Cleveland, Ohio, offers a ton of activities and attractions that appeal to a wide range of interests. If you enjoy sports, fine art, good food, or history, Cleveland has something special in store for you. This article will explore 14 intriguing things to do in Cleveland, exhibiting the city’s distinct character and giving you a taste of the various activities in store.
14 Things to Do in Cleveland
The Pro Football Hall of Fame
If you are a fan of the NFL, a visit to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, is a must. This legendary location, about one hour’s drive from Cleveland, has a wealth of fascinating exhibits and activities. More than one visit might be required to experience everything the hall offers because there is so much to discover. It serves as a shrine to the greatest figures in the history of the game, and visiting there is a must for every football enthusiast. The hall aims to astonish visitors with its comprehensive exhibits, interactive displays, and immersive experiences while illuminating the game’s illustrious heritage and continuing influence on American culture.
Cleveland Botanical Garden
An oasis amid the bustling city, the Cleveland Botanical Garden is a must-visit for nature lovers and those seeking a tranquil retreat. Established in 1930, this ten-acre area in University Circle is a paradise of diverse plant life, captivating landscapes, and educational experiences.
As you wander its paths, you’ll encounter various meticulously maintained gardens, each with distinct character. The Japanese Garden, for instance, is a serene space designed with traditional elements such as stone lanterns, a tranquil pond, and meticulously pruned trees. The Hershey Children’s Garden, a favorite among young visitors, is a vibrant space where kids can learn about plant life while having fun.
The Cleveland Botanical Garden hosts various events throughout the year, including flower shows, educational workshops, and themed exhibitions, making every visit unique. It’s not just a place to admire the beauty of nature but also a venue for learning about plant conservation and biodiversity. This gem of Cleveland is a haven for plant enthusiasts, families, and anyone looking to escape the city’s hustle and bustle.
Jack Cleveland Casino
The Jack Cleveland Casino has a fascinating past. It was launched on May 14, 2012, as a part of the city’s urban landscape revitalization efforts. Jack Entertainment, originally Rock Gaming, is the company that owns and runs the casino, which gained popularity among both residents and tourists. Its popularity as a center for entertainment and gaming is aided by its excellent location in the heart of downtown Cleveland. Since its opening, the casino has played an active role in the city’s cultural and economic life, providing various gambling options and helping boost downtown Cleveland’s general redevelopment.
Cleveland is a sanctuary for sports lovers because it has clubs in all three of the major leagues. There’s a decent chance you’ll see a live game while you’re there, depending on the time of year and the schedule. The National Football League (NFL), which offers the thrill of violent football action, is represented by the Cleveland Browns in the city. The Cleveland Guardians bring Major League Baseball (MLB) excitement to Progressive Field so that fans can yell for home runs and hear the crack of the bat. The Cleveland Cavaliers, a well-known National Basketball Association (NBA) team, put on a show for basketball fans at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse by shooting hoops that soar high. By having clubs in all three main sports, Cleveland ensures there’s never a lack of competition.
The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Museum
A trip to Cleveland’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is a must for music fans. Popular giants like Prince, Michael Jackson, and Marvin Gaye are among those who have been inducted into this venerable museum, which celebrates famous performers who have made an enduring impression on the music business. The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is a great place to learn about the origins and development of rock and roll. This museum offers visitors a complete and immersive experience and is often open all year. Please visit their official website to learn more about their exhibits, activities, and opening times.
A Christmas Story House
Stepping into the A Christmas Story House is like stepping into a scene from the classic 1983 holiday film, “A Christmas Story.” This charming 19th-century Victorian house was the Parker family’s residence in the iconic film in Cleveland’s Tremont neighborhood.
The house has been meticulously restored to its movie splendor, filled with props, costumes, and memorabilia from the film, right down to the infamous “leg lamp” in the front window. Fans will instantly recognize the kitchen where the Old Man wins his “major award,” the bathroom where Ralphie solves Little Orphan Annie’s secret message, and the living room where Ralphie opens his Red Ryder BB Gun on Christmas morning.
Guided tours are available, offering fascinating insights into the making of the film and the stories behind many of the film’s most famous scenes. You can even pose with the leg lamp for a unique photo opportunity!
Right across the street, you’ll find the official A Christmas Story House Museum, which houses original props, costumes, behind-the-scenes photos, and hundreds of rare behind-the-scenes photos. You’ll see Randy’s snowsuit and zeppelin, the chalkboard from Miss Shields’ classroom, and the family car.
Great Lakes Science Center
The Great Lakes Science Center in Cleveland has engaging exhibits centered around Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). The center offers a fantastic educational experience for visitors of all ages because of its commitment to developing curiosity and study in these areas. The Great Lakes Science Center’s large NASA display, which highlights the wonders of space exploration and provides a window into the fascinating world of astronauts and space missions, is also a highlight.
Playhouse Square Center
The Playhouse Square Center is at the center of Cleveland’s famous and much-loved performing arts scene. It has nine impressive theaters, including The State and The Palace theaters. Most theaters were built during the 1920s, and after being run down, locals supported restoring the buildings to their former glory and saving them from destruction. The restoration took place in the 1990s and was hugely successful.
Cleveland Metroparks Zoo
One of the oldest zoos in the USA, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, is located just outside the city center of Cleveland. It is home to animals ranging from great apes, such as the Western Lowland Gorilla, to aquatic species and fishing cats.
You can even check out the insectarium if you are not scared of insects. The zoo is known for the largest collection of primates in North America and botanical gardens all year round.
West Side Market
Started in 1912, The West Side Market in Cleveland is the oldest operating market in the city. It is located right at the corner of West 25th Street and Lorain Avenue in the city neighborhood. The National Register of Historic Places has included this historic market in its list. In 2002, it underwent restoration work, which helped it regain popularity and regularly attracted visitors, gourmets, and souvenir shoppers. The market house retains its 1912 charm and is very popular among tourists. The market operates five days a week and has more than 100 sellers. Best place in Cleveland to get local fresh foods such as meats, dairy, fruits, baked goods, fish, and more. All very good and affordable!
Greater Cleveland Aquarium
Located inside the FirstEnergy Powerhouse, the Greater Cleveland Aquarium is a lovely place to visit if you enjoy marine life. It features 55 exhibits exploring all the local and exotic fish species. The visitors also have the opportunity to learn about the freshwater fish that inhabit the world’s lakes and rivers. The aquarium’s mission is to teach people about marine life and how to preserve them.
Located on Public Square in downtown Cleveland, Terminal Tower was the second-tallest building in the world when its construction was completed. You can experience the city’s best view from this building’s observation deck. It has 52 floors and is 235 meters tall. It’s open only some days. However, a trip to the top can be arranged easily. Visit the place, buy your tickets for $6, and go through security before riding the elevator to the top of the building. The views are impressive, whether day or night.
Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Cuyahoga Valley National Park, located just a short drive from downtown Cleveland, is a fantastic escape into nature and a testament to Ohio’s natural beauty. The park, stretching over 33,000 acres, is a scenic expanse of forested trails, rolling hills, open farmlands, and the winding Cuyahoga River.
A prominent feature of the park is the Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail, a restored section of the canal’s historic towpath. The trail is an excellent location for walking, cycling, or horseback riding, and you can trace the path of the mules that once pulled canal boats loaded with passengers and goods.
The park is also home to the stunning Brandywine Falls, a 65-foot waterfall that cascades over stratified rock, creating one of the park’s most picturesque landscapes. A boardwalk lets visitors get up close and personal with this natural wonder in any season.
Nature enthusiasts will appreciate the variety of flora and fauna within the park. From wildflowers in the spring to vibrant foliage in the fall, and the multitude of bird species that call the park home, Cuyahoga Valley National Park is a haven for biodiversity.
City Brew Tours
City Brew Tours offers a captivating journey through the heart of Cleveland’s craft beer scene. Each stop on the tour reveals a unique facet of the city’s brewery culture, from the rustic allure of Bookhouse Brewing to the creative atmosphere of Terrestrial Brewing Company. Every tour offers a deep dive into the thriving beer culture that defines Cleveland.
The tour doesn’t limit itself to a single type of brewery experience. It extends to the contemporary energy of Collision Bend Brewing Company and the time-honored traditions of Market Garden Brewery. The tour duration ensures visitors gain a close-up view of production spaces and enlightening knowledge about the brewing process.
The excitement and novelty of City Brew Tours extend beyond a one-time visit. The design of each tour incorporates a visit to 3-4 different brewery affiliates, promising a unique experience every time. The presence of expert beer guides enhances the learning and enjoyment during the tour.
What makes these tours stand out is their dynamic nature. No two City Brew Tours are identical, injecting a sense of surprise and anticipation into the craft beer exploration. This ensures a fresh, immersive experience during each tour and provides a compelling reason for repeat visits. It’s an opportunity to appreciate the diversity of craft beer and the vibrant brewery scene in Cleveland.
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Jason Butler is the owner of My Money Chronicles, a website where he discusses personal finance, side hustles, travel, and more. Jason is from Atlanta, Georgia. He graduated from Savannah State University with his BA in Marketing. Jason has been featured in Forbes, Discover, and Investopedia.