1) Cleveland Metroparks Pick a park, any park. Nicknamed the Emerald Necklace by locals, the extensive Metroparks system loops through 18 natural preserves and 21,000 acres of northeast Ohio green space. Metroparks also recently took over management of six lakefront properties linking Huntington to Euclid Creek in a scenic 14-mile stretch. You can hike, bike, do archery, golf, boat, cross-country ski, ride horses, geocache and bird-watch. (216) 635-3200; clevelandmetroparks.com
2) Towpath Trail This well-traveled bike trail (84 miles long) skirts the Ohio and Erie Canal through Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Horses and mules used to pull boats along this path when the canal was active back in the 1800s and early 1900s; here and there, you glimpse old boat locks. If you get tired, the Bike Aboard! program lets cyclists ride any portion of the path, then tote their wheels back on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. Hop on at any boarding station for a $3 one-way fare. (330) 374-5657; ohioanderiecanalway.com
3) 41˚ North Kayak Adventures Open seasonally Memorial Day into September (weather permitting), this Rocky River-based operation supplies kayaking and paddleboarding lessons, tours and rentals. The three-hour sunset kayak tour around the harbor is a fun way to see downtown Cleveland landmarks from a whole new perspective—you’ll actually paddle underneath the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In case you were wondering, 41˚ North refers to Cleveland’s latitude. (866) 529-2541; kayak41north.com
4) Tobogganing at Chalet Recreation Area This place makes ordinary sledding seem downright boring. Reach speeds of up to 55 mph on two 700-foot-long chutes with vertical drops of 70 feet. Find this adrenaline rush at Mill Stream Reservation in Strongsville. Kids must be at least 42 inches tall to ride, and heavy gloves or mittens are required. Open Thursdays through Sundays from late November through early March (as long as the weather cooperates). (440) 572-9990; clevelandmetroparks.com/Main/toboggan-chutes.aspx
5) Cleveland Bike Tours These jaunty, not to mention informative, excursions cover a lot of territory. The Ohio City Tour is the most popular; riders spin Schwinns through this neighborhood with native guides who really know their stuff. The Cleveland Bike Tour wheels past familiar sights like the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Progressive Field; the University Circle Tour shows off Cleveland’s cultural side with museums, botanical gardens and other attractions. (330) 532-8687; clevelandbiketours.com
6) Ray’s Indoor MTB You’re itching to hop on a bike, but the winter weather’s nasty. What to do? Check out this 150,000-square-foot indoor bike park. The facility re-creates a variety of terrain for a challenging ride, and you can bring your mountain bike or rent one here. All skill levels are welcome, but Monday nights are geared for beginners. Ray’s is open October through April. (216) 631-7433; raysmtb.com
7) Nano Brew Nano Brew caters to the thirsty, two-wheeling crowd with covered bike parking and a free tune-up station inside. Bartenders pull pints from an evolving roster of two dozen or so craft beers, some made on-site, some sourced from other local brewers. The food’s good, too. Customers rave about the burgers, although we’re a little unsure about the PB&J variation. Wear your bike helmet in, and you’ll get your first beer at half price. (216) 862-6631; nanobrewcleveland.com
8) The Rink at Wade Oval For family-friendly fun, lace up and glide across the ice at this rink in the heart of University Circle. Newbies learn during lessons each Saturday at noon. Admission is free, and skate rental is available for $3. Don’t cut your wristband off when you leave; flashing it scores you $1 off admission to several of this artsy district’s museum exhibits and cultural attractions. (216) 707-5033; universitycircle.org/events/2013/11/wade-oval-winter
9) The Greenhouse Tavern This darling is about as ecofriendly as it gets. Evidence: Industrial-chic light fixtures made from repurposed bicycle rims and the locally sourced ingredients for French-inspired, farm-to-table fare—some plucked straight from the tavern’s rooftop garden. There are more-healthful vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free choices on the menu, but we love the satisfying grass-fed Ohio beef burger with raclette cheese with a (recycled, of course) paper cone full of hand-cut fries on the side. (216) 443-0511; thegreenhousetavern.com
10) Quail Hollow Resort Get away from the big-city bustle and hit the links at this Painesville resort just east of Cleveland; the 700-acre property encompasses two 18-hole, par-71 courses. Inside, the lodgelike accommodations include a sauna, indoor pool, hot tub and a fitness center with exercise classes. At the end of the day, kick back in front of the rustic limestone fireplace in the soaring lobby. (440) 497-1100; quailhollowresort.com
Biking photo courtesy of Larry E. Highbaugh Jr.; kayak photo courtesy of Cody York; Nano Brew and Wade Oval photos courtesy of www.positivelycleveland.com/Scott Meivogel.
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