Downtown Cleveland is the heart and soul of the city. It is one of the oldest districts, with Public Square having been mapped out by Moses Cleaveland himself back in the late 1790s. The city truly grew around this vast area, expanding into sections once considered to be rural (which is why there’s a historic cemetery across the street from Progressive Field… that area used to be countryside!). Today, Downtown Cleveland feels massive, and it’s a bit of a concrete jungle. However, it is overflowing with incredible attractions. If you’re looking for awesome things to do in Downtown Cleveland, these 18 hot spots in town belong at the top of your local bucket list.
The Best Things to Do in Downtown Cleveland
Downtown Cleveland is downright iconic. When it comes to touristy sites, these top attractions are highly admired by out-of-towners and are often on visitors’ bucket lists. To locals, these sites might feel a bit mundane… but they’re worth bragging about! 1. Go on a shopping spree at Tower City Center
Tower City Center, 230 W Huron Rd, Cleveland, OH 44113, USA
The Cleveland skyline is made instantly recognizable by the silhouette of
. Built in the late 1920s and dedicated in 1930, the Terminal Tower is a lovely Jazz Age skyscraper with Art Deco architectural elements. Over the years, the building has amassed quite a story to tell. Today, its campus and Tower City Center are in a period of growth. Recently, the 367,000-square-foot shopping mall has unveiled the magnificent Skylight Park, and it truly adds an earthy element to the structure. Snack in the food court, sit amidst the splendor of the indoor park, and shop 'til you drop.
10 Minutes Away: Visit the A Christmas Story House to check out another iconic local landmark. 2. Explore the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, 1100 E 9th St, Cleveland, OH 44114, USA
Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
, or the Rock Hall, is a unique and eye-catching landmark. The museum includes some of the most iconic pieces of rock memorabilia in the nation. You’ll spot clothing, instruments, records, and all sorts of items that once stood parallel to rock and roll history in the making. The best part? You’ll be standing in the birthplace of rock and roll as you enjoy this experience. A local DJ, Alan Freed, coined the term "rock ‘n roll" in 1951 on live radio. The phrase stuck.
10 Minutes Away: Visit the A Christmas Story House to check out another iconic local landmark. Top Things to Do at Night in Downtown Cleveland
Looking for a bit of late-in-the-day fun? There are many things to do in Downtown Cleveland at night. Plus, traffic in the area evens out significantly as the day wanes, so it’s an oddly rewarding time to admire the cityscape at your own pace. 3. Test your luck at JACK Casino
JACK Cleveland Casino, 100 Public Square, Cleveland, OH 44113, USA
JACK Cleveland Casino
is open 24 hours a day, so it’s truly
best late-night attraction in the city. At any hour of the day, you have the opportunity to engage in 100,000 square feet of gaming and gambling fun. Play table games, poker, slot machines, electronic games, and more for a chance to win big. Since the casino opened as the first in Ohio in 2012, it has remained a fan-favorite nighttime destination.
10 Minutes Away: Pose with one of the most iconic Cleveland script signs! Just swing by Edgewater Park. 4. Swing by East 4th Street
East 4th Street, E 4th St, Cleveland, OH, USA
East 4th Street
is one of the most beautiful streets in Cleveland. Cars aren’t allowed on this petite stretch of road between Huron and Prospect, so it’s perfect for foot traffic. And it’s highly walkable… after all, its storefronts are full of shops and eateries. If you’re interested in urban living, you can even snag an apartment here! Ironically, the street began its life as an entertainment district and only moved away from that designation when the Euclid Avenue Opera House was destroyed. Today, of course, it has returned to its colorful roots, as evidenced by its abundance of neon signs.
10 Minutes Away: Get to know the four-legged (and no-legged) residents at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. 5. Catch a show at the House of Blues
House of Blues Cleveland, 308 Euclid Ave, Cleveland, OH 44114, USA
House of Blues
is a chain, but it’s still an incredible venue that’s worth checking out. The concert club hosts a wide variety of musical performances, but everything seems to pair perfectly with their menu. Dig into crispy wings, gumbo, burgers, and more… their Southern-style offerings are truly irresistible.
10 Minutes Away: Come face-to-face with local legend at Franklin Castle. The Best Things to Do in Downtown Cleveland with Kids
Downtown Cleveland is now a vibrant and even artistic city center. It’s had its ups and downs over the years, but it now boasts a vibe that’s family-friendly if you know where to look. For an extra memorable day, check out these local attractions with the kids! 6. Visit Great Lakes Science Center
Great Lakes Science Center, 601 Erieside Ave, Cleveland, OH 44114, USA
Great Lakes Science Center
is hard to explain to out-of-towners. It just has
going on! In addition to being home to the NASA Glenn Visitor Center, the educational facility spotlights all sorts of exhibits that place the Great Lakes region centerstage. Learn about alternative energy, weird and wacky science phenomena, and get hands-on with a variety of exhibits. When you come to the Great Lakes Science Center, you can expect learning to be made fun… and not just for the kids. There’s so much to see throughout this 65,000-square-foot facility!
10 Minutes Away: After you learn about the natural world, explore it over at Wendy Park. 7. Travel through time aboard the USS Cod
USS COD, 1201 N Marginal Rd, Cleveland, OH 44114, USA
One of the very best
historic landmarks in Cleveland
is the USS Cod. This Gato-class submarine was commissioned in 1943, and its five diesel engines were produced right here in town. While the Cod is permanently moored in Cleveland as a museum, it’s not hard to imagine how much of the world it has seen. After all, it served during World War II and then went on to assist with training exercises.
10 Minutes Away: Keep the nautical vibes going at East 55th Street Marina. 8. Catch a sports game in the Gateway District
Gateway District Usa Parking, 905 Carnegie Ave, Cleveland, OH 44115, USA
is a section of Downtown that many haven’t heard of. And yet, most of us have been there! Here, residential buildings, restaurants, and local businesses stand alongside major entertainment complexes like Progressive Field. Back in the day, this neighborhood was known for its iconic department stores. Today, their influence is preserved in local architecture and lore, and the neighborhood has a much more energetic feel. Before and after a game, local restaurants explode with energy, excitement, and sometimes pity if the home team wasn’t so successful. While this may not be the most exciting scene for families with young children, the kids will surely love catching a baseball, basketball, or hockey game in this district. Make sure you teach them young to root, root, root for the home team!
10 Minutes Away: Visit the Dunham Tavern Museum, the oldest surviving structure in Cleveland.
Free Things to Do in Downtown Cleveland
“I’ll do anything for free stuff,” Sandra Bullock once said. Well, Sandra, you’d have a blast exploring the Best Location in the Nation. There are all sorts of freebies here, especially when it comes to awesome local attractions. These three free spots will enchant any visitors! 9. Explore the history of Public Square
Public Square, Cleveland, OH, USA
is arguably one of Cleveland’s most recognizable landmarks… and it’s one of the oldest, too! You may remember from earlier in this article that this charming little city center was laid out by the city’s founder himself. The 10-acre plaza is surrounded by some of the biggest and oldest landmarks in the city, including Key Tower (the tallest building in Ohio) and Old Stone Church (an 1855 structure that is now the oldest building on the plaza). Perhaps most iconically, the
Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument
is situated here. This incredible landmark opened to the public on July 4, 1894 and honored the contributions of local soldiers and sailors, listing names of those that served in the Civil War. The monument, like Public Square, is free to visit, though it is only open on select occasions.
5 Minutes Away: Get to know more Cleveland history when you visit Playhouse Square. 10. Picnic at Voinovich Bicentennial Park (and seek out the Cleveland Script Sign)
Voinovich Bicentennial Park, 800 E 9th Street Pier, Cleveland, OH 44114, USA
Voinovich Bicentennial Park is one of the
best places to watch the sunset in Cleveland
, but that’s not all it has going for it! Nestled right against Lake Erie, this mixture of landscaping and hardscaping creates an urban park that’s full of charm. It’s home to one of the several Cleveland Script Signs, and its outdoor stage often fills the open air with rich music. That’s perfectly appropriate for this spot, considering its proximity to the Rock Hall! At only 4.5 acres, this park is actually one of the city’s smaller outdoor spaces, but it’s filled to the brim with charm. Pack a picnic, or grab carryout from one of the neighboring restaurants. Either way, you’ll be treated to splendid views of the lake as you kick back and relax in this pretty Downtown Cleveland park.
10 Minutes Away: Head into the Flats to meet local aquatic life at the Greater Cleveland Aquarium. 11. Pose with the Fountain of Eternal Life
Fountain Of Eternal Life, 120 Public Square, Cleveland, OH 44113, USA
There is a ton of
public art in Cleveland,
but few sculptures are as intricately detailed as the Fountain of Eternal Life, also known as the War Memorial Fountain, or Peace Arising from the Flames of War. Like the aforementioned Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument, this lovely sculpture pays homage to Greater Cleveland veterans. It was dedicated in 1964, debuting with 4,155 names of local service members carved into it. Over the years, that list has grown… and so has appreciation for this historic statue. Its 35-foot-tall bronze centerpiece has turned as green as the Statue of Liberty over the years, but it has grown all the more recognizable. It’s a fun selfie-taking spot to visit in Veterans' Memorial Plaza (which longtime Clevelanders may know as the former Mall A), and it is also a peaceful place to just take it easy and listen to the sweet song of flowing waters.
10 Minutes Away: Seek out one of the Cleveland Script Signs over in the charming Tremont neighborhood. Romantic Things to Do for Couples in Downtown Cleveland
Helen Keller once said, “All that we love deeply becomes a part of us.” Here in Cleveland, the cityscape has doubtlessly influenced the people many longtime locals have become. It’s an easy city to love, and it’s an easy place to fall in love. If you’re looking for romantic things to do in Downtown Cleveland, these spots promise to enchant you. 12. Admire the sights and sounds of Playhouse Square
Playhouse Square, 1501 Euclid Ave #200, Cleveland, OH 44115, USA
Few places in Cleveland are as coveted and as storied as
. While it has the vibe of a complete neighborhood, Playhouse Square is actually a district of Downtown Cleveland. In fact, it’s the largest theater district in the nation outside of New York. This neighborhood has gone through many changes since its birth roughly a century ago, and it was even threatened with demolition at one time. However, dedicated locals have encouraged its rejuvenation. Today, it is home to some of the finest theaters in the city, plus one massive
The 20-foot-tall chandelier hangs over E. 14th Street and Euclid Avenue, dripping with some 4,200 winterproof crystals. All in all, the vibe of this district in Downtown Cleveland is super romantic. The sights, the sounds, the decadence… it all promises an evening your honey will never forget.
10 Minutes Away: Explore local sports history at the Baseball Heritage Museum over in the Hough neighborhood. 13. Take in the atmosphere of Superior Arts District
Superior Avenue, Superior Ave, Cleveland, OH, USA
There’s always something new to see in Downtown Cleveland, it seems, and the Superior Arts District is at the forefront of many local improvements. Stretching from Payne Avenue to near I-90, this neighborhood near AsiaTown is a bit of a surprise in such an urban area. It’s growing to include chic restaurants, retail businesses, and artistic additions like the
Art Stop Bus Shelter
. This rotating art gallery is a real urban gem, infusing local art and oodles of color into a brick-lined landscape. With landmarks like the ArtCraft Building and events like Avenue of the Arts, there’s no shortage of visual interest in this vibrant neighborhood.
5 Minutes Away: Treat your date to a romantic dinner at Li Wah, one of AsiaTown’s best restaurants. 14. Dine at Cibreo Italian Kitchen
Cibreo Italian Kitchen, 1438 Euclid Ave, Cleveland, OH 44115, USA
Just steps away from the iconic Playhouse Square Chandelier is
Cibreo Italian Kitchen
, a romantic little spot that’s big on flavor. Here, candlelit dinners are a necessity, and flavors from Tuscany tantalize the taste buds with visions of faraway lands. Like many Italian restaurants in Cleveland, Cibreo also has an impressive wine list with a focus on creating perfect pairings. At this charming Italian joint in Downtown Cleveland, date night becomes a
. After your meal, look to the skies… they have stars in their eyes!
5 Minutes Away: Enjoy a game of bowling at nearby Euphoria Lanes. The Most Unique Things to Do in Downtown Cleveland
After all these awesome attractions in Downtown Cleveland, you’re <i>still</i> looking for more to do? No worries at all… there’s still more to see in this pretty city district. If you’re looking to add some unique attractions to your bucket, you have to check out these other Downtown Cleveland landmarks! 15. Seek out the Free Stamp
is arguably the weirdest landmark in the entire city… and possibly the entire region. It has a fascinating history, which is truthfully expected considering that it’s the largest rubber stamp in the world. This statue was originally meant to sit near Public Square, which is why its shape almost mimics that of the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument (imagine if it was sitting on its face rather than its side). Today, it sits in Willard Park near City Hall.
10 Minutes Away: Swing by the Historic Cleveland Coast Guard Station for incredible views at a historic site. 16. Check out the Eastman Reading Garden
The Cleveland Public Library is a place of pure beauty, complete with historic architecture and art that dates back to the Works Progress Administration Era. However, one of its more hidden features is the
Eastman Reading Garden
. This charming outdoor space is full of art, including some revolving exhibits that keep the landscape feeling fresh. While you may not be aware of this cool Cleveland landmark, it has been around since the 1930s… and it is perfectly designed to provide cozy reading or working spaces. Look for the bronze helper statues designed by Tom Otterness… they’re adorable, and they are a perfect addition to the cozy and playful Eastman Reading Garden.
10 Minutes Away: Stock up on snacks at the West Side Market. 17. Get to know the history of Fort Huntington Park Address: Cleveland, OH 44114 | What to Do: Check out the statues in this historic Cleveland park.
You may not have heard of
Fort Huntington Park
, but it has a story that’s intertwined with that of the city. The park gets its name from a former fort that sat on the site during the War of 1812. It was also where Admiral Oliver Hazard Perry briefly stayed before fighting the Battle of Lake Erie, a naval conflict that is now solidified in local legend (and Perry’s influence is solidified in a local brew). Today, the old fort is a public park that’s filled to the brim with statues and art. Check out the memorial to Admiral Perry, take a selfie with Jesse Owens, and stop to pay your respects at the Greater Cleveland Peace Officers Memorial.
5 Minutes Away: Relax and refresh at Punch Bowl Social in the Flats. 18. Admire the architecture of the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist
Cleveland is full of beautiful churches, but the
Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist
is one of the most recognizable. This gorgeous cathedral has Gothic revival elements to nod to historic structures like Notre Dame, but it has a distinctly American feel. It was completed in 1852, and it has been tweaked and updated over the years… but it still retains an incredible historical feel. Its beauty is undeniable, and stories truly come to life in its interior architecture.
15 Minutes Away: Explore the eternal resting place of some of Cleveland’s most famous residents at Lake View Cemetery.
Cleveland is an awesome area that’s full of charm and history, and the downtown district is one of its most culturally intriguing neighborhoods. However, the entire surrounding region is worth exploring. There’s so much to see and do! For more fun, check out our list of the best things to do in Cleveland .
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