Sitting over 82.49 square miles, Cleveland is the second largest city in Ohio. It is one of the best places in the state to work, live, and explore with loved ones on vacation.
Cleveland is home to museums, theatres, unique culture, natural parks, and several other attractions, making it an excellent tourist destination. You may not know this, but Cleveland is also one of the prettiest cities in the U.S. Yes! Cleveland!
Planning a trip and thinking about what to do in Cleveland? Wondering what Cleveland is famous for? No worries! We have listed some of the fun and best things to do in Cleveland in this post.
You can book a private tour with GetYourGuide to see the best Cleveland has to offer. If you want to make your own tour, let’s go through the list of some of the most interesting Cleveland vacation ideas.
his world-renowned museum is dedicated to celebrating the history and impact of rock and roll music. During your self-guided tour, you'll see exhibits on your favorite musicians, including The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones, David Bowie, the Supremes, Metallica, Michael Jackson, and Parliament/Funkadelic. You'll also learn about the evolution of rock and roll music.
You'll be able to sample around 16 different beers and enjoy a brewpub lunch while being transported to four different brewery stops. Itineraries vary but may include Brick & Barrel Brewing, Terrestrial Brewing, Market Garden Brewery, Great Lakes Brewing, Goldhorn Brewery, and Collision Bend Brewing. This is a perfect tour for any beer lover.
Explore the highlights of Cleveland's downtown on this guided walking tour. You'll learn about the city's rich history as you view iconic buildings and monuments like Public Square, the Cleveland Public Library, and Playhouse Square.
Best & Fun Things to Do in Cleveland
1. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Address: 1100 E 9th St, Cleveland, OH 44114, United States
Also known as the Rock Hall, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is an awesome museum in downtown Cleveland. Located on the edge of beautiful Lake Erie, this institution represents the history of rock music from its inception to today. It also documents famous producers, engineers, artists, and other renowned individuals involved in the development of the diverse genre.
The founder & chairman of Atlantic Records, Ahmet Ertegun, established the foundation of the Rock Hall in 1983. Their goal was to create a permanent shrine to rock music. In 1986, Cleveland was chosen as the permanent home of the Hall of Fame after a long search.
The Rock Hall opened its doors to the public in 1995. Designed by I. M. Pei and engineered by Leslie E. Robertson Associates, it’s a unique seven-level building that covers 65,000 square feet.
Each floor displays something different:
- The ground level is the Ahmet Ertegun Exhibition Hall, the main gallery.
- The first level includes a stage, a cafe, and Backstage Stories section.
- Similarly, the top two floors feature different exhibits throughout the year.
If you’re in the city, don’t skip visiting it. You can also consider booking a tour with GetYourGuide to have the best experiences in Cleveland.
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2. Cleveland Museum of Natural History
Address: 1 Wade Oval Dr, Cleveland, OH 44106, United States
A visit to the Cleveland Museum of Natural History is one of the most fun things to do in Cleveland for history buffs. It was founded by businessman Cyrus S. Eaton to perform research and development of collections in zoology, botany, astronomy, geology, and other fields.
The mission of this innovative museum is to help visitors explore the natural world through various displays. The museum has over 4 million specimens of mineralogy, paleontology, zoology, and several other scientific subjects.
The Hamann-Todd Collection features over 3,100 human skeletons and more than 900 primate skeletons. A range of permanent and traveling exhibits in the building help visitors uncover the Universe’s formation, experience the past, and explore the lives of early humans.
Also, dinosaur displays and interactive exhibits can amaze the little ones. If you’re visiting, here are some must-sees at the museum:
- Lucy – the Australopithecus afarensis skeleton
- Prehistoric Indians of Ohio
- Kirtland Hall of Prehistoric Life
- Perkins Wildlife Center and Woods Garden
- Moon Rock From the Apollo 12 Mission
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3. Cleveland Museum of Art
Address: 11150 East Blvd, Cleveland, OH 44106, United States
Founded in 1913, the Cleveland Museum of Art is one of the most-visited art museums in the country. The place is a comprehensive art museum, rated as one of the most interesting things to do in Cleveland, Ohio.
The museum is famous for housing over 61,000 works of art from different periods and regions. The diverse collection is divided into 16 sections, including Modern European Art, Decorative Art and Design, Contemporary Art, Asian Art, Egyptian Art, and Photography.
Entry to the museum is free, but you may have to buy a ticket for some special exhibitions or concerts. Some of the masterpieces in the museum are:
- The Burning of the Houses of Lords and Commons by J.M.W. Turner
- Twilight in the Wilderness by Frederic Edwin Church
- Portrait of Adeline Ravoux by Vincent van Gogh
- La Vie by Pablo Picasso
- The Crucifixion of Saint Andrew by Caravaggio
- The Red Kerchief by Claude Monet
- Portrait of Isabella Brant by Peter Paul Rubens
Though entry to the museum is free, you must book any Cleveland Museum of Art tours beforehand to secure your spot.
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4. Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland
Address: 11400 Euclid Ave, Cleveland, OH 44106, United States
Established in 1968, the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland is a contemporary art museum in Cleveland. Abbreviated to moCa, this is a one-of-a-kind art venue in Metropolitan Cleveland. Dedicated to contemporary art, this museum has the privilege of being the most recognizable art gallery in Northeast Ohio.
The museum’s mission is to push the boundaries of creativity, innovation, and exploration through publications, exhibitions, and outreach programs. The museum welcomes diverse audiences to explore new ideas, artworks, perspectives, and experiences.
Initially called The New Gallery, the institution has undergone several names and has been operating under the current branding of moCa since 2002. Spanning over 34,000 square feet, the design of 2012 moCa was led by Foreign Office Architects (FOA) and British-Iranian architect Farshid Moussavi.
Featuring movable glass and guillotine walls, this four-story leviathan rises around 18 meters from a hexagonal foundation to a square top. Every level has space for either public programs or exhibitions. The building features entrances on all sides, allowing organizers to use the space intelligently.
This non-collecting museum celebrates the artwork and artists of the current time. moCa gives a platform to many fresh voices each season to represent the ideas and art of the moment.
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5. Great Lakes Science Center
Address: 601 Erieside Ave, Cleveland, OH 44114, United States
Located in downtown Cleveland, the Great Lakes Science Center is a museum and educational facility. Founded in 1996, the facility features signature & traveling exhibits, an IMAX Dome theater, a meeting space, and a cafe.
The center is funded by Cuyahoga County’s citizens through Cuyahoga Arts & Culture, funds, grants, and individual & corporate gifts. The facility welcomes over 300,000 visitors a year – make sure you’re one of them!
Home to the NASA Glenn Visitor Center, the center brings science to life through special temporary exhibitions, permanent exhibits, and the six-story Cleveland Clinic DOME Theater. This facility provides STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) education to students throughout the school year with exhibits including the BioMedTech Gallery and space & science phenomena.
The Science Center encourages guests to stay curious by hosting several science workshops, camps, and demonstrations. You can participate in hands-on science experiments and watch educational films about space exploration.
The science center has a busy event calendar which you can check to get a picture of all events in the facility before visiting. A visit to the Great Lakes Science Center is one of the best things to do in Cleveland.
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6. West Side Market
Address: 1979 W 25th St, Cleveland, OH 44113, United States
Established in 1912, the West Side Market is a historic public market in Cleveland. This market actually began operating in 1840 on the nearby street. It is home to over 100 diverse vendors offering seafood, meats, baked goods, dairy products, and fresh veggies & fruits. Some booths sell herbs, candy, nuts, and ready-to-eat foods.
Renovated in the early 2000s, this indoor/outdoor European-style market is one of the famous attractions of Cleveland among locals and tourists. The main structure resembles an old train station, both inside and out. The building also features a century-old 137-foot-tall clock tower, visible from most nearby areas.
Not to mention, the market was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973. Drenched in history, it attracts many tourists every year.
Today, the market is surrounded by several breweries and restaurants in the city. Visit any of them when done at the market. Also, don’t forget to try some local hot dogs or international delights like falafel and Cambodian sticky rice in the prepared food booths in the market. Book a tour to visit different vendors to sample products and purchase your favorites.
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7. Lake View Cemetery
Address: 12316 Euclid Ave, Cleveland, OH 44106, United States
Spread over 285 magnificent acres, Lake View Cemetery is a perfect spot to spend afternoons – or the afterlife! It is a privately owned, nonprofit garden cemetery. The cemetery welcomes you to explore its natural vistas, historical landmarks, and horticultural gems.
Founded in 1869, the cemetery is famous for its funerary monuments and mausoleums. This garden-style cemetery is located on hilly ground and features miles of paths, shrubs, trees, and flowers.
The cemetery has more than 100,000 graves. It is the final resting place of some famous names, including James Abram Garfield, John Davison Rockefeller, Eliot Ness, and Alan Freed. Designed by architect George Keller, the Memorial of James A. Garfield is a well-known point of interest in the cemetery.
Lake View Cemetery is also home to the Wade Memorial Chapel and multiple statues of angels. The grounds are perfect for a stroll, drive, live music, and special events.
This expansive cemetery offers so much to its visitors. Plan a visit to this place and explore historic graves and intricate architecture in monuments and chapels by booking a tour.
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8. A Christmas Story House
Address: 3159 W 11th St, Cleveland, OH 44109, United States
Located in the Tremont neighborhood of Ohio, the A Christmas Story House is one of Cleveland’s top attractions and museums. This 19th Century Victorian house became a national sensation after being featured in the classic 1983 film A Christmas Story.
In 2004, Brian Jones, San Diego-based entrepreneur, purchased this house. He then renovated it to make it look like the one in the film, both inside and outside.
First opened to the public in 2006, you can visit this house museum year-round. The guided house tours share all the behind-the-scenes details of the movie. The tour does not take all that long. But you can pose with props from the film to recreate some scenes. NO LICKING!
Also, the property to the left of this museum house has a gift store with movie souvenirs and memorabilia. People from all over come to Cleveland to visit this attraction every year. Don’t miss a visit to A Christmas Story House if you’re in the city. Take a tour of the house to relive the magic of the film.
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9. Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Founded in 2000, Cuyahoga Valley National Park is a gorgeous American national park. Spread over 32,500 acres, it lies along the Cuyahoga River between Cleveland and Akron.
Initially, in 1974, Cuyahoga Valley was designated as a National Recreation Area. It was then redesignated as a national park in 2000. The park preserves a lush river valley with several historical and natural sites.
It features bike paths, a scenic railroad, hiking trails, and a vast range of flora and fauna, offering visitors a great time. The park itself offers lots of things to do. You can ride a train through the park center, capture photos of scenic Brandywine Falls, or explore the Ohio & Erie Canal.
If you want to explore more, visit Kendall Lake. It takes a few minutes to walk around the lake and admire its beauty. You can also visit the Everett Covered Bridge. It features large wooden planks with hard sides and roofs. You can also take a trip to the Farmers’ Markets at Howe Island.
A tour to Cuyahoga Valley National Park is not just about exploring the natural sites in the park. You will also learn how we should treat the environment. In any case, you can book a private tour to discover the greenery and highlights of Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
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10. Cleveland Metroparks Zoo
Address: 3900 Wildlife Way, Cleveland, OH 44109, United States
Also known as Cleveland Zoological Park, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is one of the most fun things to do in Cleveland, especially if you’re with kids. This sprawling 183-acre property features multiple sections, such as Australian Adventure, Northern Wilderness Trek, The Primate section, African Savanna, The RainForest section, Waterfowl Lake, and the Asian Highlands section.
A part of the Cleveland Metroparks system, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is a year-round attraction in Northeast Ohio. It is home to around 3,000 animals of 600+ different species. Founded in 1882, the Zoo features one of the greatest selections of primates in North America.
Just outside the Zoo’s main entrance, the RainForest is one of the famous exhibits at the Zoo. This attraction is in a large glass & granite structure with around 2 acres of floor space. It boasts thousands of plants and hundreds of animals from tropical regions of Africa, America, and Asia.
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11. Greater Cleveland Aquarium
Address: 2000 Sycamore St, Cleveland, OH 44113, United States
Opened in 2012, the Greater Cleveland Aquarium is one of the top attractions in Cleveland. The aquarium occupies the historic FirstEnergy Powerhouse building on the west side of the Cuyahoga River. This facility features around 70,000 square feet of exhibition area and 55 exhibits, making a significant impact on tourism in Cleveland.
The Greater Cleveland Aquarium includes a 230,000-US-gallon tank with a 53-meter acrylic shark tunnel providing breathtaking 360-degree views of marine life, including various shark species. It has 8 exhibition galleries, including Discovery Zone, Lakes & Rivers of the World, Northern Pacific, Indo-Pacific, Ohio Lakes & Rivers, and others.
These galleries offer eye-level and up-close views of local and exotic fish species. This converted 19th Century power plant features around 1,400 species of fresh & saltwater creatures.
In 2018, the aquarium improved the gallery theming and added more species, including splitfin flashlight fish and cute weedy seadragons. It is the only free-standing aquarium in Ohio.
This aquarium not only offers 360-degree views of different species of fish from the Pacific but also helps visitors learn the Powerhouse’s history. Overall, the Greater Cleveland Aquarium is one of the best attractions to explore with kids in Cleveland.
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12. Cleveland Botanical Garden
Address: 11030 East Blvd, Cleveland, OH 44106, United States
Founded in 1930, the Cleveland Botanical Garden is in the University Circle neighborhood of Cleveland. With 10 acres of formal and natural gardens, it features a lush, peaceful, and gorgeous urban sanctuary. The former name of the garden was the Garden Center of Greater Cleveland, the first such facility in an American city.
Initially located in a converted boathouse on Wade Park Lagoon, the garden was moved to its current location in 1966. In 1994, the Board of Trustees of this organization changed its name to Cleveland Botanical Garden. The renovated and expanded building was opened to the public in 2003.
Some top attractions of the Cleveland Botanical Garden are Hershey Children’s Garden, the Ohio Woodland, the Japanese Garden, and the Western Reserve Herb Society Garden. You will come across hundreds of different plants and flowers from across the globe.
The garden attracts thousands of bugs, butterflies, and birds. The fragrant blooms and zen-like atmosphere make it a terrific place to take a break from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Overall, the Cleveland Botanical Gardens is a must-see place if you’re planning a visit on the weekend. Take a stroll around by booking a tour, and get ready to relax and cherish the outdoors and nature.
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13. Cleveland History Center
Address: 10825 East Blvd, Cleveland, OH 44106, United States
The headquarters for the WRHS (Western Reserve Historical Society), the Cleveland History Center is the best way to find our more about Cleveland’s storied history. It is only a 3-minute walk from the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.
The building houses several exhibits telling the story of Northeast Ohio. Covering Cleveland’s history from 1796 to today, from the first Cleveland map to a pair of LeBron James’ (enormous) championship shoes, you will come across several interactive exhibits and collections at the Cleveland History Center.
You can also walk through historic mansions, ride on the restored Euclid Beach Park Grand Carousel, and explore the automobile world in the Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum (we’ll get onto that in a bit).
The Cleveland History Center provides visitors with a much-needed sense of place in the present mobile world through its varied collections. Visit this attraction for a fun and educational experience.
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14. Crawford Auto Aviation Museum
Address: 10825 East Blvd, Cleveland, OH 44106, United States
If you’re a gearhead or petrolhead, you won’t want to skip a visit to the Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum. Opened in 1965, the museum is located in the Cleveland History Center. It showcases over a decade of auto and airplane history by featuring historical aircraft, vintage motorcycles, timeless artifacts, and classic cars.
This unique collection brings transportation history to life through 3 carriages, 12 aircraft, 21 non-car transportation artifacts, and 170 antique automobiles. The Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum also includes over 190 square feet of archival collections.
Though the museum houses several pieces, some which will grab your instant attention are:
- A P-51 Mustang fighter, now a racing plane, still used in Thompson Trophy Races.
- An 1897 Panhard ET Levassor.
- DEXTER, a self-driving car.
- Tinkerbelle, a sailboat, was used by Robert Manry to sail across the Atlantic Ocean in 1965.
Whether you’re a fan of old aircraft, a car fanatic, or looking for a fun experience, the museum offers something for every visitor. You can get a ticket to tour the Museum here.
15. Western Reserve Historical Society
Address: 10825 East Blvd, Cleveland, OH 44106, United States
Founded in 1867, the Western Reserve Historical Society is a historical society in Northeast Ohio. This oldest cultural institution is one of the leading genealogical research facilities in the US.
The WRHS focuses on collecting, preserving, and presenting the history of the Western Reserve. The Western Reserve Historical Society runs the Cleveland History Center, WRHS Library, the Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum, the Hay-McKinney Mansion, and the Halle Costume Wing.
This institution’s mission is to encourage visitors to discover the American experience by exploring Northeast Ohio’s tangible history. Visit the attraction and be prepared to learn about the history of Cleveland. You will see a range of exhibits right after entering the lobby. On the second floor, you can explore some of the fascinating cars and airplanes I mentioned earlier.
The museum offers several opportunities for kids to get involved in what it displays. Plan a visit and book a tour of this attraction and discover the cultural roots of Ohio.
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16. USS Cod Submarine Memorial
Address: 1201 N Marginal Rd, Cleveland, OH 44114, United States
Located on the edge of Lake Erie, the USS Cod Submarine Memorial is a National Historic Landmark. It is the only remaining Submarine fleet used by the US in World War II. This historical submarine is maintained in its original state and is a memorial to over 3,900 submariners. The Electric Boat Company built this submarine in 1942. It has a storied history of rescues and battles.
This Gato-class submarine was famously used in a submarine-to-submarine rescue mission in 1945. It has been open for public tours since 1976. If you’re interested in history, machinery, maritime pursuits, and the military, this historic submarine is a must-visit. Get your ticket and be ready to experience what it feels like to be on a World War II vessel.
The Cod has interactive buttons on the wall of every section with a pre-recorded description of what you’re seeing. Explore the submarine at your own pace and look for buttons if you need help!
17. Progressive Field
Address: 2401 Ontario St, Cleveland, OH 44115, United States
Located in the downtown area of Cleveland, Progressive Field is a Major League Baseball stadium. Opened in 1994, it is the home field of the Cleveland Guardians.
Previously named Jacobs Field, the stadium has been home to the Cleveland Indians baseball team since its opening. It is an easy walk from the famous downtown attractions, making it a perfect place to spend your day or evening in the city.
The Discount Drug Mart Club at the stadium offers a buffet, lounge, and great seats. You can catch a game and have a great time with the family there.
Progressive Field Tours offers an excellent experience for friends, families, or groups to explore some secret spots. The professional guides will help visitors learn the history of the ballpark. Overall, you shouldn’t skip Progressive Field, especially if you’re a sports enthusiast.
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18. Cedar Point Amusement Park
Address: 1 Cedar Point Dr, Sandusky, OH 44870, United States
Opened in 1870, Cedar Point Amusement Park is a 364-acre facility. It is one of the fun things to do in Cleveland. It is considered the second oldest operating amusement park in the United States after Lake Compounce.
Operated by Cedar Fair, Cedar Point is a famous theme park on the edge of Lake Erie. The part features 16 roller coasters and other rides, a total of 70, making it a perfect tourist attraction for kids and adults. Live shows, signature events, and immersive dining options in the amusement park add more thrill to visitors’ experience.
Other nearby attractions are two marinas, a white-sand beach, Castaway Bay (a super indoor water park), Cedar Point Shores (an outdoor waterpark I’ll get onto that briefly), Cedar Point Sports Center, and several top resorts.
Steps away from roller coasters and rides, the 18 acres of Cedar Point Shores Waterpark is another highlight. The area features several water slides, big and small. If you’re visiting the city in the summers, get your tickets to cool off and have fun.
Overall, Cedar Point Amusement Park is a vacation spot where you can enjoy the theme park and lake all at once. This park is an ultimate family attraction that you shouldn’t miss.
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19. The Cleveland Orchestra
So, you’re done with discovering Cleveland’s history. You’ve been to a ball game. You’ve done the breweries. Now, it’s time to attend the concerts of some of the most talented musicians in the country to add a little class to your trip.
The Cleveland Orchestra is one of America’s greatest orchestras. You can listen to the incredible works of classical, modern-classical, Baroque, and Romantic composers. Founded in 1918, it enriches and inspires people by offering an extraordinary musical experience.
The Cleveland Orchestra holds most of its concerts at the Severance Hall. Home to the Cleveland Orchestra, this hall was opened in 1931, one of the most beautiful concert halls.
The venue’s main hall is famous as the Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandel Concert Hall. Private citizens and organizations rent this place to host meetings, performances, and gala events.
20. JACK Cleveland Casino
Address: 100 Public Square, Cleveland, OH 44113, United States
Previously called Horseshoe Cleveland, Jack Cleveland Casino is a casino in downtown Cleveland operated by Jack Entertainment. Visiting this rip-roaring place is definitely one of the most fun things to do in Cleveland.
Situated in the former Higbee Building at Tower City Center, the casino features 100,000 square feet of gaming space. It has 28 poker tables, 35 electronic table games, 119 table games, and 1,609 slot machines. It is accessible from the Terminal Tower, Public Square, and the Tower City Center shopping mall.
Jack Cleveland Casino is open all day long and is compliant with Ohio law. If you want a fun-filled experience, you should visit this casino. It offers so much to keep guests entertained. For instance, you can gamble, watch people gambling, enjoy drinks, and so on.
Overall, this full-service casino attracts millions of people every year. If you’re in the city, you must spend an evening at this happening place.
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What is the best time to visit Cleveland?
The best time to visit Cleveland is from April to May and September to October. April to May is one of the best times as the temperature is mild – neither cold nor too hot. You can also visit the city during the fall, i.e., from September to October.
Is downtown Cleveland safe to visit?
Downtown Cleveland is a completely safe place to explore during the day. You can walk freely across the area under the sun. But at the same time, make sure to be a little careful at night for your own safety and security.
How old is Cleveland?
Established on July 22, 1796, Cleveland is about 226 years old. The city’s former name was Cleaveland, which was given after its founder General Moses Cleaveland. In 1831, the ‘a’ was dropped by the Cleveland Advertiser because it was unnecessary – at least as per them!