Looking for the best things to do in Cleveland, Ohio? You’ve come to the right place!
I have always romanticized the historical and cultural legacy of the place I’d travel to. I love to explore the amazing stories that every nook and cranny has to narrate.
Recently, I had the most exhilarating experience on my vacation trip to the majestic midwestern city of Cleveland, Ohio.
Cleveland, the second-largest city of the Buckeye State, will amaze and mesmerize you with its glorious natural beauty, magnificent architecture, and extraordinary chronicles.
It is a fantastic holiday destination for everyone. You can visit Cleveland for your solo trip or with your family on a relaxing vacation. Go on a friend’s retreat or for a romantic getaway; Cleveland will make you fall in love with its pristine and surreal beauty.
Read on to find out more about this fantastic vacation destination. And start planning your next holiday season in the meantime.
Table of Contents
Cleveland: An Overview
Cleveland exudes a magical aura and offers fascinating vibes with its ethereal beauty and exceptional sights. Situated along the banks of Lake Erie, Cleveland has reformed as a world-class vacation destination.
Fondly referred to as The Forest City, it is a stunning town with euphoric Natural Conservation Parks and Wildlife Preserves, beautiful architectural monuments, incredible art, cultural heritage, and fabulous attractions.
Cleveland: A Vacation Attraction
Cleveland hosts some incredibly awe-inspiring sights and beautiful attractions. The city proudly flaunts its vibrant culture, art, architecture, lifestyle, and history.
A series of 18 National Parks, referred to as The Emerald Necklace, are the most prominent attractions of Cleveland. These Metroparks are the reason behind the town’s nickname – The Forest City. The Metroparks host the famous wildlife sanctuaries and the Metroparks Zoo, housing various primate species.
The landscape sustains 3000 animals in over 600 different species. At the locality, you can engage in various adventure sports like hiking, biking, and forest excursions.
Explore the rich history of Cleveland at the Museum of Arts, Museum of Natural History, and the Museum of Contemporary Arts.
Witness the amazing wildlife at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, and interact with the marine life forms at the Cleveland Aquarium!
Take a stroll through the 285 acres of the Lakeview Cemetery and visit some famous people laid to rest there. The Cemetery is also known as the Outdoor Museum, as it hosts various monuments, gardens, and architectural marvels.
Shop at the Arcade Mall and the Westside Market. Examine your luck at the Jack Casino. Experience the beautiful lakefront view at Euclid Beach Park. Visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum to explore the history of music and learn more about iconic musicians of the genre.
Take the city tour to explore the finest of attractions in Cleveland. The most popular sites of Cleveland include Little Italy, the Western Reserve Historical Society, Detroit-Superior Bridge, Cleveland Orchestra, Cleveland Botanical Gardens, and many other gorgeous sites.
Best Things To Do In Cleveland, Ohio
Cleveland has so much to offer that you can get overwhelmed while browsing through the options and choosing the best destinations to visit.
Nonetheless, I have organized a small list of the most popular attractions of Cleveland to help you design your itinerary with the best sights.
11150 East Blvd. // +12164217350
Officially inaugurated in 1916, The Cleveland Museum of Arts presents a collection of 45,000 artworks that includes famous paintings, artifacts, and sculptures, some of which date back to more than 6000 years.
The galleries host collections of original Van Gogh Paintings, Indian paintings and portraits depicting the life of Lord Krishna, Chinese artwork demonstrating the journey of our ancestors from caves to tombs.
There is a collection of artwork from various geographical sites like the Japanese storytelling art collection, the Islamic world collection, A New York minute portraying street photographs, and many other magnificent artworks and historical objects.
The Cleveland Museum Of Arts is heaven for a history geek like me. It is a beautiful monument boasting its Georgian marble architecture.
The Museum organizes various exhibitions and annual events that you might catch during your vacation. The music festival of the Summer Solstice, the Parade, the Circle event, and the CMA Fall Members Party are some of the best events you might consider attending.
Things To Do In Downtown, Cleveland, OH
1501 Euclid Ave. #200 // +12162416000
Situated at the heart of Cleveland, the Playhouse Square is the entertainment hub of the city. It is the second-largest performing arts center in the United States and the premier touring partner of Broadway.
Playhouse Square hosts various local theatrical productions and numerous Broadway touring shows regularly. Here, you can see some awe-inspiring theater and get inspired by some of the most beautiful and heart-touching performances.
Another popular fact about Playhouse Square is that the world’s largest outdoor chandelier (20 feet tall), constructed with 4,200 crystals, rests at the center of this magnificent avenue. Take a day trip to the Playhouse Square and experience the most amazing performances of your life.
Playhouse Square hosts a thousand events yearly, including some popular international film festivals, hosting classic theatricals like the famous “Not Going Quietly” or “No Ordinary Man.”
With or without a performance, the PlayHouse Square stands gloriously with glittering neighborhoods, alleys, and architecture. Taking a stroll to admire the avenue is enough. If you are visiting Cleveland, Ohio, during Christmas, the Playhouse is a beauty to withhold. I was lucky enough to witness fireworks at the destination (Winterfest)!
1100 E. 9th St. // +12167817625
Established in 1995, The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum is a six-story majestic monument, exuberating the rich history of music and art in Cleveland.
It is the perfect destination to explore the history of the iconic musical legends of the genre and learn more about Cleveland’s relationship with the music culture.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum offers various lectures, interviews, and panel discussions about music that you might be interested in exploring. You can also watch movies or witness some stunning live musical performances.
The Rock & Roll Museum organizes various temporary and permanent exhibits where you can learn about some famous and ultimate champions of Rock and Roll music. It is a sanctuary for music lovers and Rock and Roll enthusiasts.
Fun Things To Do With Kids In Cleveland, Ohio
3900 Wildlife Way // +12166616500
Explore the wildlife at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and witness over 3000 animals in over 600 different species. Established in 1882, the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is home to various local and exotic species from all over the world. It offers fun interactions with the animals, too.
I have always been an animal lover. Whether you present me with a cute chimpanzee or a fierce tiger, I’ll always be awed, despite the level of the threat.
If you love animals and interacting with them, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is a great opportunity to make some new and beautiful friends. I was especially enthralled to see massive elephants and tall giraffes.
The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo holds one of the largest collections of primate species in the United States, including apes, lemurs, chimpanzees, and many other primate animals. The zoo has various wildlife constituting amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals, and several other species.
The destination also provides entertainment and informative tours. Surprisingly, CMZ offers many adventurous activities like night excursions, hiking, and bonfire nights at the venue.
Experience close surveillance interactions with the animals, and you may also feed some of the species under the guidance of the Forest Rangers and animal trainers.
1979 W. 25th St. // +12166643387
Cleveland’s oldest and most diverse shopping destination, this Westside Market is a delightful and exciting tourist attraction. Starting in 1840, the market is an open-air bazaar constituting more than 100 stalls run by locals and vendors from worldwide.
The Westside Market is a vibrant shopping stop to get some souvenirs for your loved ones. Here, you can get so many varieties of things like vegetables, fruits, artistic candles, flowers, local and exotic cheese, delicious and fresh meat, baked delights, and many other specialty products.
The ultimate attractive feature of the Westside Market is the Market House, renovated in 1912, with a 137 feet tall clock tower that is over a century old. Take a stroll through this wow-shopping destination and explore all kinds of local and exotic goods.
1 Wade Oval Dr // +12162314600
The Cleveland Museum of Natural History is a gem of the town. It is one of the most fun experiences you can get in Cleveland.
The museum exhibits a vast collection of fossils, gems, minerals, living creatures, and relics from various historical periods and eras. It is a collection center for astronomy, paleontology, and anthropology-related research and evidence.
At the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, there is a collection of fossilized dinosaur skeletons from the Paleolithic, Mesozoic, and Cretaceous eras. The central attraction of the Museum of Natural History is a skeleton of our ancestor that roamed the earth three million years ago – Australopithecus afarensis, which is affectionately known as “Lucy.”
The Museum of Natural History is a thrilling destination for both adults and children. You will most certainly have a fun-filled day at this Mesozoic landmark.
11030 East Blvd // +12167211600
Constructed in the 1930s, the Cleveland Botanical Gardens are a sight to behold. There are twenty gorgeous yards spread over an area of ten acres.
The Cleveland Botanical Gardens house several flowering and non-flowering plants and showcase an excellent collection of local and exotic flora and fauna. These botanical gardens offer an immersive experience that connects you with nature in its glorious form.
Given its beauty and avenue, many locals and tourists host their weddings in Cleveland’s Botanical Garden. The scenic landscape holds various gazebos, small waterfalls, pebbled architecture, wooden tables and bridges, and contrasting nature.
Among the attractions, my favorite was the butterfly alley and the Asian-Japanese theme garden. It’s the perfect destination to spend time with your loved ones.
The most famous gardens amongst the unique collection of these 20 Botanical Gardens are:
- Mary Ann Sears Swetland Rose Garden
- Butterfly Garden
- Japanese Garden
- Hershey Children’s Garden
- Restorative Garden
- CK Patrick Perennial Garden
- Western Reserve Herb Society Garden
- Campsey-Stauffer Gateway Garden
The Cleveland Botanical Garden has an 18,000 square feet greenhouse, an inspirational zone where visitors can engage and determine new perspectives for creating their own gardens.
The collection of flora has 21,000 plants and plant groupings that include 350 rare plant species. The fauna has a diverse selection of pollinating insects, birds, reptiles, and amphibians.
Visit the Cleveland Botanical Gardens to have an outstanding experience amid the mesmerizing surroundings and natural trails of beautifully curated spellbinding plants, trees, and gardens.
Free Things To Do In Cleveland, Ohio
Featuring 9000 feet of shoreline and spanning over 240 acres, the Edgewater Park is a Lakefront Reserve Metropark with a heavenly view of Lake Erie and surrounding parks.
The area covers Edgewater Beach and Perkins Beach along its luscious shorelines and is a delightful place to relax and chill.
The Edgewater Park features a beach house offering authentic and local brews, Marine Club, Yacht Club, a fishing pier, a boat club, rental pavilions, grills, picnic areas, and beach zones that allow dogs.
Spend a relaxing day at Edgewater Park, have a picnic, swim, go fishing, rent a boat, participate in watersports or have some delicious foods and brews. Visit Edgewater Park for a refreshing experience and a great day of fun and relaxation.
Famous for its haunting stories, the Franklin Castle is an eerie destination and a unique attraction in Cleveland. Constructed in the 1880s, the castle is a boundless reserve of historical insights and boasts beautiful Victorian architecture and design.
The Franklin Castle may not be a top priority attraction of Cleveland. Still, it is definitely worth the visit because of its unique and enhancing beauty, boundless historical background, and several haunting stories.
If you are fascinated by ghosts and afterlife adventures, Franklin Castle will be an exciting destination for your itinerary.
Established in the 19th century by Italian immigrants, Little Italy is a historic neighborhood near downtown Cleveland. It is a settlement constructed 130 years ago and developed as an important cultural and historical landmark.
Little Italy is a beautiful neighborhood with several art galleries, restaurants, cafes, shops, trattorias, and bakeries. Little Italy flaunts its charming streets with granite and marble sculptures and artworks. It is a mind-blowing destination with immense history and cultural legacy.
Take a tour through this elegant neighborhood, have some delicious and mouth-watering cuisines, shop for baked goods, and various other things there are to offer. Little Italy is one of the best attractions of Cleveland and a must-visit site for your vacation trip.
A Little Peek In History
Established in the 18th century by Connecticut Surveyor Moses Cleaveland and his fellow companions, Cleveland developed as a hub for maritime trade and connecting water routes.
This growth emerged as a freedom gateway for many enslaved people in America’s history of slavery.
Cleveland connects the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico via a series of canals. These linking waterways have been a great advantage for the city, constantly contributing to the development of its economy and establishing itself as an important trade route.
Cleveland’s waterways connect the Great Lakes and support voyages to various destinations. The waterways also substantiated Cleveland to be an essential stop for the underground railroad, popularly known as the Station Hope.
With reformed laws, Cleveland gained its freedom from industrialized sabotage and transformed into the beautiful and pristine city as we know it today.
Cleveland is a magical destination and a hub of so many magnificent attractions. Cleveland has so much to offer, from natural preserves to botanical gardens, amusement parks, shopping arcades to beautiful historical neighborhoods and museums, beaches, and theaters.
The Forest City is a charming and elegant vacation place with rich history, culture, art, music, architecture, and forest landscape. Cleveland offers so many fascinating and wonderful things giving one numerous options for getting the most out of your vacation trip.
Plan a family getaway, a bachelor vacation, or a solo trip to Cleveland and have the most amazing time of your life. Visit the Museums, Metroparks, Zoo, Botanical Gardens, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, Little Italy, the Westside Market, and many other fantastic sites.
Delve into the rich culture and history of Cleveland while experiencing the ethereal beauty and soothing vibes.
So, what is holding you back now? Get started, organize your vacation to this incredible city in the Buckeye State, and have an amazing time with your loved ones.
Visiting other destinations in Ohio? Check out our other delicious guides:
- 15 Best Cleveland Restaurants
- 13 Great Must-Try Ohio City Restaurants
- 11 Must-Try Tremont Restaurants
- What Is Ohio Food?
- The 10 Best Restaurants In Cleveland OH
- Best Tremont Pizza Restaurants
- 8 Must-Try Tremont Bars
- 10 Best Cleveland Pizza Parlors
Which of these things to do in Cleveland will you try first? Let us know in the comments section below!
Igor Jovanovski is an aspiring digital nomad, travel blogger and graphic designer who really loves food. He also has a creative side, and he works as a freelance graphic designer in his spare time. He has traveled across Europe quite a few times since he was young and recently started his mission to visit every country in the world! Igor’s favorite thing about traveling is the way he gets to know new people, food, places and cultures.
This exciting experience helps him create his own stories and make memories that will last forever