GETTING THERE: Both United and Northwest Orient Airlines fly from Washington National to Cleveland Hopkins. The round-trip air fare ranges from $140 to $302, depending on the days of the week you travel.

GETTING AROUND: Although swift, convenient rail service links Hopkins and the Terminal Tower downtown, you will most likely need a car to make your way around Cleveland. Distances are great, and -- except for the excellent trains to Shaker Heights -- public transit seems too daunting for the outsider.

Taxi service, long abysmal in Cleveland, has in recent times improved -- but not enough to make a big difference for the traveler on a schedule.

WHERE TO STAY: Stouffer's Inn on the Square (216-696-5600 or 800-HOTELS1), in the center of town, underwent extensive renovation several years ago and could once again profit from some fluffing up, but it still ranks as the big-deal old hotel. Rates are $103 to $113 double, with some weekend rates of $69 per night available.

More modern but less distinctive is the Bond Court Hotel (216-771-7600 or 800-321-1090), not far from Public Square at 777 St. Clair Ave., $100 double. Also nearby is the Hollenden House (216-621-0700 or 800-321-6728), at 610 Superior Ave, $90 double.

WHERE TO EAT: The best bet just might be Au Provence, at 2195 Lee Road in Cleveland Heights. Unprepossessing on the outside, warm and countrified in, Au Provence serves up French and Creole cooking and has been a Cleveland favorite for a decade. Earth by April, a few doors away at 2151 Lee, has during its 11-year existence made a reputation for well-prepared seafood.

More recent additions to the city's restaurants include Cuisines, set up in stylish Deco digs in the Hanna Building, near Playhouse Square. Sammy's, in the Flats, overlooks the Cuyahoga River -- a more felicitous vista than you might imagine. The Ohio City Tavern is a popular spot in its neighborhood. So is Heck's, housed in a renovated movie theater in suburban Rocky River.

INFORMATION: Cleveland Magazine, published monthly, contains complete listings of cultural and sporting events. The city's daily newspaper, The Plain Dealer, has a "Friday" section designed to help readers plan the weekend.