Blake Walsh

15 Free Things to Do in Lorain, OH

  • Published 2022/12/21

Lorain is a city on the shores of the mighty Lake Erie.

This city in Lorain County, Ohio, is home to over 312,000 inhabitants.

Fascinatingly, Lorain earned the moniker “International City” because it is home to over 70 nationalities.

Historically, this city was famous back in the day for its steel mill industry.

Today, Lorain is a quaint city with plenty of hidden gems waiting to be explored.

Lorain is your go-to destination if you’re seeking a travel destination that offers small-town vibes with plenty of attractions.

Since Lorain is roughly an hour’s drive from Cleveland, it’s also an ideal jump-off point to explore more places throughout Ohio.

Remarkably, visiting Lorain won’t burn a hole in your pocket because of the numerous attractions that are free to the public.

Here are the free things to do in Lorain, Ohio:

Strike a Pose at the Lorain Harbor Lighthouse

Aerial view of Lorain Harbor Lighthouse

Lake Front Drones /

Lorain Harbor Lighthouse, or the Lorain Harbor Light, was erected in 1917.

Thanks to the United States Army Corps of Engineers, marine vessels don’t have to worry about navigating through Lorain’s waters on Lake Erie at night.

Amazingly, the lighthouse remains in use today and is a popular tourist attraction.

Still, you can visit this famous attraction and pose for a souvenir photo outside.

Lorain Harbor Lighthouse is a charming historical attraction that offers a picture-postcard scenery that is a perfect backdrop for a new photo for your social media.

Far view of Lorain Harbor Lighthouse

Martina Sliger /

Try Outdoor Activities at the Oakwood Park

Head to Oakwood Park for quality outdoor recreation with your friends or family.

This community park is situated along E. 36th Street.

This park boasts typical amenities such as a spacious green open space, picnic shelters, a barbeque grill, a children’s playground, and concession stands.

Many locals love this park because of its excellent picnic spots and outdoor activities.

This park is home to an outdoor basketball court, a softball diamond, a baseball field, and a football field.

With that in mind, this park is an excellent venue for an action-packed day with your friends or local sports enthusiasts.

Don’t forget to spend your day at Oakwood Park for some quality time outdoors.

Spot Birds at the Elmwood Park

Elmwood Park is known for one specific reason: birdwatching.

This park near Oberlin Avenue has seen over 79 bird species in its vicinity, making it an excellent place for birdwatching.

This park, managed by the City of Lorain Parks Department, is not as crowded as other parks in the city.

Thus, it’s a nice place to explore and spot various bird species.

Some of the most common bird species spotted at this park are the American robin, American tree sparrow, red-breasted merganser, lesser scaup, Tennessee warbler, and plenty more.

Remember to bring your binoculars and wear some camouflage to get a closer look at these magnificent animals at Elmwood Park.

Catch the Sunset at Lakeview Park

Lake Erie at Lakeview Park

Sergey Demo SVDPhoto /

Lakeview Park is an excellent attraction to visit upon arriving in Lorain.

You can visit this park along W. Erie Avenue.

This park primarily serves as a recreational destination and is famous for its stunning sunset view.

The park encompasses 20 acres with a children’s playground, picnic areas, a historical rose garden, and a lighthouse.

Historically, the City of Lorain established this park in the early 1900s to answer the public clamor to have the city’s recreational area.

Today, locals from the past and the present generation have grown to know and enjoy this park.

Besides catching the sunset, you can also enjoy swimming on Lake Erie or fishing at Lakeview Park.

Admire the Beauty of Days Dam Waterfall

The Days Dam Waterfall is one of Lorain’s hidden gems.

You can visit this waterfall Near Norfolk Avenue at the Black River Reservation.

This 30-foot waterfall runs throughout the year and is a favorite destination for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts.

This waterfall is one of the three falls you can find in Lorain.

The other two are the East Falls and the West Falls, located in the Black River.

Visiting this waterfall is a magnificent experience, especially with the breathtaking view.

Besides dipping your feet into the cold waters, don’t forget to take photos of your visit there.

The Days Dam Waterfall is also known for its unspoiled trails, making it a nice place to hike.

Cast Your Line at the Black River

Colorful trees surrounding Black River

Rona Proudfoot, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Black River is probably the most famous fishing destination in Lorain County.

The county has numerous rivers and freshwater lakes, but the Black River is the top-rated fishing destination.

Thus, you mustn’t miss this river which runs through Lorain and cast your line for some incredible fishing experience.

Anglers have various ways to catch fish in this river.

The waters of Black River

Tim Kiser (w:User:Malepheasant), CC BY-SA 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons

One of the most popular ways is fly fishing which you can also try during your time there.

The entire river stretches 12 miles long and is considered a tributary of the mighty Lake Erie.

You’ll find plenty of fish there, particularly King salmon and steelhead.

Pack your fishing gear when heading to Lorain because you might spend the entire day at the shores of the Black River for an excellent fishing session.

Aerial view of Black River

Tim Kiser (w:User:Malepheasant), CC BY-SA 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons

See Birds at Cromwell Park

Head to Cromwell Park if you’re yearning for another birdwatching activity.

You can visit this park along River Industrial Park Road.

Besides Elmwood Park, this one is also popular for birdwatchers because of the abundance of various species that thrive in the area.

This park is a significant birding area; about 115 and 43 nesting species have been documented.

Don’t hesitate to head to Cromwell Park and see bald eagles, great blue herons, and local and migratory birds flocking.

Take a Dip at Lakeview Beach

Lakeview Beach is an excellent place to soak under the sun and enjoy the waters of Lake Erie.

This lakeside beach near the Grand Army of the Republic Highway is where most of Lorain’s locals spend their summer days to cool down and relax on the sand.

If you want to swim on the magnificent Lake Erie, you should visit this place.

This beach has all the needed amenities of an excellent outdoor recreation destination, plus it has no admission fee.

Lakeview Beach has everything you need, whether you’re yearning for some swimming or want to relax and get your tan lines.

Cross the Charles Berry Bridge

View of the lifted Charles Berry Bridge

Rona Proudfoot, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Charles Berry Bridge crosses the Black River and carries the US Route 20 highway.

You can cross this bridge through E. Erie Avenue.

It spans over 926 feet in length and over a hundred feet in height.

This bridge is fascinating because it’s the second-biggest bascule bridge in the entire world.

Because of its enormity, it became an instant tourist attraction in Lorain.

Cross this bridge in your car or on foot and see its magnificent architecture.

Don’t forget to pose for a photo at the Charles Berry Bridge as your souvenir in crossing this artificial marvel.

Stroll through the Scenic Lakeside Landing

Head to the Lakeside Landing if you’re not in the mood for swimming.

You can visit this attraction along Lakeside Avenue.

It boasts a gorgeous picnic area with a backdrop of the magnificent Lake Erie.

Besides the gorgeous scenery, this place is a stone’s throw away from Lorain’s other famous attractions, such as the Lorain Lighthouse and the Spitzer Lakeside Marina.

On top of that, Lakeside Landing has a mile-long pier, an excellent place to stroll.

Enjoy the fresh breeze and scenery you’ll see along the way.

Celebrate the Lorain International Festival

Girl scouts at Lorain International Festival's opening

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

Lorain’s locals celebrate the annual Lorain International Festival since it’s widely known throughout Ohio for its diverse community.

This June lasts for an entire week, with various separate activities happening in Downtown Lorain.

The entire festival mainly celebrates the different cultures, nationalities, and heritage that makes Lorain a unique city in Ohio.

Food, music, tradition, costumes, and fun activities await you in celebrating this unique occasion.

Live concert performances, cultural booths, and fun activities are scheduled throughout the festivities.

Book your visit to Lorain this month to witness how locals celebrate the Lorain International Festival.

Strike a Pose at the General Johnnie Wilson Water Tower

General Johnnie Wilson Park is one of the many parks you will visit in Lorain.

This park along Plant Street is known for the General Johnnie Wilson water tower, which serves as the park’s focal point.

Historically, the park was named after Lorain’s proud son and retired army four-star general. Johnnie E. Wilson.

Posing at this water tower is an excellent place to prove that you’ve visited Lorain since it is a landmark in the city.

Besides posing at the Gen. Johnnie Wilson water tower, you can enjoy plenty of outdoor activities at this park.

Activities such as picnicking, hiking, or even a simple relaxation are best enjoyed at this park.

Remember to list General Johnnie Wilson Park for fun and adventure in your itinerary.

Other Free Things to Do Nearby

Enter the Allen Memorial Art Museum

Front view of the Allen Memorial Art Museum


The Allen Memorial Art Museum in Oberlin, Ohio, is a magnificent attraction you mustn’t miss.

Getting to this art museum is no sweat since it’s only a 22-minute drive from Lorain.

This art museum has collected over 15,000 artworks after its founding in 1917 through the efforts of Oberlin College.

Side view of the Allen Memorial Art Museum

PeaceUnicorn, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Visiting this art museum allows you to see top-notch artworks through its exhibits featuring paintings, decorative arts, sculptures, drawings, prints, and photographs.

At the same time, you’ll be mesmerized by this art museum’s events and programs available for all art lovers.

Step inside the Allen Memorial Art Museum for a worthwhile side trip with the arts.

Spend the Day Outdoors at the Bunns Lake Wildlife Area

The Bunns Lake Wildlife Area is a vast natural area known for its thriving waterfowl habitat, fishing ponds, and gorgeous sceneries.

You can visit this wildlife area in Westlake, Ohio, 27 minutes east of Lorain.

This lake, situated within the Bradley Woods Reservation, is mainly famous for its nature activities, such as sightseeing, birdwatching, and hiking.

At the same time, many anglers across Lorain County flock to this lake to catch some fish since it’s also a famous fishing destination.

There is plenty of outdoor fun awaiting you at the Bunns Lake Wildlife Area, whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, a birdwatcher, or an avid angler.

Get Close to Nature at the Lake Erie Nature & Science Center

The Lake Erie Nature & Science Center is a wholesome attraction in Bay Village, Ohio.

This attraction is a 23-minute drive east in the neighboring city of Bay Village.

It mainly features an indoor and outdoor animal exhibit, natural history exhibits, and a space science center with free general admission.

Most of the animals and displays at this place are all relevant to Lake Erie’s natural world.

Visiting this place is a spectacular natural experience.

Join the guided tours, interactive activities, and educational programs for the entire family.

Remember to visit Lake Erie Nature & Science Center for a worthwhile family trip before wrapping up your Lorain travel adventure.

Final Thoughts

Lorain is a beautiful destination because of its parks, natural attractions, and outdoor recreational opportunities.

On top of that, most of these attractions won’t need you to spend a single penny.

Plan your trip today and discover the best things to do in Lorain, Ohio!

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