things to do in cleveland
Willard Park by Bob Kuepper via Trover

One might say that Cleveland has passed its prime, but this Rust Belt city is undergoing a cultural resurgence. Great restaurants, amazing museums, a critically acclaimed orchestra, and beautiful colonial architecture are just a few of the things that make Cleveland special. The city is a blip on the radar between New York and Chicago, but you can visit Cleveland and rock it!

1. Spend a day exploring the Cleveland Metroparks

Cleveland is home to an extensive park system that lines the coast and weaves its way through the metropolitan area. Founded in 1917, the “Emerald Necklace” spans 20,000 acres and offers hiking trails, picnic areas, and outdoor art.

2. Eat your heart out at West Side Market

This market is one of Cleveland’s oldest. Still vibrant after 100 years, walk around the market for fresh fruits and vegetables, tasty treats, and street food stalls. This living (and lively!) monument to the city’s history is a fun way to eat a variety of foods.

3. Set sail on Lake Erie

Whether you take out a boat for yourself or a book a dinner cruise, sailing over Lake Erie is a great way to see the city skyline. Head west to one of Lake Erie’s islands – Put-in-Bay or Kelleys Island are sure bets for a fun day out!

4. Catch a major league game

Cleveland is a major league city and most sports fans will find a game to watch. The Indians (Baseball), Browns (Football), and Cavaliers (Basketball) offer the most excitement and even if you’re not into sports, going to game makes a great excuse to drink some of the best beer in the Midwest!

5. Hear the Cleveland Orchestra

The Cleveland Orchestra is one of the nation’s ‘Big Five’. In summer they play at the Blossom Music Center — a beautiful outdoor venue that allows you to bring your own wine and picnic while you’re serenaded by the almost 100-year old orchestra.

6. Dine with a celebrity chef

The Cleveland restaurant scene is seeing a renaissance and this has a lot to do with Iron Chef Michael Symon. He oversees some of Cleveland’s best restaurants, from Lola for upscale dining to the B Spot burger joint.

7. Explore the Costa Rican rainforest

What? That’s right, the Cleveland Botanical Garden’s Glasshouse has recreated the lush Costa Rican rainforest to house butterflies, orchids, and other exotic flora and fauna. Afterwards, escape to Madagascar desert to see some of the most unusual plants transported from 9,000 miles away. The Botanical Gardens is just one cultural institution of the University Circle – be sure to visit the Museum of Art, Museum of Natural History, or the Shafran Planetarium, too.

8. Pay tribute to Cleveland’s ethnic heritage

Ohio is home to almost half a million people of Polish descent, and nowhere is this more noticeable than in the historic Slavic Village. Enjoy the three Ps of Cleveland’s ethic heritage: polka, pierogis, and Polish beer.

Cleveland maybe overshadowed by Chicago, its Midwestern cousin, but Cleveland has a lot to offer its visitors. Book a room in a cheap Cleveland hotel so you’ll have money to spare on entertainment. Start planning your trip now with Hipmunk’s Cleveland City Guide!

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