The Getaway
Thrilling Things to Do in Cleveland

The City of Cleveland, Ohio, packs a punch, offering buzzing nightlife, world-class restaurants, and exciting attractions. Also known as CLE, this city is overflowing with history and culture — genuinely something for everyone. Its position on the shores of Lake Erie makes it ideally situated for both nature lovers and thrill seekers. From beaches to rock ‘n’ roll, discover your reason to love Cleveland.


01 Rock 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. Guests can celebrate both the music and the country’s best rock artists with a visit to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. The striking, angular building, also known simply as the Rock Hall, holds permanent and rotating exhibits celebrating the origins of rock and roll. You’ll also discover music’s influence on social, political, and cultural history. Artifacts and exhibits showcase artists like Janis Joplin, Mick Jagger, and Aretha Franklin. An absolute must for all music fans in Cleveland.


02 Eat at Heinen’s Downtown

Although a grocery store may not sound like a thrilling attraction, checking out Heinen’s is an essential experience when you visit Cleveland. For a start, it’s doubtful you’ve ever seen a grocery store so majestic. Balconies, glass ceilings, and mounds of fresh produce draw the eye and drop the jaw. Taste local wines and beers or enjoy a warm espresso at the coffee shop while admiring the tall pillars and elaborately decorated arches. You could spend hours in this beautiful building — and of course, you won’t go hungry.


03 Explore 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 neighborhood. It's the oldest market space in the city, hosting hundreds of vendors selling everything from produce to poultry and spices to confectionery. Climbing the clock tower that stands on one corner of the market is a transformative experience. You work your way up inside the tower to a height of about 130 feet, then get the most amazing views across the market and the wider city. Tours, including a clock tower climb, are limited, so ask locally for the best chance at this unique experience.


04 Take a walk 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, while Willard Park hosts the Free Stamp, a famous piece of public art. Make sure you take a stroll through the Cleveland Public Square, the central plaza of the city. This area is home to a 125-foot monument to the Civil War and gives you a great chance to take some photos of Cleveland’s three tallest buildings — Key Tower, the Terminal Tower, and 200 Public Square.


05 See a game at Progressive Field

Sports fans, this is where you get to see the Cleveland Guardians play live. Progressive Field is more than just a field — it’s a Downtown stadium with a famous giant scoreboard. Because of its location, it’s easy to grab a bite to eat or a craft beer before the game — or several more beers after to celebrate or commiserate. You can even book a tour to get a behind-the-scenes look at the facilities.


06 Check out one of Cleveland’s many festivals

Cleveland has a busy festival schedule all year long, and there really is something for everyone. The Cleveland International Film Festival is a huge city event visited by over 100,000 people every year. The city’s fashion week is another big 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.


07 Cruise around Lake Erie

If you like your dinner with a view, they don’t come much prettier than this. Cleveland’s unique location, perched on the shores of Lake Erie, is part of what makes this city so special. Many excursion providers offer brunch, lunch, and dinner cruises leaving from Downtown. You’ll coast down the river, listen to live music and finish your trip with a stunning sunset. The best way to take in the fantastic view of Cleveland’s waterfront skyline.


08 Experience excitement on East 4th Street

East 4th Street is unarguably the heart of downtown. A pedestrian street lined with independent cafes, bars, and world-class dining, it’s no wonder residents 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 you can take in the game at a sports bar or taste a unique cocktail at one of the city’s luxurious bars. How about finishing up your night at a renovated arcade or bowling alley? It’s impossible to be bored on East 4th.


09 Get lucky at the JACK Cleveland Casino

If you’re feeling lucky, 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. Like many casinos, this venue is open 24 hours, so you can get your gaming fix at any time — remember to gamble responsibly! 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.


10 Learn more about nearby nature at the Great Lakes Science Center

Anyone curious about the Great Lakes ecosystem should book a visit to the Great Lakes Science Center. This one-of-a-kind educational facility features exhibits on the natural environment in the Great Lakes region and showcases biotechnology, energy, and space advancements. The IMAX Dome theater shows jaw-dropping films on a 6-story-high curved screen. These films span several topics, from the Great Bear Rainforest to animal species that have been saved from extinction.


11 Embrace cultural understanding at the Cleveland Cultural Gardens

Cleveland Cultural Gardens began life in 1916. Today there are 33 gardens designed and planted by a variety of cultural groups lining the Martin Luther King Boulevard and East Boulevard in Rockefeller Park. Each garden commemorates a different ethnic group with the overall purpose being to celebrate diversity. Designers use their landscapes to pay homage to poets, philosophers, scientists, and others who have contributed positively to their culture. These gardens also feature symbolic sculptures and replicas of or tributes to sacred monuments in other lands. Educational guided tours are available through bookings.


12 Check out the house from A Christmas Story

This house — otherwise known as the Bumpus House — was the actual location used to film the iconic movie, A Christmas Story. House tours are open most days except holidays, and the A Christmas Story Museum is right across the street. If the tour isn’t enough for you, you can even spend the night in the house! There are two individual suites within the house. The Stolen Turkey suite comprises the second and third floors of the house, while the Hound Dog Haven suite occupies the first floor, which is wheelchair accessible. Film buffs and curiosity-seekers must not miss this classic piece of 1980s nostalgia.


13 Go under the sea at the Greater Cleveland Aquarium

Get an eye-level view of over 300 marine species in various 360-degree displays throughout this impressive aquarium. The facility houses 2,500 freshwater and saltwater animals, many of which come from nearby Lake Erie. Explore eight different ecosystem galleries, including a Tropical Reef. You can even meet a giant Pacific octopus. Dedicated sealife fans can sign up for interactive virtual animal trivia sessions that continue outside opening hours.


14 Get inspired at the International Women's Air & Space Museum

The women's flight museum showcases women's history in all facets of the aviation and aerospace industry. Tour the exhibits and learn about big names like Amelia Earhart, plus lesser-known women such as Bessie Coleman, the first African-American woman and first Native American to have a pilot's license. A fascinating insight into the history and culture of trailblazing women aviators. Entrance is free, although donations are appreciated, and you can purchase an inexpensive guided tour to get the most out of the museum.


15 Find hidden beauty at the North Chagrin Reservation

North Chagrin Reservation is a stunning natural attraction that changes color with the seasons. The reservation is home to hundreds of species of plants and animals, including varieties of frogs, toads, snakes, turtles, woodpeckers, wild turkeys, oaks, chestnuts, and wild geraniums. It’s also the home of Buttermilk Falls, a cascading waterfall with over 100 million years of history. See if you can find Squire’s Castle, a beautiful vacant gatehouse from the 1890s that looks like it’s straight out of a fairytale.


16 Catch a show at Playhouse Square

Cleveland Playhouse Square Chandelier Yuanshuai Si / Getty Images

Playhouse Square, located in the heart of downtown Cleveland, is a vibrant hub of culture and entertainment. It’s currently the second-largest performing arts center in the United States and hosts a wide array of performances, from touring Broadway shows to popular amateur productions. The district's five beautifully restored historic theaters are here, each with its own unique architectural style. This area is a true testament to Cleveland's rich cultural heritage.


17 Find beaches for everyone at Edgewater Park

edgewater park StonePhotos / Getty Images

Edgewater Park is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and beach lovers. But it’s not all about the sunbathing. This Lake Erie park has dog beaches, swim beaches, boat ramps, picnic areas, and so much more. You can try out pretty much any type of water sport here or simply enjoy some glistening, golden sand. With over 9,000 feet of Great Lake shoreline, there really is something for everyone.


18 Get culture at MOCA: The Museum of Contemporary Art

MOCA Cleveland Duane Prokop / Stringer / Getty Images

The Museum of Contemporary Art, often called MOCA, is the crown jewel in Cleveland's cultural scene. The museum is renowned for its impressive collection of modern art, featuring works from both local and international artists. It’s housed in a strikingly modern building and offers a dynamic program of exhibitions and events exploring the art and culture of the surrounding and wider communities. From thought-provoking installations to interactive exhibits, the museum provides a platform for creative expression and critical thinking.


19 Ponder the otherworld outside Franklin Castle

Franklin Castle, a Victorian-style mansion, is one of Cleveland's most intriguing landmarks. Known as Ohio's most haunted house, the castle is steeped in mystery and lore including scandal, spies, and murder. Its imposing iron gates, numerous turrets, and rumored secret passages only add to its eerie allure. While it's not open for regular tours, you can walk by, take pictures, and speculate as to the accuracy of the urban legends. A must for ghost hunters and supernatural explorers.


20 Go on a historic Tremont food tour

Experience the culinary delights of Cleveland with a historic Tremont Food Tour. Why Tremont? Because this neighborhood is well known for its diverse culture and vibrant food scene. Your guided tour includes stops at neighborhood restaurants where you'll get to taste a variety of dishes that reflect the area's rich culinary heritage. Try traditional comfort food or innovative fusion cuisine and share those experiences with friends or family. A delicious way to explore Cleveland.


21 Become a kid again at Superelectric Pinball Parlor

If you love to nurture your inner child, this is the stop for you. Walking through the doors at Superelectric Pinball Parlor is like stepping back in time. This vintage arcade celebrates the classic game of pinball in all its forms and features over 20 pinball machines, some dating back several decades. Welcoming to both seasoned newbies and pros, this is the perfect combination of excitement and nostalgia. Stay here for a few hours and refuel with fries, seltzers, or something stronger.


22 Go back in time at the Western Reserve Historical Society

If retro gaming just isn’t vintage enough, The Western Reserve Historical Society might deliver the goods for history buffs. It’s a true treasure trove of Cleveland's past and the oldest cultural institution in Cleveland. Book ahead of time to explore the exhibits, tours, and programs on offer. From vintage cars to historic mansions, the society's collections provide a fascinating glimpse into life in Northeast Ohio over the centuries.


23 Get a photo for IG with the world’s largest rubber stamp

cleveland free stamp George Rose / Getty Images

Head to the world’s largest rubber stamp, The Free Stamp, for a unique photo opportunity. This quirky landmark in Downtown Cleveland is exactly what it sounds like — a giant rubber stamp that stands 49 feet tall. The stamp, which reads "Free" in bold red letters, symbolizes the city's creative spirit and love for the unconventional. It’s the signature sight at Willard Park but certainly not the only reason to visit this beautiful expanse of green within the city.


24 Experience the magic of live music with The Cleveland Orchestra

conductor of orchestra Daniel Knighton / Getty Images

Recognized as one of the world's best ensembles, The Cleveland Orchestra has been delighting audiences with its exceptional performances for over a century. The orchestra performs at the beautiful Severance Hall and outdoor festivals depending on the season. Guests can expect a diverse repertoire ranging from classical masterpieces to contemporary works. They even have superstar guest singers like John Legend from time to time. A special experience for any music lover


25 Get an adrenaline high at Cedar Point Amusement Park

amusement park Douglas Sacha / Getty Images

Known as the roller coaster capital of the world, Cedar Point Amusement Park is a top destination for thrill seekers. The park is located on a Lake Erie peninsula and boasts a staggering array of rides, games, and attractions. From adrenaline-pumping roller coasters to kid-friendly rides, everyone is included here. The park also offers a variety of dining options, live entertainment, and special events throughout the year. There’s also a fantastic events calendar, so take a look before you book.


26 Explore the mystique at the Buckland Museum of Witchcraft and Magick

Dive into the mystical and the magical at the Buckland Museum of Witchcraft and Magick. This unique museum, nestled in Cleveland’s cultural fabric, offers a fascinating glimpse into the world of witchcraft and magick practices through the ages. From ancient artifacts to modern-day paraphernalia, explore the collection started by Raymond Buckland, a prominent figure in American Wicca. It’s a spellbinding journey not just for the occult-curious but for anyone looking to experience the city's diverse museum scene.


27 Witness winter's artwork at the Frozen Cleveland Lighthouse

Winter transforms the Cleveland Lighthouse into a breathtaking spectacle, encased in layers upon layers of ice, shimmering against Lake Erie’s chill. This frosty beacon becomes a magnet for photographers and romantics alike, seeking the serene beauty of nature’s ice sculpture. A visit during the colder months promises a visual feast and a unique Cleveland experience that contrasts sharply with the bustling city life just miles away.


28 Shop in grandeur at the Cleveland Trust Rotunda Building

Step into the grandeur of the early 1900s at the Cleveland Trust Rotunda Building. Once a symbol of financial power, this architectural masterpiece has found a new lease on life as a stunningly elegant supermarket. Marvel at the exquisite stained glass dome and the ornate detailing that adorns its interior. Shopping here becomes more than just a routine errand; it’s a walk through history in one of Cleveland’s most iconic landmarks.


29 Savor the sounds at the Cleveland Orchestra at Severance Hall

Experience the auditory splendor of the Cleveland Orchestra at Severance Hall, a venue as rich in beauty as it is in sound. Renowned globally for its exceptional acoustics and breathtaking interior, Severance Hall provides the perfect backdrop for the orchestra’s stirring performances. Whether you’re a classical music aficionado or simply seeking an evening of sophisticated entertainment, a night with the Cleveland Orchestra is sure to be an unforgettable highlight of your Cleveland visit.


30 Dive deep into history at the USS Cod Submarine Memorial

Embark on a historical adventure at the USS Cod Submarine Memorial. This World War II submarine offers a rare peek into the life of sailors during tumultuous times. Clamber through the hatch and explore the confines where brave men lived and served. Standing dockside, the USS Cod not only commemorates the heroic acts of its crew but also serves as a poignant reminder of the sacrifices made for freedom.


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