Take This Quirky Road Trip To Visit Greater Cleveland’s Most Unique Roadside Attractions
With a bit of imagination, even the most mundane places can feel magical. This is especially true for Cleveland, as there are many places that seem to be naturally infused with a special sort of magic. From castles to quirky statues, there is much to see in Northeast Ohio. Winter, spring, summer, or fall, these destinations will always leave you breathless.
Get ready for one of the quirkiest road trips imaginable, because you won't believe these unique destinations!
You can find an interactive map to help guid you
1. The Free Stamp (Willard Park, Cleveland)
Our road trip begins at Cleveland's most unexpected landmark—the Free Stamp. One would hardly expect to see such a statue beside City Hall at the intersection of East 9th St. and Lakeside Ave., and yet there it is. This larger-than-life monument was designed for Standard Oil of Ohio (Sohio) and was intended to be displayed at their former headquarters by the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument. In fact, you may notice that the shape of the stamp actually mimics our Civil War monument! Love it or hate it, this unusual monument has a story all its own. You can find more information in our previous feature article
2. The Peter B. Lewis Building (11119 Bellflower Rd., Cleveland)
The unusual Peter B. Lewis Building is intriguing from every angle. Dreamed up and designed by architect Frank Gehry, it was meant to capture the innovation of the Weatherhead School of Management that it houses. Its curving brick exterior and playful stainless steel prove that architecture impacts its surrounding community, as students and locals alike are mesmerized by this unique structure.
3. Cleveland Cultural Gardens (750 E 88th St., Cleveland)
Running along Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. and East Blvd. is a lovely stretch of Rockefeller Park. The name may be familiar to Clevelanders, but throughout this stretch are structures that appear to be from various civilizations. You've just stumbled into Cleveland's Cultural Gardens, and you are truly in for a treat! This site includes 29 established gardens and eight developing gardens, each one commemorating the influence of a different culture. The oldest garden here dates back to 1916, and in its century of existence, this cultural gem has continued to grow.
4. Squire's Castle (River Rd., Willoughby Hills)
The Cleveland Metroparks certainly could pass for a fairytale landscape, but the last thing hikers in North Chagrin Reservation might expect to encounter is an actual castle. However, Squire's Castle has towered over the landscape for over a century. When it was purchased in 1890, buyer Feargus B. Squire called the site River Farm Estate. He planned to build a manor house on the grounds and this gorgeous castle was to be the gatekeeper's house. Construction began around 1895, but the project was eventually abandoned. Though it lacks its original two upper floors and its basement has been filled, the shell of this structure is open to the public.
5. Our Lady of Guadalupe (6601 Ireland Rd., Windsor)
Windsor is quaint and charming, but one could argue that it's the last place you would expect to find a giant depiction of Our Lady of Guadalupe. However, this 50-foot likeness of la Virgen de Guadalupe is actually the tallest in the world! It towers over the landscape, glimmering with countless handmade tiles. Many visitors report experiencing a sense of heavenly peace when visiting this site, while others tell of experiencing real-life miracles before the statue.
6. Dave Grohl Alley (Warren)
We're traveling about an hour outside of Cleveland for this destination, but it's well worth the trip if you're a fan of the Foo Fighters or Nirvana. Grohl was born in Warren and he has been commemorated with a vibrantly decorated alleyway. Mounted in this alley is the world's largest set of drumsticks; 23-foot-long behemoths carved out of large poplar logs.
7. Giant Paddle Ball (Detroit and 75th St., Cleveland)
Gordon Square Arts District has always been beloved by locals, but now its landscape will bring back fond childhood memories. This 14-foot-tall paddleball was installed in the fall of 2018, and it has already garnered quite a bit of attention.
8. Venus of Cleveland (Carl B. Stokes Federal Courthouse, Cleveland)
Infusing Cleveland with a sense of classical charm is a likeness inspired by Venus de Milo and she perches on the Carl B. Stokes Federal Courthouse. This site is best viewed from Huron Road.
Northeast Ohio is unique in so many ways, and our landscape hides many surprises. Which of these wonderfully weird destinations are you most excited to visit?
If you enjoyed visiting these fun places, you’ll probably agree that
Cleveland is one of the nation’s most unique cities.
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