Blake Walsh

20 Best Things to Do in Lorain, OH

  • Published 2023/02/13

Lorain is northeast of Lake Erie and sits at the mouth of the Black River.

It is commonly referred to as the “international city” because it is home to over 70 different nationalities.

It is also referred to as a “steel city” because of its famous steel mill.

Lorain is the 10th largest city in Ohio and the largest in Lorain County by population.

Moravian missionaries lived in Lorain first, using the area as a campsite.

In 1807, a man named Nathan Perry from Vermont built a trading post and settled in the area.

Lorain got the name Black River and was incorporated as a village in Charleston in 1836.

In 1874, the village got its current name from Lorraine, a province in France.

Today, the city features a small-town vibe while offering locals and tourists a sneak peek of the big city life with its proximity to Cleveland.

Don’t be fooled by the city’s simplicity, as there are many sights to see and adventures to experience.

Here are 20 of the best things to do in Lorain, Ohio:

Take a Photo at the Lorain Harbor Lighthouse

Aerial view of Lorain Harbor Lighthouse

Lake Front Drones /

Also referred to as the “Jewel of the Port,” the Lorain Harbor Lighthouse stands as one of the most iconic structures in Lorain County.

Take a picture behind this towering structure and get a postcard-like souvenir with its navigation light in the background amid the vivid sky.

Scenic sunset over Lorain Harbor Lighthouse

Rona Proudfoot from Lorain, Ohio, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The US Army Corps of Engineers built the tower in 1836.

They also extended it 680 feet into Lake Erie.

The lighthouse remained operational until 1965 before its replacement with an automated light tower on a nearby breakwater.

Although the lighthouse is no longer in use, it remains a historic reminder of the county’s relationship with Lake Erie.

The waters surrounding the Lorain Harbor Lighthouse

Martina Sliger /

Try Handcrafted Cocktails at Speak of the Devil

Head downtown towards Speak of the Devil on 5th Street and take a swig of the finest handcrafted cocktails in Lorain.

This downtown bar prepares perfect drinks for just about any occasion.

Speak of the Devil’s lineup of cocktails is undoubtedly worth the shot, using the freshest ingredients, high-quality spirits, and the best techniques around.

While enjoying the pastoral scene, take a sip of the bar’s unique concoctions.

Try out the Bronco Buster if you want a drink with a citrus twist or the Rolls Royce if you want something with a little more kick.

Buy Fresh Cuts and Produce at Fligner’s Market

Fligner’s Market on Broadway is Lorain’s oldest grocery store and arguably its best.

Founded in 1924, Fligner’s Market began as a 2,000-square foot store before developing into a 35,000-square foot property.

Sourcing delicacies from northeastern farms to countries like Poland, Macedonia, Italy, and Germany, Fligner’s Market has some of the best products in the entire county.

For over 90 years, Fligner’s Market has become the go-to store for custom-cut butchers, produce, seafood, fresh baked goods, and specialty items.

It also offers 60% more affordable products than big-box chain stores, which explains why customers come from cities such as Akron, Cleveland, and Sandusky.

Enjoy the Great Outdoors at Lakeview Park

Daytime at Lakeview Park

Sergey Demo SVDPhoto /

Make your way to West Erie Avenue and explore Lorain County Metro Parks’ first lakeside recreational park.

Lakeview Park spans 20 acres, covering a wide array of activities perfect for the summer.

Play a game of beach volleyball, or try your hand at various water sports activities like kayaking, canoeing, and paddleboarding.

You can also soak up some sun and bury your toes in the sand while waiting for the sunset.

While you’re at the park, don’t forget to visit the historic Rose Garden, landscaped according to the Rotary Club emblem.

Walk around and marvel at approximately 2,500 roses planted in 48 beds outlining the walkway.

After your stroll, enjoy a cup of coffee at the Sunset Cafe while catching a panoramic view of Lake Erie.

Learn about the County’s Humble Beginnings with the Lorain Historical Society

Book a tour with Lorain Historical Society on 10th Street and learn about the county’s rich history.

You’ll explore two historic buildings during the tour, namely the Carnegie Center and the Moore House Museum.

Built in 1903, the Carnegie Center serves as an institution for learning that aims to educate tourists and locals about Lorain County.

Now under the ownership of the Lorain Historical Society, City Council, and Port Authority, the Carnegie Center became the home to administrative offices, meeting rooms, and a historic display center while preserving its educational roots.

During the tour, you’ll also wander the halls of the Moore House Museum, which now stands as Lorain Historical Society’s official home.

Leonard M. Moore built the Moore House Museum.

He was a former bank trustee, businessman, secretary, treasurer to the Lorain Lumber and Manufacturing Company, and former city council member and mayor.

Take a walk around the museum and take a peek at 1920s Lorain.

Catch a Live Show at the Lorain Palace Theater

The entrance of Lorain Palace Theater

Alexander Wooledge, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

There’s nothing better than catching a live show where you can dance, sing along, laugh, and cry with the audience and artists.

And at the Lorain Palace Theater on Broadway, you can watch all the live shows you want while spending time in one of the historic establishments in the county.

Exterior of Lorain Palace Theater

TnrSmith, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Established in 1928, the Lorain Palace Theater is one of the largest one-floor theaters in the state of Ohio.

Besides an incredible lineup of shows, the theater’s architecture is another reason you should visit the building.

Marvel at the Palace’s combination of Gothic and Italian Renaissance architecture while enjoying a variety of musicals and shows that pay homage to classic artists and genres.

Learn to Paddleboard with Lake Erie Paddler

Learn a new skill by enrolling in paddleboarding lessons with Lake Erie Paddler.

It’s also a great way to beat the heat, especially if you’re visiting Lorain for the summer.

Lake Erie Paddler offers paddleboarding classes every weekend, including basic tutorials for beginners.

Paddleboarding lessons usually last about 90 minutes, touching on balance fundamentals, guided coaching, and self-guided free practice time.

But if you’re already experienced in paddleboarding, rent the equipment you need and go straight for the water.

Have a Blast at Lorain Skate World

Spend family day skating at Lorain Skate World on West Erie Ave.

Aside from getting a dose of much-needed exercise, you’ll have a blast skating around the entire arena.

Practice your spins and twirls, or learn a new trick.

If you’re trying skating for the first time, you can also enroll in beginners’ classes and learn from seasoned coaches.

You can also rent out the entire place if you’re looking for a fun and unique way to host your events and parties.

Book a Fishing Trip with Sara J Charters

Do you feel the sea calling out to you?

Heed the call and book a fishing trip with Sara J Charters.

Try catching Walleye, Steelhead, Smallmouth Bass Perch, and more while aboard a tournament-winning 34’ King Cat Catamaran.

The catamarans you’ll board also come with heating and air-conditioning, so you’re sure to enjoy a comfortable fishing trip.

Set the lines and net fish in the morning and afternoon, and have your fish cleaned on the catamaran.

Visit the William Seher House

Exterior of William Seher House

N8hawk, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The William Seher House on 9th St. gives visitors a glimpse of classic architecture.

Built in 1909 for William H. Seher and his family, the house is famous for its Georgian revival architecture with a combination of English Baroque.

It cost approximately $15,000 to build the house for Seher, a general manager of Lorain Brewing Co., president of Lorain Crystal Ice Co., and the director of National Bank Commerce.

You can see the porch made from masonry ornamentation and a Spanish-tiled roof from the outside.

After serving as a private residence, the Seher House became a motion picture processing lab for Slattery Studio.

Today, the house has become a bed and breakfast place.

Satisfy Your Cravings at Erie Steak & Seafood Co.

Enjoy lakefront dining and good food at Erie Steak & Seafood Co. along Lakeside Ave.

Dine inside or outside and get front row seats to the golden sunset overlooking the entirety of Lake Erie.

Choose from the restaurant’s seafood and steak-centered menu and indulge in the flavors of local dishes.

But perhaps you should try the Walleye and Perch, some of the restaurant’s best-selling dishes.

You can book the Banquet Room, create a custom menu for your guests, and have a good time at private events.

Book a Night or Two at the Ariel Broadway Hotel

Enjoy a stunning view of Lake Erie, the Lighthouse, and the Black River from the Ariel Broadway Hotel.

Built in 1925, this building is one of the city’s prized historical sites.

Book a stay for a night or two in one of the hotel’s 55 rooms, and enjoy amenities like the rooftop sunset bar and restaurant.

You need only take a few steps from the hotel to reach Lorain’s top destinations like downtown, the Palace Theater, and Lakeview Park.

It’s also near water sports facilities where you paddleboard, kayak, and fish.

Visit Duane Block

Built in 1906, Duane Block is one of the oldest buildings established in Lorain County.

The Duane Building Company developed the area and started building in 1905.

Duane Block was once a clothes and shoe store, leased to the Metzger-Robinson Company.

Today, it’s a place where you can find delicious home-cooked meals.

During the winter of 2002, however, a fire devoured the interior of the red-brick building.

The building underwent restoration in 2006 and is currently a center for commerce in Lorain.

Play a Round of Baseball at The Pipe Yard

Have time in your schedule for an unplanned baseball game with loved ones?

Then The Pipe Yard may be your best choice for a fun time outdoors.

Opened in 2006, this baseball facility once stood as Campana Park.

It served as the home field for the Ohio Valley Redcoats of the Frontier League a year before it officially opened to the public.

Now, though the facility has a capacity of over 1,500, professional games are yet to grace the stadium ever since.

Catch community- and school-managed baseball games while within the area.

If you’re lucky, you can run a few laps if the venue isn’t rented for any team.

The Pipe Yard is on Meister Road.

Watch the Sunset at the Mile-Long Pier

Daytime view of Mile-Long Pier

Marc Solis /

Lorain’s skyline is best viewed from the Mile-Long Pier.

An unexpected tourist attraction, this pier offers both recreational opportunities and a historical story worth knowing.

Originally established as a navigational-purpose harbor by the US Army Corps of Engineers, it finished construction in the mid-60s.

Years later, the pier showcased brick pavers to imitate wooden boardwalks and has now become a romantic spot for many.

The pier features a marina, fishing spaces, and a fine-dining Jackalope restaurant.

Get to Black River Lane to arrive at the Mile-Long Pier.

Enjoy a Day Out with Nature at Black River Reservation

Make sure you are exploring Lorain’s best nature-focused spots when you’re within the city.

And to get you started, try out Black River Reservation.

Considered one of the most popular parks among the collection in the Lorain County Metro Park system, this park encompasses areas within Lorain and Elyria.

As its name suggests, it runs parallel to the Black River.

Its trail runs about 5 or 6 miles and is open for hikers and cyclists.

Black River Reservation also presents the stunning waterfall beauty of Black River, as well as picnic facilities overlooking charming points within the area.

Other amenities you can expect include two playgrounds and a volleyball court.

You can access this attraction by Day’s Dam on East 31st Street.

Taste Authentic Cuisine while Enjoying the Entertainment at the Lorain International Festival

One of Lorain’s well-known festivals is the Lorain International Festival.

This five-week-long annual festival gathers everyone for a fun time every July.

Its first festival was in 1967 and aimed to bring together the ethnic and racial diversity of the people visiting and living in Lorain.

Among its curated activities include a three-day bazaar, live music, and a wide selection of cuisines from all over the world.

Get a souvenir from the cultural booths while you’re there, too!

Head over to downtown Lorain to be part of the Lorain International Festival’s festivities.

Admire the Historic Statues at Oakwood Park

If you want a subtle and secluded place to spend time with your family, why not try Oakwood Park?

This park on East 36th Street offers a wide range of movement for active visitors and a relaxing atmosphere for passive ones.

Its sports courts include a basketball facility, a football field, and a swimming pool.

Adding to the park’s charms are historical statues and colorful gardens.

During winter, the park features sledding hills for everyone to enjoy.

Now, the question stands: will you add Oakwood Park to your must-visit spots in Lorain?

Final Thoughts

Lorain is indeed one of the best places to visit while in Ohio.

You’ll surely want to keep coming back for more with its historical sites and unique activities.

Aside from that, you’ll also get to taste great food that is authentic and home-grown, adding to the comfortable and homey vibe the city of Lorain embodies.

Don’t waste another minute and book a trip to Lorain today!

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