Located along the shores of Lake Erie, Cleveland is the second-largest city in Ohio, so it offers tons opportunities for travelers to find something fun to do. Many vacation rentals in Cleveland are situated close to a wide array of attractions including markets, museums, and zoos. Check out these popular points of interest during your visit to Cleveland.
1. Cleveland Museum of Art
The Cleveland Museum of Art sits in a beautifully preserved neoclassic building made from White Georgian marble. It boasts a collection of art that includes more than 30,000 pieces spanning over 5,000 years. See world-renowned masterpieces from Asia, Europe, and Africa, including paintings, sculptures, textiles, and photographs. The museum fills its calendar with special events, such as the annual chalk festival, winter lights and lantern festival, and International Cleveland Community Day.
2. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum
Explore the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to learn about the lives and careers of rock legends such as Tom Petty, Guns-n-Roses, and The Beatles. Some of the museum’s permanent exhibits include Rapper’s Delight, an exhibit detailing the history of hip-hop music; Legends of Rock, an exhibit displaying artifacts from famous artists; and Cities and Sounds, which explores Motown music in Detroit, Seattle’s grunge bands, and the punk rock scene in New York City.
3. West Side Market
Open since 1912, the West Side Market is the oldest indoor/outdoor market in Cleveland. Explore the variety of food and beverages for sale from vendors such as Theresa’s Bakery, The Pork Chop Shop, and Nonno Joe’s Deli to find everything you need to cook an amazing meal at your vacation rental. Before you leave, grab lunch at the West Side Market Cafe, where you find a wide array of photos detailing the market’s long history.
4. Cleveland Metroparks Zoo
Take the whole family to the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo for an up-close look at elephants, bears, lions, and several species of birds. The zoo also houses several kid-friendly attractions, including a 4-D theater, a carousel, and child-sized train. Kids enjoy feeding the giraffes at the Ben Gogolick Giraffe Encounter and finding all of the KeyBank ZooKeys hidden throughout the park.
5. USS Cod Submarine Memorial
Located adjacent to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the USS Cod Submarine Memorial is a genuine WWII sub that’s open to the public to tour. Enjoy a guided or self-guided tour of the submarine that takes you through the narrow hallways and up and down ladders to various decks. Learn about the sub’s history, check out the gun deck, and see the search periscope during your tour.
6. Cleveland Botanical Gardens
The Cleveland Botanical Gardens spans 10 acres of land, creating a natural oasis within a concrete jungle. It’s filled with different types of gardens, including the tranquil Japanese Gardens and the Inspiration Garden, which is filled with a variety of colorful blooms. Visit the Hershey Children’s Garden to search for frogs, play in a treehouse, or observe a honeybee hive. Before you go, grab lunch at the Garden Cafe or a souvenir from the Garden Store.
7. Greater Cleveland Aquarium
Visit the Greater Cleveland Aquarium to explore life under the sea. See sharks, eels, stingrays, and barracuda in the 230,000-gallon tank showcased in the shark exhibit, explore a variety of fish species in the Tropical Reef display, and learn about Ohio lakes and rivers. The aquarium holds activities daily, including tortoise encounters, stingray encounters, and aquarium feeding times.
8. James A. Garfield Monument
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the James A. Garfield Monument pays tribute to the 20th president of the United States. The monument stands 180-feet tall and is constructed from Berea sandstone. It boasts stained glass window panes that represent each of the original 13 colonies and the state of Ohio. Climb up 64 stairs to the outdoor balcony, where, on a clear day, you can see the shores of Lake Erie. After viewing the monument, take some time to explore the rest of The Lakeview Cemetery. It’s the final resting place of John D. Rockefeller and Eliot Ness, as well as several other famous businessmen and politicians.
9. “A Christmas Story” House
Fans of the 1983 movie “A Christmas Story” don’t want to miss Ralphie’s house. Cleveland is home to the “A Christmas Story” house, which has been fully restored to its original cinematic glory. Take a guided tour of the house before visiting the official “A Christmas Story” museum, which houses props, costumes, and movie memorabilia, including the iconic leg lamp.
10. Cleveland Museum of Natural History
The Cleveland Museum of Natural History boasts several permanent exhibits that teach visitors about everything from pre-historic era dinosaurs to Ohio’s first planetarium. Experience a 5.5-magnitude earthquake, or test you paleontology skills by digging up and testing faux dinosaur bones. Make sure you check the museum’s calendar of events before your visit to see what type of temporary exhibits are on display.
11. Progressive Field
If you visit Cleveland during baseball season, a Cleveland Indians game at Progressive Field is a must. If there isn’t a game happening, consider taking a guided tour of the facility. The one-hour guided tours take visitors throughout the premises to see the batting cages, the bullpen, FanCave, the party suite, and the Heritage Park Indians Hall of Fame Museum.
12. Great Lakes Science Center
The Great Lakes Science Center boasts hundreds of hands-on exhibits on everything from space exploration and trains to augmented reality and physics. Climb onto The Bridge of Fire to feel your hair stand on end, touch a giant plasma ball to make the light dance, or play with magnets to learn about the force between them. Before you head back to your vacation rental, tour the William G. Mather Steamship, a fully restored 618-foot freighter.
13. Playhouse Square
Playhouse Square, in downtown Cleveland, houses a variety of theaters, making it the second-largest theater district in the United States – only rivaled by New York City’s Lincoln Center. See a show at the Hanna Theatre, Allen Theatre, or Ohio Theatre while you’re there, or simply take a guided backstage tour of five of the fully restored historic theaters. Free tours are given by Playhouse Square’s RedCoat volunteers and begin in the KeyBank State Theater Lobby. Alternatively, Gateway District Heritage Tourism offers outdoor walking tours of the area, which also depart from the KeyBank State Theater Lobby.
14. Cleveland Museum of Contemporary Art
The building that houses the Cleveland Museum of Contemporary Art is a work of art itself. The impressive mirrored structure was designed by Farshid Moussavi in 2012. The bottom of the building is a hexagon shape, but as it extends into the sky, it becomes a square, creating some amazing angles. The museum itself houses temporary exhibits of contemporary art, so it’s important to check the schedule before visiting this attraction.
15. Severance Hall
See The Cleveland Orchestra perform at Severance Hall. The hall was originally built in 1931, and its amazing architecture alone is worth the visit. Relax to the sounds of Mozart and Beethoven. If traditional classical music isn’t your thing, check out the highly recommended Christmas performance.
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