Cleveland Attractions October 30, 2022
26 Adventurous Things to Do Outside in Cleveland
If you’re a nature lover, then you’re going to adore spending time in Northeast Ohio’s great outdoors. Here, urban cityscapes, sleepy suburbs, and rolling farmland mix up the regional vibe, providing visual diversity and plenty of unique things to do. Truly, there’s no shortage of things to do outside in Cleveland and beyond… you just have to know which local gems to look for!
Best Things To Do Outside In Cleveland
Looking for top-rated outdoor tourist attractions in Greater Cleveland? These spots never disappoint, especially if you’re enamored by beautiful landscapes, breathtaking landmarks, and leisurely hikes.
1. Check out Berea Falls Scenic Overlook
If you’re looking for a magnificent waterfall that’s close to home, then you’ll want to swing by
Berea Falls Scenic Overlook
. This stunning cascade is located in Rocky River Reservation, and it’s a true sight to behold. With gentle trickles carving away at exposed Berea Sandstone and a gorgeous series of overarching bridges, this spot is like a painting. It’s deliciously scenic, and it is truly the highlight of the southern end of the reservation. You’ll have to hike from Valley Parkway to get to the site, but it is worth the trek.
This pretty spot is accessible from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and you can find it just off the Valley Parkway Trail. Wear comfortable shoes for your hike, and consider bringing bug spray. With plenty of water and forested areas, there’s no shortage of insects. Flora, fauna, and endless beauty abound at this beautiful hidden gem in Berea.
15 Minutes Away: Continue traveling down Valley Parkway to reach Mill Stream Run Reservation. 2. Explore the Holden Arboretum
An arboretum is a garden devoted to the cultivation of trees and other plant life, including any aspect of the landscape that is directly related to trees.
Greater Cleveland's Holden Arboretum
is a popular spot to see the nature you've been missing out on. The arboretum, which spans more than 3,600 acres, is a living laboratory with over 9,400 kinds of trees, shrubs, and woody plants. The landscape also hosts unique attractions, from a canopy walkway to pop-up outdoor art exhibits.
Admission to the park is $13 for children over 2 and $19 for adults. The arboretum is open each day (except Mondays) from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and it is a treat in each and every season. Just remember to bundle up in the cooler months… the trees don’t block the wind as much as you might think!
10 Minutes Away: Explore more of Kirtland’s history at the Kirtland Temple. 3. Kayak on the Cuyahoga Great Lakes Watersports
empowers you to see Cleveland like never before. Located on the West Bank in a busy section of the Flats that foodies love, this cool spot offers powerboat rentals, kayak rentals, and more. You can rent your watercraft for anywhere from one to four hours, depending on the type of adventure you’d like to take. Beginners might want to opt for shorter treks, as kayaking is intensive. If you’re feeling adventurous, however, you can travel as far as your arms can take you!
Pricing varies depending on which watercraft you’d like to rent, but a single kayak runs at roughly $26 per hour and doubles charge $32 for one hour. You’ll be hooked up with life vests and paddles for your adventure, and workers will be patrolling the waters during your excursion as a safety precaution. Kayaks are offered on a first-come, first-served basis, so come early or
if you’re planning an adventure!
10 Minutes Away: Watch boats launch at the East 55th Street Marina. Honorable Mentions
Looking for even more top-rated outdoor adventure in and around Cleveland? Don’t stress! There’s more to explore… check out these additional tips and local recommendations for outdoor adventure!
4. Go on a hunt for the Great Falls of Tinker's Creek
Once upon a time, the
Great Falls of Tinker's Creek
fueled local industry. Nowadays, its mills are long gone, but the evidence of their existence is everywhere. You'll see bricks and old runs surrounding this magnificent hidden waterfall in Bedford Reservation. Get your cameras ready, because this beautiful waterfall is a sight to behold. Plus, if the waters are low, you can work your way onto the big rocks in the creek to get up close and personal with the cascade!
5. Get to know the landscape of Euclid Beach Park
Like Tinker's Creek,
Euclid Beach Park
is a site with a hidden history. The park was once an amusement park complete with roller coasters and rides, but that era has long since passed. While the park is now a natural wonderland, evidence of yesteryear is sprinkled across the landscape. Here, you'll find the remains of a few attractions if you look closely... and the iconic gateway arch of the old park still waits to greet you. Enjoy trails and the gorgeous lakeshore from the comfort of this lovely park!
Euclid Beach Park, 16301 Lakeshore Blvd, Cleveland, OH 44110, USA
Best Things To Do Outside With Kids In Cleveland
Want to explore the great outdoors with your whole crew? There are plenty of family-friendly activities throughout Greater Cleveland that you can do with your family! Pack some trail mix and juice boxes, because you’ll want to refuel between stops.
6. Admire Mill Creek Falls and surrounding architecture Garfield Park
, established in 1895, is one of the oldest parks in Cleveland. It is filled to the brim with history, including a variety of stunning stoneworks that date back to the Works Progress Administration era. Of course, that’s just one feature of many. The park also hides Mill Creek Falls, otherwise known as Cataract Falls. At 48 feet tall, this is the tallest waterfall in the entire county.
Interestingly, the waterfall was a man-made creation. It was formed when a railroad company diverted the flow of the creek, and the new cascade was then used to fuel local mills. Of course, that was a lifetime ago. Nowadays, the waterfall (which can be accessed with practically no walking at all, since it’s right by the parking lot) is part of a 223-acre park that’s super hikable. Visit between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m. to take in the splendor of this historic site.
15 Minutes Away: Explore the small-town vibes of Shaker Heights. 7. Go on an adventure in Hinckley Reservation
A lake and
. A hikeable
. Artfully carved
statues and glyphs
. While all these fascinating spots sound like they should be single attractions, they’re all part of the massive Hinckley Reservation campus, which boasts more than 2,500 acres of beauty. The park, which is located in Medina County, is a bit removed from the cluster of parks up north. Nonetheless, it’s part of the Cleveland Metroparks district, and it’s arguably the coolest and most family-friendly park.
All in all, there’s no shortage of fun in this park. Whether you like swimming, hiking, kayaking, fishing, or picnicking, you’ll have oodles of fun and you’ll enjoy plenty of welcoming places to stop and smell the flowers. As an added bonus, the on-site snack shacks are the perfect place to pick up ice cream on warm summer days. Swing by the park between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m., but remember that certain attractions like the on-site boathouse will open late and close early.
10 Minutes Away: Enjoy more hiking at Richfield Heritage Preserve. 8. Explore the Shaker Lakes Nature Center
Nature Center At Shaker Lakes
provides an intimate and welcoming experience with nature. With just two trails totaling 2,112 feet, this park is petite, but full of diversity. All in all, it boasts eight diverse habitats and an endless number of learning opportunities.
In addition to boasting an on-site educational center, this unique park also offers a number of
events and programs
to educate and entertain. Take guided hikes, learn about what goes into caring for rehabilitated wild animals, and hear stories as you take in the splendor of the landscape. The Nature Center is friendly to all ages, and it is open daily (except for Mondays) from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Of course, special events often extend those hours (especially for night walks), so be sure to do a bit of research before you plan your visit!
5 Minutes Away: Get to know more of the Shaker Heights landscape at Horseshoe Lake Park. Honorable Mentions
Looking for more outdoor adventure to enjoy with the kids? Check out these additional destinations for tons of fun for all ages.
9. Camp at Lake Erie Bluffs
A good tent camping excursion is fun for the whole family! One of the loveliest places to camp in Greater Cleveland is at
Lake Erie Bluffs , a beautiful park that offers miles of hiking trails and great views of Lake Erie. If you're looking for a more secluded getaway, then this is your dream camping site. A few campsites offer access to a two-mile-long beach, and you'll love the private panoramic views of the setting sun. What are you waiting for? Pack up and head to the backwoods, where you can enjoy nature without heading too far from home!
Lake Erie Bluffs, 2901 Clark Rd, Perry, OH 44081, USA
10. Explore the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo
One of the most family-friendly attractions in the entire region is the
Cleveland Metroparks Zoo , a 183-acre campus that's overflowing with unique attractions. Visitors can enjoy a variety of exhibits that highlight the diversity around the planet, from the African Savanna to the RainForest. Much of the zoo includes outdoor exhibits, and the park is highly walkable. Be sure to wear comfortable walking shoes... walking around this zoo is a bit of a workout! Romantic Things To Do Outside In Cleveland
Alongside the aroma of flowers and the sweet-tinged scent of crisp grass, you’ll find that love is in the air in and around Cleveland. These romantic outdoor destinations will help you and your honey feel like the luckiest people in the world.
11. Stop and smell the roses at Lakeview Park
historic rose garden
awaiting your visit at Lakeview Park, a 20-acre slice of paradise with sweeping views of a Lake Erie lighthouse. The rose garden was dedicated nearly a century ago, and it has set a romantic lakeside scene ever since. With 48 distinct beds of flowers and a total of roughly 2,500 blooms, you won’t believe the beauty at this petite park.
There’s even more to enjoy in the surrounding landscape. Play beach volleyball, go lawn bowling, or grab a snack at the on-site cafe. The park is obviously a breath of fresh air in the warmer months, but it’s chillingly beautiful in the winter, too. This romantic spot is open daily from 8 a.m. to 6:45 p.m., and it’s awaiting your visit!
10 Minutes Away: Get a closer look at the Black River at Cromwell Park. 12. Take the staircase hike to Brandywine Falls
There’s only one national park in Ohio, and it is home to one of the area’s most magnificent waterfalls:
. At 65 feet in height, this waterfall is one of the biggest in the area… and it’s truly stunning all year round. The best way to reach it is via a short staircase and boardwalk, which will take you close to the cascade along fern-covered walls. You can also hike to the bottom of the gorge if you’re feeling daring, but remember… the hike back uphill is steep!
Brandywine Falls is open daily from dusk to dawn, and these hours are strict due to safety concerns. If you’re planning to explore beyond the staircase, remember to budget enough time to travel along the 1.5-mile Brandywine Gorge Loop. Prepare to get a bit wet… this massive waterfall is a bit more than a trickle, and a bit of misting is common here.
15 Minutes Away: Hike through the natural rock maze at Virginia Kendall Ledges. 13. Relax at Michael Angelo's Winery
Locals can’t get enough of
Michael Angelo’s Winery
. Located in rural Richfield, this pretty slice of paradise is far removed from the hustle and bustle of city life. They offer indoor and outdoor seating, but patio season is best spent outdoors here. The countryside and vineyard are magnificent!
There is also an on-site bakery and full-service kitchen, so you can snack during your visit. This charming winery accepts visitors on a first-come, first-served basis with a limited number of reservations on weekdays. Unfortunately, you can’t make reservations for Friday through Sunday, but there’s plenty of room to accommodate you and your sweetie. Check
for winery and kitchen hours.
15 Minutes Away: Hike through the natural rock maze at Virginia Kendall Ledges. Honorable Mentions
Seeking even more romantic places in the great outdoors? There’s no shortage of sweet spots in Northeast Ohio. You just might fall in love with these romantic destinations!
14. Cuddle up at the Lakewood Park Solstice Steps
When it comes to unique Cleveland destinations, few places are as romantic as the one lakefront monument designed for watching sunsets. Tucked away in Lakewood Park, the
Solstice Steps wrap along 480 feet of lakeshore. You can hike along the steps to check out the park's unique vegetation and stop to observe the sweeping views of Lake Erie. Things get a bit brisk here as autumnal and wintry winds blow over the lake, but the terraced steps are perfect for romantic picnics in the warmer months.
Solstice Steps, 14532 Lake Ave, Lakewood, OH 44107, USA
15. Have a picnic at David Fortier River Park
While most waterfalls near Cleveland are tucked away in vast landscapes,
David Fortier River Park boasts a lovely little trickle in an intimate five-acre park. This Olmsted Falls park may be small, but it is filled to the brim with exquisite stonework, a covered bridge, and romantic little hiking trails. Plus, evidence of historic quarries and mills are etched into the local landscape if you look closely. There's so much to love about this charming little local park! It truly is the perfect place to throw down a blanket and cozy up for a spontaneous picnic date. Seasonal Things To Do Outside In Cleveland
Greater Cleveland is blessed with its diversity of seasons. From spring to winter, there is a great variety of things to do outside… and each season has its own unique charms. Fortunately, these destinations offer an incredible seasonal experience!
16. See the cherry blossoms encircling Wade Lagoon
At the heart of University Circle,
absolutely enchants. This magnificent pool of water is surrounded by the Cleveland Museum of Art’s Fine Arts Garden, which includes statues and other works of art. However, one of the finest works of art is one made by Mother Nature’s hand: cherry blossoms!
Each year around mid-April, the surrounding campus bursts into blooms of pink, white, and red. The magnificent flowers are on display for roughly two weeks until they fall off and give way to verdant leaves. As the lagoon is something of a public park, you can explore the area from dawn until dusk… and you won’t be disappointed!
5 Minutes Away: Swing by Daffodil Hill in Lake View Cemetery for more magnificent springtime blooms. 17. Stretch out on a welcoming beach
Beautiful and welcoming,
is one of the finest in Cleveland. As part of the Cleveland Metroparks, this stunning stretch of shoreline is just a portion of the 147-acre campus of Edgewater Park. But, boy, is it beautiful.
The beach wraps along 2,400 feet of shoreline and includes 1,000 feet of swimming. This stunning and welcoming beach also has an on-site beach house with food, a nature shop, paddling launches, fishing spots, and an endless amount of beauty. Swing by during daylight hours for a relaxing experience coupled with stunning views of the Cleveland skyline.
15 Minutes Away: Take in more seasonal beauty at Brookside Reservation. 18. Visit a castle and old-growth forest in the fall
Few places wholly compare to
. This beautiful structure from the 1890s was once the summertime retreat of a Standard Oil Executive, but it is now your personal palace. That’s right! This lovely outdoor escape is open to the public during daylight hours.
As part of North Chagrin Reservation, the castle is right by one of the
oldest forests in Greater Cleveland
. The A.B. Williams Memorial Woods stretch across the surrounding landscape, hiding trees that are hundreds of years old. The entirety of North Chagrin Reservation truly comes to life during the autumn months as leaves reach their peak… and it’s an effect you have to see to believe. Swing by between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m. to experience it for yourself!
15 Minutes Away: Hike even more at Sunnybrook Preserve over in Chesterland. 19. Attend the North Coast Harbor Winter Festival
When it comes to classically Cleveland vibes, nowhere compares with
North Coast Harbor
. This space between Downtown Cleveland and Lake Erie is always full of activity, but you might expect it to slow down in the winter. In actuality, the opposite is true… things are just heating up as ice sets in!
Each January, the North Coast Harbor Ice Fest brings celebration to the coast. This free-to-attend public event usually takes place on or around Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and it’s always a blast. Ice sculptures take center stage, surrounded by special events, performances, and one massive fire and ice display. Bring the whole family out… you won’t want to miss the fun!
10 Minutes Away: Explore winter at Cleveland’s Lakefront Nature Preserve. Honorable Mentions
Not quite satisfied with just one spot to explore each season? These additional local hot spots, all in or near Cleveland, belong on your bucket list!
20. Look for butterflies at Wendy Park
Each autumn, thousands of monarch butterflies make an annual trek from Canada and the northeastern United States to the mountains and forests of Mexico and further down into Central America, where they spend the winter. This butterfly migration, which is downright magical, passes through Cleveland each year. If you're itching to see the butterflies in significant numbers, then you have to swing by
Wendy Park . This beautiful park's natural resources help the butterflies fuel up on their long journey, and its forests provide the perfect spot for a little siesta. Visit from around the beginning of autumn through roughly mid-October to see the local landscape turn orange with thousands of beautiful butterflies.
Wendy Park, 2800 Whiskey Island Dr, Cleveland, OH 44102, USA
21. See all the springtime blossoms at Oenslager Nature Center
Though a bit of a hike from Cleveland,
Oenslager Nature Center is well worth a visit each spring (and, truthfully, throughout each season). This former farm in Medina County is now a 248-acre park with three miles of trails and several diverse landscapes that are also home to a wide array of wildlife. The trails provide stunning views of Wadsworth's flora and fauna, which is well removed from the bustling cityscape closer to Lake Erie. You'll feel a thousand miles away from the hustle and bustle of life in this isolated landscape, especially when its gorgeous trees and meadows are in full bloom.
Oenslager Nature Center, 6100 Ridge Rd, Wadsworth, OH 44281, USA
Unique Things To Do Outside In Cleveland
Cleveland has a one-of-a-kind vibe, both inside its iconic institutions and across its various landscapes. Outside, you’ll find some weird and wonderful landscapes and landmarks… including these unique destinations! Expect a memorable time at these one-of-a-kind Cleveland attractions.
22. Swing by the Cleveland Cultural Gardens
The beauty of
the Cleveland Cultural Gardens
is undeniable. This string of uniquely-themed gardens in Rockefeller Park celebrates the diversity of Cleveland in a stunning way. Each garden is overflowing with beauty, and each pays homage to a different place of origin via statues, unique plants, and exquisite landscaping. The first in the series was The British Garden, which was dedicated in 1916. Amazingly, the expansion continues today, with new gardens being unveiled as Cleveland continues to grow.
With more than 33 gardens across roughly 200 acres of Rockefeller Park, there’s no shortage of things to see here. Visit between dawn and dusk to take in the beauty of this unique cluster of local gardens.
15 Minutes Away: Explore more of Cleveland’s greenery at Washington Reservation. 23. Explore a hidden history at Fort Huntington Park Address: Cleveland, OH 44114 | What to Do: Step back in time and visit one of Cleveland’s lesser-known landmarks.
At first glance,
Fort Huntington Park
seems like any other city park. It’s a lovely slice of greenery in an otherwise urban landscape, but it’s hiding a secret. Its name is a nod to a fort that once stood nearby… and it was here that legends like Admiral Oliver Hazard Perry and William Henry Harrison previously convalesced during the war of 1812.
Today, the park hides a monument to Admiral Perry to celebrate his victory during the locally-famed Battle of Lake Erie. Elsewhere in the park, other monuments celebrate additional Clevelanders of interest, including officers that have died in the line of duty, Jesse Owens, and John T. Corrigan (who is worth Googling if you’ve never heard of him). All in all, this park is a walk through Cleveland history, and it belongs on your bucket list. Swing by between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. to see what wonders it hides.
5 Minutes Away: Spend some time on the lakeshore at Voinovich Bicentennial Park. Honorable Mentions
Craving even more fun? These additional cool spots in Cleveland will charm your socks off.
24. Check out Towpath Mounds Park
As you now know, the Towpath Trail is a true Ohio treasure. With a length stretching from Cleveland down into Tuscarawas County, this unique hiking trail is filled to the brim with natural diversity. Thanks to the
Towpath Mounds portion of the trail, it now has man-made features adding interest to its expanse, too. This odd park features, well, mounds... really big ones! You'll love climbing these man-made hills and enjoying the stunning views of an urban landscape. But best of all, it's free and totally immersive! This combination of man-made splendor and nature is a true work of art.
Towpath Mounds, Cleveland, OH 44113, USA
25. Visit the most iconic landmark in Willard Park
Few things in Cleveland quite compare to
The Free Stamp . This massive outdoor art exhibit in Willard Park is exactly what it sounds like: a giant red rubber stamp. It was originally intended to be displayed in Public Square, but that dream never came to fruition due to... well, to be frank, a lot of stakeholders didn't really like the sculpture. Eventually, however, it was donated to the city, so it did find a permanent showcase right next to city hall. Today, opinions on the stamp are still divided; some locals adore this quirky work of art, while others are less than enthused. Nonetheless, this weird landmark is Cleveland to the core, and it's worth checking out in person.
Free Stamp, 601 Lakeside Ave E, Cleveland, OH 44114, USA
26. Take it easy in the Eastman Reading Garden
To complete our list of amazing outdoor spots in Cleveland, we're going to look at one more urban gem that's worth a visit. Nestled against Downtown's Cleveland Public Library, the
Eastman Reading Garden is arguably one of the most peaceful spots in the entire city. The urban park was dedicated in 1937, but it took on its current identity in 1960. Ever since, it has been filled to the brim with artwork and charming little outdoor reading nooks. From its little bronze statues to its pop-up exhibits, this outdoor space is truly a hidden gem in Downtown Cleveland.
Eastman Stephen Garden, Rockwell Ave, Cleveland, OH 44114, USA
If you’re in search of things to do outside in Cleveland, then you’re in luck. The entirety of Greater Cleveland and beyond is filled to the brim with wondrous places of interest, especially when it comes to outdoor adventure. Seeking even more local fun? Check out our list of the
for more area adventures. best things to do in Cleveland
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