Top 21 Things to Do in Cleveland

Cleveland has a myriad of varied attractions, from the well known, such as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, to the lesser known, such as the Crawford Automobile and Aviation Museum.

Visitors and residents alike will enjoy visiting one or more of these Cleveland museums, parks, and other historic sites.

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Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

Low Angle View Of Grizzly Bear Resting On Tree At Cleveland Metroparks Zoo
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See all the animals, the Australian Wilderness exhibit, and the fascinating Rain Forest. An extra bonus: the Cleveland Zoo is free to Cuyahoga County residents on Mondays (except holidays).

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The Western Reserve Historical Society

Western Reserve Historical Society
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See how Cleveland's benefactors lived during the Gilded Age of the late 1880s and learn about Cleveland's history from Moses Cleaveland to the present day. The Chisholm Halle Costume Wing houses over 30,000 fashion items from the late 1700s to the present.

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Cleveland Museum of Natural History

Tyrannosaurus (JANE) at Cleveland Museum of Natural History
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The Cleveland Museum of Natural History, located in Cleveland's University Circle area, is a treasure trove of over 4 million specimens. Exhibits include Dinosaur bones, natural gemstones and fossils, and a huge section on Ohio birds, plant life, insects, and archaeology. A planetarium teaches kids and adults all about the moon, the stars, and the galaxy.

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Cleveland Botanical Garden

Cleveland Cityscapes And City Views
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The Cleveland Botanical Garden, located in the city's University Circle neighborhood, is a combination of indoor exhibits, housed in a magnificent glasshouse and ten acres of diverse outdoor gardens, including a special children's garden, a rose garden, a woodland garden, and a formal Japanese garden.

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Great Lakes Science Center

Cleveland Cityscapes And City Views
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The ten-year-old Great Lakes Science Center, at Cleveland's Northcoast Harbor, just down the road from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, invites visitors of all ages to "learn by doing" with their 400 hands-on exhibits. You'll find features on technology, the environment, the body, and the Great Lakes. There's an adjacent OMNI-MAX theater, too.

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Severance Hall

Severance Hall, Cleveland, Ohio, USA.
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The home of the Cleveland Orchestra, Severance Hall is an architectural gem. The neoclassical façade and the fanciful Art Deco interior never fail to delight.

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William G. Mather Museum

The bow of the Steamship William G. Mather on a (rare) cloudless day in Cleveland, Ohio.
Laszlo Ilyes/Wikimedia Commons/CC-BY-2.0

The William G. Mather Museum, located just north of the Great Lakes Science Center in downtown Cleveland, is a retired 1925 Great Lakes bulk freighter, permanently docked and open to visitors between early May and late October. Touring this historic ship is a wonderful way to learn more about life and commerce on the Great Lakes.

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Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum

Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum
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The Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum was formed in 1963 with the private collection of Mr. Crawford's company Thompson Products at its core. (Thompson Products later diversified and became TRW, Inc.) The museum showcases 200 classic automobiles, among them 80 cars that were manufactured in Cleveland.

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Cleveland Greenhouse

Interior of the Rockefeller Park Greenhouse in Cleveland
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Cleveland's Rockefeller Park Greenhouse, located just off of Martin Luther King Blvd near University Circle, is a wonderful collection of exotic and native plants. Admission to the greenhouse is free and highlights include the extensive orchid and tropical plant exhibits as well as the spring bulb and December holiday plants displays.

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The Christmas Story House

A Christmas Story House, Cleveland.
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"A Christmas Story House," located in Cleveland's Tremont neighborhood, was the main set for the well-loved 1983 Christmas movie, "A Christmas Story." The house is newly restored and opened as a tourist attraction and museum in 2006.

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English: The U.S.S. Cod is a World War II submarine that now serves as a museum ship in Cleveland, Ohio.
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The USS Cod is a retired World War II SS-224 submarine, moored at Cleveland's North Coast Harbor, near the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The USS Cod, a National Historic Site, is the only such vessel to be kept intact and visitors climb the vertical ladders through its hatches, just as the sailors did during active duty.

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West Side Market

West Side Market
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The West Side Market, at the edge of Ohio City in Cleveland, is a cultural and culinary gem. Opened in 1912, the market combines graceful Neo-Classical/Byzantine architecture with a vibrant produce and meat, poultry, and dairy market. You can pick up the makings for a picnic and take them to nearby Edgewater Park or just ​stroll the market and watch the people.

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Dunham Tavern

Dunham Tavern, Cleveland, Ohio
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Dunham Tavern, located on Euclid Avenue between downtown Cleveland and University Circle, is the oldest building in Cleveland still on its original site. The clapboard structure, built in 1824, was an important stop along the stagecoach route between Buffalo and Detroit. Today, the museum houses period art and furnishings and hosts periodic temporary exhibits.

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Cleveland Museum of Contemporary Art

The Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland
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The Cleveland Museum of Contemporary Art, located at University Circle, hosts a full schedule temporary exhibitions each year in addition to the museum's permanent collection. Of particular note are the regular exhibits featuring emerging international artists as well as notable artists, in all genres, from Northeast Ohio. 

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Greater Cleveland Aquarium

The Greater Cleveland Aquarium, located in the Powerhouse on the west bank of the Flats, opened in 2012. This new Cleveland attraction features more than one million gallons of water and marine life. It ranges from local Lake Erie fishes to exotic fish from around the globe.

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Children's Museum of Cleveland

The Children's Museum of Cleveland is an interesting and interactive place for kids and adults to learn and have fun together. Located in the University Circle neighborhood, the museum, established in 1981, welcomes visitors year round.

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Hard Rock Rocksino

The Hard Rock Rocksino, the first of its kind, opened in December, 2013. Located at Northfield Park, southeast of Cleveland, the facility combines 200,000-square feet of gaming space, four restaurants, and three performance stages all under one roof. The unique attraction is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

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Hale Farm and Village

Hale Farm and Village, a part of the Western Reserve Historical Society, is a working museum, adjacent to the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Once the home of early Western Reserve settler, Jonathan Hale, the museum features livestock, 19th-century working artisans, and the original red brick farmhouse.

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Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage

The Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage, in the eastern Cleveland suburb of Beachwood, opened in late 2005. It is a beautiful, 24,000-square foot building made of Jerusalem limestone that tells the story of the Jewish community in Cleveland and Northeast Ohio -- from the 18th century to the present -- with exhibits, interactive computer displays, and video oral histories.

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Horseshoe Casino Cleveland

Located in the former Higbee's Department Store space, Horseshoe Casino Cleveland features 300,000 square feet of gaming space, three restaurants and excellent people-watching, all in the heart of downtown.

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Lake View Cemetery

Lake View Cemetery, founded in 1869 by wealthy Clevelanders, was modeled after Boston's Mount Auburn Cemetery as well as the historic cemeteries of France and England. The 285-acre scenic park is home to over 102,000 graves, and still hosts an average of 700 burials annually. Among its many illustrious "residents" are John D. Rockefeller Jr.; Garrett Morgan, the inventor of the gas mask; former Cleveland Mayor, Carl B. Stokes; and Jeptha Wade, and early University Circle benefactor and one of the cemetery's first trustees.