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Things To Do In Cleveland

Cleveland is a hub of musical attractions and performance. It may be known as the Rock ‘n’ Roll Capital of the World, but it’s also home to one of the best classical orchestras in the country. Music fans can learn about the history of popular music at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame, a rock-themed museum with live performances and exhibits about rock legends, pop superstars, and one-hit-wonders. Keep reading to learn about some of the best things to do, places to be, and sights to see in Cleveland.

In addition to live performances, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame is also home to a giant glass pyramid and the largest collection of music memorabilia in the world. For something a little mellower, take a peek at the 45,000 pieces of artwork housed in the Cleveland Museum of Art.

To experience more of the best things to do near Cleveland, consider:

  • Checking out Bono’s guitar in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame
  • Walking along the banks of the Cuyahoga River
  • Visiting the exhibits in the Cleveland Museum of Natural History
  • The Cleveland Orchestra, one of the original “big five” orchestras
  • Gazing at works by Andy Warhol and Jim Hodges in the Museum of Contemporary Art

Cleveland’s proximity to Lake Erie makes for an abundance of cheap outdoor activities. Several of the local museums also offer free and discounted admission on specific days of the week.

Some of the most affordable things to do near Cleveland include:

  • Walking along the East or West Bank of Lake Erie
  • Exploring the internationally acclaimed Cleveland Museum of Art for free
  • Visiting Lake View Cemetery and walking among the graves of famous Americans
  • Learning about wildlife at the Cleveland Zoo for free on Mondays
  • Strolling through exotic plants in the Rockefeller Park Greenhouse

Cleveland is a city of firsts. It was the first city to be lit by electricity, it’s home to the first traffic light, and it still houses the first indoor shopping center in the country.

Some other attractions near Cleveland include:

  • The house featured in the pop-culture classic, “A Christmas Story”
  • The westside market, Cleveland’s oldest open-air market
  • Michael Jackson’s Thriller Mask, located in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame
  • USS Cod Submarine, a retired Navy submarine that offers guided tours
  • Cedar Point, an amusement park with a rollercoaster that reaches speeds up to 120 miles per hour

Cleveland is home to its fair share of local traditions, but the Polish Boy is one of the most iconic traditions of all. This kielbasa sandwich typically includes French fries, coleslaw, and barbecue sauce.

Other exciting Cleveland staples include:

  • Visiting Little Italy for a taste of Italian culture
  • Sipping on a craft beer from Great Lakes Brewing Company
  • Listening to a live musical performance at the House of Blues
  • Cooling down with a signature sundae from East Coast Custard
  • Grabbing a bite to eat at Town Hall, a sustainable café with organic entrees, unique cocktails, and freshly ground coffee

As one of the largest cities in the state, Cleveland is no stranger to nightlife. For high culture, buy a ticket to an opera, ballet, or Broadway musicals in Playhouse Square. For something more low key, head downtown for clubs, pubs, and bars.

Nighttime activities near Cleveland include:

  • The Hard Rock Casino
  • The Cleveland Aquarium, which offers private sleepovers
  • The Horseshoe Casino, the first and most extravagant casino in Ohio
  • Playhouse Square, the largest performing arts center outside New York City
  • The Velvet Tango Room, an upscale restaurant featuring live jazz performances

There’s something for everyone in Cleveland. While science enthusiasts enjoy IngenuityFest, a celebration of science and technology, art buffs can view more than 46,000 pieces in the Cleveland Museum of Art.

Other weekend activities near Cleveland include:

  • Catching an indie movie or concert at Alex Theater
  • Fishing for a whopper at the Euclid Creek Reservation
  • Listening to live music on the waterfront at Voinovich Bicentennial Park
  • Shopping for fresh produce at West Side Market, a local staple for more than a century
  • Hiking through Rocky River Reservation, a woodland park divided by the Rocky River

With multiple children’s museums and waterparks, Cleveland makes it easy to find activities for the whole family.

A few of the best family-friendly things include:

  • The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, a sprawling 183 acres of fun
  • The Memphis Kiddie Park, a small carnival with 11 kid-friendly rides
  • The Cleveland Children’s Museum, full of educational exhibits for kids of all ages
  • Melt Bar and Grilled, a grilled cheese-themed restaurant with multiple locations
  • Lake Metroparks Farmpark, a working farm with exhibits on milking, sheep-herding, and more

Planning your next date night? Look no further than dinner at Michael Symon’s Lola Bistro. Afterward, listen to the Cleveland Orchestra perform at Severance Hall or the Blossom Music Center.

Other date night ideas near Cleveland include:

  • Terminal Tower, a 52-story skyscraper with a gorgeous view of the city
  • The Cleveland Botanical Garden, a romantic backdrop for cute Instagram photos
  • Sacred Hour Massage, a spa with couples’ massages near downtown Cleveland
  • Tartine Bistro, a charming bistro with a Mediterranean themed-menu
  • Le Petit Triangle Café, a Parisian eatery with an extensive wine list

This list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the Cleveland Browns. The team has had its share of ups and down, but Cleveland remains loyal. Sports fans can also visit the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

A few more group activities near Cleveland include:

  • The Cleveland Brew Bus, a tour bus that stops at the city’s best craft breweries
  • The Cleveland Cultural Gardens, a biopark with exhibits dedicated to historical events like World War I, World War II, and the Cold War
  • An Indians game at Progressive Field

Built in 1890, the Arcade is one of the first indoor shopping centers in the U.S. This marvel of iron and glass houses several restaurants, retailers, and boutiques. The West Side Market is also a great place for shopping and dining.

Other indoor activities in Cleveland include:

  • The Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum, featuring classic cars and airplanes
  • The Cathedral of Saint John, a church with awe-inspiring architecture
  • The Great Lakes Science Center, a museum dedicated to the local flora and fauna
  • The International Women’s Air & Space Museum, an educational facility about the impact of women on aviation and space travel
  • The Western Reserve Historical Society, the oldest cultural institution in northeast Ohio

Cleveland is home to several metroparks and outdoor recreational centers. The 3,600 acre Holden Arboretum includes more than 20 miles of trails, while the Cuyahoga Valley National Park offers rock formations and waterfalls.

Some of the best outdoor activities in Cleveland include:

  • Hiking through Cuyahoga Valley National Park, a short drive from the city
  • Ogling at the biggest outdoor chandelier and rubber stamp in the world
  • Viewing the monumental tomb of President Garfield
  • Visiting all 18 Cleveland metroparks, known collectively as the “emerald ring”
  • Exploring the Holden Arboretum, one of the largest botanical gardens in the country

A city as old as Cleveland is bound to house a few secrets. With everything from behind-the-scene tours to historic landmarks, Cleveland’s secrets are fun for both locals and tourists alike.

A few must-see places include:

  • Touring Franklin Castle, a multi-story Victorian mansion in the heart of the city
  • Building your own tacos at Barrio Tacos, a local favorite downtown
  • Taking pictures at the Erie & Ohio Canal, a scenic spot near the connection of the Akron and Cuyahoga rivers
  • Learning how vinyls are made from a behind-the-scenes tour at Gotta Groove Records
  • Admiring the architecture of the Arcade, the first indoor shopping center in the country