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Seven Essential Things To Do in Cleveland

by Adeleine Whitten
Cleveland Script Sign - North Coast Harbor

Cleveland Script Sign - North Coast Harbor. Stock Photo by DJ Johnson on Unsplash

When you think to yourself, “I need a vacation”, Cleveland probably isn’t the first place that comes to mind. Ohio in general most likely doesn’t even make the top ten list – or even top one hundred. However, an up-and-coming city like Cleveland might just be exactly what you need for your next adventure.

Located right on beautiful Lake Erie, Cleveland has built a perfect blend of waterfront living and midwestern charm. And because this city isn’t often thought of for its tourism, you won’t run into inflated prices or overcrowding like you would at other vacation favorites. This leaves you with more time and money to enjoy everything this wonderful city has to show you.

While many people refer to the city as the “mistake on the lake”, Cleveland is chock-full of culture and fun things to do, many of which are often overlooked by the masses. And if you’re still not convinced, here are just seven things to do in Cleveland.

A Christmas Story House

Yes, you read that right. Holiday classic A Christmas Story – the movie that originally brought the leg lamp to fame (“It’s a major award!”) – was filmed right here in Ohio. Located just ten minutes from downtown Cleveland, the A Christmas Story House where much of the story takes place still stands in all its 1940s glory.

Step into Ralphie’s shoes with a walkthrough of the house where all the magic happened so many years ago. Whether you just want a tour of the house or decide to take it a step further and plan an overnight visit, this is an absolute must-see. Across the street, you’ll also find a museum that features behind-the-scenes photos along with props, costumes, and other memorabilia from the film. And don’t forget to visit the gift shop to purchase your very own leg lamp!

No matter what time of year it is, you can relive your childhood and get into the Christmas spirit a nostalgic stop at A Christmas Story House. Just don’t shoot your eye out or lick any telephone poles.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio. Stock Photo by Lance Anderson on Unsplash

AC/DC, The Beatles, Madonna, Simon and Garfunkel… those are just some of the names you’ll be hearing during your trip to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Located downtown and right on the lake, you’ll take a trip through music history with seven floors of exciting relics and interactive exhibits.

In addition to the authenticated artifacts displayed throughout the museum, you’ll also find rooms full of instruments for you to try, kiosks to listen to the hits of yesterday, and even a theater that plays previous years’ induction ceremonies and concerts. To wrap up your day, be sure to stop by the gift shop to check out the greatest hits and other merchandise from the artists that shaped the music we know and love today.

Hear the music and experience the powerful history that goes along with The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame during this interactive and highly entertaining stop.

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Editor’s Note: Want to take a musical journey across the United States? Check out Amazing America’s Ultimate List of Rock, R&B Country Destinations in the USA.

Playhouse Square

Did you know that Cleveland has the second largest theater district in the United States, behind only New York City? But whether you’re into the arts scene or not, a trip to Playhouse Square is always both time and money well-spent.

Playhouse Square consists of eleven performance spaces in addition to restaurants, residential buildings, and a massive chandelier towering over the main road. It’s seen by locals and tourists alike as the gem of the city, so you definitely won’t regret getting tickets to a show during your visit.

Immerse yourself into another world with Broadway tours, traveling experiences, or even world premieres of new works by local playwrights – all right in the heart of downtown Cleveland!

Cleveland Museum of Art

With thousands of pieces and over 700,000 visitors annually, the Cleveland Museum of Art is one of the most popular destinations in Cleveland. And the best part? It’s completely free!

Set in some of the most beautiful architecture the city has to offer, you could spend hours traveling through time with CMA’s vast collection of art. While exhibits range from ancient pieces to modern works, this museum is most recognized internationally for its significant collection of Asian and Egyptian art. And with an ever-changing schedule of traveling installations, concerts, classes, and other events, no two visits will ever be the same.

Located just ten minutes east of downtown Cleveland, The Cleveland Museum of Art is sure to be one of the many highlights of your trip.

Lake Erie

Edgewater Beach in Cleveland, Ohio

Edgewater Beach in Cleveland, Ohio. Stock Photo by DJ Johnson on Unsplash

It’s not very often that people think “beach” when they think of the Midwest, but Cleveland is here to change that stereotype. Our beautiful Lake Erie is sure to fulfill all of your beach fantasies without the scorching heat (or crowding!) of your typical waterfront towns.

There are several beaches to choose from, but some local favorites are Edgewater Beach, where you’ll find one of the five iconic Cleveland Script Signs nearby, and Huntington Beach in Bay Village, Ohio, just 25 minutes west from downtown Cleveland. Both beaches are free to the public and diligently maintained by our local Metroparks. Just a few minutes listening to Lake Erie’s waves crash will make you forget you’re even in Ohio.

This is the perfect activity to get some much-needed relaxation during your trip, so grab your sunscreen and beach towels and get ready to swim and tan all your troubles away.

Cleveland Sports

No city has spirit like this city. Whatever time of year it is, Cleveland can offer you a great night at a game for any of its sports teams. If you look forward to a cold beer and a perfect view of the diamond, Guardians games never disappoint. Want to see the team that finally broke the Cleveland Sports Curse back in 2016? A Cavaliers game will have you swelling with Ohio pride. During football season, you’ll never meet more dedicated fans than at a Browns game. And, of course, we’re far enough North to enjoy some hockey from our Monsters.

Grab a hotdog and some popcorn and be prepared to sing “Hang on Sloopy” at least once. You’ll have so much Cleveland pride by the end, you’ll feel like you’ve lived here your whole life!

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Editor’s Note: If you’re near the Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse, you’ve gotta check out one of America’s greatest dive bars. The Nauti Mermaid is just around the corner on 6th street, where Cleveland night life gets going on the weekends. It’s an Irish seafood dive bar par excellence. Trust us.

A Latte Further Away: Cedar Point

Calling all thrill seekers! Named the “Best Amusement Park in the World” for sixteen years in a row, Cedar Point always makes for a fun-packed day. Whether you’re looking for a family-friendly ride for the whole family or are ready to experience the thrill of your life on any of the park’s seventeen roller coasters, there’s something here for everybody. And with shops, specialty foods, and other vendors throughout the park as well, this is a day nobody in your family could ever forget.

Located just an hour outside of Cleveland in Sandusky, Ohio, Cedar Point this will make the perfect day trip for anyone looking for a new adventure.

Cleveland awaits…

These seven stops truly just scratch the surface of everything the city has to offer. And if you’re still itching for more, talking to the locals during your trip is also a great way to find the hidden gems you otherwise might not have known about. In just a few days, you can experience Cleveland the way Northeastern Ohioans get to every day.

While you’re sure to have a jam-packed schedule during your trip, there will definitely be things you wanted to do but couldn’t quite fit in. You’ll be on your way home already planning your next trip to the Buckeye State.

So submit your PTO, pack up the car, collect all your favorite road trip snacks, and safe travels!

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