Cleveland may not sound like the most exciting city to visit, compared to New York, Washington DC, or Los Angeles, but it has more than its fair share of attractions.  Whether you are looking for a quick and easy Midwest weekend away, or you happen to be in town for a conference, here’s a list of great Cleveland activities to fill your visit.

The ShorewayRock n Roll Museum - Things to Do in ClevelandCredit: npclark2k @ morguefile

There is no doubt this Louvre-like structure changed the face of the Cleveland waterfront when it opened in 1995.  The museum boasts rotating exhibits along with their permanent collections.  Visitors wind through basement levels, to view artifacts which pay tribute to various musical genres and artists.  Displays are informative, and fun, as you reach the top of the building, you can visit the Hall of Fame itself to look for your favorite artists, followed by a stop at the gift shop.

If you are looking for a full day of infotainment, plan to spend part of your time at the Great Lakes Science Center next door.  Exhibits are largely interactive and enjoyable by everyone.  You certainly do not need to be a kid to enjoy them.  The Omnimax cinema attached to the museum screens themed movies.  You may also want to visit the USS Cod submarine while you are in the neighborhood.  This permanently docked museum displays just what life was like beneath the seas during World War II.  It is closed during the winter months.

The Christmas Story House

If you remember the days of 24 hours of the Christmas Story on repeat, this home on the west side of the city will trigger holiday memories.  Indeed, it may be just as familiar as your childhood home.  Only the exterior scenes were shot in Cleveland; however, the inside of the home has been reconstructed to mimic the interior shots as much as possible.  Everything from the radio to the famous leg lamp are included in the decor.  And if you find the humor in leg lamp, the house across the street operates as a gift shop.

University Circle

This is a bit of a misnomer.  This area does include a number of buildings that form part of Case Western University, but the neighborhood is better known for the museums it houses.  One of the best loved is the Cleveland Museum of Art.  The building has recently reopened after years of construction and restoration.  The galleries have been updated, and exhibits are in better condition than ever before.

Just around the corner is the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.  This boasts some incredible exhibits, including a fully reconstructed dinosaur skeleton.  In addition to the well loved permanent exhibits, there are often remarkable displays on loan from other museums.  There is plenty of hands on activities for all age groups. 

If you are in the area, you do not want to miss the Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum and the Cleveland Botanical Garden.  Both display exactly what you would anticipate, and with a degree of excellence.  Not far away is the Children’s Museum which is a must if you are travelling with small children.  The exhibits encourage structured play in a huge variety of scenarios.

Lakeview Cemetery and Little Italy

Lakeview Cemetery - Things to Do in ClevelandCredit: click @ morguefileJust down the hill from the cemetery is Little Italy.  Although the neighborhood is small, it is a thriving one.  Italian restaurants and bakeries line both sides of the street and offer visitors an incredible taste of culture.  After a long lunch in this historic neighborhood, you can wander over to the playground with the kids, opposite the Catholic Church that no Italian could be without.On the east side of the city, you will find the Lake View Cemetery.  Although this may sound a little morbid, this is one of the best maintained architectural and historic cemeteries in the country.   It is a pleasant walk, and a far cry from typical suburban graveyards.  Around every corner,  there are ornate monuments that attest to the long life of the city, and the people in it.

Severance Hall and the Playhouse Square

Downtown Cleveland - Things to Do in ClevelandCredit: npclark2k @ morguefile

The world famous Cleveland Orchestra calls Severance Hall its home.  The building itself is a marvelous slice of history, and the performances are not to be missed.  In addition to the Cleveland Orchestra, Severance Hall hosts visiting performances and an annual Christmas concert that draws listeners from across the globe.

If you prefer a bit of speaking to go with your music, then try Playhouse Square.  Ten stages and 9000 seats offer visitors everything from Broadway features to operas and ballets.  The surrounding restaurants, bars and shops ensure an unparalleled evening.


Clevelanders love their sports.  Even if you are not a fan of the teams, the occasion is not to be missed.  There are three outstanding sporting grounds and arenas in Cleveland, hosting football, baseball, basketball and hockey.  Jacobs Field (baseball) and The Q (for Quicken Loans, hosting basketball and hockey) are located just a few streets away from each other downtown.  Both host concerts as well, which means that the area is vibrant just about every night of the week. Cleveland Indians - Things to Do in ClevelandCredit: kakisky @ morguefile

While you are in the area, make sure you stop off at the Winking Lizard Tavern.  In addition to uncommonly broad selection of microbrews and international beers, you can graze on top notch pub fare.  Plus, you will it is a perfect place to mingle with fellow sports fans pre and post game.

Horseshoe Casino

Gambling has only just been legalized in Ohio, and the opening of the Horseshoe Casino around the corner from the Q was met with a great deal of anticipation.  This entertainment complex is housed in the historic Higbees building downtown.  (Fans of the Christmas story may remember this from the opening scenes filmed in downtown Cleveland.)  In addition to the wide array of slot machines and poker table, the complex also has a selection of sumptuous dining options, including a basement buffet filled with delights, to please every appetite and palate.

Of course, there are many, many more things to see, do and taste in Cleveland.  If none of these strike your fancy, you may want to consider visiting one of the well-maintained Metroparks or the Metroparks Zoo.  The West Side Market offers foods and delicacies that you will not want to miss.  And the Great Lakes Brewing Company is just one of several in the Cleveland area.  There is unquestionably no shortage of good times to be had in Cleveland, and it is getting better all the time.