If you love discovering art and cultural experiences, world-class museums, and beautiful parks when you travel, then look no further than Cleveland, Ohio. There are so many exciting things to do in Cleveland that it was really hard to narrow it down to the top recommendations for this list! But if you’re a first-time visitor in town or pressed for time, make sure to at least check out these 10 Cleveland highlights.
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Many first-time visitors to Cleveland are surprised to learn how much green space there really is here. Cleveland Metroparks spans over 23,000 acres of space across 18 reservations located throughout Cuyahoga County and Hinckley Township. There are multiple visitors’ centers to start your day with and then plenty of space to spread out and have a picnic. A couple of popular areas to visit are the Rocky River Reservation and the North Chagrin Reservation. The Metroparks are also home to the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and eight golf courses.
Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum
One of the most popular attractions to visit in Cleveland is the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. This museum showcases some of the most legendary rockers throughout history and lots of exhibits, archives, and even classes and workshops. You’ll learn more about epic artists like The Rolling Stones, Metallica, The Beatles, and Jimi Hendrix. But this is much more than just a museum; it’s a total rock & roll experience! All music enthusiasts owe it to themselves to check this place out. During the summer, the museum is open from 10am to 5:30pm Sunday through Tuesday, and it has extended hours until 9pm from Wednesday to Saturday. Regular hours (excluding Thanksgiving and Christmas) are 10am-5:30pm, except Wednesdays which is 10am-9pm. General admission tickets are $26 per adult.
West Side Market
The West Side Market is a fun place to visit in Cleveland because there are so many artisans and vendors to see. This is a must-do for any foodie visiting Cleveland. You’ll find everything here from seafood to fresh fruit, fresh flowers, spices, meats, homemade bread, pastries, and even ready-to-eat meals. This is the longest running public market in town, dating back to 1840, and it usually has over 100 vendors onsite. It’s a favorite spot to stroll and browse for both tourists and locals.
Cleveland Museum of Art
The Cleveland Museum of Art has been around since 1913 and is definitely one of the best cultural attractions to check out in town. On the outside of the museum, take note of the impressive neoclassical marble. Inside, you’ll find masterpieces from around the world that date back thousands of years. Take some time to explore the art displayed from various regions, such as Korea, Southeast Asia, and Europe. Some very familiar and legendary artists, such as Vincent van Gogh, Salvador Dali, and Pablo Picasso, have their works displayed here. The collections at the museum are free to visit; however, some exhibits may have a charge.
Watch a Baseball Game At or Tour Progressive Field
Progressive Field is where the Major League Baseball team the Cleveland Indians play their home games, and it is a really fun place to watch the great American pastime. But even if you visit Cleveland when there’s not a game happening, you can still take a tour of the stadium and get a behind-the-scenes peek at everything. The tour dates typically run from early May to the end of August and last about 60 minutes. Ticket prices are $15 for adults and $12 for seniors and kids 14 and under.
A Christmas Story House
One of the most iconic Christmas movies of all time is A Christmas Story; you know, the movie that plays over and over on cable television throughout the holiday season! When you’re in Cleveland, you can visit the 19th century Victorian house that Ralphie Parker called home in the film. There’s also a museum nearby where you can geek out about the movie as you look at all the props, costumes, and memorabilia. The house is open every day from 10am to 5pm, and extended hours are offered during Christmas season. You can take a tour at any hour starting at 10:15am, and hardcore fans may even want to book an overnight stay.
Cleveland has a rich Italian heritage and a great Little Italy neighborhood worth visiting while you’re in town. It’s around Mayfield Road and packed with restaurants, cafes, delis, and art galleries. It is fun to visit Little Italy during the daytime and in the evening as well. Depending on when you visit, you may be able to join a local festival in this neighborhood as well. For example, the Feast of the Assumption takes place in August, and the Little Italy Harvest Festival occurs in October.
Cleveland Orchestra at Severance Hall
Severance Hall is home to the Cleveland Orchestra, a talented musical group that you should definitely listen to if you get the chance. The Orchestra also travels around the world to perform for diverse audiences. Severance Hall was opened in 1931 and is an absolutely stunning concert hall.
Greater Cleveland Aquarium
Aquariums are always great places to take the whole family when you’re visiting a new city. They’re also nice plans for day dates with your sweetheart or someone you’re just getting to know. The one in Cleveland just opened up in 2012, and there are lots of different exhibitions that you can see here. The Greater Cleveland Aquarium has over 1,400 animals that represent at least 250 species. Highlights that shouldn’t be missed include the 175-foot SeaTube where you can watch sharks and barracudas and the 11,000-gallon Touch Pool with stingrays. The aquarium is open every day except for Thanksgiving and Christmas Day, and general admission tickets are $19.95 for adults and $13.95 for kids. Also, don’t miss the 3:30pm feedings of sharks, archerfish, and other aquarium residents.
Another great place to experience the performing arts scene in Cleveland is the Playhouse Square. This venue hosts everything from dance to opera, plays, musical concerts, and workshops for the public. In fact, it’s the largest performing arts center in the U.S. outside of New York! Check the Playhouse Square website before your trip to Cleveland to see what’s playing at that time.