Cleveland, Ohio, packs a punch with its buzzing nightlife, world-class restaurants, historic buildings, and exciting attractions. Resting on the shores of Lake Erie, the city also offers scenic views and serene locales. From the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to its public parks, you’ll want to see the local icons of art and culture.

01Rock Out at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum

Cleveland Rock and Roll Hall of Fame DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images

Since the term “Rock and Roll” was coined in Cleveland in the 1950s, the genre has played an important role in the city’s identity. Celebrate the genre and the country’s best rock artists with a visit to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. The striking, angular building holds permanent and rotating exhibits celebrating the origins of rock and roll, as well as its influence on social, political, and cultural history. Artifacts and exhibits showcase artists like Janis Joplin, Mick Jagger, and Aretha Franklin. If you’re at all into music, you’ll want to check this out.

02Eat at Heinen’s Downtown

Although a grocery store may not sound like a thrilling attraction, checking out Heinen’s is a must-do experience when in Cleveland. Located in the historic Cleveland Trust Building, you’ll never have seen a grocery store so majestic. Taste local wines and beers, or enjoy a warm espresso at the coffee shop while admiring the old bank’s tall pillars, elaborately decorated arches, and an impressive glass ceiling. You could spend hours in this beautiful building (and you won’t go hungry).

03Explore the West Side Market Clock Tower

The West Side Market and its iconic clock tower are on the west side of downtown, in the Ohio City district. It's the oldest market space in Ohio and hosts hundreds of vendors selling everything from produce to poultry, spices to confectionery. Climbing the clock tower that stands on one corner of the market will transport you to Europe in an earlier century; it’s in the National Registry of Historic Places, and the view from the top is one of the best in Cleveland. 

04Walk Through the Public Squares

Cleveland Public Square PapaBear / Getty Images

Rarely does public space feel so well-celebrated as in Cleveland’s downtown district. Perk Plaza is a lovely place to enjoy a coffee or read a book, and Willard Park hosts the Free Stamp, a locally famous piece of public art. Make sure you take a walk through the Cleveland Public Square, the central plaza of the city. The park is home to a 125-foot monument to the Civil War and gives you a great view of Cleveland’s three tallest buildings—Key Tower, the Terminal Tower, and 200 Public Square.

05See a Game at Progressive Field

Sports fans will enjoy seeing the Cleveland Indians play live at Progressive Field. Check out the unique local eateries and craft beers that line the stadium before the game, or browse the Indian Team Shop. You can even book a tour to get a behind-the-scenes look at the facilities. If you're traveling with kids, the Kids Clubhouse has various interactive activities for children of any age, including a pitching simulator and a kid-sized baseball field.

06Check Out a Festival

Cleveland has a busy festival schedule all year long, and there's something for everyone. The Cleveland International Film Festival is a huge city event and is visited by over 100,000 people every year. The city’s fashion week is another popular event and is the third largest fashion week in the United States. If you like to party, don’t miss the Great Lakes Burning River Fest, a two-night event at Whiskey Island featuring music and craft beer.

07Cruise Around Lake Erie

Have your dinner with a view. Cleveland’s unique location, perched on the shores of Lake Erie, is part of what makes this city so special. Local companies offer brunch, lunch, and dinner cruises leaving from downtown. You’ll coast down the river, listen to live music, and end with a stunning sunset and a fantastic view of Cleveland’s waterfront skyline.

08Experience East 4th Street

East 4th street is the heart of downtown. A pedestrian street lined with independent cafes, local bars, world-class dining, and exciting entertainment, it’s no wonder locals say that East 4th is like no other street in the world. For dinner, look for one of the many local restaurants opened by world-renowned chefs. Then take in the game at a sports bar or a unique cocktail at one of the city’s luxurious bars. End the night at a renovated arcade or bowling alley. You can't be bored on East 4th.

09Get Lucky at the JACK Cleveland Casino

If you’re feeling lucky, you might want to spend an evening at the JACK Cleveland Casino. Located in the former Higbee's department store building in Tower City Center, the casino has over 100,000 square feet of premier gaming space. The casino is open 24 hours, so you can get your gaming fix any time. While you’re there, go next door to Terminal Tower and take the elevator up the 52 stories to the viewpoint at the top. You’ll find an unrivaled view of the city at the top of what once was the tallest building in North America outside of New York City.

10Great Lakes Science Center

If you’re curious about the Great Lakes ecosystem and the regional environment, the Great Lakes Science Center is for you. This one-of-a-kind educational facility features exhibits on the natural environment in the Great Lakes region and exhibits showcasing local biotechnology, energy, and space advancements. The IMAX Dome theater shows breathtaking films on a 6-story curved screen format. Their films span a number of topics from the Great Bear Rainforest to animal species that have been saved from extinction.