Places to visit in and around Cleveland

No, it is not the weather. The reason is that there are so many things to do, something is happening all the time.

The Zoo

Cleveland Zoo
is free on Mondays and great for all seasons. During the winter, you can visit the Rain Forest, which is also included in the membership ($65 per year). Do not forget to pick a map when you enter, because the Zoo is huge, and it is almost impossible to see everything during one visit. You really have to come back again. The map will help you plan where you want to go.

Check the zoo map first. Wolf's den, Flowers, Madagascar Palm Tree

Flamingos, A Polar Bear, "Geoffrey the Giraffe"

Museums at the University Circle

Museum of Natural History -- a great experience.

Cleveland Museum of Art -- beautiful and free

Botanical Garden

Parade the Circle is a June event that is so colorful and vibrant, it will bring a smile on your face for weeks.

Parade the Circle Summer Celebration

Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame -- a must-see, at $ 17, the ticket is not cheap though.


Festivals -- the good thing about Cleveland is that something is happening all the time. Just visit the Plain Dealer website at (the biggest local newspaper). They have a nice "what to do guide" where all events are listed for months ahead. Your alternative source of information is the Friday section of the paper edition of the Plain Dealer. One summer favorite is the Cuyahoga County Fair in August.

County Fair, A Vegetable Creature, Wood Carving, A Horse show, A Calf

Medina Ice Carving Festival -- An Ice Lion, A Pineapple and A Turtle

The Lake Erie Boat Fest is in July at Cleveland downtown lakefront. One of the first boaters was a pirate named Juan Eduardo De Rivera who attacked Cleveland in 1783, can you imagine?! His ship, the Red Witch, is replicated today, and you can actually board it for a ride.

The Pirate, Red Witch -- A Replica of the Pirate ship

Amish country is another interesting area to visit. Just don't believe that you will see only horses and buggies when you go there. We went to Millersburg, which is in the heart of Amish country, and found a Lincoln/Mercury dealership... Well, that was confusing. Where is Amish country? Just imagine the map of the Cleveland area with 2 of the highways (I-71 and I-77) flowing like rivers south from Lake Erie. The bridge between them is route US-39, which passes right through Amish country. Read more about Amish in this post from DrCharles.blogspot.


Niagara Falls is an unforgettable getaway especially during the summer. Do not go during the winter because the frozen water drops from the falls hit like miniature bullets and the wind bites.

Niagara Falls

By the way Elyria has their own version of the Falls on the Black River called the West and East Falls. Click to see the Falls water flowing - really.

Elyria West Falls

Brandywine Falls complete are our must-see-falls selection. This "bridal veil" cascade deep in the woods falls on 3 layers of rock in 3 different colors which have a combined age of 1 billion years. Click to listen to Dr. Al-Shahed describing his experience at the falls.

this is an audio post - click to play

Brandywine Falls, the Rocks, It's a rough road to get to the Falls

Lake Erie

Kelleys Island is relatively close to Cleveland and you will really enjoy the peaceful atmosphere there. Kelleys Island is just the opposite of Put-in-Bay, which is more like the Bourbon Street in New Orleans (I hear that nobody is sober there but the bar attendants). Click to listen to Dr. Al Nemr, describing his experience on Kelleys Island - where is the map to the hidden treasure?

this is an audio post - click to play

Glacial Grooves - Kelleys Island

Do not forget to visit the Marblehead Lighthouse, which is just across from the Kelleys island, and is the most photographed lighthouse in Ohio.

Marblehead Lighthouse

There are several picturesque Lake Erie coastal towns worth visiting. Port Clinton is the walleye capital of the world, and Vermilion is the host of the annual Woolybear festival.

Vermilion lake shore streets, the Lighthouse

Port Clinton -- the Walleye Capital of the World

Do you know what a walleye is? It is a type of fish which lives in the Great Lakes. The biggest walleyes are caught in the Lake Erie because its waters are shallow, warm and nutrients rich. The name is strange -- when the fish dies, its eyes turn white, like a newly painted wall, and hence the name -- walleye (source: Wikipedia).

In the Vicinity

Pittsburgh is very close and you will never forget the view from the Duquesne Incline overlooking the downtown golden triangle. By the way, if you have a Cleveland zoo membership you can visit the Pittsburgh Zoo and Aviary for free. And the same is true for Akron, Toledo, Detroit and so on... zoos.

Pittsburgh -- a view from the Duquesne Incline

More resources:
NYTimes: 36 Hours in Cleveland, 2009.
36 Hours: Cleveland in NY Times - 5/2005.
360° panoramic views - Convention & Visitors Bureau of Greater Cleveland.
Video: Cleveland+. YouTube.
100 things to do in Cleveland for the summer of 2013

Published: 01/12/2005
Updated: 09/20/2009

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