Search and Enjoy

As kids, we're programmed to explore.

We'd search for tadpoles, bugs and other critters in the nearest creek or ride our bikes to see what was happening in a different part of the neighborhood. When it rained, we'd dig through the cabinets for ingredients to mix into fantastic potions.

We were mini Jacques Cousteaus and budding Edmund Hillarys, curious about the world around us, eager to experiment with anything and everything we could get our hands on.

Then we got jobs, houses, obligations and kids of our own. Our mountains to conquer became diapers and bills and Monday mornings. And for many of us, including me, comfort soon trumped new experiences: We frequent the same bars, eat at the same restaurants and keep to our same old routines.

That's why I'm excited about this month's City List feature, our annual prodding to take a chance, do something different and reconnect with our inner adventurer. "You don't have to be a fantastic hero to do certain things — to compete," Edmund Hillary, the famous mountain climber and Antarctic explorer, once said. "You can be just an ordinary chap, sufficiently motivated."

Consider the recommendations of five notable Clevelanders as your first little nudge. Need more? We've listed 575 places to eat, shop and play all over town. And if you still haven't stirred, start with this: Sunday brunch at the Beachland Tavern.

We know, the Collinwood concert club isn't the first place you'd think of for weekend fare. But that's the point. The atmosphere is uber-casual, marked by the ethnic table cloths that you last saw in your grandmother's house. But the menu is inventive like the musicians who usually populate the Beachland's stages: Try the potato pancakes and salmon or the bacon, egg and cheese burger ("It's like a burger and breakfast all in one," my son decided).

The rest of the neighborhood beautifully balances your grown-up need for comfort and that childlike desire to explore. Check out Star Pop Vintage and Modern to reclaim that GoBot your mom tossed out long ago, or express your passion for our town with a Cleveland Never Say Die T-shirt from Native Cleveland.

So go ahead, old chap. Your quest awaits.

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