There are so many fun things to do in Cleveland, Ohio and it makes for a great Ohio road trip for families looking to explore this great city on Lake Erie!
I grew up in Northeast Ohio, so Cleveland was our go-to city for most of my childhood and early 20’s before moving to Columbus! Even after moving to Columbus, our family has taken many trips to Cleveland. We usually visit at least once or twice a year!
Over the years I have gathered a list of some of the best things to do in Cleveland, as well as some of the hidden gems that might be easily overlooked if you don’t know where to find them! We are always visiting our favorites and also seeking out new things to do in Cleveland each time we visit!
I’ve loosely organized this list of fun things to do in Cleveland, Ohio by neighborhood when applicable!
1. Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
- Address: 1100 Rock and Roll Boulevard, Cleveland, OH 44114
I have to mention the Rock Hall of Fame if you’re planning a trip to Cleveland! This is one of the top things to do in the city, especially for music fans! There is so much to see here, I would plan on at least 3-4 hours to take it all in!
The museum as 5 floors of exhibits and they recommend you start on Level 0. Level 0 features tons of memorabilia covering the history of rock and roll!
Work your way up through the museum enjoying the actual Hall of Fame, Pink Floyd’s The Wall and a Legends of Rock exhibit.
A highlight of the museum for us was The Garage on Level 2 where you can play actual instruments and even play with an in-house band! If you plan to bring young kids to the Rock Hall, this is the area they will probably enjoy the most!
The museum has a cafe and a gift shop with some really unique items. The first time we visited, we ended up purchasing a membership because it was only $5 more than our ticket price!
BUT, if you have an NARM membership, you can get into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame for free!
2. Great Lakes Science Center
- Address: 601 Erieside Ave, Cleveland, OH 44114
The Great Lakes Science center is right on Lake Erie and offers 3 levels of interactive science exhibits! If you’re interested in space, make sure to visit the NASA Glenn Visitor Center on Level 1!
Kids will love the Science Phenomena area on Level 2 with tons of hands-on exhibits where they can experience science first hand! For kids 7 and younger, there is a Polymer Funhouse and when weather permits, a playground outside on the roof!
There is a cafe here and a gift shop. Rotating exhibits can be found in Reinberger Hall on the Lower Level. Also, if you have a COSI membership, you can get in free!
3. Voinovich Bicentennial Park
- Address: 800 E. 9th St., Cleveland, OH 44114
If you’re downtown and visiting the Rock Hall of Fame or Great Lakes Science Center, take a quick walk over to Voinovich Bicentennial Park in the North Coast Harbor area. There is a large green space and walking paths right on Lake Erie.
There is a Cleveland Script sign here with an amazing view of downtown Cleveland in the background!
4. International Women Air & Space Museum at Burke Lakefront Airport
- Address: 1501 N Marginal Rd, Cleveland, OH 44114
The International Women’s Air & Space Museum is inside Burke Lakefront Airport and it houses a collection of artifacts related to women in aviation and space! The museum is free to visit and parking is available on the street right by the airport.
There are some interactive exhibits where you can experience what it’s like to be an astronaut in space! There are also planes and other aircraft on display.
The airport is right on the water and you can watch airplanes land and take off from the airport.
5. Free Stamp
- Address: 601 Lakeside Ave E, Cleveland, OH 44114
This is a fun stop for a photo op in downtown Cleveland! The Free Stamp by artists Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen was dedicated in its spot in Willis Park in 1991.
The Free Stamp is within walking distance of North Coast Harbor and the Rock Hall of Fame.
6. Little Italy
- Address: Mayfield Road between Circle Drive and E. 126th Street.
Little Italy is one of my favorite neighborhoods in Cleveland to visit! They have delicious, authentic Italian restaurants, bakeries and shops! There is a fun park where kids will love to play and it borders Lake View Cemetery (see below).
Parking in Little Italy is notoriously difficult. Most of the parking is for one hour in residential areas, so keep an eye on your clock! In the evening hours only, there is a public lot off of E. 119th Street.
7. Lake View Cemetery
- Address: 12316 Euclid Ave, Cleveland, OH 44106
If visiting the graves of famous people is up your alley, you’ll definitely want to check out Lake View Cemetery! Some of the can’t miss gravesites include John D. Rockefeller and family, Eliot Ness, Alan Freed, Ray Johnson Chapman, and the James A. Garfield Memorial, just to name a few!
The Haserot Angel is a well-known statue known as the crying angel that we made a point to find on our last visit. There is an interactive map at the website above but I’ve found a lot of these points of interest are also labeled on Google Maps, making it easier to navigate all of the twists and turns in the cemetery.
8. Tony Brush Park
- Address: 12002 Mayfield Rd, Cleveland, OH 44106
If you’re planning to visit Cleveland’s Little Italy with young children, you’ll be happy to know there is a playground at the heart of the neighborhood! Tony Brush was a champion boxer and resident of Little Italy.
This is a very Italian playground in the sense that everything is painted green, red and white! It’s a great spot for kids to get out some energy while you eat your cannoli from Presti’s Bakery!
9. Presti’s Bakery
Presti’s Bakery in Little Italy has been one of our favorite place to visit in Cleveland over the years! I love the cannoli but the have tons of other pastry options to choose from! You can also get coffee and ice cream here and there is a large seating area!
Be prepared to take a number when you arrive and have your order ready when they call your number! This is a popular spot that’s always busy!
10. Cleveland Botanical Garden
- Address: 11030 East Blvd, Cleveland, OH 44106
Indoors there are the Glasshouses featuring gardens from Madagascar and Costa Rica, a great Perennial Playspace for kids, The Garden Cafe and The Garden Store.
Outdoors are several beautiful gardens. One of my favorites was the Japanese Garden! If you’re visiting with kids, you absolutely must visit the Hershey Children’s Garden! It’s an amazing space for kids to play, learn and explore!
11. Cleveland Museum of Art
- Address: 11150 East Blvd, Cleveland, OH 44106
Visiting the Cleveland Museum of Art is an inspiring and free thing to do in Cleveland! Yep, that’s right, admission to this art museum in University Circle is free! Of course, there is a $14 parking fee if you’re not a member. But it’s worth it!
If this is your first visit to the Cleveland Museum of Art, you are sure to be wowed by the Atrium. It was one of my favorite places in the museum!
The museum consists of the 1916 Building, an East Wing, West Wing and North Building. There is a cafe and restaurant on site as well.
12. Cleveland Script Signs
- Address: multiple locations
Cleveland has 6 Cleveland script signs and they are at Edgewater Park, Euclid Beach, Tremont, The Foundry, North Coast Harbor and one at the baggage claim at Cleveland-Hopkins Airport.
We have personally visited 3 of them: Euclid Beach, North Coast Harbor and Edgewater Park.
Of those 3 I think my favorite might be at North Coast Harbor (pictured above) because of the great view of downtown Cleveland in the background! But if you want a view of Lake Erie, Edgewater Park is great for that!
13. Edgewater Park
- Address: Lakefront Reservation, Cleveland, OH 44102
Edgewater Park is a great park on the shores of Lake Erie! Edgewater Park is home to Edgewater Beach and Edgewater Beach House, which sells food and concessions. They also rent out lounge chairs, umbrellas, cabanas.
There is a really amazing playground for kids, a beach and a chance to take your photo by one of the Cleveland signs!
The Lindsay Family Play Space in Upper Edgewater Park is definitely a reason to visit the park if you have kids! It’s a really unique playground – the likes of which would be hard to find elsewhere! The beach here has pretty nice sand, too. My boys enjoyed it for building sand castles!
14. Euclid Beach Park
- Address: 16301 Lakeshore Blvd, Cleveland, OH 44110
Euclid Beach is part of the Cleveland Metro Parks and Euclid Creek Reservation. Euclid Beach is 650 feet long and there are walking paths, picnic areas and the Euclid Beach Pier.
This one of the 6 locations of the Cleveland script signs! This Lake Erie Beach is a great place to see the skyline of downtown Cleveland!
Euclid Beach was home to the Euclid Beach Amusement Park which closed in 1969. The new pier pays homage to the amusement park in its design. It’s definitely worth a visit to see this unique and colorful pier!
15. The Arcade
- Address: 401 Euclid Ave, Cleveland, OH 44115
Take some time to step off the street and into The Arcade in downtown Cleveland. The Arcade was America’s first indoor shopping center and it opened in 1890. It’s just a gorgeous sight to see and one of Ohio’s hidden gems! It’s especially pretty during the holiday season!
Inside The Arcade is a mixture of shops, restaurants and businesses. I recommend Rising Star Coffee Roasters on the bottom floor! Plus there’s lots to do on the nearby East 4th Street (see below)!
16. Lionheart Coffee
- Address: 530 Euclid Ave, Cleveland, OH 44115
Lionheart Coffee is a great spot to pick up a coffee or treat when you’re in downtown Cleveland and the East 4th St. area. They have a lot of unique drinks to choose from. I got the Lionheart which was a late with bourbon caramel, brown sugar and cinnamon.
They also have hot chocolate for the kids as well as a selection of baked goods! Lots of seating inside or, of course, you can take it to go and enjoy walking around the neighborhood!
17. East 4th St.
The East 4th Street area is where you can find tons of restaurants and entertainment in downtown Cleveland! They do such a great job of making this street beautiful!
Some of the other item on this list of things to do in Cleveland can be found on E. 4th St. so it’s a great place to start!
- Address: 503 Prospect Ave E, Cleveland, OH 44114
We’ve always enjoyed eating at Barrio, whether it was in downtown Cleveland or in nearby Willoughby where we ate when we visited Lake County, Ohio! I love their queso and margaritas!
At Barrio you can build your own tacos or choose from some of their suggestions. This is a restaurant our kids enjoy, too, because they can fill up on chips and salsa and choose their own taco ingredients. (Or ingredient as the case may be.)
19. Mabel’s BBQ
- Address: 2050 E 4th St, Cleveland, OH 44115
I’m a huge Michael Symon fan and I have enjoyed visiting his restaurants in Cleveland over the years! One of his remaining Cleveland restaurants is Mabel’s BBQ.
This restaurant is located in the East 4th area and the decor and inside of the restaurant is fun and laid back. Portions are big and meat is the focus!
20. Cleveland Clothing Co.
- Address: 342 Euclid Ave, Cleveland, OH 44115
If you’re looking to pick up some Cleveland-themed clothing, gifts or souveniers, look no further than Cleveland Clothing Co. in the East 4th Street district in downtown Cleveland. We have shopped here often because my husband is a big fan of their clothing!
The East 4th location is their flagship shop but there are other shops around the Cleveland and Akron area (see the link above) and you can order online!
- Address: West Side Cleveland neighborhood along W. 14th St.
Tremont is an artsy neighborhood in Cleveland that makes for a fun place to explore! Shopping, restaurants and art galleries are a definite highlight here! Read about Visible Voice Books below for one of our favorite stops in Tremont!
22. Visible Voice Books
- Address: 2258 Professor Ave, Cleveland, OH 44113
We stumbled upon Visible Voice Books when we were exploring Tremont and were charmed! A great independent bookstore with a great vibe, Visible Voice also has a cafe with coffee, tea and baked goods.
They also sell beer and wine that can be consumed in store. It’s definitely worth a visit!
23. Ohio City
- Address: near West Side neighborhood along W. 25th St.
If you’re looking for a neighborhood to walk around and explore, Ohio City is great for that! With a couple of blocks of shops and trendy restaurants, including the amazing West Side Market, this is a Cleveland destination we always make a point to visit.
Reasonably priced parking is available in a parking lot behind West Side Market. This neighborhood is home to several other destinations on this list including Nate’s Deli, Great Lakes Brewing Co. and Mitchell’s Ice Cream.
24. West Side Market
- Address: 1979 W 25th St, Cleveland, OH 44113
West Side Market is a Cleveland gem! You can’t visit Cleveland without a stop at West Side Market! Make sure to check the website listed above because they do have unconventional hours!
Located in the Ohio City neighborhood, West Side Market is full of vendors of meat, fresh produce, baked goods, candy and more!
A lot of my readers are from Columbus and are familiar with North Market. In comparison, I would say North Market is more restaurant focused and West Side Market is more focused on fresh ingredients for a meal you will prepare yourself such as meat, produce, cheese and more! There are also some amazing bakeries in West Side Market!
25. Nate’s Deli
- Address: 1923 W 25th St, Cleveland, OH 44113
Nate’s Deli is one of our favorite restaurants to eat at in Cleveland! Nate’s is in the Ohio City Neighborhood, just a few storefronts down from West Side Market on W. 25th Street. Nate’s is a small, unassuming restaurant that is always busy and bustling with activity!
They have great hummus and we love their Middle Eastern options! Furthermore, If you have picky kids, they also offer hamburgers, hot dogs, and classic deli sandwiches.
Nate’s is just a lunch time spot and at time of writing, they are closed on Sundays.
26. Great Lakes Brewing Company Brewpub
- Address: 2516 Market Ave, Cleveland, OH 44113
Plan to grab a meal or craft beer at one of Cleveland’s most well-known breweries! Great Lakes Brewing Company brews some of my husband’s favorite beers so we have a couple of meals – with and without the kids – at Great Lakes Brewing Co!
My kids were big fans of the soft pretzel and the wings! We all love the patio – but make sure you go insie and check out the gift shop!
27. Mitchell’s Ice Cream
- Address: 1867 W 25th St, Cleveland, OH 44113
I definitely recommend visiting the Ohio City Flagship Kitchen & Shop of Mitchell’s Ice Cream! You can go to upstairs and watch the ice cream be made and hand packed from the large viewing windows!
On my most recent visit I had the Cookies and Cream flavor and it was just packed with cookie chunks!
28. b.a. Sweeties
- Address: 6770 Brookpark Rd, Cleveland, OH 44129
Who wouldn’t want to visit the largest candy store in America?? A stop at b.a. Sweetie’s will satisfy your sweet tooth and then some! With rows and rows of every kind of candy imaginable there is something for everyone!
On site is a soda and ice cream shop, too! Make sure you don’t miss the miniature carnival display near the back! This store was a definite highlight for my kids on one of our trips to Cleveland!
29. Cleveland Public Library
- Address: 325 Superior Ave, Cleveland, OH 44114
The Main Library and the Louis Stokes Wing are located in downtown Cleveland and are fun to stop into! Additionally, a highlight of the complex is the Eastman Reading Garden in between the two buildings. There is a beautiful outdoor area with seating and plants.
In the Eastman Reading Garden, keep your eyes peeled for the tiny statues by Thomas Otterness that represent library patrons enjoying the space!
30. Heinen’s Grocery Store
- Address: 900 Euclid Ave, Cleveland, OH 44115
Would you believe a grocery store is a must-visit destination in Cleveland? After you see it, you will!
Stop in to Heinen’s Grocery Store at 900 Euclid Ave. for a grab and go meal, dessert or stay for a drink! You will love the Balcony Bar and find your self staring at the beautiful view of the rotunda of the historic Cleveland Trust Building!
31. Cuyahoga Valley National Park
- Address: multiple entrances
In between Cleveland and Akron is the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, the only National Park in Ohio! If you’re in the Cleveland area, it’s worth a visit! A highlight of Cuyahoga Valley National Park is Brandywine Falls, the tallest waterfall in Ohio.
The park has been designated as an Important Bird Area by the National Audubon Society and it is a popular spot for bird watching. The park is also home to the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad which offers train rides through the park and special events.
Also in the park, another beautiful spot we have enjoyed in the park is Beaver Marsh. The boardwalk there allows for a chance to see beavers and beaver dams and makes for a beautiful hike.
32. Rocky River Reservation
- Address: Valley Pkwy, North Olmsted, OH 44070
In the Cleveland suburb of North Olmstead, you can find the Rocky River Reservation. There is a great Nature Center that kids will love to explore!
The Fort Hill Stairs behind the Nature Center consist of 155 steps and you can climb to the top to overlook Rocky River. At the top, make sure to read about Fort Hill, earthworks that were most likely created by Native Americans over 2000 years ago.
33. Liberty Playground
- Address: 6363 Selig Blvd, Independence, OH 44131
A fun playground to check out is Liberty Playground in the Cleveland suburb of Independence. This one has a large play area with several play structures, including a pair of zip lines and several rock climbing walls.
There is also a really cute Safety Town area where kids can ride their bikes. There are small houses that make up the town and a working stoplight!
34. Preston’s HOPE Accessible Playground
- Address: 26001 S Woodland Rd, Beachwood, OH 44122
Also, I definitely have to include this adorable playground in the Cleveland suburb of Beachwood! This playground has several play areas including an adorable town that can be accessed through ramps.
The playground is an accessible playground for all ability levels. There is also a sand area that my kids loved plus swings, slides and a picnic area! This park is free to visit and open to the public.
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