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Cleveland, Ohio is a hub of cool attractions, fun activities and hip districts. To help you plan your trip to the city, we combine the absolute best things to do in Cleveland, Ohio into a perfectly planned 3-Day Cleveland Itinerary.
Visitors will find an array of entertainment in Cleveland, Ohio – from thrilling sports to world-class museums to delectable dining establishments. The top attractions in Cleveland dot the city and some of the coolest places to visit are the unique neighborhoods in the area.
Things To Do in Cleveland FAQs
Before we jump into what to do in Cleveland, Ohio, we want to answer some of the most frequently asked questions.
Why Visit Cleveland, Ohio?
Why take a trip to Cleveland? Because Cleveland Rocks! (Sorry, we couldn’t resist.)
Actually, there are a multitude of reasons to visit Cleveland, Ohio. While the city has suffered a bad rap in the past, it is ever evolving – and currently on the upswing.
Cleveland has a fascinating history, enduring a quick rise, a dramatic fall and, currently, a state of revitalization. Cleveland visitors can learn about the past at the same time as experiencing the city in forward motion.
Where is Cleveland, Ohio?
Cleveland is in northeastern Ohio; situated at the mouth of the Cuyahoga River on the southern shore of Lake Erie. The city itself is surrounded by several large suburbs that create the Greater Cleveland metropolitan area.
How Far is it to Cleveland, Ohio from Nearby Cities?
Cleveland has a fairly central location and can be easily reached by car from several nearby cities.
- From Columbus, Ohio, the drive to Cleveland takes about 2 hours.
- The drive from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Cleveland is closer to 2.5 hours.
- It takes about 5 hours and 45 minutes to travel from Indianapolis to Cleveland.
- Driving from Chicago, Illinois to Cleveland takes about 5.5 hours.
- The driving route from New York City to Cleveland takes about 8 hours.
We talk more about how to get to Cleveland (and other pertinent travel tips, like where to stay and what to pack) in more detail later.
Are There Things To Do in Cleveland with Kids?
Yes, there are many things to do with kids in Cleveland! In fact, it’s a very kid-friendly destination, so you will have no problem finding family things to do in Cleveland.
While our list is not specifically dedicated to things for kids to do in Cleveland, we do include family-friendly activities in our itinerary.
Are There Free Things To Do in Cleveland?
Yes, there are some incredible things to do in Cleveland for free! We are budget-conscious travelers, so we are always on the lookout for cheap or no-cost entertainment. On our trip, we found lots of fun, free things to do in Cleveland, Ohio – and we highlight them throughout our trip plan.
When is the Best Time to Visit Cleveland, Ohio?
Determining the best time to go to Cleveland, OH will depend on your desired activities. That said, we personally think the summer and early autumn are the best seasons for visiting Cleveland.
The weather is typically dry and warm (if not a little hot) and is perfect for long days of sightseeing outdoors. Plus, the summertime in Cleveland is the ideal season to catch a baseball game, dine al fresco and drink local craft brew in outdoor beer gardens.
How Many Days in Cleveland to Visit?
Visitors wondering how many days to spend as a tourist in Cleveland will need to base their trip plans on the things in Cleveland they most want to see and do.
A Cleveland day trip might be sufficient enough for travelers only interested in one or two very specific sights. However, we don’t think a quick day trip to Cleveland is enough time to get an overall vibe of the city.
We recommend staying at least one night in Cleveland – but truly we think 3 days in Cleveland is optimal.
To figure out the right amount of time for your trip, we suggest reading through our list of Must Do Cleveland activities and then deciding how long to stay.
What Is There To Do in Cleveland, Ohio?
When it comes to things to do and see in Cleveland, visitors have plenty of options. We are serious when we say that there is something for everyone!
Tourist attractions in Cleveland, Ohio cover a range of interests, so we are certain it has something for you! In our outlined itinerary, we include the best Cleveland places to visit that will appeal to a wide variety of travelers. With our trip plan, you can learn about Cleveland (and US history in general), immerse yourself in local activities, sample the delicious cuisine and cheer on a hometown team.
About Our Cleveland Itinerary
There are so many fun places in Cleveland to visit that planning a succinct trip plan can feel overwhelming. No need to worry! We have compiled a list of the best things to do in Cleveland, Ohio and have organized them into an easy-to-follow 3-day weekend itinerary.
Our itinerary for Cleveland is logically arranged by area and the attractions are listed in order so that there is little need for backtracking.
Although we have arranged this article as a Cleveland Weekend Itinerary, the trip plan can be used for weekdays, too. Just check attraction opening times – as some places are closed one or two days a week (most often on Mondays and Tuesdays).
Furthermore, if you are planning a shorter or longer trip, you can still use our itinerary to plan your time in Cleveland! Visitors with just one day in Cleveland can chose Day 1, 2, or 3 for sightseeing adventures. Travelers staying longer can use our tips of additional Cleveland things to do at the end of the itinerary.
Pro Tip: Get (and stay) organized for your vacation to Cleveland using our Trip Planning Printables!
A Quick History of Cleveland
When visiting Cleveland, it helps to have a basic understanding of the city’s history.
Cleveland has been a major US city since it was founded in the late 1700s. Cleveland’s location (along waterways and railroads) was key to its rise as a prominent US manufacturing city in the 1800s. The attractive job market drew many immigrants to Cleveland creating a diverse community, which is still evidenced today.
With a thriving auto and steel industry in the 1900s, Cleveland experienced tremendous growth. Grand buildings were erected, and several significant cultural institutions were established.
By the 1960s, however, industrialized manufacturing was tapering off and Cleveland was wrought with environmental issues (the polluted Cuyahoga River literally caught fire…and not just once). After more than a decade of economic struggles, Cleveland ushered in a period of revitalization in the late 1980s.
Since the 1990s, Cleveland has been shifting focus from manufacturing to healthcare and the arts. The river was thoroughly cleaned. New skyscrapers and sports complexes were built in the heart of downtown Cleveland. Craft breweries and inviting cafes started popping up and Cleveland restaurants gained national attention.
Today, the renewal and repurposing is continuing. While the city’s manufacturing roots are still quite evident, Cleveland is embracing a modern and positive future!
WEEKEND IN CLEVELAND ITINERARY
Ready to dive into what to see in Cleveland? Our itinerary is packed with the best Cleveland, OH attractions and top tips for sightseeing.
Save, Pin or Bookmark our Cleveland visitors guide so that you can access it as you plan your trip to Cleveland!
DAY 1 of Things To Do in Cleveland
On Day 1 we highlight some of the absolute best things to do in Cleveland, OH. Visitors start by exploring the Cleveland, Ohio tourist attractions in the heart of downtown. After discovering the city on foot, spend the afternoon in one of the top cultural institutions, then attend a classic Cleveland event in the evening.
#1 Downtown Cleveland Walking Tour
Kick off your weekend trip with one of the fun things to do in Cleveland and get acquainted with the area on a walking tour of Downtown Cleveland.
We love to roam cities – and we are highlighting the must-see Cleveland sights for you to explore on your own. That said, taking a guided tour is one of the top things to do in Downtown Cleveland – and we provide information on that as well.
Cleveland Public Square
Begin your discovery in the city-center Cleveland Public Square. Part of the original city plans (that date to 1796), the plaza is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Public Square is home to several Downtown Cleveland attractions that you don’t want to miss.
The Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument stands in the square as a tribute to Cuyahoga County Union soldiers who fought in the Civil War. The poignant memorial is comprised of a 125-foot-tall column, statues and a free museum. Use this monument guide for more information.
Standing on the north side of Public Square is the quaint Old Stone Church. The history of the church dates to 1820 and it is known for its Tiffany-designed stained-glass windows. The church is open to visitors for free.
On the square’s southwest corner is the landmark Terminal Tower. The 52-story building was erected in the 1920s – and ranked as the second-tallest building in the world when it was completed. In fact, it still ranks as the second-tallest building in the state of Ohio today (just behind the 57-story Key Tower, also in Cleveland). The adjoining Tower City Center complex houses offices, a mall, a hotel, the Jack Cleveland Casino, and the central subway and light rail station.
The Arcade Shopping Mall
Considered to be the first indoor shopping mall in the USA, visiting The Arcade is one of the top things to do in Cleveland Downtown. The opulent building, a National Historic Landmark, was built in 1890 and earned the nickname, Crystal Palace. The most impressive features are the glass roof and the four levels of balconies.
The space is now occupied by boutique shops, a food court and a Hyatt Hotel (which is one of our recommended Cleveland hotels!).
East 4th Street
The uber-hip East 4th Street is a favorite entertainment hub in Downtown Cleveland. The pedestrian-only street is lined with some of the best eateries and bars in the city. Plus, the CLE Clothing Company is a great spot to pick up a Cleveland souvenir. The vibrant atmosphere of East 4th is especially palpable at night.
Euclid Avenue marks what was once called Cleveland’s Millionaires’ Row. The massive mansions that stood on the street belonged to the wealthiest citizens during the manufacturing heyday. In fact, John D. Rockefeller – by far the richest Cleveland resident – owned a home on Euclid Ave.
Today, only four original mansions still stand on the street. The Mather Mansion at 2605 Euclid Avenue remains one of the top historic Cleveland Downtown attractions.
The epicenter of performing arts in Cleveland, Playhouse Square is an entertainment destination in downtown. Lavishly decorated theaters, brightly lit marquess and an extravagant outdoor chandelier are key markers of the district.
The Cleveland Mall and Neoclassical Buildings
The Mall in Cleveland is a public space and outdoor park surrounded by iconic civic structures. Strolling along The Mall to gander at the grandiose architecture is one of the best things to do Downtown Cleveland, Ohio.
Inspired by the City Beautiful Movement of the late 1800s, the Cleveland Mall was a three-decade project that began in 1903. It is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The buildings to see that should be on your Cleveland to-do list include City Hall, Cuyahoga County Courthouse, Metzenbaum Courthouse, Cleveland Public Library and the Federal Reserve Bank.
Veterans’ Plaza, which is part of the Mall, hosts the Fountain of Eternal Life (also called the War Memorial Fountain). It is one of the best places to go in Cleveland for an encompassing view of The Mall.
Willard Park and The FREE Stamp
Taking a walk through Willard Park to see the gigantic Free Stamp is one of our favorite Downtown Cleveland things to do.
Designed by Pop Art creators, Oldenburg and van Bruggen, the 49-foot-long stamp is the ‘world’s largest office stamp.’ The Largest Rubber Stamp artwork celebrates the freeing of America’s slaves after the Civil War. Read more about the stamp’s story.
Voinovich Bicentennial Park and North Coast Harbor
One of the top things to do in Downtown Cleveland is to visit the North Coast Harbor and Voinovich Park on the shoreline of Lake Erie.
North Coast Harbor hosts numerous top attractions in Cleveland, OH (which we discuss in detail in a minute).
In addition to free Cleveland events (like lakeside yoga and summertime concerts), Voinovich Bicentennial Park is one of the best places to go in Cleveland, Ohio for city views. A Cleveland Script Sign (one of five in the city) sits alongside the harbor for fun photo ops.
Guided Downtown Cleveland Tour
We have highlighted what to do in Downtown Cleveland for some of the best sightseeing for visitors. That said, a local tour guide can provide more detailed information and lead you along the route. If you prefer to let a guide lead the way, we recommend joining a highly rated tour, like this one one.
On the other hand, if you want to tour Cleveland at your own pace, but with more information and facts, consider downloading this Self-Guided Tour.
#2 An Afternoon of the Best Downtown Cleveland Activities
Some of the top things to do in Cleveland, Ohio are visiting the attractions at the North Coast Harbor. Consider adding one (or more!) of these fun activities to do in Cleveland at North Coast Harbor to your Cleveland trip itinerary.
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Cleveland was where the term Rock and Roll was coined and the first city to host a live Rock and Roll concert. So, it just makes sense that the top Cleveland attraction is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (in fact, it’s one of the Best Things to see in all of Ohio!). The museum features music memorabilia, artifacts, live music and special exhibits. History of the greatest rock and roll musicians – from The Beatles to Beyoncé – are on display. Buy your ticket in advance!
Great Lakes Science Center
An informative place to learn about science, space, the environment and energy, the Great Lakes Science Center is one of the top things to do in Cleveland for kids. The educational museum has interactive exhibits that make learning fun and is home to the NASA Glenn Visitor Center.
Steamship William G Mather Museum
A historic Great Lakes freighter ship built in 1925, visitors can step aboard to experience firsthand what it was like to work on steamships. Visitors can see the cargo holds, peer into the pilot house, and stand in the 4-story engine room.
USS COD Submarine Memorial
The USS Cod is a retired United States Navy submarine and National Historic Landmark that is open for tours. Used during World War II (and the only sub from that war completely intact), the submarine’s engines were built right here in Cleveland.
International Women’s Air and Space Museum
Dedicated to preserving the history of women in flight, the International Women’s Air and Space Museum offers a small but interesting collection of exhibits. Located at the Burke Lakefront Airport, guests are welcome to see the displays on their own or book a guided tour (in advance). There is no fee to enter the museum – it’s one of the free things to do in Cleveland!
Goodtime Lake Cruise
The Goodtime III is one of the fun Cleveland tourist attractions! Boat cruises run throughout the summer months, providing epic views and fun for family and friends alike. Goodtime III operates multiple Cleveland boat tour options – from sightseeing cruises to dinner cruises. The evening jazz and city lights cruises are some of the fun things to do in Cleveland at night!
#3 Evening Activity: Things To Do at Night in Cleveland
End your first day with one of the fun things to do in Downtown Cleveland at night. We already mentioned the Goodtime III Night Cruise, but there are more places to go in Downtown Cleveland after dark!
Cheering on the local team is one of the best things to do in Downtown Cleveland! The city’s three professional sports teams – the Cleveland Guardians (MLB), Cleveland Browns (NFL) and Cleveland Cavaliers (NBA) – all play in stadiums that are located in the heart of the city.
We love summertime evening baseball games – and Progressive Field is an outstanding stadium to see the action. Even if there’s not any home games during your trip to Cleveland, it is worth checking out Progressive Park Stadium on a tour and walking across the 1927 Hope Memorial Bridge.
This historic bridge is one of the top things to see in Downtown Cleveland; the bridge’s statues are known as the Guardians of Traffic – and provided the inspiration for the baseball team’s new moniker.
The Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse sits right next door to Progressive Field – and is where the Cleveland Cavs play their basketball games. The FieldHouse is also home to the Cleveland Monsters AHL hockey team.
The lakefront 68,000 seat Cleveland Browns Stadium is where the Browns play football – and is right across from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and next to the Great Lakes Science Center.
Watch a Live Performance
With 10 theaters at Playhouse Square, there is ample opportunity to catch a live performance. From Broadway to ballet to comedy and concerts, there is always something happening at Playhouse Square.
Before (or after) the performance, grab dinner and drinks on East 4th Street. It’s the most happening place in Downtown Cleveland at night!
The Cleveland Flats
The Flats are legendary (or should we say notorious?) and are another one of the fun places to go in Downtown Cleveland. The low-lying banks of the Cuyahoga River were once the grittiest part of industrial Cleveland. That all changed in the 1990s when the district was transformed into a party hub. Predictably, the party got out of control and the boisterous Cleveland nightlife hub was shut down.
Recently, however, The Flats were overhauled once again – this time bringing upscale eateries, cool craft breweries and plenty of opportunities for good times.
Our top picks for places to go in The Flats for a fun night out are Collision Bend Brewing Co, Alley Cat Oyster Bar and Punch Bowl Social.
DAY 2 of Cleveland, Ohio Things To Do
On Day 2 of your Cleveland 3-Day Itinerary, head west of downtown into the foodie-favorite Ohio City district. The day is highlighted by tasty eats, craft beer and a few more of the top things to see in Cleveland.
Ohio City is just across the Cuyahoga River from Downtown Cleveland and is easily accessible on foot or via car, public transport or Uber/Lyft.
#4 Ohio City
Hands down, one of the fun things to do in Cleveland is to visit Ohio City. The district is well-known among foodies for the abundance of locally-owned restaurants and amazing craft breweries. That said, the neighborhood is also home to a few attractions that you will want to put on your Cleveland sightseeing list!
West Side Market, Ohio City
There is no better place to embark on a day of discovering Ohio City than at the West Side Market. The massive, landmark public market dates to 1912 and is the oldest (and best!) market in Cleveland!
More than 100 vendors are packed inside the iconic market doling out everything from savory meats to sweet treats. Perusing the goods is one of the best Cleveland activities for tourists. We recommend seeking out the prepared and ready-to-eat foods, like a classic Frank’s Bratwurst, a tasty Steve’s Gyro, or pierogis from the Pierogi Palace.
For a truly complete experience at the West Side Market, take a food tour – it’s one of the best things to do in Cleveland! The lunchtime tour features delicious bites from 15 different vendors. Book your space now!
Alternative Options for Breakfast and Lunch in Ohio City
We think the West Side Market is the best place to eat lunch in Ohio City – but if you happen to be eating in Ohio City for breakfast and lunch, we have a few recommendations for options beyond the market.
The Cleveland Bagel Company makes a great breakfast (try a hand-rolled Rosemary Sea Salt bagel with Thyme Blackpepper Horseradish cream cheese and thank me later!).
The innovative concept of combining donuts and beer is what makes Brewnuts one of the most interesting places to eat breakfast in Ohio City. Not only are the donuts made with local craft beer, but they sell it on tap, too.
Alternatively, if you are looking for a mid-day meal, then eat at the Larder Delicatessen. The pastrami sandwich is the signature dish – but we would go back just for the potato salad. You could wrap all this foodie goodness into an event by joining an Ohio City Food Tour. Reserve Your Spot Today!
Greetings from Cleveland Mural
A fun photo op, the Greetings from Cleveland street art mural is one of the cool places in Cleveland to see. Created by graffiti artist Victor Ving, the mural was painted in 2015. You can easily find the giant postcard-style mural at the corner of West 25th Street and Chatham. MAP.
Transformer Station Museum
The Transformer Station is one of the unique places to visit in Cleveland. The historic building hosts a small collection of artworks created by contemporary artists from the region. The exhibits constantly change – plus, it is one of the free museums in Cleveland!
SPACES is an art gallery and one of the top creative attractions in Cleveland. The exhibits feature modern works and cutting-edge art. Additionally, the gallery hosts classes, performances and special events.
Ohio City Neighborhood Stroll
We love old neighborhoods, like Ohio City, that are extremely walkable, feature tree-lined streets and amazing architecture. Franklin Boulevard in Ohio City was once one of the most prestigious Cleveland streets – and historic houses, like the Franklin Castle, are still standing. Take a walk through the neighborhood to see what gems you might find!
#5 Spend the Afternoon Outdoors in Cleveland
Summertime visitors have ample options when it comes to things to do outdoors in Cleveland! Shoreline beaches and riverside paths are two favorite outdoor Cleveland, Ohio activities.
The Lake Erie shoreline Edgewater Park is part of the Cleveland Metroparks. Top features of the park are the Edgewater Beach House, the fishing pier, city skyline viewpoint and the numerous picnic areas. However, it’s the swimming beaches at Edgewater Park that make visiting one of the unique things to do in Cleveland.
Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail
Tackling part of the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail is one of the top things to do in Cleveland when the weather is nice. The 87-mile trail follows the route once used by mules to pull canal boats – and today, it serves as one of the best recreational opportunities in the city.
In fact, visitors can walk south along the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail to the nearby Tremont neighborhood. The district’s main street is lined with boutique shops and award-winning restaurants if you want to get a really good taste of Tremont!
Along the Towpath Trail on the way to Tremont, trekkers will pass by one of the Cleveland Script Signs (near Scranton Flats). Ambitious walkers can continue walking south of Tremont’s district center to see the famed A Christmas Story house.
Cleveland Indoor Activities
If inclement weather keeps you inside, instead of an outdoor adventure, have some Cleveland fun indoors!
Cleveland is home to an astounding number of breweries – and brewery hopping is one of the fun things to do in Cleveland for adults. While it is certainly possible to get from one brewery to the next on your own, it’s a lot more fun to visit Cleveland breweries with a tour guide. Get tour details and reserve your space!
Greater Cleveland Aquarium
Housed in a former power plant on the West Bank of the Cuyahoga River, the Greater Cleveland Aquarium is one of the top Cleveland, Ohio attractions and a perfect indoor activity. Visitors can walk through the Seatube, feed a stingray and see sharks up close. The aquarium is rated as one of the top kids’ things to do in Cleveland – but it is fun for visitors of all ages!
#6 An Evening in Ohio City
Regardless of what you do in the afternoon, circle back around to Ohio City in the evening for food, drinks and fun. Spending an evening in the hipster neighborhood is certainly one of the cool things to do Cleveland, Ohio!
What To Eat in Cleveland’s Ohio City for Dinner
Some of the best things to eat in Cleveland are in Ohio City! For dinner, indulge in a gourmet burger at Heck’s Café (a local favorite!), feast on upscale Mexican at Momocho or go for delicious and healthy eats at TownHall.
There are casual, budget restaurants in Ohio City, too. Some of our favorite counter-service eateries in the area are Ohio City Burrito, Tabletop Board Game Café (for sandwiches, beer and games) and Pizza Whirl (a laid-back pizza joint featuring fresh ingredients).
If you want something sweet after your meal, try one of the incredible local ice cream shops in Ohio City: Mason’s Creamery and Mitchell’s Ice Cream.
Where to Drink in Ohio City
Okay, now let’s get to our evening out! One of the best things about Ohio City is the fun bars and craft breweries. In fact, we think bar hopping in Ohio City is one of the best things to do on a Cleveland vacation.
Ohio City is home to an astounding number of local craft breweries. One of the fun things to do in Cleveland at night is to bar hop from brewery to brewery in Ohio City.
A few of our favorite places for a pint of fresh brew straight from the source are Great Lakes Brewing Co, Nano Brew and Saucy Brew Works (where they make great pizzas, too!).
North High Brewing – a Columbus brewery – has also opened operations in Ohio City. Other brewers to check out in the district are Bookhouse Brewing, Market Garden Brewery (the parent of Nano), Hansa Brewery, Forest City Brewery, Terrestrial Brewing Company and Platform Beer Co.
Our recommended Ohio City breweries are located within a few miles (or steps) of one another – so you can easily create your own Ohio City craft beer bar crawl!
Cocktails in Ohio City
While Cleveland is known for its craft breweries, the cocktail scene is also on point! Cocktail aficionados will not want to miss the Velvet Tango Room in Ohio City; it makes many master mixologist lists as the best cocktail bar in Cleveland. The cozy environment is inviting, like a speakeasy – and they feature live jazz music, as well.
Fun Bars in Ohio City
Travelers looking for a good time in Cleveland can opt to go to one of the fun Ohio City bars. We already mentioned Brewnuts (for donuts and craft beers) and Tabletop Board Game Café (for games and sandwiches) – but both are fantastic drinking holes, too.
Another favorite bar that adds a heaping dose of nostalgia is the Superelectric Pinball Parlor – where patrons can play unlimited games for a flat price while enjoying their beverage of choice.
Gordon Square Arts District in Detroit-Shoreway
One of the cool things to do in Cleveland at night is to go to the Gordon Square Arts District for a theater performance. The recently revitalized district lies within the West Cleveland Detroit Shoreway community. The diverse neighborhood boasts 3 performance spaces: Cleveland Public Theater, Capitol Theater and Near West Theater – as well as delicious dining options.
DAY 3 of Things To Do Cleveland
On the last day of your 3 days in Cleveland, go to the east side for more neighborhood navigation, outdoor adventures, amazing eats and cool museums. The things to see in Cleveland, Ohio on Day 3 are located in these 3 districts: Little Italy, University Circle and Shaker Square.
Visitors can travel to these areas by car, public transport or via a short Uber/Lyft ride.
#7 Little Italy, Cleveland
Little Italy is one our favorite places to visit in Cleveland, Ohio. The enclave was settled by Italian immigrants in the early 1900s and today Italian and American flags fly together over the main thoroughfare, Mayfield Road. Shopping and eating are the district’s main draws, but there are a few sights to see, as well – so we are highlighting the best things to do in Little Italy Cleveland (which can all be reached on foot).
Holy Rosary Church
The Baroque-style Holy Rosary Church was built in 1910 for the Italian community – and it is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Inside, visitors can see the beautiful stained-glass windows and artworks within the church.
The Holy Rosary Church congregation organizes an annual 4-day street festival, Feast of the Assumption, every August.
Alta House Community Center
The landmark Alta House was built in 1900 (and was commissioned by JD Rockefeller). The community center continues to be a place of gathering – complete with bocce ball courts.
Restaurants in Little Italy, Cleveland
As one would expect, restaurants in Little Italy serve authentic Italian fare; dining at one of the Little Italy establishments is one of the top Cleveland, OH things to do. The tantalizing scents waft down the street luring in hungry patrons…the only problem for visitors is choosing which one to eat at!
The most famous eatery in Little Italy is Guarino’s – the first Italian restaurant to open in the State of Ohio…and the oldest restaurant in Cleveland. With old-world charm and passed-down recipes, Guarino’s offers a superb dining experience.
That said, Presti’s Bakery is our top choice for a casual – but oh-so-delicious – mid-day meal in Little Italy. Opened as a bread shop in 1903, the bakery cranks out unbelievably delicious sandwiches, Stromboli, pizza – and bakery sweets, too. Whatever you eat, save room for cannoli, they are absolutely divine!
Want to get a little taste of everything? Join a fun Little Italy History Food Tour!
Lake View Cemetery
While some may think that a cemetery is one of the strange attractions in Cleveland, Ohio, the Lake View Cemetery is actually a Cleveland must-see sight. The garden-like setting features decorative tombstones and monuments.
Established in 1869, many prominent Clevelanders are buried at the cemetery. The two most famous people to be interred at Lake View Cemetery are US President James A Garfield and America’s first billionaire, John D Rockefeller.
Visitors can visit the Memorial Hall inside the elaborate James A Garfield monument, which features the former US president’s statue, stained-glass windows and a crypt for Garfield and his family. A simple-but-tall 70-foot obelisk marks Rockefeller’s burial place.
#8 University Circle
The University Circle neighborhood is brimming with cultural attractions and educational institutions. Many of the top Cleveland sights are located in the dynamic and historic district.
Cleveland Museum of Art
One of the fun activities in Cleveland at University Circle – that also happens to be completely free – is visiting the outstanding Cleveland Museum of Art. The museum has an impressive collection of art work that includes a vast array of styles and mediums. From ancient art to masterpiece paintings to modern photography, the Cleveland Museum of Art features incredibly fascinating displays!
More Cleveland Museums and Cultural Institutions in University Circle
While the Cleveland Art Museum gets our top pick for places to visit in University Circle, there are numerous other choices.
Cleveland Museum of Natural History: Displays feature dinosaurs, outdoor galleries, hands-on exhibits and a planetarium. Visiting the Museum of Natural History is one of the top things to do in Cleveland, Ohio with kids!
Museum of Contemporary Art: The moCa focuses on contemporary art and, therefore, has rotating exhibits that keep the space fresh and current – and it’s free!
Cleveland History Center: Sharing the history of Northeast Ohio, the Cleveland History Center displays a nice collection of engaging artifacts, including exhibits that focus on the industrial and social history of the region. The center is a branch of the Western Reserve Historical Society and visiting is one of the fun things to do in Cleveland with kids – and adults! Buy your Skip the Line Ticket now!
Cleveland Botanical Gardens: Featuring a glasshouse conservatory that is home to hundreds of plants, animals and butterflies, the Cleveland Botanical Garden is a peaceful place to visit in the city.
Severance: Home to the Cleveland Orchestra, Severance is a beautiful concert hall that offers a variety of performances throughout the year.
Cleveland Cultural Gardens
Located within Rockefeller Park, the Cleveland Cultural Gardens are dedicated to the many immigrants that have helped shape the United States and Cleveland, more specifically. Consisting of 33 unique gardens and statues along Martin Luther King Jr Drive, the gardens honor the heritage of Cleveland’s diverse community.
Visitors are free to walk the gardens (use this pamphlet) – and inexpensive tours are offered during the summer.
#9 Enjoy Fine Dining in Downtown Cleveland
After a day of unique neighborhoods and culture, end your last day in Cleveland with a meal to remember at the famous Marble Room.
The 100-year-old building is exquisitely designed and enhanced with many features of the former bank. While the atmosphere is impressive, the real reason to dine at the Marble Room is the steaks. Splurge for the Dry Aged Delmonico, along with a hand crafted cocktail.
Looking for something a little more casual and less expensive? We hear you! Dive into a pulled pork sandwich at Mabel’s BBQ, the signature burger at Wahlburgers or share a selection of small plates with pints of local craft beer at the Butcher and the Brewer.
Best Attractions Cleveland Map
Use this link to Google Maps for an interactive online version of our Map of Cleveland sights.
More Cleveland Things To Do
One of the best things about Cleveland is that there is so much to see and do! We have featured what we think are the best Cleveland weekend activities. That said, travelers with other interests might want to check out these top things to do around Cleveland, Ohio.
Cuyahoga Valley National Park
The Cuyahoga Valley National Park is part of the US National Park system – and ranks as one of the top things to do near Cleveland, Ohio.
Hiking to the beautiful Brandywine Falls is highly rated as the park’s best activity – but there are plenty of opportunities for outdoor adventure. In addition to hiking and biking, visitors can take a ride on the scenic railroad, join a ranger-led program or attend one of the park’s many events.
As Cuyahoga National Park is free to visit, it is one of the more affordable fun things to do with family in Cleveland.
More Cleveland Parks
The Cleveland area boasts an extraordinary number of parks – many of which are run by Cleveland Metro Parks. Some of the best parks to visit in Cleveland are the Rocky River Reservation, North Chagrin Reservation, South Chagrin Reservation and Garfield Reservation. These parks features some of the best hikes in Cleveland.
Cleveland Metroparks Zoo
Established in 1882, the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is one of the best places to visit in Cleveland. The zoo features multiple habitats from different regions around the world. The Rainforest and Primates are the zoo’s top attractions.
Going to the Cedar Point amusement park is one of the best things to do around Cleveland! The historic theme park, which is located in nearby Sandusky, Ohio, features phenomenally thrilling rides and heaps of entertainment.
Shaker Heights Architecture, Shaker Square Shopping and Dinner
Part of a planned district that dates to the 1920s, Shaker Heights is one of the unique neighborhoods to visit in Cleveland. Visitors can simply stroll through the district – or embark on a self-guided walk to top architectural sights.
After seeing the homes, head for the oldest shopping district in Ohio – Shaker Square. It is one of the more interesting places to visit in Cleveland, OH. Visitors can dine at top eateries or watch a movie at the art deco Shaker Square cinemas, where they show blockbusters as well as Indie films.
Additionally, on Saturdays, the North Union Farmers Market is a great gathering place for food, entertainment and shopping – while Larchmere Boulevard hosts a number of antique shops.
Cleveland Trip Plan Travel Tips
There is a lot more to planning a trip to the city than making your Cleveland To Do list. We have already shared our top tips for the best places to go in Cleveland for a weekend of fun, now let’s talk about the details – like how to get there, where to stay and what to pack!
Organizing Your Trip to Cleveland, Ohio
As you plan what to do in Cleveland, Ohio and make reservations for where to stay, organization is key! We recommend using a travel planner – like our Printable Travel Planner – so that nothing falls through the cracks!
How To Get To Cleveland
We already mentioned how convenient it is to drive to Cleveland from nearby cities, but of course you can also travel by plane.
The Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (CLE) is located about 12 miles southwest of downtown. The airport is served by all major US carriers.
From the Cleveland airport, travelers can rent a car (but use our tips for the Best Car Rentals first!), take an Uber/Lyft or hop on the RTA Red Line. You can also book private airport transport in advance.
Where To Stay in Cleveland
Cleveland sights are spread from one end to the other. As such, it is best to find centrally located accommodations so that you can easily reach the best places to go in Cleveland.
Finding a place to stay in Downtown Cleveland is ideal – and there are many styles and matching price ranges to choose from. Take a look at these recommended Cleveland hotels – but be sure to read our tips for Finding the Best Accommodations, as well.
Hotel Indigo Cleveland Downtown
A boutique hotel in the heart of the city, Hotel Indigo is located just steps from some of the best things to see and do in Cleveland, Ohio. The recently renovated rooms feature contemporary design and comfortable beds. Check rates and availability!
Hyatt Regency Cleveland at The Arcade
Located in the historic landmark Arcade, the Hyatt Regency impresses guests with beautiful architecture and design. Th Hyatt also gets high marks for being clean and comfortable. Check rates for your stay!
The Westin Cleveland Downtown
The Westin gets rave reviews for its ideal location and extra points for cleanliness. However, what most guests love about the hotel is the outstanding views. Check rates for your trip!
Start your search for the perfect place to stay for your Cleveland trip!
What You Will Need for Your Weekend in Cleveland
We have covered everything you need to know to have a weekend of fun in Cleveland, Ohio – but we have a few final tips on what to pack. You can find all of our packing hacks on our dedicated Packing Tips page. Need a packing checklist? Get your FREE Checklist for Packing here!
We cover some serious ground in our Cleveland Itinerary! In order to reach the best things to do and see in Cleveland, Ohio, you are going to need a good pair of comfortable shoes.
Cleveland is famous for its historic architecture and hip districts – and, if you are anything like us, you will be snapping a ton of photos of the unique landscapes during your trip!
With so many cool things to do in Cleveland, Ohio in a weekend you will be on the go from morning until night! Be sure to bring along a day pack to store all of your travel essentials – like keys, a water bottle, snacks, your phone and camera.
Recently, we have enjoyed carrying small backpack day bags – but in the past, I carried a sling messenger bag for travel. Whether you use a backpack or a suitcase, you should read our Tips for Day Bags to find the best one for your trip!
We Want To Know: What are your favorite things to do in Cleveland, Ohio? What would you add to our Cleveland Itinerary? Tell us in the comments!
More USA Trip Plans
We’ve been busy traveling to many Top Weekend Destinations in the USA – and a few Underrated Spots as well – and have useful travel guides to help fellow travelers experience the best of our favorite places!
US Midwest Travel
Traveling around the Midwest? We have trip guides to some of the best Midwest cities. Use our guide to How To Spend a Weekend in Chicago and Things To Do in Cincinnati and Columbus, OH (including the Best Columbus Hikes and what to do in Dublin, Ohio!). Plan a fun Weekend in Indy or consider a visit to Ohio’s first capital, Chillicothe. Don’t go to Iron City without using our Pittsburgh Itinerary and be sure to check out our guides to Louisville and Covington to help with your trip to Kentucky!
East Coast USA Travel
We love the cities on the east coast! Use our guide to Visiting NYC on a Budget and Tips for 3 Days in Boston. Our Washington DC Itinerary is all you will need to plan your trip and our One Day in Philadelphia highlights the best things to do!
US West Road Trips
Road trips are a fabulous way to see America! We detail How To Drive the California Coast, Best Things To See on the Oregon Coast and the Columbia River Gorge. For an incredible road trip in big sky country, use our guide to the Ultimate Montana Road Trip.
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