Top Things to Do in Cleveland, Ohio | Midwest Living

Top Things to Do in Cleveland, Ohio

The City of Rock and Roll has a playlist of attractions that includes University Circle’s nine museums and Little Italy’s hillside bakeries and restaurants. Oh, and there’s that rockin’ hall of fame, too. Check out our trip guide of what to do, where to eat, and where to stay.


Cleveland Bike Tours Two-hour guided tours cover about 4 miles in downtown, University Circle or Ohio City.

Cleveland Botanical Garden The 18,000-square-foot Glasshouse spotlights plants, insects and birds from the spiny deserts of Madagascar and the rainforests of Costa Rica. Roses, topiaries and herbs thrive in outdoor gardens.

Cleveland Museum of Art Special exhibits this year touch on subjects both regional and global, with Charles Burchfield: The Ohio Landscapes, 1915–1920 (until May 5) and Shinto: Discovery of the Divine in Japanese Art (until June 30).

Cleveland Museum of Natural History In addition to displaying favorites like dinosaur skeletons and gemstones, this University Circle attraction puts on live animal shows daily.

The Cleveland Orchestra During the summer, listen alfresco at Blossom Music Center, 25 miles southeast of Cleveland.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park Thirty minutes from downtown, forests, waterfalls, bike trails and a scenic train promise a family-friendly retreat.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Great Lakes Science Center See hundreds of exhibits and an Omnimax theater.

The Holden Arboretum More than 20 miles of trails wind through the gardens. A new 500-foot-long canopy walk provides views of dense pine forest from 65 feet in the air.

Lake View Cemetery This cemetery feels like a park with views of Lake Erie. Visit the James A. Garfield Monument and the Tiffany-designed interior of Wade Memorial Chapel.

Playhouse Square An outdoor chandelier with more than 4,200 crystals reflects the ornate lobbies of surrounding reborn movie palaces. Guests attend concerts, dance productions and touring Broadway musicals in America’s largest performing arts center outside New York.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum Explore how television influenced the development and acceptance of rock in Stay Tuned: Rock on

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum

Terminal Tower Catch a great view from the 42nd floor.

West Side Market More than 100 booths and stalls sell everything from soup to nuts at the indoor market; vendors reflect Cleveland’s melting pot heritage.

West Side Market

West Side Market


Adega Be dazzled by chandeliers made of hand-blown glass and flatbreads like the shrimp and chorizo with garlic oil and arugula.

Alley Cat Oyster Bar Views of the Cuyahoga River complement seafood dishes (including, of course, oysters) in the buzzy Flats East Bank area.

B Spot Burgers Celeb chef Michael Symon’s most casual Cleveland joint (he owns four) serves the award-winning Fat Doug burger with pastrami, Swiss cheese and coleslaw.

B Spot Burgers

B Spot Burgers

Cleveland Tea Revival The husband-and-wife team of owners will happily explain the differences between kombucha, puerh and oolong. Lounge on the deck with a cup of your choice.

Cowell and Hubbard The former jewelry store shines with creative twists on contemporary French cuisine. Save room for hamburger-size meringues.

Crop Bistro and Bar Gleaming marble columns and 35-foot- tall ceilings in a former bank provide a dramatic setting for dishes such as ribeye with heirloom tomato sauce.

Fahrenheit This Tremont bistro has spiffed-up entrees, such as pizzas and coffee-and-mustard-crusted pork tenderloin.

Great Lakes Brewing Company Sample from a dozen or so craft beers on tap in an 1870s tavern. Flights pair well with a plate of locally sourced meats, cheese and produce.

Noble Beast Brewing Company The family-run brewery and restaurant turns out exceptional brews as well as creative dishes like pickled watermelon rind salad with edible flowers.

Little Italy Among the reasons to fall for this walkable village on a hill: O mio!  The authentic Italian food. Vintage chandeliers cast soft lighting straight out of a European romance novel at Trattoria on the Hill, which dishes heaping plates of sauce-drenched eggplant Parmigiano. 

Lola Bistro In the hip Fourth Avenue entertainment district, celeb chef Michael Symon’s menu draws carnivores eager for braised short ribs and beef-cheek pierogis.

Lucky’s Cafe Legendary cheddar and scallion biscuits with sausage gravy and homemade pastries keep this Tremont breakfast hangout hopping.

Mabel’s BBQ Ribs, brisket and pork belly slow-cook to juicy perfection in wood-fire smokers at this downtown joint, the latest endeavor of celebrity chef and Cleveland native Michael Symon. Mabel's BBQ facebook page

Mabel's BBQ

Mabel's BBQ

Melt Bar and Grilled The grilled-cheese-centric menu lists more than 20 options. We love the Monte Cristo, with honey ham, turkey, two cheeses and berry preserves.

The Plum American food with creative twists might include grilled peaches with pistachio creamed corn or an Ohio lamb burger with feta and saffron yogurt.

Presti's Bakery and Cafe Baseball-size cream puffs, cannoli and tiramisu are just a few of the sweet treats at the 115-year-old family-owned spot in Little Italy.

Pura Vida by Brandt Flip-top jars filled with chickpea spread accompany house ricotta, basil pesto, olive tapenade, radishes and grilled bread for an urban picnic experience.

Sweet Moses Soda Fountain and Treat Shop Get your fix of nostalgia with drinks and desserts at this old-fashioned joint. Indulge in the Gordon Square Sundae: a brownie, bananas Foster ice cream, caramel sauce and hot fudge.

Tommy’s Restaurant Thick, rich milk shakes might be the first reason you come, but inventive vegetarian entrees (and decent burgers) make the eatery in Coventry Village destination-worthy. Be sure to sign yourself in on the waiting list.


Cleveland Airport Marriott A stunning renovation turned this into a gleaming gem. Whether you stay here or not, dine at AMP 150, a destination small-plates restaurant with veggies grown out back.

Glidden House A converted 1910 French Gothic mansion gives guests a choice of vintage suites in the original structure or more modern rooms.

Metropolitan at the 9 Sensuality rules in guest rooms equipped with glass-walled showers and gold lamé pillows. Chill 150 feet above the streets at the city’s largest rooftop bar, Azure, or be dazzled by Mediterranean-inspired dishes served under chandeliers of hand-blown glass at on-site restaurant Adega.

Azure at Metropolitan at the 9

Azure, Metropolitan at the 9

The Schofield Hotel Playful nods to the city's musical and manufacturing history—acoustic guitar loaners, sock monkey carpet—elevate the experience at this Kimpton lodging.

The Tudor Arms Hotel Restored landscape murals and bas-relief sculptures in public areas contrast with guest rooms’ sleek Euro-style furnishings in the 1929 hotel.

More information: This Is Cleveland


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