Join me as we dive headfirst into the eclectic and endearing world of Cleveland, Ohio. This city is a canvas of culture, history, nature, and culinary wonders. From hidden waterfalls to the hallowed halls of music Cleveland is well worth a weekend of exploration. Here are some of my favorite things to do in the city, and be sure to let me know what I left off in the comments, starting with museums.


Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

My first recommendation is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Here, you can dive into the history of music legends with some of the greatest rock exhibits you will ever see. Every corner of every exhibit breathes life into the stories of musical icons who’ve shaped both genres and generations. It’s a pilgrimage for music lovers and a place you could spend the whole day exploring. You can even practice your musical journey with the provided instruments on one of the museum floors. 

Cleveland History Center

The Cleveland History Center is a time capsule where the city’s storied past meets the palpable energy of personal memories and shared heritage. Traverse through exhibits that span from the luxurious Euclid Beach Park Carousel to the gleaming chrome of vintage cars, each artifact echoes with the lives that shaped them. It’s not just a museum; it’s a meeting place for the past and present, inviting you to touch the fabric of Cleveland’s unfolding narrative.

Baseball Heritage Museum

The Baseball Heritage Museum is an excellent stop for enthusiasts of America’s pastime. In the small museum, you can explore memorabilia and rare photos and learn more about how this area shaped baseball in the city. The museum is located on the original League Park complex, which was the former home of the Cleveland Gaurdians and has a history dating back to Babe Ruth. Don’t miss it if you are a baseball fan.

Cleveland Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA)

Step into the kaleidoscope of creativity at the MOCA from the moment you walk up to the building. With ever-shifting exhibits, this space is a canvas for thought-provoking art, urging you to explore the narratives within and beyond the walls. The free museum is well worth seeking out, and one of my favorite parts was the giant hand sculpture that you can see right outside its front door.

International Women’s Air and Space Museum

Next, soar into the inspiring stories of pioneering women at the International Women’s Air and Space Museum. Inside an airport, this small museum celebrates the unbeatable spirit of female aviators and astronauts who reached for the stars against all odds. You can read individual stories and even see some of the artifacts that encouraged these journeys. It’s free to visit, and you can walk over to it easily from the USS Cod. 


Now, let’s head into the history portion of the video. The first recommendation is the Soldiers and Sailors Monument.

Soldiers and Sailors Monument

This monument, in the heart of the city at Cleveland’s Public Square, tells tales of valor in America’s Civil War. It’s a striking monument to drive by, but if you haven’t the time, go inside and explore the walls of names and dive into this part of Ohio’s history. All the men listed inside are from Cuyahoga County. It’s been a symbol of Cleveland since it was built over a century ago. 


Following that, climb aboard the USS COD, a vessel of history and heroism moored in Cleveland’s harbor. Here, the stories of maritime and wartime resilience are enclosed within the steel walls of the submarine, which launched in 1943. They often have docents who will walk you through and tell you more of the history, or you can go self-guided and explore at your own pace. Do note, it is pretty tight, so it is not great if you are claustrophobic. 

Cleveland Library

The Cleveland Library isn’t just a symbol of knowledge; it’s a beautiful piece of architecture in the city’s heart. It’s a great spot to visit, as it often has revolving art projects and a fantastic observation deck on the 10th floor. If you are a fan of chess, this library has the largest collection of chess-related knowledge in the world, and it also has a vast collection of chess sets on display. It’s a fun, unique stop in the city. 

Lakeview Cemetery

Lakeview Cemetery is more than a final resting place; it’s an outdoor gallery of intricate memorials and a serene park where people often stroll. Here, you can pay homage to the tomb of President Garfield, take in the breathtaking view from the Garfield Monument, visit John Rockefeller’s Grave, and see the famous Haserot Angel, among other things.

Fun & Unique Spots

Next up lets head into some more fun and unique recommendations in Cleveland.

Christmas Story House

First, visit the Christmas Story House and step into the whimsical world of Ralphie’s classic adventures from the iconic movie. Relive this classic tale’s nostalgic, heartwarming moments in this perfectly restored piece of cinematic history. It feels like a time capsule for the holiday movie, and I loved taking a tour, exploring the museum, and snapping photos from some of the classic sets. Plus you can pay to stay here if you are interested. 

Free Stamp at Willard Park

The Free Stamp sculpture stands as a monumental ode to art and freedom in Willard Park. It is said to be the world’s largest rubber stamp and stands 28 feet tall. If you are walking around Downtown Cleveland, be sure to see it.

Heinens Grocery Store

Next up, step into Heinens Grocery Store, a place not just for grocery shopping but for the awe-inspiring architecture housed within a historic bank building. Marvel at the stunning rotunda, the vivid glass dome that fills the space with light and grandeur. It really transforms grocery shopping into a memorable experience, and you can grab lunch or a glass of wine from the many different food stalls if you want to have a meal. 

The Arcade and 5th Street Arcade

Both the Arcade and 5th Street Arcade in Cleveland are not mere shopping destinations but architectural marvels. Walk the halls where past and present converge in a symphony of light, glass, and ironwork. The classic Arcade is the most visited, and for good reason, since it has such classic architecture. However, if you are looking for fun shops and food, head across the street to 5th Street Arcade, which has more of these to explore. There is also a large selfie gallery if you want to have fun with friends taking photos.  

Super Electric Pinball

Lastly, check out Super Electric Pinball, where pinball machines’ nostalgic chimes and flashing lights greet you as soon as you enter. This bar is a fun spot for an evening drink, and you can pay a small fee to play any of the pinball machines you like as much as you want. I am a huge pinball fan, so I spent a good amount of time here.


Now, let’s head into the outdoor recommendations in the city.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park

First up, Cuyahoga Valley National Park, with its rolling hills, cascading waterfalls, and adventurous towpath, invites you to disconnect from the city for a morning of hiking in the wilderness. Whether exploring the winding trails, marveling at the Brandywine Falls, or simply picnicking among the greenery, this park is a charming escape from the hustle of Cleveland and is well worth a day of your time. 

Tinker Creek Gorge

Nestled like a hidden gem near Cuyahoga Valley, Tinker Creek Gorge is a fun spot for a quick hike or a pleasant drive along Gorge Parkway. There are a couple of nice waterfalls you can see, overlooks to take in, and playgrounds for the kids. Take a morning and just drive along the gorge, and I’m sure you will find something there to enjoy and don’t miss Tinker Creek Falls.

Mill Creek Falls

Nestled in one of the city’s urban parks lies Mill Creek Falls, a waterfall you would not expect to see right off the highway. You can take it in from the top overlook or walk the stairs down to a better vantage point. Unfortunately, there was some trash at the base of the falls when I was there, but it was still beautiful. 

Edgewater Park

Edgewater Park is an urban oasis where the city skylines meet natural beauty and where you can watch the sunset over Lake Erie. It is also home to one of the Clevland signs that is popular for photos and has a nice beach and a large playground for children. A good place to spend a few hours in the city.


Now lets head into some food recommendations.

West Side Market

One of my favorite things to do in the city is to immerse myself in the bustling West Side Market, Cleveland’s historic food hall. Stroll past the stalls of produce, artisanal cheeses, and the sizzle of international delicacies as the market’s historic architecture towers above you. It has something for everyone, with my favorite being Steve’s Gyros. Grab something and head up to the overlook, where you can sit and eat while enjoying the view. 

Slyman’s Corned Beef

Slyman’s corned beef isn’t just a meal; it’s a Cleveland institution. Towering with tender, savory meat—literally more meat than should ever be in a sandwich—Slymans has been making this iconic sandwich since 1964. You really can’t go to Cleveland without trying it. 

Polish Boy / Girl at Mabel’s BBQ

Getting a Polish Boy is a must in Clevland, but I also love the Polish Girl at Mabel’s BBQ, which is their unique take. Mabel’s is an enjoyable spot for BBQ in the city with an excellent floor-to-ceiling neon wall and some of my favorite of the city’s BBQ sauce.

Pierogis at Little Polish Diner

Cleveland is known for its pierogies, and one of the places that is recommended the most is the Little Polish Diner, which is about 20 minutes out of town. This spot is takeout only, but it does the dish so well you won’t mind. Every bite into these pillowy delicacies stuffed with savory fillings is a transportive experience that will leave you happy and ready for a nap. 

Mitchell’s Fine Chocolates

For over 83 years, Mitchell’s Fine Chocolates has been making handcrafted treats right in Cleveland. The small storefront has hundreds of different things you can try, but be sure to get a buckeye, which is the peanut butter and chocolate ball the state is known for.

Mitchell’s Ice Cream

If you want to wash down the chocolate, head over to Mitchell’s Ice Cream, which is not affiliated with the chocolate shop. The ice cream here is incredible, and I highly recommend you try the wildberry crumble, I can never bring myself to get anything else.

Jack Frost Donuts

For the first of my two donut recommendations, check out Jack Frost Donuts. A Cleveland staple since 1937, every batch is made from scratch and has multiple locations around the city. I am partial to the Fat Elvis Donut myself.


Lastly, check out Brewnuts, which features both donuts and beer, depending on when you go in. It is more of an upscale donut shop compared to Jack Frost, but wow, are the donuts here good? You can get something crazy from their rotating seasonal menu, but be sure to try one of the house staples as well. 

Day Trips

Before ending this video, I wanted to share two fantastic day trips you can take while in Cleveland.

Pro Football Hall of Fame

First, touchdown in Canton for a journey through the heart of America’s beloved sport at the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Here, stories of legends, victories, and the spirit of the game come alive in its interactive exhibits. It is located about 45 minutes south of the city, and while it is pretty pricy, it is fun to experience at least once if you are a football fan. 

Ohio State Reformatory

Lastly, if you are a fan of the movie The Shawshank Redemption like I am, you should take a 1-hour drive to the Ohio State Reformatory, which was the backdrop for the famous film. It is an eerie place to explore, but I spent over an hour here and could have spent a lot more time walking its halls. Be sure to stop at Grandpa’s Cheesebarn when returning to the city.

That’s it for my recommendations in Cleveland. I hope you found some new spots to explore in the fun city. Let me know what I left off in the comments.