Posted in Cleveland
July 14, 2022
The modern era has turned out to be a renaissance for many Rust Belt cities. Here in Cleveland, there’s something to do for locals of all ages. Whether you’re looking for family-friendly, romantic, popular, or non-touristy things to do in Cleveland, this magnificent, colorful city has something poised to enchant you. Read on for a taste of the very best Cleveland has to offer!
Top Tourist Attractions in Cleveland
You might not think of The Land as a touristy city but, as it turns out, vacationing in Cleveland is a real treat. Whether you’re an out-of-town tourist or a local hoping for a staycation, we have a variety of world-class attractions that are perfect for adventurers of all ages. From excellent museums to stunning landscapes, you’ll love checking out top tourist attractions in Cleveland, Ohio.
1. Explore the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, 1100 E 9th St, Cleveland, OH 44114, USA
Address: 1100 E 9th St, Cleveland, OH 44114 | Video Tour
Neighborhood: Downtown Cleveland
What to Do: After you’ve seen all the artifacts and memorabilia from your favorite rock ‘n’ roll legends, check out the interactive mini studios where you can play electric guitars and drum sets. They even have how-to videos to help you unleash your inner rock star.
The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland is, for many, the city’s top tourist attraction. The Rock Hall, which had been discussed as a concept for
years, officially opened in 1995. When viewed from above, the building is actually shaped like a record player, which is appropriate given its contents. Inside, pieces of music history from rock and roll artists, their predecessors, and rock-adjacent performers are on display. For many tourists visiting the city, this music museum is a must-see destination.
10 Minutes Away: If you need to relax after all that walking, we suggest heading to Voinovich Bicentennial Park and enjoy a beautiful view of Lake Erie during sunset.
2. Get Your Steps in at West Side Market
West Side Market, 1979 W 25th St, Cleveland, OH 44113, USA
Ohio City, one of the most vibrant and artsy neighborhoods in Cleveland, hosts one of Cleveland’s most people-centric landmarks. The West Side Market is a striking Neoclassical building with Byzantine elements, and it’s also the oldest market in the city. While the building was constructed in 1912, a market has operated in this area since 1840. Today, a variety of purveyors continue to offer gourmet, locally-grown, handmade, and delicious goodies on-site.
3. Get Lost in Beauty at the Cleveland Museum of Art
The Cleveland Museum of Art, 11150 East Blvd, Cleveland, OH 44106, USA
Address: 11150 East Blvd, Cleveland, OH 44106 | Video Tour
Neighborhood: University Circle
What to Do: The museum does a great job of integrating its collection with a digital experience. You can plot a tour by selecting pieces that appeal to you on a big wall near the entrance and then use their app which will guide you to those pieces. You can also see other tours from visitors and curators that have been saved in the app.
Honestly, University Circle in general belongs on any tourist’s Cleveland bucket list! The Cleveland Museum of Art, however, is truly something special. Its massive expanse hosts more than 60,000 pieces of ancient, historic, and modern art. It has a particularly renowned Egyptian collection, which is thanks to early contributions by none other than Howard Carter, the man that discovered King Tut’s long-sought tomb. Today, the museum remains free for the public to visit, and it is among the most popular museums in the world with circa a million annual visitors.
4. Wade Through Pop Culture History at A Christmas Story House
A Christmas Story House, 3159 W 11th St, Cleveland, OH 44109, USA
“Oh my god, I shot my eye out!” You know and love A Christmas Story. It’s an iconic piece of Americana, and this movie is Cleveland to the core. Many of its scenes were shot right here in town, and Ralphie Parker’s home is still standing over in the Tremont neighborhood. Today, it’s a museum that is open to the public, and you can even spend the night in A Christmas Story House. Inside, you’ll find props from the movie and a flawless restoration that will make you feel like you’re actually standing in a scene from the movie. From leg lamps to one iconic snowsuit, this tourist attraction in Cleveland is renowned for good reason.
5. Make New Friends at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo
Metroparks Zoo, 3900 Wildlife Way, Cleveland, OH 44109, USA
The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo spans nearly 200 acres of pure beauty. It has served the area since 1882 and originally occupied the site where the Cleveland Museum of Art now stands. (In fact, portions of the old bear pit are still visible in one of the gardens at the Cleveland Botanical Garden across the street.) Today, the zoo is home to a wide variety of animals, including elephants, big cats, and primates. There are a variety of ways to experience it, from special festivals to private tours of the Cleveland zoo.
Things to Do in Cleveland with Kids
While many big cities are not ideal for children, Cleveland is a fun spot for all ages to explore. It’s not as big or as busy as many comparably influential cities, but it’s just right for family fun to unfold. There are plenty of fun things to do with kids in Cleveland, from our parks to our kid-focused attractions.
6. Immerse Yourself in Underwater Wonder at the Greater Cleveland Aquarium
Greater Cleveland Aquarium, 2000 Sycamore St, Cleveland, OH 44113, USA
Greater Cleveland Aquarium
is a fairly young addition to the city, and it was a much-needed addition to Cleveland’s lineup of offerings. It opened in the Flats in 2012, offering Clevelanders the opportunity to set foot in a local aquarium for the first time in more than a quarter century. Today, it’s the only free-standing aquarium in Ohio, and it is fascinating. Get up close and personal with sea creatures, see the local underwater life, and attend special events (the holiday events, in particular, are super fun, especially if you’ve never seen a scuba-diving Santa Claus before) at this one-of-a-kind local attraction.
7. Unleash Your Creativity at The Children’s Museum of Cleveland
One of the best family-friendly attractions in Cleveland is the wonderful, weird, and wild Children’s Museum of Cleveland. It was once a landmark in University Circle, but the museum has since found a permanent home in Cleveland’s Midtown neighborhood. Nowadays, the castle-like Stager-Beckwith Mansion is hiding a number of inspiring and innovative exhibits that allow kids and adults alike to get hands-on and creative. It is fully ADA accessible, and it maintains the same charm today as it did when it originally opened in 1981. Prepare to step into a world of pure imagination – creativity knows no limits at this family-friendly museum in Cleveland.
8. Go Hiking in Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Address: Cleveland, OH | Video Tour
What to Do: If you don’t mind hiking, a trip to Brandywine Falls is 100 percent worth it to see this majestic waterfall. Another top attraction is the Beaver Marsh which is always teeming with frogs, turtles, and you guessed it, beavers enjoying their natural habitat.
There’s only one national park in all of Ohio, and it’s close enough to Cleveland for a quick day trip! Hiking in Cuyahoga Valley National Park (CVNP) is a treat like no other. With more than 32,000 acres to explore, nature lovers of all ages will be enchanted by waterfalls, sandstone cliffs, and unique plants and animals. Unlike most national parks throughout the country, this one is surrounded by urban, charming, full-of-life communities. It’s right in the heart of the action, and it even has a train ride attraction to allow visitors an opportunity to see the park in a totally different way. This Summit County attraction is a must for nature lovers, fitness aficionados, and those seeking a different pace in life.
What to Do in Cleveland for Couples
Love is in the air, as romance is bound to bloom in a place like Forest City. Cleveland is an endlessly romantic place for couples to explore, from the artsy and intimate dining opportunities in town to romantic sunsets over our scenic landscape. If you’re looking for date night ideas in Cleveland, the whole city is your oyster.
9. Explore Museums in University Circle
Nothing is more romantic than dinosaurs.
Nothing. Okay, so maybe that’s not true for everyone, but nothing quite compares to the thrill of exploring the museums and institutions of University Circle. From the Cleveland Museum of Natural History (pictured) to the perfectly-manicured grounds of the Botanical Garden, there’s enough to do in this charming neighborhood to spend a whole day in the area. University Circle is considered among the most beautiful places in the nation, and the cherry-blossom-lined Wade Lagoon ( and its Fine Arts Garden) is undeniably romantic.
10. Watch the Sunset at the Lakewood Solstice Steps
If you don’t think a Lake Erie sunset is romantic, then you probably haven’t seen a Lake Erie sunset. The Lakewood Solstice Steps are uniquely designed for sunset-watching, and they stretch 480 feet across the lake shore. Cuddle up with your loved one and watch the rays of the waning sun bleed into the reflective waters of the lake. Lake Erie clouds have a particularly powerful presence, and they create unique designs across the evening sky. These sunsets are truly one of a kind!
11. Enjoy a Sunset Picnic at Edgewater Park
The only thing that can top the Solstice Steps is a beachy picnic at sunset! Edgewater Park is one of the loveliest parks in the Cleveland Metroparks, and its expanse includes a beach, hiking trails, and one of several iconic Cleveland script signs. With some 9,000 feet of shoreline, there are plenty of intimate places to cozy up and dig into a good meal as the sun begins to dip below the horizon.
12. Take a Romantic Stroll Through the Cleveland Cultural Gardens
This is a landscape you can easily fall in love with. The Cleveland Cultural Gardens allow you and your beloved to travel the world without ever leaving the city. These well-manicured gardens are stunning year-round, and many portions feel as if you’ve stumbled upon ancient ruins in the heart of the bustling city. You might even stop by when a festival, opera, or performance is taking place… and, truth be told, the energy only adds to the experience.
13. Get Lucky at the JACK Cleveland Casino
As they say, Cleveland is a bit like Vegas… only, you know,
for half of every year. Located in the former Higbee Building (which fans of
A Christmas Story
will instantly recognize), this exquisite casino offers visitors nearly 2,000 unique games where they can win big. Try your hand at the slot machines, play poker, or get lucky at a wide variety of table and electronic games at
JACK Cleveland Casino
. It’s open 24 hours, so you can swing by after a romantic evening on the town!
Where to Go in Cleveland at Night
Nightlife is the name of the game here in CLE! Once the sun sets, neon signs illuminate our streets, and the energy becomes highly infectious. You’ll have so much fun traversing the city at night, whether you’re trying local bars or catching a performance.
14. Explore the Sights and Sounds of Playhouse Square
Outside Broadway, Playhouse Square is the largest theater district in the nation. This colorful Jazz Age addition to the city has entertained locals for a century, and its historic theaters are an architectural treat. The shows held in the neighborhood are always incredible, the dining scene is worth writing home about, and outdoor features like a massive chandelier (which is, by the way, the largest outdoor chandelier in the world) make this area one of the most unique neighborhoods in Cleveland.
15. Test Your Skills at Superelectric Pinball Parlor
There’s something so undeniably nostalgic about the glow of old arcade games. At Superelectric Pinball Parlor in the Gordon Square Arts District, you can enjoy the thrill of old pinball games in a colorful, energetic environment that’s complete with an on-site bar. Admission includes all-you-can-play access, and if you find a game you love, you’ll be pleased to know that most games are actually for sale.
16. Step Back in Time at Good Night John Boy
If nostalgia keeps you inspired, then Good Night John Boy belongs on your bucket list. This club will take you back to the glory days of the 1970s with disco balls, funky patterns, and one iconic
Farrah Fawcett poster (which was actually commissioned and printed by Pro Arts in Medina, Ohio, believe it or not). Dig into delicious pizzas, enjoy a cold beer, and get your boogie on at this one-of-a-kind nighttime attraction in Cleveland.
Free Things to Do in Cleveland
They say the best things in life are free. Cleveland is a surprisingly affordable city, and there are all sorts of attractions that won’t break the bank. Of course, there are also several amazing attractions that won’t cost you a penny, from the aforementioned art museum to other hidden gems in Cleveland.
17. Stop and Smell the Flowers at Rockefeller Park Greenhouse
Rockefeller Park Greenhouse, 750 E 88th St, Cleveland, OH 44108, USA
Address: 750 E 88th St, Cleveland, OH 44108 | Video Tour
Neighborhood: St. Clair – Superior
Website: Rockefeller Park Greenhouse is where the city cultivates plants used in landscaping, and it also has a variety of permanent botanical exhibits. It has been open to the public since 1905, and it offers a warm and pleasant escape from Cleveland weather year-round.
18. Lake View Cemetery
Lake View Cemetery, 12316 Euclid Ave, Cleveland, OH 44106, USA
While not the oldest cemetery in Cleveland, Lake View Cemetery is doubtlessly one of the most historic and beautiful attractions in the city. It’s a massive 285-acre landscape, and it is considered to be a Victorian garden-style cemetery. The landscape is highly hikeable, and it includes famous attractions like a Tiffany glass cathedral, a presidential resting place, and the Haserot Angel (pictured). The landscape is also home to Daffodil Hill, where circa 100,000 daffodil blooms pop up each spring.
19. Cleveland Public Library
Cleveland Public Library, 325 Superior Ave, Cleveland, OH 44114, USA
Address: 325 Superior Ave, Cleveland, OH 44114 | Video Tour
Neighborhood: Downtown Cleveland
What To Do: Admire the unique architecture of the five-story building, enjoy the six curated exhibitions and installations curated by Front International, and settle into a comfy chair with a good book.
The magnificent Cleveland Public Library is an architectural gem, and its walls are filled to the brim with knowledge. You’ll spot Works Progress Administration-era art adorning its walls, and special and rare collections will greet interested bookworms. Outside the library is a charming reading garden, which includes surprising pieces of urban art. It’s no secret that libraries are a cultural hub, but the Cleveland Public Library in particular is a local gem that shouldn’t be passed up.
Truth be told, there’s so much to do in the city that we couldn’t just end our list of attractions here! There are several incredible destinations that could comfortably fit in several of these categories, and many that command a respect of their own. Here are a few more destinations to round out your Cleveland attractions bucket list:
20. For Nature Lovers – Cleveland Botanical Garden
Cleveland Botanical Garden, 11030 East Blvd, Cleveland, OH 44106, USA
Love nature? Then the Cleveland Botanical Garden belongs on your bucket list. This botanical wonderland has two distinct biomes inside the greenhouse, plus several outdoor gardens. Located just across the street from the Art Museum, this gem is right in the heart of the University Circle action.
21. For History Buffs – USS Cod Submarine
USS COD, 1201 N Marginal Rd, Cleveland, OH 44114, USA
is a fascinating landmark in Cleveland, as you wouldn’t typically expect to see a submarine on the city’s shore. Her diesel engines were actually manufactured right here in town, and she is considered a National Historic Landmark at her permanently-moored site.
22. For Foodies – Little Italy
Little Italy, Cleveland, OH 44106, USA
23. For Shopaholics – The Arcade
The Arcade, 401 Euclid Ave, Cleveland, OH 44115, USA
24. For Party Animals – The Flats
The Flats, Cleveland, OH 44113, USA
The Cleveland Flats have enjoyed new life in recent years. The area once housed the earliest settlers in Cleveland, but now, it’s a mishmash of music venues, clubs, restaurants, and all sorts of nightlife.
25. For People Watching – Public Square
Public Square, Cleveland, OH, USA
Moses Cleaveland, the namesake and founder of our city, originally included Public Square in the first city plans. This 10-acre hub of landmarks is right at the center of Downtown, and it’s a fascinating spot for people-watching.
26. For Sports Fans – Progressive Field
Progressive Field, 2401 Ontario St, Cleveland, OH 44115, USA
Home to the Cleveland Guardians (and still affectionally called “The Jake” by many old-school locals), Progressive Field is regarded as one of the MLB’s finest ballparks. Since 1994, this awesome stadium has hosted millions of sports fans.
27. For Architecture – Heinen’s Downtown
Heinen’s of Downtown Cleveland, 900 Euclid Ave, Cleveland, OH 44115, USA
Located inside the old Cleveland Trust Rotunda, Heinen’s Downtown is arguably
the most unique grocery store in Ohio. This unique shopping center maintains the original elements of the 1908 structure, which formerly sat vacant and was rarely seen by the public for decades. Today, it’s one of Cleveland’s most iconic landmarks.
While you might not think of Cleveland as a touristy city, the truth is that the Best Location in the Nation has done
much to earn its nickname. There’s so much to see and do in Cleveland… and these destinations are just the tip of the iceberg. Explore our Cleveland articles to discover more hidden gems near you!
Address: Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, 1100 E 9th St, Cleveland, OH 44114, USA
Address: West Side Market, 1979 W 25th St, Cleveland, OH 44113, USA
Address: The Cleveland Museum of Art, 11150 East Blvd, Cleveland, OH 44106, USA
Address: A Christmas Story House, 3159 W 11th St, Cleveland, OH 44109, USA
Address: Metroparks Zoo, 3900 Wildlife Way, Cleveland, OH 44109, USA
Address: Public Square, Cleveland, OH, USA
Address: Progressive Field, 2401 Ontario St, Cleveland, OH 44115, USA
Address: Heinen’s of Downtown Cleveland, 900 Euclid Ave, Cleveland, OH 44115, USA