Cleveland is a major city in Ohio, and while many might not think of it as a go-to vacation destination, there are lots of fun things to do. From parks to history to social spaces, Cleveland is the place to be. Even if you’re traveling with your family, you’ll still find plenty to enjoy.
So, if Ohio is your next vacation destination, consider checking out these 12 fun things to do in Cleveland.
Fun Things to Do in Cleveland, Ohio
#1 – Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is likely the most well-known attraction in Cleveland. It’s especially perfect if you’re a music lover. It first opened in 1995, and it has welcomed over 9 million visitors since then, many of which were celebrities. This special museum is full of artifacts and memorabilia related to famous music stars. Some popular exhibits you’ll see are about stars like the Rolling Stones, The Beatles, and Metallica. This museum also hosts lots of special events, including performances and lectures.
#2 – West Side Market
This public market has been opened since 1840, and it has been a major attraction ever since. It has indoor and outdoor areas where you can buy all kinds of foods, including candy, meat, and produce. In fact, many stands even offer free samples. If you’re not hungry, it’s still worth a visit because of the cool atmosphere. Plus, you can even buy some non-food items, including art and souvenirs.
#3 – “A Christmas Story” House and Museum
When the holidays roll around, “A Christmas Story” is one of the movies that plays over and over again on TV. And if your family thinks it’s a Christmas classic, then you can visit the “A Christmas Story” house right in Cleveland. During all months of the year, this famous house is decorated for Christmas and open for tourists. You can take a tour of the house while engaging in fun trivia questions and learning behind-the-scenes facts. You can even purchase furniture replicas from the movie.
#4 – Cleveland Museum of Art
The Cleveland Museum of Art is a popular indoor attraction. Of course, it’s one of the most fun things to do in Cleveland if you’re an art enthusiast. It has over 61,000 works of art, some of which date back 6,000 years. You’ll find a wide variety of projects, including paintings, photographs, sculptures, and installations. Some pieces are even by famous artists, such as Pablo Picasso and Vincent van Gogh. Best of all, this art museum is always free to visit, so it’s certainly worth checking out.
#5 – Playhouse Square
Playhouse Square is Cleveland’s famous theater district. In fact, it has the second largest center of performing arts in the country. Many visitors love to catch shows while they’re visiting, but others just like to explore this gorgeous area. The main landmark for Playhouse Square is the largest outdoor chandelier in the world. It’s 20 feet tall and has about 4,200 crystals in it. So, if you’re looking for some glamorous photo opportunities, Playhouse Square is the place to do it.
#6 – Cleveland Metroparks Zoo
Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is one of the most fun things to do in Cleveland for families. It first opened in 1882, and it takes up 183 acres. At the zoo, you’ll find over 3,000 animals from about 600 different species. In addition to animal viewing, the zoo also has plenty of hands-on activities, including giraffe feeding, camel rides, a behind-the-scenes tour, and overnight programs. Of course, if you’re traveling with kids, don’t forget to check out the carousel too.
#7 – Cleveland Metroparks
Cleveland Metroparks is a completely separate attraction from the zoo, but it’s just as exciting. It has over 23,000 acres of nature, with plenty of fun activities for all ages. Many visitors partake in a variety of outdoor activities, such as hiking, biking, horseback riding, and boating. The parks have 10 nature centers throughout, where you can learn more information and join groups and classes. Some group programs include animal tracking and nature explorers.
#8 – USS Cod Submarine Memorial
This historical landmark is a must-see in Cleveland. It’s a submarine from World War II that played a crucial role in history. It’s famous for leading the only international submarine-to-submarine rescue. One of the coolest parts of this attraction is that you get to walk right on a genuine submarine. You can do a guided or self-guided tour of the ship, but either way, you’re sure to be amazed. Yet, submarines don’t have a lot of space on them, so they’re not ideal for claustrophobic guests.
#9 – Cleveland Cultural Gardens
The Cleveland Cultural Gardens are community gardens that pay homage to the different ethnic groups in the city. It has over 30 small gardens, and each one is designed by a different ethnic group. Some examples are an Italian Garden, a Hungarian Garden, and a Syrian Garden. These garden spaces are peaceful places for guests to visit, especially when the weather is nice outside.
#10 – Lake View Cemetery
You probably wouldn’t expect a cemetery to be one of the most fun things to do in Cleveland, but when you see it, you’ll understand why. The Lake View Cemetery is gorgeous and it’s a common place for visitors to explore. It’s filled with unique sculptures and gravestones, and it’s considered a peaceful place for people to visit. It was built in 1869, and it’s 285 acres. It’s a popular place for photography, walking, or even a picnic. Don’t be fooled by the scary stereotypes about graveyards, they’re often very charming.
#11 – Old Arcade
Don’t be fooled by the name, Old Arcade is actually a famous mall rather than a space filled with retro games. The mall isn’t as busy as it used to be since many stores have gone out of business, but it’s still considered a popular attraction in Cleveland. When you look inside, you’ll see that it’s more like a work of art than a mall. Old Arcade was built in 1890, and it has some of the most beautiful architecture imaginable. There are still several fun places to shop, but even just walking around it is worth it.
#12 – Little Italy
Little Italy is a fun place to explore and an excellent spot to grab a bite to eat. It’s an Italian-style area of the city, and it’s filled with colorful murals and old-school restaurants. It has been around for over 130 years, and it has kept its Italian charm all this time. Be sure to dedicate at least one of your vacation meals to this area since there are so many great dining options. Plus, Little Italy is also home to many exciting festivals and events.
There’s much more to Cleveland than meets the eye. If you’re looking for fun things to do in Ohio, then these Cleveland attractions are definitely worth checking out. The best time to visit this city is in the summer, when the weather is warm and sunny. So, plan your trip and attractions accordingly with the weather.