Welcome to Cleveland, Ohio!
Known as 'The Forest City,' it's a place of surprising diversity, with a rich tapestry of arts, culture, and natural beauty.
So, let me guide you on a tour around this vibrant city, uncovering its hidden gems and sharing with you the best ways to enjoy Cleveland without spending a penny.
Visit the Cleveland Museum of Art
Have you ever wanted to travel through time?
There's no need for a time machine. Just head to the Cleveland Museum of Art!
Here, you can walk through 6,000 years of art history all under one roof.
The collection is vast, boasting over 45,000 works that range from intricate ancient artifacts to modern masterpieces.
As soon as you enter the grand, light-filled atrium, you are transported into a different world, a sanctuary of creativity and culture in the heart of Cleveland.
I often start my journey in the Asian art section.
The wide-ranging collection of South Asian art never ceases to amaze me.
Moreover, the place brings together pieces that tell compelling stories about the region's diverse cultural history.
One of the best things about the museum is that it's not just a place to look at art—you can also experience it.
I've lost track of the number of films, concerts, and lectures I've attended here.
There's always something new to learn. And the interactive media exhibit is always a hit with both the young and the young at heart.
I cannot forget to mention the museum cafe.
Yes, it's a bit pricey, but the food is delicious, and the ambiance is perfect for a little break between galleries.
After refueling, I always try to stop by the museum shop. It's filled with art-inspired items that make for unique gifts.
So, whether you're a fan of ancient sculptures, impressionist paintings, or contemporary installations, there's something for everyone here at the Cleveland Museum of Art.
Trust me, every visit is a new adventure through the annals of art history.
Explore the Marvelous Cleveland Public Library
I'm always drawn to the grandeur of the Cleveland Public Library.
Whether it's the captivating architecture or the colossal collection of books, something about this place makes it much more than just a library.
The moment I step in, I'm surrounded by the breathtaking beauty of marble pillars and staircases with brass and wooden trims that add an intricate charm to the building's ambiance.
Likewise, I've lost count of the many times I've been awed by their extensive collection of books, maps, and even movies.
You can easily immerse yourself in a different world with each book you pick up.
Interestingly, they have some unique things that can only be found there.
I remember they had a special display about Superman and another time, it was a stunning display of hanging wildflowers.
The library also hosts events and classes, making it a hub of activity and learning.
There was one time when I got to experience the floral art installation - it was an unforgettable sight.
The best part? Everything is free.
It's a veritable treasure trove for book lovers and history geeks alike.
If you're ever in the city, do take the time to drop by Cleveland Public Library.
Take a Journey Through Medical History at the Dittrick Medical History Center
There's nothing like the Dittrick Medical History Center to transport you back in time!
Nestled within the grounds of Case Western Reserve University, this unique gem offers an intriguing look into the evolution of medicine.
Imagine delving into the rich tapestry of medical artifacts, images, and rare books; it's a history and medical buff's paradise!
My visits here are always a joy.
Each room is thoughtfully detailed, providing a snapshot of different periods.
The information placards are especially commendable, designed with a clear font and contrasting colors, making reading a breeze.
If you're like me, who loves to take the time to read and absorb the wealth of knowledge, you'll easily spend an hour and a half here!
The museum's collection is remarkable: a vast array of medical devices and pictures.
Although housed within a university building, the exhibits aren't limited to dedicated rooms.
They spill into the hallway, encased in glass displays.
Parking isn't an issue either; the Severance Hall parking garage is just a short walk away.
As a highlight, the museum has a must-see exhibition on women’s health and contraception history.
But it doesn't stop at medicine.
The museum thoughtfully acknowledges local history with a historical marker outside its operating entrance on Adelbert, recognizing the Horatio Cyrus & Martha Cozad Ford home as a refuge on the Underground Railroad.
Indeed, the Dittrick Museum is a treasure trove of the weird, remarkable, significant, and strange.
It's a journey through time, offering a unique insight into the history of medicine and the local area.
Discover Serenity at Lake View Cemetery
Every town has its hidden gems, and Cleveland is no exception.
Tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the city is a tranquil retreat known as Lake View Cemetery.
I've had the privilege of being a frequent visitor to this peaceful oasis, not just for its serene beauty but for its rich history.
What's striking about this cemetery are the numerous mausoleums, monuments, and graves that dot the landscape.
It's fascinating to wander through and recognize the names of notable historical figures.
A favorite of mine is the simple tombstone of Alan Freed, the man credited with coining the phrase "rock and roll."
As a music lover, I often leave a guitar pick on his tombstone as a small tribute.
The grandeur of John D. Rockefeller's final resting place is a sight to behold.
It serves as a reminder of the legacy left by this billionaire philanthropist and his profound influence on our city.
Lawman Eliot Ness's grave and the towering "castle" that marks President James Garfield's resting place are equally impressive.
And for comic book fans, the grave of writer Harvey Pekar is a must-see. Don't forget to bring a pen to pay your respects. It's a local tradition!
What makes my visits truly special are the unexpected encounters with wildlife.
Seeing a doe with her fawns wandering through the cemetery grounds is an experience that never gets old.
It's these moments of tranquility that allow you to appreciate the beauty of this place.
Lake View Cemetery is a park, a history lesson, and a wildlife sanctuary all rolled into one. It's one of Cleveland's best-kept secrets.
This peaceful retreat is the perfect destination for those looking to escape the city's noise or to pay homage to some of history's notable figures.
Feel the Magic of Wade Oval
There's something about the green heart of Cleveland that makes me forget the hustle and bustle of city life.
Nestled between two major museums, Wade Oval is my escape, a serene oasis where I can unwind and enjoy various events throughout the year.
Summer concerts are a big hit at Wade Oval. I never miss them.
There's a unique thrill in experiencing live music under the open sky, surrounded by lush greenery.
It's not just the music that draws me in.
The food trucks around the park are no less than a foodie's paradise.
You'll often find me and my partner joining the line dancing, letting the music guide our steps.
But it's not just about the summer.
The winter has its charm at Wade Oval, which transforms into a winter wonderland with a beautiful ice rink.
It's a sight to behold and an even better experience if you love ice skating like I do.
In hospitals and museums, Wade Oval shines as a beacon of tranquility.
Despite the busy surroundings, time seems to stand still there.
I love to sit back, relax, and take in the energy of the place.
Wade Oval brings the community together.
Whether it's a Wednesday performance with kids dancing with joy or a quiet date night under the stars, it's a place about fun, family, and love.
Wade Oval is one of the reasons I love my city.
It's where life happens, where memories are made.
Visit the Rockefeller Park Greenhouse
There is no place I love more in the city than the Rockefeller Park Greenhouse.
Right in the heart of our cultural gardens, this hidden gem is my go-to sanctuary whenever city life overwhelms me.
It's a plant lovers paradise where rare and beautiful plants take center stage.
Year-round, the Greenhouse offers an escape to a lush, tropical atmosphere. My favorite time to visit is winter when the cold bites and grey skies loom.
The warmth and color inside the greenhouse provide the perfect serotonin boost we all need in the colder months.
One of the best things about the Rockefeller Park Greenhouse is that the city offers this botanical treasure free to the public, making it accessible to everyone.
The greenhouse is a well-organized and well-maintained oasis.
Parking is never a problem with its decent-sized lot, and the restrooms are always clean.
Its layout is easy to navigate, letting you lose yourself in nature's beauty without getting lost.
What truly makes this place beguiling is the variety of specialty plants, tropical flowers, and even fruit trees that it houses.
Every section is a burst of colors and textures, a feast for the senses.
I was fortunate enough to attend a friend's wedding there once, and the setting was simply magical.
The water pool located inside the greenhouse added a serene touch to the already captivating landscape.
Moreover, the Rockefeller Park Greenhouse is a hidden gem that adds a touch of tranquility to our bustling city life.
Whether you're a plant enthusiast or simply looking to spend a quiet afternoon, this botanical paradise is worth a visit.
Capture the Spirit of Cleveland at the Tremont Sign
I love my city, Cleveland, and I've been to the Cleveland Script Sign at Tremont countless times.
It's nestled on Abbey Avenue and is just one of many Cleveland Script Signs scattered across the city. But for me, this one is the best.
What draws me to the sign time and time again is the stunning view of the city skyline that serves as the backdrop.
It's the perfect place for a photo shoot or quick selfie.
I've lost count of how many times I've stood there, smiling, with the city I love proudly displayed behind me.
The first time I visited the sign, on a crisp July morning, I remember the excitement buzzing around the location.
It seemed like everyone wanted a piece of the action, their moment under the spotlight with the city as their audience.
People were standing in line waiting for their turn, others taking photos of each other, and some even asked me to join in their photos.
When you visit, be prepared for a slight wait, especially on sunny days when the city is full of glory.
It's common to find enthusiastic visitors and fellow residents wanting to take a piece of Cleveland home with them in their camera rolls.
But it's not just about the sign.
The location is a haven for those who love to walk.
With a four-foot wide path meandering around, a stroll offers an uninterrupted view of the city, the water, and the sign.
Even better, there's free parking available under the bridge.
After parking, it's a short walk to the sign.
A few benches are scattered around, perfect for sitting and soaking in the view or resting your feet.
The Tremont Cleveland Script Sign is a snapshot of the city, a blend of its past and present, a portrait of its people, and a celebration of its spirit.
Join us next time you're in town.
See the Cherry Blossoms at Brookside Reservation
Let me tell you, there’s nothing quite like the cherry blossoms at Brookside Reservation.
When the cherry trees bloom every spring, you see this place transform into a magical pink-themed wonderland.
It’s as if the trees are putting on a show just for us, and we are their captive audience.
No wonder it is one of my preferred parks in all of Cleveland.
The best part is that it never gets overly crowded, except when the cherry blossoms peak.
That's usually around the third week of April, so mark your calendars if you want to catch this spectacular sight!
Now, if you like to stroll, you're in for a treat.
There’s a sidewalk meant just for that.
Morning, evening, whatever works for you.
I often take my dog along for a walk here.
Over the years, it's been a cherished routine for all my pets and me, and I can't help but feel a sense of tranquility wash over me every single time.
Moreover, there’s ample street parking available on both sides of the road.
So, you need not worry about finding a spot to park your vehicle.
But, do keep in mind that it can get a tad busy during the weekends when people throng the place for zoo parking and the occasional football games.
So, next time you plan a visit, don't forget to check out the Brookside Reservation in Cleveland. Trust me; you won't be disappointed.
Take a Stroll through History at the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument
Every time I pass by the grandeur of the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument, it feels like a walk through a rich chapter of Cleveland's history.
Built in 1894, this monument is a dramatic tableau of bronze statues and reliefs, each depicting a riveting tale from the Civil War era.
The amount of craftsmanship poured into this monument amazes me every time I am there.
Each detail is meticulously crafted, making it more than just a monument. It's akin to a living, breathing history book.
But the true marvel lies beneath. The tunnels under the monument, usually concealed from public view, open once a year, revealing another layer of this historic gem.
This is an event that I eagerly anticipate every spring.
It's like stepping into a time machine and journeying back to the days of the Civil War.
Inside the monument is a memorial room, a tribute to the brave souls who fought in the Civil War.
The air inside is heavy with respect and admiration.
Even on some holidays, when the city is bustling with life outside, the monument remains open, a silent sentinel reminding us of our past.
Whether you're a history buff or just looking for a fascinating place to visit, the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument is a treasure trove waiting to be explored.
It's a journey into a riveting part of our history.
Spend the Day at Edgewater Beach
Whenever you yearn for the calming ebb of the ocean, but you're in the heart of the Buckeye State, remember: it's all here for you at Edgewater Beach.
Almost every weekend, I savor the serene surroundings, soaking up the sun on the beach's clean sands.
It's the perfect place to stretch out and unwind, letting the hustle and bustle of life ebb away with each wave lapping at my feet.
Occasionally, you will find me building sand castles with my nieces and nephews or just wading in the water.
The beach's vastness provides a welcoming atmosphere unlike any other, each day bringing something new to enjoy.
And don't even get me started on the gorgeous lake views and walking trails.
They provide the perfect backdrop for a tranquil stroll or even an invigorating run.
The park's ample parking space adds to the convenience and ease of the visit.
If you visit, make sure not to miss the beach house.
It's brand new, with many amenities that make a day at the beach even more enjoyable.
And the children's playground is just as impressive.
Expansive, fresh, and filled with adventurous options, it's a wonderland for the little ones.
As a photography enthusiast, one of my favorite activities is capturing the cityscape views from the western hillside - it is genuinely stunning.
And, of course, every visitor - local or tourist - ought to get a picture by the iconic Cleveland sign.
It's an Edgewater Beach tradition, after all!
So, if you're looking for a day trip packed with beauty, relaxation, and fun, Edgewater Beach is the place to be.
Take a Stroll Through Downtown Cleveland
I've always enjoyed the quiet mornings in Cleveland, where it's just me, my cup of coffee, and the city slowly stirring to life.
My favorite part of these mornings is my visit to the Fountain of Eternal Life.
You see, there's something exceptional about this 1964 sculpture made by Marshall Fredericks.
Nestled in the heart of downtown, it's erected as a tribute to our local military who lost their lives in conflicts.
During my morning visits, I often stand in front of the towering figure, its majestic form a reminder of the ultimate sacrifice.
As the soft hum of the city begins to grow louder, the fountain's calming sounds help me find tranquility amidst the urban hustle.
Despite the hustle and bustle around it, it has an aura of serenity that's surprisingly comforting.
But it's not just the fountain worth visiting. It's the environment itself.
The stroll up the hill to the fountain gives you a breathtaking view of the stadium and Lake Erie.
It’s an unspoken tradition of mine to take a moment, gaze at the view, and remember those who gave their lives for us.
Even if you're not a big fan of sculptures or art, I'd recommend visiting the Fountain of Eternal Life.
It's a piece of our city's history and a beautiful tribute to our local fallen heroes.
Whether you're a history buff, an art enthusiast, or just someone looking for a quiet moment, this fountain has something to offer.
Take a Stroll Through Cleveland's Cultural Gardens
Whenever I need to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, I find myself drawn to the Cleveland Cultural Gardens.
It's where I lose myself in the beauty of different cultures, each represented by a unique garden.
You can find it all at Cultural Gardens.
Each visit is a new adventure, with each garden offering a glimpse into a different culture.
Ancient Greek philosophy, Shakespearean literature, Polish nationalism - the gardens celebrate it all.
With trees providing natural shade, fountains adding to the tranquility, and sculptures narrating tales from around the world, it's a peaceful oasis in the city's heart.
Walking through the gardens is a journey of discovery, where hours feel like minutes.
My son and I love to play a game of spotting the plaques or statues in each garden, each one a lesson in history and culture.
It's not just about the beauty of the gardens but also about the knowledge they impart.
However, the Parade of Flags is the highlight of the year for me.
Each flag stands tall and proud, a vibrant testament to Cleveland's multicultural heritage.
It's like stepping onto a global stage, where each country's unique history and traditions are celebrated.
Inclusivity is what the Parade of Flags is all about.
It's where everyone, irrespective of their cultural background, comes together to appreciate and celebrate the diversity that makes Cleveland what it is today.
For me, it's what makes Cleveland truly special.
Unearth Artistic Wonders at Transformer Station
One thing I cherish about living in the Hingetown section of Cleveland is having the Transformer station tonight in my backyard.
This contemporary art and photography museum is a hidden gem housed in a beautifully expanded 1924 railroad substation.
Each visit to the Transformer Station is a unique experience because the exhibits change frequently.
I still remember the thrill of discovering a fascinating collection of over 250 photographs with violins at the “Photography and Violins” exhibit.
The standout piece was an image of a man who, despite not knowing how to play the violin, had painstakingly carved one out of wood with a pen knife.
It was a testament to passion overcoming limitations, a theme that subtly echoes throughout the museum.
The Raul De Nieves exhibition remains another favorite as the ever-changing exhibits add incredible vibrancy to the area.
Much of the art here sparks insightful conversations and challenges your perspectives, making every visit worthwhile.
And the best part? It's completely free.
Living so close to the Transformer Station, I've had the privilege of immersing myself in a world of creativity and imagination time and again.
If you ever find yourself in the city, I highly recommend visiting.
You never know what hidden treasures you might uncover.
Explore the Vibrant Cleveland Public Square
The heart of Cleveland beats vibrantly in its Public Square.
As a result, I love nothing more than spending a sunny afternoon at Cleveland Public Square, this bustling city plaza amidst the city's towering skyscrapers.
The square always has something for everyone, and it never fails to amaze me.
During the summer, the splash pad becomes a favorite spot for kids, while the food trucks parked at the corners give up delicious bites.
I've spent countless lunch breaks enjoying a meal from these trucks, seated comfortably on one of the benches, watching the city go by.
A spectacular Soldiers and Sailors meal is worth exploring - you can even walk inside!
However, the square truly transforms into a magical wonderland during the winters.
The seasonal skating rink is a community favorite, and the holiday lights that adorn the square are breathtaking.
I remember strolling around the beautifully lit square during the last Christmas season, savoring the festive atmosphere.
Right next to the square, you'll find the Arcade, a stunning architectural marvel with a glass ceiling.
Trust me, you can't stop yourself from capturing a few pictures. I usually grab my daily coffee from the shop inside the Arcade.
The energy inside is infectious, it's almost like stepping back in time.
Don't miss out on exploring more of the downtown area.
Just a short walk away is the waterfront lookout, the Science Center, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
The view of the city skyline from the waterfront is something I still can't get enough of, even after all these years.
So, next time you find yourself in Cleveland, make sure you spend a day at the Public Square.
Enjoy the Day at Euclid Beach
There's something magnetic about Euclid Beach that keeps pulling me back.
Maybe it's the serene beauty of the pier, standing tall, offering a bird's eye view of the magnificent Lake Erie.
The sight of the lake at sunset from the edge of the pier is a sight to behold, a sight that never gets old.
Or maybe, it's the comfort of those inviting Adirondack chairs that line the beach. A sweet spot to just sit back and let the world pass by.
And come winter, the icy spectacle at the end of the pier is something you wouldn't want to miss.
Euclid Beach Park is also a great place for family outings.
On any given day, you'll find families gathered around, indulging in barbecues and picnics.
The park has clean bathrooms, a nice bike path, and the pier – it's a complete package for a fun-filled day.
Take a Journey Through Aerospace History at International Women's Air & Space Museum
I pass by the Burke Lakefront Airport on my daily commute and one of its hidden gems that always catches my eye is the International Women’s Air & Space Museum.
One day, I decided to stop by, and I was pleasantly surprised with what I discovered.
The museum is free to enter and it's tucked away within the airport building.
You might even forget it's a museum because of its unique location.
Yet, it's here that stories of extraordinary women from aviation and space history are beautifully narrated.
Every corner of the museum is filled with inspiring tales and historical artifacts - a plane, simulators and even information about the famous Amelia Earhart, Ruth Nichols and Katharine Wright among many others.
Walking through the exhibits, I learned about women who have made significant contributions in outer space.
It was an incredible experience to delve into the history of these brave women, from the first person in space to the aircraft from the 1900s.
Hidden within the Burke Lakefront Airport, the museum offers a serene space, away from the bustling city noise.
It's a quiet haven, with half the lights off, making the historical artifacts stand out even more.
The airport is still operational, adding a unique charm to the whole experience.
If you ever find yourself near the Burke Lakefront Airport, I highly recommend visiting the International Women’s Air & Space Museum.
Not only it's a fitting tribute to women in aerospace history, but also a great place to spend some quiet time by yourself.
Explore the Depths of History at Cleveland Police Museum
Let me tell you about the time when I uncovered the intriguing depths of the city's law enforcement past at the Cleveland Police Museum.
This place is an absolute hidden gem for anyone who's interested in history or law enforcement.
I was particularly drawn to the overwhelming amount of information and artifacts on display.
On one of my visits, I was lucky enough to catch the Kingsbury Run murders exhibit, which was in transition at the time.
The exhibit was filled with fascinating and chilling details of the infamous unsolved case.
What made the whole visit even more engaging were two retired officers who were there to share their insights and experiences.
Their stories were riveting, adding a layer of authenticity that can't be found in books.
Indeed, the museum is a trove of historical treasures that will leave you with a profound appreciation for the city's police department.
Discover Art in My Backyard at MoCA Cleveland
Just when I thought I knew everything there was to know about my city, I stumbled upon the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland (MoCA).
A gem nestled in the heart of the city, MoCA is a haven for the art-loving community.
Feast your eyes on their contemporary art exhibits by phenomenal artists, or dive into their educational programs and performances.
Situated in an edgy steel-paneled structure, MoCA's very architecture is an artwork in itself that takes your breath away even before you step inside.
What makes MoCA truly special is its dedication to not just showcasing art, but also educating and inspiring.
Whether a weekend outing with your kids, a date night, or a catch-up session with a friend, MoCA makes for an enriching experience.
And the best part? It’s completely free. So, if you happen to have some free time over the weekend, I highly recommend visiting MoCA.
And don’t forget to take a leisurely stroll around the park surrounding the building.
It’s the perfect spot to soak up some sun and reflect on the art you’ve just explored.
Trust me when I say this, visiting MoCA is an experience unlike any other.
Explore Little Italy
Picture this: an evening stroll through narrow, vibrant streets echoing with the rich history of Italian immigrants, while the tantalizing scent of fresh pasta and baked bread wafts from the many family-owned restaurants and bakeries.
This is what a typical evening feels like in Little Italy, Cleveland.
Against a backdrop of colorful murals and old-world architecture, Little Italy is the cultural heartbeat of the city.
As an enthusiastic member of this community, I cherish the countless hours I've spent exploring the outdoor art galleries, the charming boutiques, and artisanal shops that adorn our streets.
A walk down Mayfield Road is a must. It's lined with restaurants serving mouthwatering Italian cuisine that will transport you straight to the heart of Italy.
Seeing chefs tossing pizza in the air, the sound of animated chatter, and the clinking of wine glasses make the atmosphere lively and inviting.
Moreover, the Feast of the Assumption, a four-day street fair in August, and the Columbus Day Parade are a testament to the deep-rooted Italian culture in this city.
It's an absolute treat to participate in these street festivals, brimming with traditional music, dance, and, of course, food.
Located just a short walk from the bustling University Circle, Little Italy is also home to the beautifully serene Lake View Cemetery, where one can pay respects to notable figures such as John D. Rockefeller and President James A. Garfield.
Indeed, Little Italy is a story of tradition, heritage, and a community that embraces it all.
Living here is like being a part of that story, and I wouldn't trade it for anything else.
I have to say how immensely fortunate I feel to live in a city with so much to offer – and all without a cost.
Cleveland, Ohio, truly is a city full of incredible, cost-effective experiences.
What a privilege it is to call it home!