Cleveland is often called “The Best Location in the Nation,” which is a nickname out-of-towners often can’t understand. “
Just what is it that gives Cleveland that bragging right?” they wonder. The truth is, it’s a combination of things. It’s our culture, our people, and a result of all the unique things to do in Cleveland. Still don’t think we’re worthy of that title? Just you wait… skim through these incredible attractions in Cleveland, and we just might make a believer out of you. Best Unique Things to Do in Cleveland
To start our journey, we’re going to dive into some fan-favorite attractions right here in Cleveland! These unique spots are cool as can be, and they’re totally one of a kind.
1. Visit the Dittrick Museum of Medical History
Dittrick Medical History Center, The Allen Memorial Medical Library, 11000 Euclid Ave, Cleveland, OH 44106, USA
Feeling brave? You’re ready to face the oddities contained in the
Dittrick Museum of Medical History
. This University Circle attraction is filled to the brim with dark, fascinating, and enlightening examples of how medical knowledge has grown and changed over the years. To sum it up, medical knowledge has come a long way… and seeing where it started just might make your skin crawl. However, this odd attraction belongs on your bucket list.
10 Minutes Away: Immerse yourself in an urban outdoor wonderland at the Cleveland Cultural Gardens. 2. Play in the Sand Dunes Just 30 Minutes Outside of Town
Headlands Beach State Park, 9601 Headlands Rd, Mentor, OH 44060, USA
There’s so much to see in the Greater Cleveland area, including landscapes that you might not expect to find in Ohio.
Headlands Beach State Park
in Mentor is almost like a beach in a more tropical locale. The sandy stretch of shoreline is home to sand dunes, beach grasses, and all sorts of unique plants that don’t typically grow in this part of the country. You’ll love soaking up the sun in this one-of-a-kind landscape near Cleveland.
10 Minutes Away: Explore maritime history at the Fairport Marine Museum and Lighthouse. 3. Spend a Moment in Cleveland’s Own Tiffany Glass Chapel
Wade Memorial Chapel, 12316 Euclid Ave, Cleveland, OH 44106, USA
Wade Memorial Chapel
in Lake View Cemetery is a landmark like no other. Its interior is dripping with elegance, and nearly every inch of the space is covered in Tiffany glass. The chapel is one of very few architectural designs by Louis Comfort Tiffany and his studios, and it is breathtaking. The mosaic inside is titled "Voyage of Life," and it truly tells a story. The majesty of this site is undeniable.
5 Minutes Away: Enjoy a show at the Maltz Performing Arts Center, a concert hall and former worship space. Honorable Mentions
The fun doesn’t stop there! We could go on and on about the unique attractions in Cleveland, Ohio. We’ll cut things short, but you can experience more fun in Cleveland, including the following spots.
4. Check Out Prohibition-Era Bullet Holes at the Local Bar
Great Lakes Brewing Company, 2516 Market Ave, Cleveland, OH 44113, USA
Great Lakes Brewing Company taproom in Ohio City
, you'll find all sorts of charm... as well as Prohibition-era bullet holes in the bar. Some think the bullet holes could be linked with none other than Elliot Ness, who is permanently interred in Cleveland and was known to be a social drinker, but their origin is truly a story lost to time.
5. Unravel the Mystery of the Henry Church Rock
Henry Church Rock Picnic Area, Hawthorn Pkwy, Bentleyville, OH 44022, USA
What do these odd images mean? This unusual piece of riverside art is a Cleveland Metroparks mystery. We know that it was carved by
, a local who passed away in 1908. So it's an
carving, without a doubt, but its meaning is lost to time... perhaps how Mr. Church wanted it. After all, he recorded his own sermon for his funeral, so he could have left the meaning of his art behind, but he chose not to. Can you solve the mystery?
Unique Things to Do for Free in Cleveland
Who doesn’t love a good freebie? For budget-conscious adventurers, there are all sorts of fun free things to do in Cleveland.
6. Picnic by the Free Stamp
Free Stamp, 601 Lakeside Ave E, Cleveland, OH 44114, USA
How can the
Cleveland Free Stamp
be controversial? I’m glad you asked. For starters, not everyone likes it. It was commissioned by Standard Oil of Ohio, and its design was meant to mimic and celebrate the Public Square Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument. However, Sohio had a change of management, and the new leadership felt the design mocked corporate freedom. It sat in storage for years until it was given to the city, and now it’s permanently displayed in Willard Park. To this day, many people continue to dislike it. After all, it’s so
. However, it’s uniquely Cleveland to the core, and it belongs on any local bucket list.
5 Minutes Away: Check out the free-to-visit International Women’s Air & Space Museum at Cleveland Burke Lakefront Airport. 7. Take a Walking Tour of Our Roadside Attractions
Peter B. Lewis Building, 11119 Bellflower Rd, Cleveland, OH 44106, USA
There are all sorts of
roadside attractions in Cleveland
, and they’re worthy of a bucket list-style adventure. However, one of the best roadside attractions in Cleveland is the iconic
Peter B. Lewis Building
. This masterpiece was made by Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry, whose weird and wonderful designs can be seen all across the world. The building almost looks like it’s melting, and it is meant to spur creativity in young thinkers.
10 Minutes Away: Fuel up at The Haunted House, a horror-inspired eatery in Cleveland. 8. Admire an Urban Waterfall
Mill Creek Falls, Mill Creek Trail, Cleveland, OH 44105, USA
When it comes to hidden gems, few places quite compare to
Mill Creek Falls
. This stunning urban waterfall is actually man-made, as the course of the creek was changed by a railroad company near the turn of the century. The surrounding park, which is managed by the Cleveland Metroparks, is one of the oldest in Cleveland. Check out Works Progress Administration-era stonework in a landscape that’s both historic and beautiful, then take some time to admire the largest waterfall in Cuyahoga County. It’s just steps away from the parking lot, so this is an easy spot for those with mobility challenges, parents with young kids, and anyone looking for a no-hiking-required place of beauty.
10 Minutes Away: Check out Wolf Creek Waterfall, which is just a short drive away in the very same park. Honorable Mentions
Looking for even
more free things to do in Cleveland? You’re in luck. The affordable fun keeps going at these additional landmarks. 9. Spend a Day at the Local Money Museum
The Money Museum at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, 1455 E 6th St, Cleveland, OH 44114, USA
10. Check Out Artwork Procured by the Man Who Discovered King Tut
The Cleveland Museum of Art, 11150 East Blvd, Cleveland, OH 44106, USA
Love history? How about art? You can bask in the glory of both at the Cleveland Museum of Art. This magical local landmark includes all sorts of ancient Egyptian art procured by none other than
, who is famous for finding both King Tut and his tomb.
Unique Family-Friendly Attractions in Cleveland
Looking for fun local attractions that you can enjoy with the kids? There are all sorts of awesome places in Cleveland that are fun for the whole family.
11. Get a Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Local Zoo
Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, 3900 Wildlife Way, Cleveland, OH 44109, USA
Ready to make lasting memories? At
the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo
, the Inside Tracks Tour gives you a front-row seat to all the behind-the-scenes fun. Zip around the park on a private golf court driven by your own personal tour guide, and even get up close and personal with some of the park’s critters. There’s so much to see and do in the zoo, but this tour allows you to narrow in on some of the park’s best attractions with your five favorite family members.
10 Minutes Away: Go antique shopping at Sweet Lorain just up the road. 12. Sneak Outside the City and Camp in a Treehouse
The Mohicans Treehouse Resort and Wedding Venue, 23164 Vess Rd, Glenmont, OH 44628, USA
One of the best things about Cleveland is its proximity to other Ohio attractions. Some of the coolest things in the state are within driving distance, making weekend getaways easily accessible. One of the coolest places to camp near Cleveland is
, which is a treehouse campground out near Mohican State Park. This campground is super unique, and its treehouses are unlike any others you may have seen. Pictured here is The Silver Bullet, a historic Airstream that has been hoisted up near the treetops. The vintage surroundings are stunning, and the wilderness just outside your door is magical. This will make for a camping experience you’ll never forget!
10 Minutes Away: Pull over and take in the beauty of the Wally Road Scenic Byway. Honorable Mentions
Family fun is superabundant in Cleveland. There’s more to see and do, so read on for some additional attractions to add to your local adventure bucket list!
13. Tour the Oldest House in Cleveland
Dunham Tavern Museum & Gardens, 6709 Euclid Ave, Cleveland, OH 44103, USA
is now a museum, but this former home is now the oldest structure in Cleveland. Its rooms date back to nearly two centuries ago, with ages ranging from 1824 to 1832 (with additions and add-ons accounting for such a long construction period). Take a step back in time at this cool local museum.
14. Spend a Day at the Market
The West Side Market in Ohio City is one of Cleveland's finest attractions. This historic and fascinating building is overflowing with delectable dishes and ingredients, including sweet treats. The whole family will have a blast exploring this classic Cleveland structure!
Unique Outdoor Activities in Cleveland
Longing for some fun in the sun? You’ve come to the right place! Cleveland, nicknamed Forest City, is the perfect place to indulge in some outdoor activities.
15. Swing by Squire’s Castle
Squire's Castle, 2844 River Rd, Willoughby Hills, OH 44094, USA
Many Clevelanders consider
to be one of the most unique attractions in the Cleveland Metroparks. This historic castle is open to the public, but you won’t find much inside… it has been hollowed out and left open to the elements. Once upon a time, however, it was overflowing with luxury as the countryside getaway of oil executive Feargus B. Squire. Since the 1890s, this castle has overlooked the gorgeous forest… and, today, it’s perfect for you to explore.
10 Minutes Away: Climb the only mountain in the area at Chapin Forest Reservation. 16. Search for Butterflies at Wendy Park
Wendy Park, Whiskey Island Drive, Cleveland, OH, USA
Each fall, there’s a massive migration of monarch butterflies. This migration passes through Cleveland, and the butterflies flock to
in numbers you have to see to believe. The butterflies arrive in the area in September and continue to pass through Cleveland until mid-October as they make their way to Mexico. It’s there that they settle down at ancestral breeding grounds for the winter, but Cleveland is one of many stops along the way where they find nourishment for the journey. And, of course, Wendy Park is one of their favorite spots to relax and catch their breath.
5 Minutes Away: Pose with the Cleveland Script Sign at Edgewater Park. Honorable Mentions
There’s so much to see in Greater Cleveland, and outdoor adventure is absolutely one of the area’s best offerings. Keep the adventure going at these fun spots:
17. Enjoy Unique Art at Holden Arboretum
The Holden Arboretum, 9550 Sperry Rd, Kirtland, OH 44094, USA
Now this is something truly unique. The Holden Arboretum is an outdoor laboratory full of unique trees, but it’s also a haven for local artists. You never know what kind of
art is waiting at the arboretum
18. Watch for an Ice-Covered Lighthouse
Outdoor adventure isn’t just a warm weather activity in Cleveland. Each winter, the
Cleveland Harbor West Pierhead Lighthouse
is just waiting to become a frozen sculpture. All it takes is temperatures below freezing and a lake that hasn’t fully frozen over yet. Wind and waves slap the water against the lighthouse and, bam! Nature does the rest of the heavy lifting.
Unique Things to Do Each Season in Cleveland
Here in Cleveland, we have the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of all four seasons… and then some! You’ll love these seasonal attractions in Cleveland.
19. Check Out Cherry Blossom Lane in Spring
Brookside Reservation Bear Parking Lot, Stockyards, Cleveland, OH 44109, USA
cherry blossom blooms at Brookside Reservation
are a stunning event you won’t want to miss. Since 1993, trees planted by the Japanese Association of Northeast Ohio have made April magical at this pretty Metropark. Across the 132-acre park are dozens of flowering trees, but this little collection (nicknamed "Cherry Blossom Lane" by locals) is one of the most splendid springtime sites anywhere near Cleveland.
10 Minutes Away: Dig into a super sweet treat in the warmer months or ramen noodles in the winter at Mason’s Creamery. 20. Spend Your Summer Cruising Along in a Tiki Boat
1180 Main Ave, Cleveland, OH 44113, USA
When you think of outdoor adventure, the Cleveland Metroparks are usually the first local attraction to come to mind. However, the
CLE Tiki Barge
offers fun in the sun right in the heart of the city. Explore the Cuyahoga River and Inner Harbor with a BYOB cruise that’s too cool for words. Gather your friends, pick a playlist, and party it up as you float along the water. This attraction is perfect for parties, but it’s also a super unique way to catch up with friends.
5 Minutes Away: Enjoy brews with a view at Collision Bend Brewing Company across the river. 21. Slip Down the Longest Slide in the Country This Fall
Brunswick is a suburb that has been quietly growing over the past few years. However,
has remained a constant source of fall fun in the area. In recent years, this beloved family farm has come under new ownership, and with it came a slew of awesome new ideas. One of the coolest attractions at the farm is the hillside slide, which stretches a whopping 311 feet. It’s the longest slide of its type in the nation, and it has quickly become a staple of fall fun.
10 Minutes Away: Keep the family-friendly fun going at Scene 75, a massive arcade and fun center. 22. Take in the Majesty of a Frozen Waterfall
Brandywine Falls, Sagamore Hills Township, OH 44067, USA
When it comes to natural splendor near Cleveland, few places quite compare to the majesty of
. This stunning 65-foot-tall waterfall is the crown jewel of Cuyahoga Valley National Park, and it is a treat to view all year round. However, once winter descends upon the region, it has a tendency to freeze over. The resulting majesty is an ice sculpture shaped by Mother Nature herself. Bring your camera, because this experience is magical.
15 Minutes Away: Immerse yourself in the stunning small-town vibes of Downtown Peninsula. Honorable Mentions
But wait… there’s more! These additional awesome locations in Cleveland will add some oomph to your seasonal adventuring.
23. Visit Daffodil Hill
Daffodil Hill, Cleveland Heights, OH 44118, USA
Daffodil Hill in Lake View Cemetery
comes to life with thousands of blossoms. Each spring, around 100,000 daffodils poke through the dirt to greet the sun and warm weather. The result? An incredible flower field that’s seemingly never-ending.
24. Road Trip to the Famous Endings Museum
Toland-Herzig Famous Endings Museum, 803 N Wooster Ave, Dover, OH 44622, USA
What’s more autumn-appropriate than a trip to the local funeral home museum?
The Famous Endings Museum
is a road trip away from Cleveland, but it’s well worth the hike to see unique artifacts related to famous celebrity deaths.
There is so much to love about life in Cleveland. Looking for more fun activities in the area? Check out our series of the best things to do in Cleveland for more local fun.
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