20 Things To Do In Cleveland

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It’s the birthplace of rock and roll, a diamond in the rough that is frequently overlooked as a travel destination in the Midwest. Perched at the edge of Lake Erie, Cleveland is Ohio’s second-largest city, with a population of around 383,000. Cleveland has enjoyed times of immense prosperity and times of immense hardship, creating a beautiful tapestry of stunning architecture with work a day spirit (a saying in Ohio that means ‘a hard-working spirit’).

Cleveland sits at the mouth of the Cuyahoga River, and it’s no coincidence that the city’s proximity to several fresh bodies of water has resulted in its rapid growth and historic significance. Several prominent Americans have called the city home, including the industrialist John D. Rockefeller and Eliot Ness, who famously caught Al Capone. The city has had countless nicknames over time, including the “Sixth City”, signifying its population as the sixth largest city in the US, and “the Land”, a nickname resulting from pop culture.

polish boy sandwich
One of the fun things to do in Cleveland is to try a Polish Boy sandwich.

Well known for its winter weather, rich immigrant communities and famous sports teams, Cleveland is an essential destination for any visit to the Buckeye State. With countless activities and adventures in the “Forest City”, it’s hard to choose what to do in Cleveland. Dig into this guide to find the best things to do in Cleveland.

Cleveland, Ohio

20 Things To Do In Cleveland

1- Visit The Cleveland Museum of Art

fun things to do in cleveland
One of the things to do in Cleveland for art lovers is to visit the Museum of Art.

This art museum is home to one of the foremost art collections in the United States.

Founded in 1913 by notable Cleveland industrialists, the museum houses art that spans 6,000 years, including several famous works by artists such as Pablo Picasso, Claude Monet and Rodin.

The Cleveland Museum of Art frequently holds specific exhibitions to keep visitors returning year after year.

The winter months bring a special event to the museum in the form of the Winter Lights Lantern Festival. Admission is free.

CMA is at 11150 East Blvd, Cleveland, OH 44106.

2- Explore Cuyahoga Valley National Park

things to do in cleveland this weekend small waterfall in the autumn in the forest
Exploring Cuyahoga Valley National Park is one of the things to do near Cleveland, Ohio. Here’s one of the small waterfalls in Brandywine Creek.

The only National Park in Ohio, Cuyahoga Valley National Park is well known for its waterfalls and beautiful fall foliage.

It’s a short drive from the Cleveland Metropolitan Area, making it a great stop for your nature fix on a trip to the city.

The park is home to 125 miles of hiking trails to keep you in shape and ready to explore.

Don’t miss the park’s two famous waterfalls, Brandywine Falls and Blue Hen Falls.

Be sure to dip your toes into the crystal clear waters of the Cuyahoga River as it winds through the park.

3- Visit The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

things to do in cleveland ohio Cleveland sign with city skyline in the background
Taking a selfie at the famous Cleveland sign is one of the cool things to do in Cleveland.

Built to showcase America’s musical heritage, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame opened in 1995, although it began inducting musicians as early as 1986.

Displays span the gamut of artifacts from Woodstock to Dolly Parton’s concert attire.

New artists are voted on and inducted into the Hall of Fame every year.

Designed by famous Chinese architect I. M. Pei, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is yet another famous Cleveland landmark situated right on the edge of Lake Erie in the North Coast Harbor.

Tickets start at $35 for adults and $25 for children. Hours are 10 am to 5 pm, Sunday through Wednesday, and 10 am to 8 pm, Thursday through Saturday.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is at 1100 E 9th St, Cleveland, OH 44114.

4- Shop In The West Side Market

top things to do in cleveland fruit stall
Shopping at the Westside Market is one of the things to do in Cleveland you will love.

The West Side Market has been iconic in Cleveland since 1840.

With humble beginnings as an open-air marketplace, the West Side Market blossomed into a large Byzantine structure, replete with its magnificent clock tower, as the population boomed in the early 1900s.

West Side Market is home to over 100 international and hometown food stalls that line the inside and outside of the building.

A visit to this foodie paradise is a must on a trip to Cleveland.

West Side Market is at 1979 W 25th St, Cleveland, OH 44113.

5- Look For Ghosts At Franklin Castle

things to do in cleveland
Ohio’s second-largest city has some fun landmarks to visit. There are plenty of things to do in Cleveland to keep you busy for a few days.

Also known as the Hannes Tiedemann House, Franklin Castle is an iconic Victorian stone mansion in this Ohio City neighbourhood.

It has become the subject of ghost stories due to its macabre history and is one of the most haunted homes in Ohio.

The house has been damaged by multiple fires, seen countless deaths, and is said to be haunted by its original owner, Hannes Tiedemann himself, who was accused of grisly crimes after his entire family perished within the home’s walls.

Unfortunately for prying eyes, it has always been a private residence.

Franklin Castle is at 4308 Franklin Blvd, Cleveland, OH 44113.

6- A Christmas Story House & Museum

The set of the iconic American Christmas movie, A Christmas Story, A Christmas Story House & Museum, is in the Tremont neighbourhood, just south of downtown Cleveland.

Purchased by a private developer in 2004, the home was completely renovated and remodelled to its exact likeness to the 1983 movie.

Visit in the evening during the holidays to get a glimpse of the famous leg lamp glowing in the front window.

General admission is $15 for adults and $11 for children. Hours of operation are 10 am to 5 pm every day except holidays.

Christmas Story House & Museum is at 3159 W 11th St, Cleveland, OH 44109.

7- Explore Lake View Cemetery

As its name suggests, Lake View Cemetery is situated on the idyllic edge of Lake Erie.

Several famous individuals are buried at Lake View Cemetery, including John Rockefeller, US president James Garfield, and Eliot Ness, famed for taking down Al Capone.

Several National Historic Monuments find their home in Lake View Cemetery, including the James A. Garfield Memorial and the Wade Memorial Chapel.

Be sure to go inside both of these monuments to view the beautiful stained glass and murals in the Wade Memorial Chapel and the intricately painted dome of the Garfield Memorial.

Lake View Cemetery is at 12316 Euclid Ave, Cleveland, OH 44106.

8- Shop At Cleveland Arcade

things to do in cleveland arcade
One of the iconic things to do in Cleveland is to wander around the historic Cleveland Arcade.

Perhaps one of the most impressive architectural wonders in Cleveland, the Cleveland Arcade is a Victorian-era masterpiece of steel and glass.

The Arcade’s crowning feature is the immense skylight made of 1,800 panes of glass.

It was originally built as one of America’s first indoor shopping areas and remains a shopping centre to this day.

As the first building in Cleveland to be recognized as a National Historic Landmark, the Cleveland Arcade is shrouded in historical significance.

The building was originally financed by John D. Rockefeller, among other prominent Cleveland financiers, and modelled after Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan, Italy.

The Cleveland Arcade is at 401 Euclid Ave, Cleveland, OH 44115.

9- Watch Baseball At Progressive Field

fun things to do in cleveland ohio
Another thing to do in Cleveland is to watch a sporting game. The Cleveland Indians is the city’s Major League Baseball team.

Home to the Cleveland Guardians baseball team, Progressive Field is a part of the Gateway Sports Entertainment Complex, located in the downtown area.

Frequently referred to as “the Jake” due to its original owner’s last name, Progressive Field has won several awards and accolades for fan appreciation.

The stadium’s first baseball game was held in 1994.

Progressive Field is at 2401 Ontario St, Cleveland, OH 44115.

10- Listen To Music In Severance Hall

things to do in cleveland for couples orchestra
Attending a symphony performance is another thing to do in Cleveland for couples interested in classical music.

Situated in the University Circle neighbourhood of Cleveland, the beautiful Severance Hall is home to the Cleveland Orchestra.

It belongs to the large complex of the Wade Park District, dedicated to one of Cleveland’s founding fathers, Jeptha Wade.

Its Art Deco and Egyptian Revival architecture make it a stunning site to attend a concert.

Severance Hall is at 11001 Euclid Ave, Cleveland, OH 44106.

11- Get An Adrenalin Rush At Cedar Point

things to do cleveland cedar point roller coasters
Another fun thing to do in Cleveland Ohio for kids is to spend the day at Cedar Point amusement park.

Entertaining families since its humble beginnings as a public beach, bathhouse, and beer garden, Cedar Point has been a summer vacation destination for 152 years.

Today, Cedar Point is one of the world’s foremost amusement parks and is home to dozens of world-class roller coasters.

Its unique location on a peninsula jutting out into Lake Erie gives the park an interesting perspective from its dozens of rides.

Its crowning glory is Steel Vengeance, the world-famous wood and steel roller coaster.

Admission starts at $49.99 for a day pass.

Cedar Point is at 1 Cedar Point Dr, Sandusky, OH 44870.

12- Visit The Cleveland Lighthouse

top things to do in cleveland lighthouse in the middle of the lake
Visiting the Cleveland Lighthouse is one of the things to do in Cleveland for history lovers.

Built in 1829, the Cleveland Lighthouse has stood watch for the city for almost 200 years.

Local fishermen recognised the need for a beacon to guide ships sailing into the Cleveland harbour, and the Cleveland Lighthouse was born.

Be sure to visit during the winter months to glimpse the iconic image of the lighthouse encased in ice.

The Cleveland Lighthouse is at 2800 Whiskey Island Dr, Cleveland, OH 44102.

13- Learn Something New At Great Lakes Science Center

free things to do in cleveland downtown Cleveland skyline from the lakefront
Not only is there lots to do during the day but there are fun things to do in Cleveland at night too.

Located on stunning Lake Erie, the Great Lakes Science Center is a family-friendly museum dedicated to learning about Ohio’s natural environment.

Focusing on the science and ecology of the Great Lakes Region, the centre is dedicated to STEM education and educating future generations on the importance of our natural environment.

The museum includes an IMAX DOME theatre and a NASA Glenn Visitor Center.

Great Lakes Science Center is at 601 Erieside Ave, Cleveland, OH 44114.

14- Admire The Architecture Of The Cleveland Trust Building

fun things to do in cleveland oh View of downtown Cleveland skyline in Ohio USA
Looking for things to do in Cleveland Ohio? You’ll find plenty of fun activities in this vibrant city.

What may seem to be a peculiar tourist destination as it is now home to a grocery store, the Cleveland Trust Building is one of the city’s architectural wonders.

The building’s magnificent rotunda and glass dome are a testament to Renaissance Revival architecture.

Originally built as a sole standing bank, the first of its kind in the city of Cleveland, the Trust Building housed the largest vault in the state of Ohio.

Now visitors can enjoy its architectural splendours and do their grocery shopping too!

The Cleveland Trust Building is at 900 Euclid Ave, Cleveland, OH 44115.

15- Watch A Concert At Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse

things to do in cleveland at night
Watching a concert is one of the fun things to do in Cleveland Ohio if you have time.

Home to the world-famous Cleveland Cavaliers, Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse is much more than just a sporting arena and has a fascinating history.

Recently known as the Gund Arena and Quicken Loans Arena, The Fieldhouse is a multi-purpose facility that holds concerts, boxing matches and more.

It was also the site of what is largely regarded as the first rock and roll concert ever held in 1952, the Moondog Coronation Ball.

The Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse is at 1 Center Court, Cleveland, OH 44115.

16- Relax In Edgewater Park

best things to do in cleveland city skyline
Admiring the view of the city from Edgewater Park is one of the relaxing things to do in Cleveland, Ohio.

Cleveland’s respite on Lake Erie, Edgewater Park, is a great place to bring a picnic and admire the soft lapping waves of one of the largest freshwater lakes in North America.

In summer, Edgewater Park has a sprawling beach for lake goers to lounge, take a dip, and enjoy the views.

Bring your fishing gear, and you’ll have a chance to catch perch, walleye, or smallmouth bass, with grills to cook your hard-earned dinner.

Edgewater Park is at Cleveland Memorial Shoreway, Cleveland, OH 44102.

17- Eat At Historic Little Italy

cleveland things to do little italy plate of pasta
A delicious thing to do in Cleveland, Ohio, is to explore, eat and drink in Little Italy.

Tucked away in a tiny hamlet of Cleveland, Historic Little Italy is a great foodie destination within the city.

Originally founded by Italian immigrants from the Abruzzo region of Italy, Little Italy has truly stood the test of time when areas such as “Big Italy” crumbled after WWII.

Browse the neighbourhood’s many shops and restaurants and tuck into classic Italian favourites.

Mia Bella is frequently voted the best restaurant in the area.

If you find yourself in Cleveland during the summer months, specifically mid-August, be sure to attend Little Italy’s Feast of the Assumption, a summer church festival.

Historic Little Italy is at 12010 Mayfield Rd, Cleveland, OH 44106.

18- Watch A Football Game At FirstEnergy Stadium

Home to the Cleveland Brown’s football team, FirstEnergy Stadium was built on the site of the original Cleveland Stadium in 1999.

Clevelanders affectionately refer to it as the “Dog Pound” and serves as a soccer field, college football field, and event centre for concerts.

The stadium is in the North Coast Harbor area, close to the Great Lakes Science Center and other landmarks like the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, making it easy to catch a glimpse of the famous stadium.

FirstEnergy Stadium is at 100 Alfred Lerner Way, Cleveland, OH 44114.

19- Drink Beer At Great Lakes Brewing Company

Founded in 1988 by two brothers from Irish-American beginnings, the Great Lakes Brewing Company was an answer to Cleveland’s sparse craft beer offerings.

As one of the largest brewing facilities in the country, Great Lakes Brewing Company is well-known throughout the Midwest region.

Visit their original location on Market Ave. to sample their award-winning Dortmunder Gold Lager, grab a delicious bite to eat at the brewpub, or take a tour of the facilities.

The Great Lakes Brewing Company is at 2516 Market Ave, Cleveland, OH 44113.

20- Visit The International Women’s Air & Space Museum

things to do in cleveland today View of downtown Cleveland skyline in Ohio USA at twilight.
The home city of John D. Rockefeller and Al Capone, you’ll find plenty of things to do in Cleveland for history lovers.

An important monument and dedication to women’s contributions to aviation, the International Women’s Air & Space Museum is a testament to the lesser-known history of female flight.

Commonly abbreviated as IWASM, the museum holds countless artifacts, photographs, and textiles from the historic beginnings of women’s aviation.

Their mission is to show that women’s aviation goes deeper than the classic example of Amelia Earhart.

So get inspired with a visit to this Cleveland treasure.

The International Women’s Air & Space Museum is located at 1501 N Marginal Rd Ste. 165, Cleveland, OH 44114.

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Aimee Long is an American freelance travel writer and content creator currently exploring the world full time. She has been to 15 countries, most recently Portugal and Morocco, and has travelled extensively in her home country of the United States. Aside from travel, her true passion is writing and helping others realize their dreams of adventure through it.