Blake Walsh

15 Free Things to Do in Lakewood, OH

  • Published 2023/02/21

Located in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, Lakewood is every lake lover’s dream.

This city is famous for its effortless blend of metropolitan living and lakeside aesthetics.

It’s also widely known as a historical suburb of Cleveland, making it a worthy stop if you’re planning to travel to the largest city within the county.

Home to picturesque parks and a promenade that showcases Lake Erie’s charming disposition, this city’s past alludes to its streetcar suburb development.

Its interurban railroad system started in the late 1840s and continues to connect Lakewood to its neighboring communities within northeastern Ohio.

Though the city was established in 1889, its historical legacy remains with many vintage homes and landmarks.

Moreover, these historical gems and attractions are free and open to the public!

Below are the free things to do in Lakewood, Ohio.

Climb the Solstice Steps

Sunset at Solstice Steps

colind123 /

One of the city’s most memorable landmarks is the Solstice Steps in Lakewood Park.

As a landmark project, this attraction spans 480 feet of flat embankments.

Its steps reach about 36 feet, with each stair about 26 inches high.

At the very bottom of the Solstice Steps is a brick ground with a compass engraved at its center.

What makes this park steps a must-see is its front seat view of the sunset skyline.

Moreover, these steps face the northeastern section of the horizon, where the sun meets the sea during the summer solstice.

Their placement is why many come by this site during the sunset to add a romantic touch to their usual sightseeing.

The Solstice Steps is on Lake Avenue.

Watch the Sunset at Lakewood Park

The 31-acre Lakewood Park is one of the standout jewels of the city.

Acquired in 1918, the park hosted its Fourth of July celebration in its first year of operations.

What once was a landfill for construction debris and a garbage dump has become a well-known central park in all of Lakewood.

Now, after years of serving the community, the recreational park has both a passive and active area.

The park’s amenities include tennis courts, sand volleyball courts, and a kid’s cove playground.

Its skatepark welcomes daring skateboarders of all skills and expertise levels.

Perhaps this park’s most-visited spot is the Lakefront Promenade.

This brick walkway lets visitors peek at the Cleveland skyline and Lake Erie.

Lakewood Park is also a household name for community events and citywide festivals.

Its bandstands offer free nightly programs, including concerts and movies for the whole family.

You can find Lakewood Park at the intersection of Lake and Belle Avenues.

See the Art Exhibitions at Beck Center for the Arts

Beck Center for the Arts started as Lakewood Little Theatre in 1933.

In 2006, the arts company moved to its current location on Detroit Avenue.

This non-profit arts center combines visual arts, theater, and music in one all-around facility.

While the center specializes in professional theater productions, it also offers arts education programs through free exhibitions and events.

See its permanent art collections to get the most out of your trip to this center.

Check out artwork from Edward Valentin-Lugo and other local, national, and international-based artists.

Its poetry readings are free and inclusive, so don’t miss out on a night of literature.

The Beck Center for the Arts is also home to the free annual Rotary Club of Lakewood and Rocky River Speech, Music, and Visual Arts every April.

Play with Your Kids at Kauffman Park

Centrally located in the entertainment hub of downtown Lakewood, Kauffman Park offers all-around fun for everyone!

Located along Detroit Avenue, this central park spans seven acres, thus, making it the third largest one of its kind in the city.

Before it became a source of joy for many locals and tourists, this center was once a fruit farm.

After many renovations and changes, this park now offers a vast green space and a flower fence.

It even has a memorial baseball field that’s dedicated to Jimmie Foxx.

Learn more about garden landscaping at the park’s community garden, too!

To reach Kauffman Park, head to the intersection of Detroit and Arthur Avenues.

This park is right behind a Lakewood shopping plaza.

Play Frisbee with Your Dog at Lakewood Dog Park

Traveling with a pet can be tricky.

However, you don’t have to struggle with your pets when you travel to Lakewood.

The Cleveland-approved Lakewood Dog Park is the best spot for your and your pet’s downtime bonding experience.

Created and managed by Friends of the Lakewood Dog Park, this park officially opened to the public in 2003.

It provides a fenced-in section for dogs and their owners to have fun outdoors and meet fellow dogs and owners.

Add Lakewood Dog Park to your city itinerary.

This park is on Metropark Drive, awaiting you and your dogs.

Check Out the Oldest Stone House Museum

Located in Lakewood Park, the Oldest Stone House Museum offers a trip back to the city’s exciting past.

Built in 1834, this preserved home is an example of the city’s early-period dwellings.

However, it wasn’t only a home.

In the past decades, it had also been a barber shop, a shoe repair store, and a post office.

Now, as a museum, it offers a variety of exhibits and heirlooms from the Nicholson family, one of the city’s pioneer and prominent families.

It is also a looking glass into the Honam/Hotchkiss homestead and a middle-class living with its mementos and furnishings.

Outside the museum, you can find a grapevine and rose bush that has been around since the 19th century.

The Oldest Stone House Museum is open to the public on Lake Avenue.

See the Art Pieces at the Lakewood Arts Festival

Clear your calendars because you don’t want to miss the Lakewood Arts Festival.

This cultural event commemorates its founding year in 1978.

It brings together local and national artists who showcase their creativity on the streets of downtown Lakewood.

The art displayed comes in various disciplines, including art glass, ceramics, jewelry, sculptures, and more.

Moreover, the pieces are all free to admire.

Rising and established artists and bands provide live entertainment.

The community celebrates this annual festival every August.

Tell your friends and family the good news, and experience a world of street art wonders you won’t see anywhere else.

The Lakewood Arts Festival colors the streets of Detroit Avenue.

Celebrate Summer with the Family at the Lakewood Summer Meltdown

Each July, the city of Lakewood lights up with the Lakewood Summer Meltdown.

As one of the most awaited festivities within the region, this free annual event kicks off the summer.

Within the event program, expect a fun run and street stalls and booths featuring local delicacies and artworks.

Everyone can join the event’s fitness activities, including a “Water Moose” sprinkler park program.

Listen and jam to alternative band music while roaming the streets of Detroit Avenue.

There will also be games for everyone!

Add the Lakewood Summer Meltdown to your must-experience things to do in Lakewood.

Join Open Studio Days and Art Shows at Screw Factory

Screw Factory resides in the historic Lake Erie building along Athens Avenue.

This art studio offers a safe and secluded space for artists to work and cultivate their talent.

With its tall ceilings and windows, the building went by Templar Automotive Plant from 1917 to 1924.

The site was a manufacturing and storage area for Dave Buehle’s templars.

After years of renovation and changes, the building now hosts art shows and open studio days.

Visit this studio during spring or fall and find art treasures of a lifetime.

Screw Factory offers a taste of Lakewood’s cultural scene within an unassuming building.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Continue your Lakewood adventure to nearby cities.

Here are more free activities you can do near Lakewood.

See a Play at the Cleveland Shakespeare Festival

The Cleveland Shakespeare Festival is not only a Lakewood celebration of theater but also all of Northeast Ohio.

This free annual festival brings the art and essence of Shakespeare’s play to an outdoor setting.

Theater enthusiasts and non-fans can come together to learn more about classic literature without flocking to indoor theaters and waiting for seasonal shows.

Its live theater performances include The Merchant of Venice, Macbeth, Twelfth Night, and many more!

Come with loved ones and friends, swoon over Shakespeare’s most romantic lines, and laugh at his comedies.

The Cleveland Shakespeare Festival is based in Cleveland, Ohio, 22 minutes from Lakewood.

Browse the Exhibits at the Cleveland Museum of Art

View of Cleveland Museum of Art

Kenneth Sponsler /

Cleveland’s art scene is thriving more than ever with the Cleveland Museum of Art.

This museum in Cleveland, only 18 minutes away from Lakewood, paints a picture of the city’s love for contemporary art.

Founded in 1913 and opened in 1916, the museum highlights interactive art experiences alongside its classic art-on-wall displays.

Browse through fine and decorative arts of all mediums, from pottery and sculptures to acrylic paintings.

Exhibits at Cleveland Museum of Art

Kenneth Sponsler /

The art museum also hosts lectures and workshops, some of which are free for anyone to join.

So, what are you waiting for?

Don’t waste time adding the Cleveland Museum of Art to your list of attractions near Lakewood.

This museum is on East Boulevard in the Wade Park District.

Interior view of Cleveland Museum of Art

Jason Sponseller /

Listen to Recitals at the Cleveland Institute of Music

Are you a fan of orchestral music and recitals?

Then, you might like the Cleveland Institute of Music featured programs.

Located in the University Circle of Cleveland, this institute aims to empower musical talents to become world-class artists and ensemble members.

One of the best features of this institute is its free recitals and public programs.

Entrance to Cleveland Institute of Music

Theseus.u, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Featuring the Cleveland Institute of Music’s students, they attend orchestra performances and music symposia.

Some of these events may require a seating pass without paying for admission.

Recitals may also be in different venues, both indoor and outdoor.

The Cleveland Institute of Music is on East Boulevard, approximately 19 minutes away from Lakewood.

Take an Underground Tour at the Soldiers & Sailors Monument

View of Soldiers & Sailors Monument

Nina Alizada /

One of Cleveland’s standout public memorials is the Soldiers & Sailors Monument.

Commemorating the American Civil War, this monument features a 125-inch column that depicts the Goddess of Freedom and the Shield of Liberty.

Its Memorial Room within the sculpture’s base makes this attraction unique.

Sculptures at the Soldiers & Sailors Monument

Belikova Oksana /

Go on an underground historical excursion within the room’s walls, where four other relief sculptures are in place.

You can find this eye-catching monument in Public Square in Cleveland’s downtown area.

It will only take about 14 minutes from Lakewood to reach the Soldiers & Sailors Monument.

Interior view of Soldiers & Sailors Monument

Nagel Photography /

Admire the Flowers and Plants at Rockefeller Park Greenhouse

Cactus at Rockefeller Park Greenhouse


Visit the Rockefeller Park Greenhouse for a floral escapade.

This free Cleveland attraction was once a city beautification project that housed plants of city parks.

Over time, it transformed into a botanical sanctuary that helps introduce specialty flowers and plant collections to the public.

One of its specialized gardens is the 2012 Willot Iris Garden.

It houses hybrid plants and flora planted by Tony and Dorothy Willott.

Garden at Rockefeller Park Greenhouse

Erik Drost, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

There’s also a Japanese Garden that fuses traditional Japanese architecture and native blossoms.

Keep your eye out for colorful fruit trees at the Tropical Showhouse.

Likewise, there’s more to explore without paying an admission fee!

Rockefeller Park Greenhouse is on East 88th Street in Cleveland, only a 19-minute drive from Lakewood.

Learn about Women in Aviation at the International Women’s Air & Space Museum

Exterior view of International Women’s Air & Space Museum

Michael Barera, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Celebrate women when you visit the International Women’s Air & Space Museum.

First opened in 1986 in Centerville, this museum then moved to Cleveland in 1998.

This free museum features the countless achievements of women in the field of space and aviation.

Look through photographs, textiles, and documents of these momentous historical events.

Interior view of International Women’s Air & Space Museum

Michael Barera, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

At the same time, it houses an aerobatic plane and an interactive control console you can try handling.

The International Women’s Air & Space Museum is within Burke Lakefront Airport on North Marginal Road.

This attraction is only a 15-minute drive from Lakewood.

Exhibits at International Women’s Air & Space Museum

Michael Barera, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Final Thoughts

Lakewood’s charming points include its scenic parks, historic homes and museums, and annual cultural festivals.

Regarding nature explorations, this city also has forested trails and preserves that every explorer considers a paradise.

Bookmark this article on the free things to do in Lakewood, Ohio, to help you plan your budget-friendly itinerary.

Start your adventure today!

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