By Samantha Severo
The first time the Cleveland Cavaliers were in the playoffs was in April 1976. Forty-one years later, we’re back, stronger than ever and defending a Championship title.
It really is a great time to be in Cleveland. So great, in fact, that there are a few things it’s important to take note of before your celebrations downtown.
Get downtown early.
Whether you have a ticket to a game or not, all fans are invited to experience the excitement surrounding each home game.
Before doors open, head to Gateway Plaza and East 6th Street for a FREE Cavs Fan Fest presented by Huntington.
Here are just some of the things you can expect:
- Style out at the Wine & Gold Nation Street Jam Van to get game day ready with Cavs-inspired hair paint, face paint and airbrush tattoos while enjoying music and games.
- Cavs Interactive Zone filled with fun games and inflatables
- 3-on-3 youth basketball games, skills, drills and mini clinics on the Cavs Academy Sport Court
- Live music by Northeast Ohio’s most popular bands
- Performances by the Cavalier Girls, Scream Team, C-Town Throwdowns, Q Spirit Squad and QStix
- The city’s favorite food trucks will be on site
- Beer and soft drinks will also be available
It’s up to you to defend the land.
That’s right, the team needs you. If you’re attending a game, the Cavs organization encourages you to yell, move, jump and cheer to your heart’s desire. Just be nice and represent Cleveland well.
Parking is really expensive.
Prices for the Cleveland Indians Home Opener on Tuesday were sky-high and unfortunately, they’re only going increase during the playoffs. Play close attention not just to the Cavs schedule but the Indians games as well. If you thought coming downtown was hectic with one big game, imagine what it’ll be with two.
On the bright side, this is a great representation of how happening our city is – just ask the Kardashians. Fans are coming from everywhere to support our team and our restaurants and that’s very exciting.
So, what are our options?
If you don’t have a parking pass for a lot downtown through your job, we suggest skipping driving all together. And, whether or not you plan to partake in drinking, Uber and Lyft are fantastic alternatives that will save you money (and will keep you safe) – just be sure to pay attention to surge pricing.
The RTA, while it will be crowded, will be your best friend. Always plan to head to the rapid or bus stop early to get a good parking spot and to avoid the lines. First time riding the RTA? Have no fear, it’s easy. Click here to learn more.
Come downtown with an appetite.
Whether or not you’re going to a game, the dining options downtown seem endless — and they’re all so unique!
Expect a crowd if you’re going to hit up East 4th Street for places such as Mabel’s BBQ or The Corner Alley. Heck, expect a crowd everywhere; it’s playoff season in Cleveland. You know the drill.
As for dining at Quicken Loans Arena, let’s just say you’ll be highly satisfied. Local chef celebs like Michael Symon and Jonathon Sawyer are just some of the names behind the food options within the Q. Learn more here.
If you’re not decked out in CLE gear, you’re going to feel silly.
Luckily there is no shortage of Cleveland t-shirt companies. Shops like GV Artwork, CLE Clothing Co. and Fresh Brewed Tees are just some of the great spots you can purchase local and unique merchandise. Rally House in Parma and, of course, the Cavaliers Team Shop are perfect if you’re looking to support your favorite player.
If you head down to the FREE Cavs Fan Fest before the home games, there will be plenty of last minute merchandise for you to purchase.
Charge your phone and free up your storage space.
Without a doubt, the two worst notifications in the world are “low battery” and “storage almost full.”
Between taking group photos and celebration videos, you’re going to want your phone to be on its A-game.
Safety is a priority.
Clevelanders do an amazing job keeping up a great reputation of the city. Keep up the good work! Don’t start fights with fans from the other teams, don’t riot in the city and do not drink & drive. Let’s continue to show the world how great the land truly is.
Visiting downtown for the first time? If you need directions or advice, look for the DCA Ambassadors, the friendly faces in gold and blue. You can always call 216-621-6000 for assistance or even for an escort to your car if you don’t feel comfortable walking after dark.