Cleveland, Ohio is a vibrant, culturally diverse city with world-class museums, free attractions, restaurants, unique wedding venues and beautiful parks.
Explore the trendy University Circle area, visit the International Women's Air & Space Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum.
Best things to do in Cleveland, Ohio with kids include the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and the Greater Cleveland Aquarium.
1. University Circle
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University Circle, a famous urban district covering a square mile, is home to some of Cleveland’s top education, health care, arts, cultural, religious, and social service institutions. Situated near downtown Cleveland, the area is located on Euclid Avenue and is known for its vibrant, bustling energy. You’ll enjoy spending time among the many retailers, restaurants, bars, and residences.
Take in some history with a stroll along the quaint side streets of Magnolia, Ford, Bellflower, and Juniper where beautifully preserved 19th-century mansions have been transformed into hip hotels and trendy coffee shops. Alternatively, you can take a short ride along the Euclid Corridor to the modern arts and cultural district at Euclid and Mayfield. If you are wondering what to do in Cleveland this weekend, Wade Oval plays host to several outdoor events, live concerts, and movie nights during the summer while The Rink at Wade Oval is ideal for ice-skating during the winter months.
2. Cleveland Museum of Art
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Founded in 1913 “for the benefit of all the people forever,” the Cleveland Museum of Art is one of the country’s most distinguished cultural institutions and one of the top Cleveland attractions. Housed in a beautifully preserved neoclassic building of white Georgian marble, the museum lies at the center of the city’s Fine Arts Garden, just north of the Wade Lagoon.
The museum has a fantastic collection of more than 30,000 works of art that span over 5,000 years; some of the collections boast works from ancient Egypt, as well as world-renowned masterpieces from Europe, Asia, and Africa. In keeping with its mission of bringing art to the people of Cleveland, Ohio the museum also fills its calendar with special exhibitions, lectures, films, and musical programs for the public, as well as community-based programs and performing arts series.
11150 East Boulevard, Cleveland, OH Phone: 216-421-7340
3. West Side Market
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The West Side Market is Cleveland’s oldest public market where over 100 producers, artisans, and vendors sell their wares. Market stalls brim with charcuterie and meats, succulent seafood, freshly picked fruits and vegetables, dairy products, fresh flowers, spices and nuts.
Bakers sell homemade baked bread, pastries, and other baked goods while artisan chefs and cooks offer delicious ready-to-eat meals. Built in 1912 to replace the original Pearl Street Market, the West Side Market is the last remaining market of three that were constructed to serve Cleveland’s growing immigrant population in the early 20th century. Today, the market continues to offer an authentic and culturally diverse shopping experience to locals and visitors alike. The West Side Market is one of the best things to do in Cleveland, Ohio for foodies.
1979 West 25th Street, Cleveland, Ohio, Phone: 216-664-3387
4. Cleveland Cultural Gardens
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Created by students and scholars at Cleveland State University as a “peace garden,” the Cleveland Cultural Gardens are a living monument to the rich history of twentieth-century America. The gardens, of which there are 29, are designed to reveal the stories of the major conflicts that gave shape to the century, including important events such as World War I, World War II, and the Cold War.
The gardens also provide insight into the social, economic, political, and cultural upheavals that influenced the nation during the last century. Some of the more popular featured gardens include the Albanian Cultural Garden, the Armenian Garden, The Polish Garden, the Slovenian Garden, and the Czech Garden. Enjoy guided tours through the gardens, which will give you behind-the-scenes information about the gardens and the intimate details surrounding them, as well as the cultural heroes that are linked to them. 750 East 88th Street, Cleveland, Ohio
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5. Greater Cleveland Aquarium
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The Greater Cleveland Aquarium opened in 2012 and is spread over more than 70,000 square feet (6,500 square meters) of exhibition space. This impressive establishment features eight newly built exhibition areas, a vast 230,000-gallon tank with a unique walk-through acrylic shark tunnel, and a variety of intriguing exhibits showcasing local and exotic species of fish.
Stroll through the many exhibitions, which include Lakes and Rivers of the World, the Indo-Pacific Zone, Discovery Zone, Coastal and Coral Reef. Meanwhile, the 175-foot (53 m) shark tunnel offers panoramic views of the myriad marine life, including numerous sharks of various species. Aiming to educate, inspire, and encourage visitors to take an interest in the marine environment, the Aquarium offers educational programs about the animals and the care they receive.
2000 Sycamore Street, Cleveland, Ohio, Phone: 216-862-8803
6. International Women's Air and Space Museum
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The International Women's Air & Space Museum (IWASM) is devoted to the celebration of women in the fields of aviation and space exploration. It pays homage to the accomplishments, successes, and contributions they have made to the industry over the decades.
Located in the terminal building of Burke Lakefront Airport, the museum features a wealth of memorabilia and historical artifacts collected by the Ninety-Nines, an international organization of women pilots formed in 1929. The museum also showcases famous aviation women throughout history. Guided, docent-led tours through the museum are available and last between 45 minutes and an hour, giving visitors the chance to explore both permanent and temporary exhibitions.
Burke Lakefront Airport, Cleveland, Ohio, Phone: 216-623-1111
7. Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA)
© Museum of Contemporary Art
Cleveland’s Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) is the region’s only contemporary art museum dedicated to showcasing modern and contemporary art through a range of new-age, evolving exhibitions. Founded in 1968, this non-profit institution has been playing a vital role in Cleveland’s cultural landscape for over 45 years.
The museum proudly presents the works of more than 2,000 artists through permanent and traveling exhibitions, as well as artists’ first solo shows. Aiming to challenge, inspire, and teach a broad range of audiences about modern art, the museum creates a unique and dynamic space in which to fuel imagination and cultivate creativity. The Museum of Contemporary Art is one of the best things to do in Cleveland for art lovers. It also offers a variety of programs and open-ended activities that encourage collaboration and interaction.
11400 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio
8. Little Italy
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Little Italy is a culturally rich area located around Mayfield Road that brings a slice of Italy to the heart of Cleveland. Established by Italian sculptor Joseph Carrabelli in the 1880s when he began sculpting granite and marble works at the top of Mayfield Road hill, the area soon filled up with Italian families. Today, the heritage of Little Italy is still celebrated and upheld to this day.
If you are looking for things to do in Cleveland today, this is a great place to visit. Brimming with art galleries, restaurants, cafés, and delis, the area has become one of the most beloved in the city, where many people seek out an exciting night of dining and entertainment. Little Italy really comes alive during various festivals and on special occasions such as The Feast of the Assumption. It also plays host to the City’s famous Art Walks, holds regular bocce tournaments, and promises fun-filled alfresco summer nights.
9. Cleveland Institute of Art (CIA)
© Cleveland Institute of Art
The Cleveland Institute of Art is a private educational institution founded in 1882 as the renowned Western Reserve School of Design for Women. Later named the Cleveland School of Art, this is Ohio’s premier art and design college and is located in University Circle in Cleveland, on a one-acre campus. Today, the institute is an internationally recognized college of art and design that offers degrees of bachelor of fine arts in 15 majors that include design, crafts, digital arts, and fine arts. The institute also offers study abroad programs, internships, Association of Independent Colleges of Art & Design Mobility Programs, and AICAD New York Studio Residency Programs.
11610 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44106, Phone: 800-223-4700
10. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum
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The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum is dedicated to showcasing some of rock and roll’s greatest performers and contributors. Designed by world-renowned architect I.M. Pei and located on the shores of Lake Erie, this world-class museum hopes to engage and inspire visitors with the power of rock and roll with its impressive collections, exhibitions, and displays.
The museum also houses a well stocked library and archives, and it offers range of educational programs. Featured exhibits include Rock Portraits by Herb Ritts, The Pink Floyd Wall, Legends of Rock, and The Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll. Dedicated to the celebration of rock and roll, the museum offers a range of classes and workshops for children and adults to foster a deeper understanding of rock and roll and the influence it has had thus far on society and the world.
1100 E 9th St, Cleveland, Ohio
11. James A. Garfield Monument
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Resting in the Lake View Cemetery on Euclid Avenue, the James A. Garfield Monument honors James A. Garfield, the 20th President of the United States, and serves as his resting place. Designed by architect George Keller and constructed of Berea Sandstone, the monument stands 180 feet tall and contains elements of Romanesque, Gothic, and Byzantine styles of architecture, with five terracotta panels by Casper Bubel.
Marble, granite, and gold mosaics with stained glass windows representing the original 13 colonies and War and Peace beautifully decorate the ornate Memorial Hall. A statue of the President sculpted by Alexander Doyle stands on the main floor of the memorial. Enjoy breathtaking views of Lake Erie from the upper outdoor balcony, a view that inspired the cemetery’s name.
12316 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio, Phone: 216-421-2665
12. Playhouse Square
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Playhouse Square is the country’s second-largest performing arts center where a range of entertainment, performances, shows, and events dazzle audiences from around the world. This establishment is a non-profit organization that produces a variety of plays, operas, dance performances, music concerts, and readings for the betterment of the community.
Playhouse Square also offers educational classes, workshops, and programs aimed at inspiring the public to take an interest in the performing arts and to develop local skills related to the fine arts. The master performers who run the programs leave the stage to interact and engage with learners and share their expertise and knowledge. Don’t miss the world’s largest outdoor chandelier, the GE Chandelier, which is a magnificent 20-foot tall stainless steel light piece that shimmers with 4,200 crystal pendants and LED fixtures.
1501 Euclid Avenue, Suite 200, Cleveland, Ohio, Phone: 216-771-4444
13. North Chagrin Reservation
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Located in Mayfield Village, Willoughby Hills, and Gates Mills, North Chagrin Reservation is a 1,700-acre wildlife sanctuary that features several outdoor recreation areas, walking trails, picnic spots, and wildlife reserves. Established in the 1920s, the Reservation has long attracted visitors, inviting them to enjoy the beautiful scenery, outdoor activities, and wildlife.
Sanctuary Marsh and Sunset Pond are excellent for bird watching, while the turn-of-the-century Squire's Castle makes for an interesting architectural feature. The Reservation is also home to a nature center and nature education building where community-based programs, classes, and workshops are held, as well as the Manakiki Golf Course in Willoughby Hills.
4101 Fulton Parkway, Cleveland, Ohio, Phone: 216-635-3200
14. The Ohio and Erie Canalway
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Constructed in the early 19th century, the Ohio and Erie Canal carried freight traffic across the state of Ohio for over 40 years until the advent of the railroad. It later served as a water source for various industries and towns. Today, the canal is managed by the National Park Service and used by the public for various recreational purposes such as birding, hiking, bicycling, or horseback riding. Some parts of the canal, such as the Ohio and Erie Canal Historic District, are designated as special National Heritage Areas, helping to preserve the heritage of the canal and improving the quality of life of residents in the counties of Northeastern Ohio.
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15. Progressive Field Tours
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Home to Major League Baseball team the Cleveland Indians, Progressive Field is a state-of-the-art urban ballpark that offers fans a modern and comfortable environment in which to watch their home team play ball. Visitors can enjoy guided tours of this world-class facility and get a unique, behind-the-scenes look at the home of the Indians.
Tours take visitors to the dugouts, batting cages, the visitor’s bullpen, the fan caves, party suites, and Club Lounge. Visitors can also see the Heritage Park Indians Hall of Fame where they can learn more about the history and successes of the Indians. Tours last approximately 60 minutes and are based on your event schedule and group size.
2401 Ontario St, Cleveland, Ohio, Phone: 866-800-1275
16. A Christmas Story House and Museum
© A Christmas Story House and Museum
The Christmas Story House is a 19th-century Victorian house best known for being the residence of Ralphie Parker’s in the 1983 film A Christmas Story. The house was purchased by a private developer and restored to its former “movie star” glory. Today, it is open to the public.
The Christmas Story Museum is situated just across the road from the house and features a range of memorabilia, costumes, and original props from the film, including Randy’s snowsuit, the toys from the Higbee’s window, and the famous family car. Browse through rare behind-the-scenes photos as you take a step back in time, and finish off your visit by shopping for your own memorabilia at the museum gift shop. The museum is open seven days a week, year-round.
3159 W 11th Street, Cleveland, Ohio, Phone: 216-298-4919
17. Town Hall, Cleveland, Ohio
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Town Hall Ohio City is an organic, whole and sustainable food café that serves seasonal, locally sourced, and GMO-free cuisine along with world-renowned craft beer and tasty cocktails. They also have a unique bean bar where they grinds up fresh beans to brew up a tasty cup of coffee.
Boasting a contemporary and casual dining space with a lovely outdoor patio, the café serves a variety of healthy small plates and bar bites for brunch, lunch, and dinner. Their special late-night menu features delectable treats such as seared shishito mushrooms, oven-roasted kale and goat’s cheese platter. You can even enjoy freshly squeezed juices, smoothies, and special milkshakes with your meal.
1909 West 25th Street, Cleveland, Ohio, Phone: 216-344-9400
18. Cleveland Playhouse
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Founded in 1915, the Cleveland Play House was America's first professional regional theater, and it has been presenting a wide range of world and American premiere shows to patrons for 100 years. Giving performances in three state-of-the-art venues – the Allen Theater, the Helen Theater, and the Outcalt Theater – at Playhouse Square in downtown Cleveland, the theater aims to inspire, stimulate, and entertain audiences and communities in Northeast Ohio.
It is known for producing plays, shows, and programs of the highest quality. The theater also provides a variety of educational programs for children, youth, and adults, as well as a several community-based events that encourage an interest in theater and the arts.
1407 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio, Phone: 216-241-6000
19. Velvet Tango Room
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The Velvet Tango Room is an elegant jazz lounge and cocktail bar tucked away between two trendy neighborhoods in the heart of Cleveland. The establishment features an ornate mahogany bar, a baby grand piano, a beautiful tin ceiling, and sensually low lighting. The lounge exudes style and class, and has an impressive program of handcrafted cocktails, craft beers, and international wines, along with small plates of delicious contemporary cuisine. True to its elegant form, the restaurant has a few rules, which include no hats for men and no T-shirts.
2095 Columbus Road, Cleveland, Ohio, Phone: 216-241-8869
20. Cleveland Museum of Natural History
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Established to inspire a passion for nature and help ensure the protection of the natural world for future generations to come, the Cleveland Museum of Natural History is home to a collection of over four million specimens across a variety of fields that include archeology, botany, geology, and paleontology, among others.
Located in University Circle in downtown Cleveland, the museum is made up of a number of educational, cultural, and medical institutions that perform research and facilitate the development of the current collections. If you are looking for great family attractions in Cleveland, this museum is a fun place to visit. Important exhibits include the only specimen of a small tyrannosaur dinosaur, multiple mastodon and mammoth skeletons, and the remains of the famous sled dog, Balto.
1 Wade Oval Drive, Cleveland, Ohio, Phone: 216-231-4600
21. Barrio Tacos
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Barrio Tacos, a local chain and the go-to spot for delicious, build-your-own taco creations, features handcrafted cocktails, and plenty of tequila served in a hip, casual, and laid-back dining space. Made from the freshest, locally sourced ingredients, Barrio’s tacos are packed with succulent meats and fresh vegetables.
Alternatively, you can build your own taco with all your favorite toppings for brunch, lunch, or dinner. Pair your taco with an icy margarita or tequila-based cocktail, a glass of sangria, or local wine. Be sure to stop by for happy hour, which takes place every evening at the bar. You can also find the Barrio food truck at several festivals and special events throughout the city and take advantage of monthly food specials.
503 Prospect Ave, Cleveland, Ohio, Phone: 216-862-4652
22. Steamship William G. Mather
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Built in 1925 as an iron ore, coal, stone, and grain carrier, the steamship William G. Mather was nicknamed the “The Ship That Built Cleveland” due to her frequent voyages through the Great Lakes to the steel mills of Cleveland. Today, the retired and restored bulk freighter can be explored from stem to stern on private or guide tours.
Experience what life was like on this 618-foot historic flagship as you walk the decks and marvel at some of the engineering feats that made the ship famous. Visit the huge cargo holds, four-story engine room, age-old pilot house, and beautifully preserved guest quarters. Wander through the Great Lakes Story exhibits, where over a dozen interactive experiences detail the formation of the Great Lakes, the environmental threats they face, and the ways in which science and technology is helping to restore them back to health.
601 Erieside Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio, Phone: 216-694-2000
23. The Harp
© The Harp
The Harp is a storybook Irish pub: Warm, rustic, with cozy booths, a long wooden bar with a stained-glass backdrop, Irish music piping from the speakers, and the smell of corned beef wafting from the kitchen. Voted the best Irish pub in Cleveland a number of times, The Harp is incredibly handsome, but it is more than that. The menu is full of Irish delights such as boxty – an Irish potato pancake filled with corned beef – and fabulous lineup of beers on draft, from Guinness to local micro brews. Live Irish music alternates with classic rock once a week and the magnificent terrace overlooking Lake Erie just about tops it all off.
4408 Detroit Ave, Cleveland, OH 44113, Phone: 216-939-0200
24. Cleveland Orchestra
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One of the most acclaimed ensembles in the world, the Cleveland Orchestra has a long and proud history of sharing the joy and value of music with audiences both locally and abroad. Based at Severance Hall during the winter months and at the Blossom Music Festival in the summer, the orchestra also takes up temporary residences in Miami and Vienna while touring the globe.
Committed to artistic excellence, creative programming, and active community engagement, the orchestra has been under the expert directorship of Franz Welser-Möst for the past thirteen years. Today, the orchestra continues to play a vital role in Ohio’s arts and culture scene through the provision of educational programs, community-based learnerships, skills development, and ongoing initiatives and collaborations.
Severance Hall, 11001 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio, Phone: 216-231-7300
25. Cleveland Metroparks Zoo
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Founded in 1892, the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is home to several bio-thematic areas that house animals from different regions of the world and is one of Ohio’s most popular attractions. Spanning 183 acres (74 ha), the zoo is divided into sections that are themed according to the area they represent. Some of the sections are the African Savannah, Northern Trek, Australian Adventure, and the Rainforest.
The Cat & Aquatics Building houses one of the largest collections of primate species in North America, and gorillas, lemurs, monkeys and aye-ayes call this building home. Meanwhile, the Wolf Wilderness introduces visitors to life in a northern temperate forest. Visitors can explore the zoo on foot or by riding one of two zoo trams, which follow selected routes around the park.
3900 Wildlife Way, Cleveland, Ohio, Phone: 216-661-6500
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