Planning a trip to the Birthplace of Rock ‘N Roll? No, we’re not talking about Memphis or Nashville; though its wholesome Midwest reputation might signal otherwise, Cleveland has been a thriving center of arts and culture for decades. This city is packed with bucket list items for every type of traveler, so whether you’re searching for things to do in Cleveland with kids or fun Cleveland activities for an adults-only getaway, you’ll find plenty of inspiration on our list of 7 unique things to do in Cleveland. And when you need a place to rest your head after an action-packed day of craft beer, swimming in Lake Erie, or live music, you’ll the ideal home away from home at Stay Alfred’s collection of vacation rentals in Cleveland.
Peruse the stalls at West Side Market
Not only one of the best things to do in Ohio City, West Side Market earns a spot on the “best things to do in Ohio” lists too. Cleveland’s Ohio City neighborhood sits slightly southwest of Downtown, so it’s within easy reach of famous attractions like Playhouse Square and the Rock ‘N Roll Hall of Fame and most certainly worth a visit. Ohio City’s most popular attraction, West Side Market, dates back to the early 1900s and has been consistently busy with local shoppers ever since. Find everything from fresh produce to baked goods to local meats here; come with an empty stomach and you definitely won’t leave hungry!
Take a dip in Lake Erie
Dive into summer in Cleveland at the scenic Edgewater Park, a massive stretch of natural beauty just a 10-minute drive from Downtown. One of the quintessentials things to do in Ohio during the summer is spending time on Lake Erie, which happens to be the warmest of the Great Lakes, so C-Land locals flock to this convenient waterfront park for a refreshing urban escape. The park contains expansive grassy spaces, perfect for a game of frisbee, plus walking trails and sandy stretches of coastline. Swim or build sandcastles at Edgewater Park Beach, both fantastic things to do in Cleveland in July (or whenever the weather’s nice) - or walk to the panoramic Edgewater View lookout spot for a selfie with Lake Erie in the background.
Stroll through the Tremont neighborhood
Located directly south of Downtown, Tremont is one of Cleveland’s most historic and interesting neighborhoods and makes for a fantastic outing with the whole family. It has a fabulous dining scene, which includes the century-old Rowley Inn and the eclectic Grumpy's Cafe, plus shady Lincoln Park, which features a playground and frequent Cleveland events. But perhaps the most iconic part of Tremont is the A Christmas Story House: the actual home used in the classic film “A Christmas Story.” While the interior scenes in the movie were actually shot elsewhere, the owner of this property turned it into a comprehensive museum of A Christmas Story memorabilia, making it one of the most festive things to do in Cleveland with kids, especially around the holidays.
Bundle up for the Brite Winter Music & Arts Festival
Put on your warmest coat and get ready for one of the coolest things to do in Cleveland in winter: the Brite Winter Music & Arts Festival. Relatively new to the annual Cleveland events agenda, this festival has grown steadily in its decade of existence, now bringing approximately 60 live music acts and 15,000 festival-goers to its 6 outdoor stages during mid-February. In addition to live music, the festival showcases local artists, food, and craft beer. It’s such a unique experience that thousands of people are happy to brave the cold for it!
Toast to the Buckeye State at the top Cleveland breweries
Searching for things to do in Cleveland today? The day of the week or time of year doesn’t matter; there’s always an exciting spot to check out in Cleveland’s happening brewery scene. Start your beer tour of Cleveland at the pioneer of Midwest craft brewing: Great Lakes Brewing Company in the Ohio City neighborhood, which opened its doors in 1986 and serves its iconic beers in a cozy, wood-lined taproom.
Just down the street is Forest City Brewery, another laid-back taproom which also has a beer garden in the summer. Also add Brick And Barrel to your Cleveland beer bucket list; in addition to brewing beer, they also make their own wine. Downtown Cleveland has its fair share of hip breweries too, such as Masthead Brewing Co. and Noble Beast Brewing Co., and Goldhorn Brewery is worth a visit on the northeast side of town.
Catch dinner and a show at a live music venue
Can’t decide between going out for a nice dinner and watching a concert? Cleveland has an answer to the classic date night dilemma: do both! Undoubtedly one of the most fun things to do in Cleveland at night, the city’s many restaurants-slash-venues provide you with entertainment and good eats while allowing you to stay comfortably seated the whole time. For classic Americana tunes and hearty American fare, head to Music Box Supper Club, which also offers gorgeous views of the Cuyahoga River. The Treehouse serves up Irish cuisine alongside a diverse roster of bands every Sunday. And The Velvet Tango Room turns up the romance with a classy menu of small plates, craft cocktails, and live jazz.
Feel like royalty at Squire's Castle
Discover one of the hidden gems in Cleveland, Ohio that often flies under the tourist radar: Squire’s Castle, which is approximately a 30-minute drive from Downtown, but feels like a trip back in time. Heading out to this historic fortress is always on our list of fun things to do in Northeast Ohio this weekend, since visitors can admire the European-inspired architecture, have a picnic on the grounds, and explore the hiking trails surrounding it.
Cleveland is home to the world’s largest rubber stamp and a friendly, laid-back culture, but it’s also an exciting city for a vacation with friends, a family getaway, or a business trip. Add a few of these Cleveland activities to your Ohio agenda, and you’ll quickly be amazed at just how exciting the Midwest can be.