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Tuesday, March 6, 2007
If Cleveland Rocks, How Will You Roll to Final Four?

By Terry Wood
Special to ESPN SportsTravel

• Click here for host cities: Austin | Minneapolis Stanford | Los Angeles | East Lansing | Hartford | Pittsburgh | Raleigh Fresno | Greensboro | Dallas | Dayton | Cleveland

• Complete Men's NCAA Tourney Travel Guide

Cleveland rocks. Women rock. And they'll be shooting the rock from way downtown at Cleveland's Quicken Loans Arena, home of LeBron James, during the NCAA Women's Final Four April 1 and 3.

If you have not visited Cleveland recently, prepare to be impressed.

Across the alley from the arena (a k a "The Q") is Cleveland's House of Blues (308 Euclid Ave., Web site), one of several live-music hotspots.

Also nearby, and not to be missed: Pickwick and Frolic (2035 E. Fourth St., Web site), which combines a comedy club (Hilarities 4th Street Theater), a martini bar, a cabaret and a couple of restaurants on four floors. Want Sunday brunch? You'll find one here ($26.95 adults), too, accompanied by a live broadcast of the city's smooth-jazz radio station.

Jacobs Field, home of Cleveland's beloved Tribe, is a short stroll from basketball arena. On so-called Super Saturday, March 31, The Jake (2401 Ontario St., Web site) will host Saturday in the Park from 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., with concession stands offering $1 food items.

Fans can roam the stadium, including the dugouts and the perimeter track around the field. Check out new Heritage Park (Web site) behind the center-field wall. Downtown visitors can catch a free ride to the park that day on Lolly the Trolley (Web site).

Those hoping to douple-dip on sporting events can catch the Indians play their first home games April 6-9 against the Seattle Mariners. (Buy tickets.)

A 10-minute walk from The Q brings you to Cleveland Browns Stadium (100 Alfred Lerner Way; Web site) and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame + Museum (One Key Plaza, Web site). Inside the stadium, right behind the fabled Dawg Pound, is Legends restaurant and its 37 plasma TVs, open year-round.

One of Cleveland's most popular nightlife areas, The Flats, along the revitalized Cuyahoga River, is undergoing a face lift along its entire East Bank. Fret not. The West Bank offers much to enjoy.

The Powerhouse (2000 Sycamore St.) occupies, yep, the site of a one-time working powerhouse that today offers a high-energy piano bar, Howl at the Moon (same address as above; Web site), where dueling pianists stir up audience involvement. You'll also find the Cleveland Improv here (same address; Web site); comedian Robert Kelly is booked March 28 through April 1.

Also in The Flats: Rock Bottom (2000 Sycamore St., No. 260, Web site), a prime stop for microbrews; Shooters, a popular bar (1148 Main Ave., Web site); and the oldest Irish bar in town, The Flat Iron (1114 Center St., Web site) — a great pregame stop for a burger or fish and chips (inquire about its free shuttle service).

Buffalo wings? Harry Buffalo (2120 E. Fourth St.) is your pick. Great Lakes Brewing (in nearby Ohio City, 2516 Market St., Web site) is a terrific, eco-friendly locale to lift a pint. (Its shuttle to sports venues runs on cooking oil.)

For younger, harder-edged musical tastes, it's worth a visit to Peabody's (2083 E. 21st St., Web site).

Searching for distinctive ethnic neighborhoods with great food? Enjoy the many fine eateries in Little Italy (Murray Hill and Mayfield Road, Web site) or the up-high views in the historical Tremont area (immediately southwest of Cleveland, Web site).

Meanwhile, for everything else about March Madness as it relates to the dozen other host cities, consult the Women's NCAA Basketball Tournament Travel Guide right here:


Quicken Loans Arena
Cleveland and Quicken Loans Arena will host what should be a rockin' Women's Final Four. (David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images)



FIRST AND SECOND ROUNDS — MARCH 17 and 19

AUSTIN
• Arena: Frank Erwin Center
• Host: University of Texas at Austin
• Address: 1701 Red River, Austin, Texas
• Web site | Seating chart | Buy tickets
• More in the ESPN SportsTravel City Guide: Austin

ico_orbitzAustin travel: Plan Trip | Hotel | Flight | Tourney tix

MINNEAPOLIS
• Arena: Williams Arena
• Host: University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
• Address: 1925 University Ave. S.E., Minneapolis, Minn.
• Web site and Seating chart | Buy tickets
• More in the ESPN SportsTravel City Guide: Minneapolis

ico_orbitzMinneapolis travel: Plan Trip | Hotel | Flight | Tourney tix

STANFORD
• Arena: Maples Pavilion
• Host: Stanford University
• Address: Stanford University, Stanford, Calif.
• Web site | Seating chart
• More in SportsTravel City Guides: San Francisco | Oakland

ico_orbitzStanford travel: Plan Trip | Hotel | Flight | Tourney tix

LOS ANGELES
• Arena: Galen Center
• Host: University of Southern California
• Address: University of Southern California, Los Angeles, Calif.
• Web site | Seating chart
• More in the ESPN SportsTravel City Guide: Los Angeles

ico_orbitzLos Angeles travel: Plan Trip | Hotel | Flight | Tourney tix

FIRST AND SECOND ROUNDS — MARCH 18 and 20

EAST LANSING
• Arena: Jack Breslin Student Events Center
• Host: Michigan State University
• Address: One Birch Road, East Lansing, Mich.
• Web site | Seating chart

ico_orbitzEast Lansing travel: Plan Trip | Hotel | Flight | Tourney tix

HARTFORD
• Arena: Hartford Civic Center
• Host: University of Connecticut
• Address: One Civic Center Plaza, Hartford, Conn.
• Web site | Seating chart | Buy tickets

ico_orbitzHartford travel: Plan Trip | Hotel | Flight | Tourney tix

PITTSBURGH
• Arena: Petersen Events Center
• Host: University of Pittsburgh
• Address: 3719 Terrace St., Pittsburgh, Pa.
• Web site | Seating chart
• More in the ESPN SportsTravel City Guide: Pittsburgh

ico_orbitzPittsburgh travel: Plan Trip | Hotel | Flight | Tourney tix

RALEIGH
• Arena: RBC Center
• Host: North Carolina State University
• Address: 1400 Edwards Mill Road, Raleigh, N.C.
• Web site | Seating chart | Buy tickets

ico_orbitzRaleigh travel: Plan Trip | Hotel | Flight | Tourney tix

REGIONALS — MARCH 24 and 26

FRESNO
• Arena: Save Mart Center
• Host: California State University, Fresno
• Address: 2650 E. Shaw Ave., Fresno, Calif.
• Web site | Seating chart

ico_orbitzFresno travel: Plan Trip | Hotel | Flight | Tourney tix

GREENSBORO
• Arena: Greensboro Coliseum
• Host: Atlantic Coast Conference
• Address: 1921 W. Lee St., Greensboro, N.C.
• Web site | Seating chart | Buy tickets

ico_orbitzGreensboro travel: Plan Trip | Hotel | Flight | Tourney tix

REGIONALS — MARCH 25 and 27

DALLAS
• Arena: Reunion Arena
• Hosts: Conferences USA and Southern Methodist University
• Address: 777 Sports St., Dallas, Texas
• Web site | Seating chart
• More in the ESPN SportsTravel City Guide: Dallas

ico_orbitzDallas travel: Plan Trip | Hotel | Flight | Tourney tix

DAYTON
• Arena: University of Dayton Arena
• Host: University of Dayton
• Address: 1801 Edwin Moses Blvd., Dayton, Ohio
• Web site | Seating chart

ico_orbitzDayton travel: Plan Trip | Hotel | Flight | Tourney tix

FINAL FOUR — April 1 and 3

CLEVELAND
• Arena: Quicken Loans Arena
• Hosts: Cleveland State University and Mid-American Conference
• Address: One Center Court, Cleveland, Ohio
• Web site | Seating chart | Final Four Web site | Buy tickets
• Nightlife area: East Fourth Street District, where four bars will be designated as "regional" fan-gathering locations for participating teams and their followers
• Sports bar: Blind Pig (1228 W. Sixth St.; 216-621-0001); and Johnny Malloy's and Geppetto's bar (2781 Euclid Heights Blvd., in nearby Cleveland Heights, in the old Centrum Theatre; 216-320-1800).
• Restaurant: Lola (2058 E. Fourth St.; 216-621-5652) — operated by celeb chef Michael Symon; and Flannery's Pub (323 Prospect Ave.; 216-781-7782).
• Cheap eats: Nate's Deli (1923 W. 25th St.; 216-696-7529); and Aladdins' Baking Co. (1301 Carnegie Ave.; 216-861-0317).
• Attractions: West Side Market (216-664-3387), an indoor/outdoor market at West 25th Street and Lorain Road in the Ohio City area that traces its roots back to at least 1912; the world-renowned Cleveland Orchestra (216-231-1111); and, of course, need we say it, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame + Museum (216-781-7625).
• More in the ESPN SportsTravel City Guide: Cleveland

ico_orbitzCleveland travel: Plan Trip | Hotel | Flight | Tourney tix

Ohio native and long-suffering Cleveland sports fan Terry Wood is a content editor for REI and REI.com.