Let me just start by saying that even though it's a tiny fraction of the size, Oberlin has much more to offer than Cleveland. On any weekend of the year, you can wander around campus and find free concerts, plays, sketch comedy, art shows and dances. Why leave? I'm not being an L.A. snob. I'm being an Oberlin snob! This recent YouTube phenomenon demonstrates just how lame and sketchy Cleveland can be.
Now, I don't want to be too harsh or unnecessarily cruel, because poor old Cleveland does have its merits. That's why I'm dedicating the rest of this post to things in Cleveland that don't suck. Maybe it will inspire you to bite the bullet and take that 30 minute drive.
Sushi Rock: Even though this restaurant is featured in the YouTube video as "a great place if you're a douchebag," it's a fun, moderately fancy place to get your sushi fix. I just hope they don't get their fish from the Cuyahoga River, which is so polluted it once caught on fire. I'm almost positive they don't. I once had plum wine there, which was delicious. It's also good for people watching, as the clientele are decidedly non-Oberlin.
Melt Bar: For a more casual dining experience, this little place in the Cleveland suburbs is amazing. The entire menu is focused on gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches, with surprising combinations that will make any cheese lover drool. I ordered the Parmegeddon and was one happy vegetarian.
Cavana Ballroom: After taking the Tango ExCo at Oberlin, I wanted to test out my new moves. Oberlin has some tango events spread throughout the year, but if that isn't enough Cleveland has a pretty good tango community, and this venue in particular is good for getting your dance on. The space is beautiful, the people are friendly, and being 20 years younger than everyone else guarantees you many dances.
Now for a few things that I myself haven't experienced, but have been highly recommended to me:
Westside Market: This outdoor market has been around since 1840, and is (apparently) a great place to get fresh produce, delicious pastries and all kind of prepared food. My friends who appreciate good food have told me this is not to be missed.
Great Lakes Brewery: For the over-21 crowd, Cleveland's beer microbrewery gives free tours and tastings every Friday and Saturday. It's good to support a local company, and they're really great about environmental issues (composting their residue, etc.) They have fun flavors like Burning River (chuckle) and Grassroots Ale, which tastes like a combination of herbal tea and beer. It sounds gross, but is actually quite good. This one is definitely on my to-do list.
Unique: I have several hip friends who make multiple trips per semester to this extremely cheap thrift store and always come back with scarves, vests and other great finds. Perhaps I too will venture there this year.
As you might imagine, the best part of driving to Cleveland is simply getting out of the Oberlin bubble, seeing new people and new sights and forgetting about that paper or exam for a few hours. As the YouTube songs says, at least it's not Detroit.