Has your creative flow gone stagnant?  Need a kick-start to come up with new ideas?  Take a cue from good ol’ Ernie on how to get brilliant again:

A great way to remain creative is to travel– you know, go places and do things and, uh, try stuff and whatever.  You know what I mean, right?”

Ernest Hemingway

Can’t argue with the master.

In advertising things are no different.  I recently read The Idea Writers, a great book on contemporary copywriting, where a prominent New York-based CW mentioned spending most of her time writing in hotel lobbies.  Inspired by that tip, as well as the recent findings that architecture can influence creativity, I spent the better part of this morning checking out creative hotspots in downtown Cleveland.

Here are my findings:

Downstairs Lounge Area at Brokaw

The closest spot is often the best.  If I need to get cracking on my headlines I’ll leave my laptop behind, go downstairs, and stare at the wall until I fall asleep.  Then I’ll wake up, panic, and write down a few good lines.

Renaissance Cleveland Hotel

Sure, it’s called the Renaissance now, but it’s been a hotel of some sort for the last 197 years.

Formerly Mowry’s Tavern!?!

This spot, attached to the sprawling Tower City Center complex, is jam-packed full of history and elegance.  If you can’t come up with an idea here maybe one of the many ghosts that roam the premises can help you out.

Tower City Center

Exit the lobby of the Renaissance and you’ll find yourself in this massive expanse of public space: the front atrium of Tower City Center.

Formerly Cleveland’s Union Terminal, Tower City Center is now an urban shopping mall.  In the main mall atrium you can pull up a seat, watch the fountains, and people-watch to draw inspiration.  Though getting asked for change about 750 times may encourage you to leave.

The Ritz-Carlton, Cleveland

Also connected to Tower City is Cleveland’s Ritz-Carlton Hotel (yes, you read that right: Cleveland somehow has a Ritz-Carlton hotel).  Their lobby is nice-looking and all, but the low ceilings and lack of chairs make for a difficult time writing-wise.  Go elsewhere.

The Colonial Arcade

Not to be confused with the Old Arcade (which was a rip-off of the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II), the Colonial Arcade (which is instead a rip-off of the Burlington Arcade) sits between Euclid and Prospect Avenues.  Though a good people-watching corridor, the Colonial lacks seating outside of the food court and isn’t the best for getting stuff done.  The pizza is great, though.

Wyndham Cleveland at Playhouse Square

This one’s a little bit off the beaten path, being by Playhouse Square and all, but it does the trick for getting things done: high ceilings, plush seatings, and people don’t shoo you out for falling asleep and drooling all over yourself.  What more could you ask for?

Hyatt Regency Cleveland at the Arcade

The lobby itself is small and suffers from an identity crisis, design-wise.  All that goes by the wayside once you peer out into the atrium: in my opinion the greatest indoor view Cleveland has to offer.  Yes, this is the Old Arcade I previously spoke of.

With over 120 years of history, something is bound to inspire you here.

The BP Building 200 Public Square

Once the home of Sohio, then BP America, and now nothing really notable, 200 Public Square boasts of a vast, massive atrium, replete with fountains and flora.  One missing piece of the lobby is the giant “Free” stamp, which BP thought too dumb to hang in their atrium.  Instead it was dumped in a park and called “public art”.  Thanks BP, for this and all other disasters.

Cleveland Marriott Downtown at Key Center

Fact: The Downtown Marriott is housed in the official “mini-me” building of Key Tower.

Key Tower, Left; Marriott Building, Below Right.

The lobby of the Marriott is pretty standard hotel fare; spacious, a good place to watch people, and full of comfortable seating.  I mean, there’s nothing that really distinguishes it from other lobbies, like flame-headed goblins that shoot tapioca out of their eyes.  Because if there were, I’d take photos of them.

You’ll have to settle for this instead:

Cleveland Public Library

Quite possibly the mac-daddy of creative/productive places, the library is a veritable fortress of philomathea.  Room after room of quiet concentration beckon:

Rooms aren’t doing it for you?  Take a walk through the cavernous hallways and massive staircases to stoke the creative flames.

These eyes watch to ensure you don’t goof off.

If that’s not enough, you can always soak up the summer weather in the Maya Lin-designed reading garden, where words, plants, and architecture converge to inspire.

As you can see, I’m a writer, not a photographer.

And if you’re still searching for inspiration after reading through all this and visiting all of the above places, you may just consider giving up for the day.

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