ordered, we were hungry!  Highlights were the sweet potato tots and the onion rings.  So good!

With full bellies, we headed to the hotel.  Even though we booked back in January, many of the downtown locations were already full so we chose to stay at the Tudor Arms Hotel a few miles from the event location.  On our way to the hotel, in the pouring rain, we decided to Uber it that night.  Great decision!

Red carpet started at 5:30 pm, doors opened at 6:30 pm and the event began at 7:30 pm.  We knew we didn't really want to stand out in the cold and rain for an hour, so we arrived a few minutes after 6 - just in time to see the entire Bon Jovi band arrive.  How lucky was that!  Thanks, Jon, for waiting on us to get there before you walked the red carpet.

The lines were long getting in, but we managed to snap a picture and be in our seats just as the program began. 

Jon and gang were the first of the night to be inducted.  Howard Stern gave a speech that at times was very heartwarming and other times quite funny.  Howard, like many of us were thinking, spoke to the fact that it was surprising the legendary Bon Jovi hadn't gotten in the Hall of Fame years ago.  He reminded us that with the 130 million Bon Jovi albums sold, that number was higher than the death toll from the bubonic plague, the American Civil War and atomic bomb drops.  Each band member spoke and then they entertained the crowd with some of their classics.  It was so great to see Richie Sambora playing with the band again!  

The rest of the program was anticlimactic for us after Bon Jovi left the stage, but there were some great highlights.  The Roots and Paul Shaffer played for the Nina Simone tribute.  Steven Van Zandt introduced the new category - The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Singles.  Brittany Howard from Alabama Shakes sang a special rendition of That's All to honor Sister Rosetta Tharpe.

We skipped out as the last group was being honored to head over to the after party at the House of Blues where Questlove was showing off his DJ skills.

Overall, it was an absolutely fabulous night!  One of those things that is a once in a lifetime experience.  On our way back to the hotel, our cool Uber driver pulled over so I could snap a picture of the world's largest outdoor chandelier.  I think he pulled over because he was afraid I was going to fall out the window trying to get the picture.

Sunday we had the day to explore the city a bit more.  We found our way to Little Italy for lunch at Mia Bella's and a little dessert from Presti's Bakery.

Then it was on to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame museum.  If you like music at all, you will love this place!  You could spend hours roaming around this 6-story building.

So many fond memories came flooding back when I saw varies displays.

They also had things honoring the new 2018 inductees.  If you look very close, you can see our reflection in this picture.

We wanted to grab a bite to eat before heading back to the airport and was anxious to try the popular Lola, a Michael Symon restaurant.  The menu is quite interesting with things like beef cheek and calves heart being some of the most popular items.

As we were leaving the restaurant, the Cavaliers game was just letting out and traffic was quite a bit heavier than we had anticipated.  That made it a little tighter on time than we anticipated to get to the airport, but we made it with a tad bit of time to spare.  Thank goodness we only had carry on luggage and were TSA pre-check approved!

Our 30 hours in Cleveland were packed with fun and worth the weekend of little sleep.  I would definitely head back to the Rock and Roll Capital of the World and do more exploring.


  1. I'm so glad you had such a wonderful time! I love that you got there just as Bon Jovi was arriving, such amazing timing! Looks like you had pretty good seats at the event too! You definitely made the most of your 30 hours there!

  2. What a fun weekend. I have eaten at Wahlburgers before and while I initially didn't realize it's more of a 'fast food' joint, their burgers are pretty good!

  3. Omg. What an amazing weekend and experience this must have been!! Personally I’m more of a Moody Blues/Dire Straits fan but to be in the company of Bon Jovi is amazing (also don’t tell anyone I ever said that bc I would be disrespecting my Jersey roots lol).

    Also I totally want to try Wahlburgers! They are so adorable and I used to love that show ;)

  4. I live about four hours from Cleveland, but I've never been. Well, I've been right outside the city to see a blogger friend, but that's it. I'd love to visit the museum someday, and seeing some of the inductees would be really fun. I'm glad you got there as Jon Bon Jovi arrived - very good timing! Downtown Cincinnati just got a Wahlburgers, and my sister's been and really likes it, so I need to go!


  5. That is so cool that you got to cool. So very nice. Thank you for sharing.