Cleveland is bustling with beauty and adventure, so much so that it can occasionally feel overwhelming. Whether you are a tourist or a native, it can be impossible to decide which activities are the best of the best and which are overrated, and every metropolitan city can cost you a lot of driving time and money trying to figure it out. There’s no need to worry, as these iconic destinations promise unforgettable adventure. There’s never a dull day in Cleveland, but if you start chipping away at this bucket list, you can make each day truly unforgettable.
1. Pay a visit to the Rocky River Reservation.
This coveted park is perhaps the most scenic in the Cleveland Metroparks. Its landscape is carved by the Rocky River, creating a landscape that delights hikers, photographers, and picnickers.
2. Visit the Haserot Angel in Lake View Cemetery.
Locals love our iconic weeping statue.
The Angel of Death Victorious
has watched over the cemetery and the Haserot family since 1923. While her solemn expression hasn't changed, one thing has: black tears now seem to run down her bronze face.
3. Visit Avon Lake at sunset.
4. Pursue outdoor adventure.
A little dirt never hurt anyone. Go rock climbing at Whipp's Ledges, glide over Lake Erie, or
embark on a kayaking adventure
. Here in Cleveland, the outdoors offer a variety of incredible activities to keep your adventurous spirit satiated.
5. Experience the national park from the rails.
The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad is one of the oldest and longest tourist excursion railways in the nation, and it takes tourists on an incredible journey through the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. With stations in Independence, Peninsula, and Akron, you can easily circle the region in style. With special events like Ales on Rails and the Polar Express themed journey, this excursion offers an unforgettable way to experience the local landscape.
6. Swing by the most unusual museum in the region.
Dittrick Museum of Medical History
is fascinating, informative, and... honestly, a little eerie. More than 175,000 artifacts bring the ghosts of medical practices past into the modern age, allowing you to learn about the somewhat cringe-worthy evolution of medical knowledge.This world renowned collection is an incredible attraction in Cleveland, and everyone must visit it at least once.
7. Visit Vermillion for a meal with a view.
This lakefront community was once known as the Village of Lake Captains, as it's a great place to drop anchor and stay a while. Visit the antique sailor community for a day of incredible views, fine dining, and shopping.
8. Seek out some of Cleveland's loveliest buildings.
It's okay, hop in your car and drive around to just look. Visit a concert at a historic church. Or maybe you will decide to walk along the streets of Playhouse Square to see the vintage signs. It's totally okay to wander aimlessly with an end goal of discovering something beautiful.
9. Order up some pierogies at Sokolowski's University Inn.
Sokolowski's is a local favorite. Located in the super chic Tremont neighborhood, this restaurant is a true delight. It has operated since 1923, and its Polish-style recipes and fantastic service have made it a community icon.
10. Pay a visit to the A Christmas Story House and Museum!
Ralphie's house still stands in Tremont where its festive atmosphere is celebrated year-round. Visit the house and then pop by the museum across the street to see original props from the production. Don't forget to swing by the gift shop for a leg lamp!
11. Take a waterfall tour.
Ohio is full of waterfalls, but many seem to be concentrated in the stupendous landscape of Northeastern Ohio.
Plan a weekend trip
where you adventure from waterfall to waterfall, experiencing a variety of habitats along the way.
12. Hike along a Lake Erie beach.
Northern Ohio is nestled up against the Lake Erie shoreline, and we often overlook the natural beauty of this environment. Cleveland beaches are stunning year round, and many have trails that will allow you to escape from the hustle and bustle of the Cleveland streets.
13. Grab a table at Pier W.
This unusual restaurant hearkens back to 1965 when it startled locals with a building that sits perched on the cliffs overlooking Lake Erie. Its patio offers incredible views of the Cleveland skyline, and its food will delight your palate.
14. Go grocery shopping in the most elegant store in the city.
The Cleveland Trust Company Building is now enjoying life as a
Heinen's Fine Foods
. The majesty of the rotunda has been preserved, offering incredible views while you shop.
15. Visit Cleveland's most magical museum.
Did you know that Cleveland is home to the
Buckland Gallery of Witchcraft & Magick
? This super cool museum displays the famous collection of Raymond Buckland, the man who brought Wicca to the shores of the United States. You'll find yourself mesmerized by the wonders that call this museum home. Stop by and stay for a spell.
16. Pay a visit to Cleveland's Little Italy.
This neighborhood contains more than 20 super chic restaurants. Anyone up for Italian food?
17. Stop by Squire's Castle.
North Chagrin Reservation
is not just one of the region's most beautiful parks; its expanse hides one very special surprise. Squire's Castle is the shell of an incomplete 1890's castle, and you can actually walk its grounds and explore its splendor.
18. Go ahead and take a #SteggieSelfie.
Families have taken photos outside of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History for decades due to an iconic stegosaurus statue that greets visitors. It's a Cleveland tradition, so you might as well join in on the fun. Since 1997, "Steggie II," an exact replica of the original dinosaur statue, was unveiled. Several years later the #SteggieSelfie was born.
19. Chow down on some of the yummiest donuts
in the world.
Jack Frost Donuts; write that name down and burn it into your memory. You haven't lived until you've enjoyed a delicacy from their kitchen.
20. Explore a cave.
Mary Campbell Cave
has a history that is both legendary and fascinating. Rumor has it that this cave once housed the first white child in the Western Reserve, though that is likely just a local legend. The truth of this cave is that it has served as a tourist site since 1879, when High Bridge Glens and Caves Park opened on the property.
It is easy to see why so many love life in the CLE. It is overflowing with beauty and adventure, and it promises a lifetime of memories. What is your favorite way to spend an adventurous day in Cleveland? Tell us in the comments, and don’t forget to share with us some photos of your favorite places!
Willing to adventure a bit outside of Cleveland? No visit to Ohio is complete with a trip to
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