Cleveland Itineary Things To Do in Cleveland in 1, 2, 3 Days

Cleveland Itinerary: Things To Do in Cleveland in 1, 2, 3 Days

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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.  


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 revel in the past at the same time as experiencing the city in forward motion.


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. The city’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 city, 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, the city 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. Craft breweries started popping up and Cleveland restaurants gained national attention.

Today, the city is in a state of renewal and repurposing. While the city’s manufacturing roots are still quite evident, Cleveland is embracing a modern and positive future.


FAQs: Things To Do in Cleveland

Before we jump into what to do in Cleveland, Ohio, we want to answer some of the most frequently asked questions.


Where is Cleveland, Ohio?

Cleveland is in northeastern Ohio. The city is 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 place to visit, 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.


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 the city 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 many 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 the city! Visitors with just one day in Cleveland can chose Day 1, 2, or 3 for sightseeing adventures. Travelers staying in the city 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!



Downtown Cleveland, Ohio

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 easily access it as you plan (and during) your trip to Cleveland!


DAY 1 of Things To Do in Cleveland

On Day 1 of our itinerary, 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 city’s 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 city on a walking tour of Downtown Cleveland.

We love to roam cities – and we are highlighting a few of the must-see sights if you want to plan your own walking tour of the city. That said, taking a guided tour is one of the top things to do in Downtown Cleveland – so we provide information on the best tours below.


Cleveland Public Square

View of Public Square, Cleveland, Ohio

Begin your city 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 and historic 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. Use the church brochure for visiting information. 

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 holds rank as the second-tallest building in the state of Ohio today. The adjoining Tower City Center complex houses offices, a mall, a hotel, the Jack Cleveland Casino, and the city’s main 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 hotels – you will find more recommendations at the end of this post).


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.


Millionaires’ Row

Euclid Avenue marks what was once called Cleveland’s Millionaires’ Row. The massive mansions that stood on the street belonged to the city’s wealthiest citizens during the manufacturing heyday. In fact, John D. Rockefeller – by far the richest Cleveland resident – owned a house on the street.

Today, only four original mansions still stand on the street. The Mather Mansion at 2605 Euclid Avenue is the closest to the city and remains one of the historic Cleveland Downtown attractions.


Playhouse Square

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

Fountain of Eternal Life, The Mall, Cleveland, Ohio

The Mall in Cleveland is a public space and outdoor park surrounded by the city’s most 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 that aimed to beautify American cities, 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

Willard Park and Free Stamp, Cleveland, Ohio

Taking a walk through Willard Park to see the gigantic Free Stamp is one of the 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 American slaves after the Civil War. Read more about the stamp’s story.


Voinovich Bicentennial Park and North Coast Harbor

View of Cleveland Ohio Sights

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 the best sightseeing in the city. That said, a local tour guide can provide more detailed information – and relieve you of having to plan the route. If you want to let a guide lead the way, we recommend joining a highly rated tour, like this tour on Viator

On the other hand, if you want to tour 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

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland, Ohio

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 one of the top Cleveland attractions 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.



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 that is still completely intact), the submarine’s engines were built 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 city views and fun for family and friends. Goodtime III operates multiple 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

The Guardians, Cleveland, Ohio

End your first day in the city with one of the fun things to do in Downtown Cleveland at night. We already mentioned the Goodtime III Night Cruise, but there are a few more places to go in Downtown Cleveland after dark.


Cleveland Sports

Watch a Baseball game at Progressive Field, Cleveland

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 Indians (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 watch a game. Even if you don’t make it to a game, it is worth checking out the Progressive Park Stadium and walking across the 1927 Hope Memorial Bridge. The 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 (as of the 2022 season).


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 the industrial city. That all changed in the 1990s when the district was transformed into a party hub. Unfortunately, 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 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

Shopping at the West Side Market, Cleveland, Ohio

Hands down, one of the fun things to do in Cleveland, Ohio 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

Checking out the Westside Market Food Hall, Cleveland, Ohio

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 the city.

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 fantastic introduction to the food at the 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!


Greetings from Cleveland Mural

Greetings from Cleveland, Ohio

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.


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 more 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

Historic Ohio City, Cleveland, Ohio

We love neighborhoods, like Ohio City, that are extremely walkable, have 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

View of Lake Erie View, Cleveland Ohio

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.


Edgewater Park

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 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

Walking the Cleveland Tow Path Trail, Ohio

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. (Join the Tremont Food Tour 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!

Brewery Tour

Cleveland is home to an astounding number of breweries – and brewery bar hopping is one of the fun things to do in Cleveland for adults. While it is certainly possible to hop from one to the next on your own bar hop, it can be a lot more fun (and interesting!) 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 highly rated as one of the cool things to do Cleveland, Ohio!


What To Eat in Cleveland’s Ohio City for Dinner

Must Eat Ohio City Burrito

Some of the best things to eat in Cleveland are in Ohio City! For dinner, indulge in a gourmet burger at Heck’s Cafe (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 (which can be a bit spicy – so ask before you order!), Tabletop Board Game Café (for sandwiches, beer and games) and Pizza Whirl (a laid-back pizza joint featuring fresh ingredients). Bonus: These three establishments are all on the same block.

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.


Breakfast and Lunch in Ohio City

Cleveland Bagel Company, Ohio

I know we are talking about dinner, but if you happen to be eating in Ohio City for breakfast and lunch, we have a few recommendations for those meals as well.

The Cleveland Bagel Company makes a great breakfast (get 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.

We think the West Side Market is the best place to eat lunch in Ohio City. However, if you ate breakfast at the market, then eat at the Larder Delicatessen for your mid-day meal. The pastrami sandwich is the signature dish – but to be honest, we would go back just for the potato salad.


Where to Drink in Ohio City

Craft Beer, Great Lakes Brewing, Cleveland, Ohio

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 – recently 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, and Platform Beer Co.

All of the mentioned Ohio City breweries are located within a half-mile radius – so you can easily create your own Ohio City craft beer bar crawl!


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 of the city for more neighborhood navigation, outdoor adventures, amazing eats and cool museums. The things to see in Cleveland, Ohio on Day 3 are located in three east side districts: Little Italy, University Circle and Shaker Square.

Visitors can travel to these east side neighborhoods by car, public transport (light rail Rapid Transport is best!) or via a short Uber 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 flags still fly 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 in Cleveland

eat at Presti’s Bakery, Little Italy, Cleveland, Ohio

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

Lakeview Cemetery, President James A Garfield Monument, Cleveland, Ohio

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

Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio

One of the fun activities in Cleveland in 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 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 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 houses hundreds of plants, animals and butterflies, the Cleveland Botanical Garden is a beautiful place to visit in the city.


Cleveland Cultural Gardens

Located within Rockefeller Park, the Cleveland Cultural Gardens are dedicated to the many immigrants that have helped to 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 Shaker Square Shopping and Dinner

Part of a planned commercial district that dates to the 1920s, Shaker Square is one of the interesting places to visit in Cleveland, OH and a leisurely way to end your time in the city. The historic district is not truly a square, but it still serves its original purpose as a community gathering place for food, entertainment and shopping.

Eat dinner in Shaker Square at Balaton, a classic Hungarian restaurant that has been serving goulash and chicken paprikash since 1964. After your meal, watch a movie at the historic and hip, art deco Shaker Square cinemas, where they show blockbusters as well as Indie films.

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Best Attractions Cleveland Map

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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.


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.  


Cedar Point

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.


Cleveland Trip Plan Tips

Ohio City, Script Cleveland Sign, Ohio

Now that you know the best places to go in Cleveland for a weekend of fun, let’s talk about the details – like how to get there, where to stay and what to pack!


How To Get To Cleveland

We already mentioned how convenient it is to drive to Cleveland from nearby cities, but travelers can also reach the city by plane.

The Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (CLE) is located about 12 miles southwest of downtown. The airport is serviced by all major US carriers.

Before searching for the best fares, read our tips for Finding the Best Flights.

From the airport, visitors have options for how to get into the city. 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 is a big city with sights spread from one end to the other. As such, it is best to find centrally located accommodations in Downtown so that you can more easily reach the best places to go in Cleveland.


Cleveland Hotels

Finding a place to stay in Downtown Cleveland is ideal – and there are many Cleveland hotels in the downtown area. Take a look at these recommended Cleveland hotels – but read our tips for Finding the Best Accommodations, as well.

Hotel Indigo Cleveland Downtown

A boutique (but relatively affordable) 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 city 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 just about everything you need to know to have a weekend of fun in Cleveland, Ohio – but we have a few final tips on some things you will want to pack. You can find all of our packing hacks on our dedicated Packing Tips page.


Comfortable Shoes

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.

I like to wear lightweight, versatile and comfy walking shoes for city exploration – and Kris likes to wear Merrell trail shoes. Read more of our tips for the Best Travel Shoes.


Travel Camera

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 city landscapes during your trip.

To capture the sights, we use a beginner’s DSLR Canon Rebel with an everyday 18-135mm lens that is fantastic for city shots. Find out 5 Reasons Why You Should Buy a Camera for Travel.


Day Pack

With so many cool things to do in Cleveland, Ohio in a weekend you will be on the go from morning until night! Bring along a day pack for your city adventures so that you have a place for 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 city travels. Whether you travel with a backpack or a suitcase, you should read our Tips for Day Bags to find the best day pack for your trip!


Start planning your trip to Cleveland! Search for the lowest airfares, the best accommodations and fun things to do…then start packing!  Want more travel planning tips? Head over to our Travel Planning page for more information and tips on traveling – and for country-specific information, take a look at our Travel Guides page!


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 have been fortunate to have traveled to many top destinations in the USA – and we created 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 Midwestern 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!). Consider a visit to Ohio’s first capital city, Chillicothe. Don’t go to Pittsburgh without using our Pittsburgh Itinerary and be sure to read our guides to Louisville and Covington KY to help plan your trip!


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. Want to visit historic US cities? 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 a road trip under the big blue sky, use our guide to the Ultimate Montana Road Trip.


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Cleveland Itineary Things To Do in Cleveland in 1, 2, 3 Days