The second largest city in Ohio, and the 48th biggest city in the country, Cleveland is truly an underrated travel destination. From arts and culture to science and history, there’s something for everyone, young and old alike, in The Forest City. The city’s efficient public transportation system and highly-rated walkability makes it a breeze for visitors to tour all that Cleveland has to offer. If you only have a long weekend at your disposal, you can still pack in a lot of fun in a short getaway. So pack your bags and make arrangements to travel to The Rock and Roll Capital of the World for three days of fun.
1. Grab Breakfast at One of C-Town’s Delicious Diners
Just like your mother told you, breakfast truly is the most important meal of the day. To really enjoy all that Cleveland has to offer, you can’t tour around on an empty stomach. Luckily, C-Town has a variety of delicious breakfast restaurants to choose from for your morning meal needs. You could head to The Flying Fig, a hip New American restaurant serving locally sourced food and their beloved Bloody Marys. For classic diner food, locals love Grumpy’s Cafe. Or pick up fresh baked breakfast goodies at BonBon on Lorain Avenue.
2. Check Out the Elvis Exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum
Considered the Rock and Roll Capital of the World, Cleveland is home to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. A haven to popular music, fans can spend hours perusing all of the exhibits and memorabilia. Whether you’re a fan of Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Cheap Trick, or N.W.A., there’s something for everyone to enjoy here. Also, the building itself was created by iconic architect, I.M. Pei, so the overall experience is fascinating and amazing.
3. Explore the Cleveland Museum of Art for Free
Located in the Wade Park District, the Cleveland Museum of Art is home to more than 45,000 pieces of art from around the world. The museum also hosts a selection of visiting exhibits to further sweeten the deal. This Cleveland tourist attraction is also great for the budget-conscious, as there are no admission fees to visit the museum. The museum attracts nearly 600,000 visitors annually, making it one of the most visited art museums in the entire world.
4. Cycle to the Cleveland Museum of Natural History
Nearly a century old, the Cleveland Museum of Natural History has numerous exhibits and is also home to the Shafran Planetarium & Mueller Observatory and Perkins Wildlife Center. This educational complex is a great way to entertain kids while you’re visiting Cleveland. The massive collections cover everything from archaeology to mineralogy, and so much more in between. Visiting the Cleveland Museum of Natural History is easy, whether you’re driving, cycling, or using public transportation, and should not be missed when you’re in the area.
5. Take the Kids to the Great Lakes Science Center
Another wonderful attraction for those traveling to Cleveland with children, the Great Lakes Science Center features exhibits about the local environment as well as the NASA Glenn Visitor Center. Also located on the premises is the Cleveland Clinic OMNIMAX Theater, a giant six-story movie screen housed in a dome, screening stunning IMAX films shot around the world. Save some money by purchasing a combo ticket that gives you access to both the Great Lakes Science Center and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.
6. Enjoy Baked Goods from West Side Market
While you’re out and about enjoying Cleveland, be sure to grab lunch at the West Side Public Market, the city’s oldest operating indoor/outdoor market space. While the market started in 1840, it has been housed in its current location since 1912. Today, visitors can wander through the various vendors’ stalls, perusing the massive selection of produce, baked goods, fresh meat and fish, flowers, prepared foods, and other locally sourced products. The West Side Market is not to be missed during your getaway to Cleveland.
7. Visit the Rainforest at the Cleveland Botanical Garden
With 20 different gardens and the Eleanor Armstrong Smith Glasshouse, the Cleveland Botanical Garden is one of the finest of its kind. In the Glasshouse, you’ll find both rainforest and desert biomes to explore. The Gardens and Glasshouse are home to over 350 plant species and 50 animal species. The kids will love the activities designed specifically for them in the Hershey Children’s Garden.
8. Take a Tour of the USS Cod Submarine Memorial
Only open from May 1 to September 30 every year, this National Historic Landmark is where Cleveland honors its veterans. The USS Cod, the only American naval vessel to be named for the fish, served in the Pacific Ocean theater of World War II. The submarine has been awarded seven battle stars for her service. Touring this historic memorial is educational and fascinating.
9. Go on an Australian Adventure at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo
Covering 183 acres, the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is divided into various habitat exhibits: Australian Adventure, African Savanna, Northern Trek, Tiger Passage, The Primate, Cat, and Aquatics Building, The Rainforest, and Waterfowl Lake. Visitors can observe over 3000 different animal species at this world-renowned zoo that dates back to 1882. A visit to Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is fun for the whole family, and must-see for animal preservationists.
10. Take in a Show at Playhouse Square
Outside of the Lincoln Center in New York City, Playhouse Square in Cleveland is the largest performing arts center in the nation. Presenting a wide array of performances, theater lovers would be remiss if they didn’t take in a show at Playhouse Square. You can also enjoy farmers markets, tours, classes, and so much more, hosting over a 1,000 events every year.
11. Sample Local Beers at Great Lakes Brewing Company
Cap off your evening with dinner at any one of the fantastic restaurants in Cleveland. If you’re in the mood for something casual and laid back, Slyman’s Deli makes the best sandwiches in the city. For a more upscale dining experience, sample the French cuisine at L’Albatros Brasserie + Bar. For some local flavor, check out the eats and beverages at Great Lakes Brewing Company. You’ll have no trouble satiating any of your food cravings at any one of the wonderful eateries in C-Town.