Looking for Unique Things to Do in Cleveland? Here’s What the Locals Told Us to Try

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Cleveland, OH is a great place to live, a diverse city with beautiful natural surroundings, as well as plenty of history and culture. It was declared a global city, and it has been welcoming to people from all over the world throughout its history.  

Whether you’re renting an apartment in Cleveland, OH, settling down in your own home, or simply visiting as a tourist, there are many fun unique things that will keep you busy here. To give you the inside scoop, we asked locals to give us their recommendations for what to do while in Cleveland. Here’s what they told us.

1. Visit the Cleveland Metroparks and Lake Erie

cleveland metropark

Brittany Gidley, a born and raised Clevelander and photographer, recommends a few amazing places to see in the city, including the Cleveland Metroparks and Lake Erie. “These beautiful parks offer hiking trails, scenic views, and a chance to unwind amidst nature.” Also, she says that “no trip to Cleveland is complete without a stop at Lake Erie. And Edgewater Beach is the best place to soak in a sunset with the city in the background!”

2. Explore the Great Lakes Science Center

Situated on the picturesque shoreline of Lake Erie, the Great Lakes Science Center is a testament to the fusion of education and entertainment. It serves as both a museum and educational facility, aiming to immerse visitors in the wonders of science, technology, and the environment.

The center’s NASA Glenn Visitor Center, one of its standout features, provides an up-close look at the marvels of space exploration, highlighting the contributions of the region to America’s space program. A state-of-the-art OMNIMAX Theater adds another dimension to the visitor experience, offering films projected on a six-story-high dome screen, not something you see every day.

3. Check out the Botanical Gardens

cleveland botanical gardens

Cleveland’s Botanical Gardens offer quite an experience to any visitor. Besides the gorgeous vegetation, the gardens offer artistic and cultural displays, and they feature various events throughout the year. There’s also a nice café where you can relax after your visit. Gidley suggests that you “find your Zen amid stunning gardens, butterflies fluttering around, and seasonal flower displays.”

4. See a Play at the Playhouse Square

For a truly unique activity in Cleveland, on Euclid Avenue, join the one million guests the Playhouse Square sees each year and enjoy a performance at “the largest performing arts center outside of New York City.” Another recommendation by Gidley, she says that “Playhouse Square hosts a wide range of shows, from Broadway hits to local productions.”  

5. See the Masterpieces at the Cleveland Museum of Art

cleveland museum of art

“Immerse yourself in a world of artistic wonders, from ancient to contemporary masterpieces. It’s a treat for art enthusiasts,” Gidley says, and as a welcomed bonus, “the grounds just outside the museum at Wade Oval are breathtaking during cherry blossom season!”   

6. Tour the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

rock and roll hall of fame cleveland

A tourist favorite, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is a must see in Cleveland and a recommendation by Cleveland area resident Will Cotter of FreshSpace Cleaning. “Get ready to groove to live music and entertainment right in the heart of downtown,” he says. “The electric energy here will have you dancing and singing along, creating memories that’ll last a lifetime.”

7. Go Shopping in the West Side Market District

The West Side Market District is “a vibrant neighborhood brimming with character and charm,” according to Cotter. “Here, you can shop till you drop for unique gifts and souvenirs, all while soaking in the lively atmosphere. With an array of local vendors, it’s a treasure trove of delightful finds that’ll make your day truly special.”  

8. Enjoy the Local Food

Cleveland is home to an array of unique restaurants and cafes where you can enjoy fine food and drinks. Heidi Rolf, VP of Marketing for the hospitality group Buildings and Food, gave us a few recommendations. “Prosperity Social Club offers a tavern-style menu with Old Eastern European food that is vegetarian and vegan friendly, and an array of craft beers and libations,” she says. “Residing in an original 1938 barroom, Prosperity Social Club is open to the public, being a social club only in a figure of speech, behavior and attitude. Art Deco influences, dark chestnut walls and vintage beer memorabilia recall a bygone era.” 

Another stop for foodies is at Good Company, “a chef-driven burger joint known for their burgers, wings and milkshakes all made from-scratch in Cleveland’s Detroit Shoreway neighborhood,” who are also family- and kid-friendly. And, after a long day, you can kick back and relax at Old 86, home of the largest patio in the country, and “a must on your trip to Cleveland if you’re tired of bars that are trying to provide anything besides maximum rock and roll and cold drinks.” 

9. Visit the Nearby Cuyahoga Valley National Park

cuyahoga national park cleveland

Just a short drive from Cleveland, this national park offers hiking, scenic train rides, waterfalls, and beautiful vistas. Tracing the winding paths of the Cuyahoga River, the park spans more than 33,000 acres, being home to forests, waterfalls, and rolling hills. It’s a haven for both wildlife and outdoor enthusiasts, with activities ranging from birdwatching to kayaking.

One of the park’s most unique offerings is the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, providing visitors the opportunity to experience the landscape’s beauty aboard vintage train cars. Not only does this allow you to take in the views as you move through them, but it also takes you on a trip back in time.

There are so many things to see and experience in Cleveland, and its natural beauty and rich cultural scene make it a magnet for people from all over the country. If you find yourself charmed by the city and considering a move there, find your perfect rental apartment in Cleveland and take on this adventure!


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Mihaela Buzec is a senior writer and online content developer for RentCafe. She covers topics about everything related to the renting lifestyle, from decorating and interior design to finding the right apartment, frugal living, money saving advice, and more. She dives deep into topics of interest, writing well-researched comprehensive guides on subjects such as renting with pets, saving on utilities, or avoiding rental scams to help renters stay informed and live smart.

Mihaela holds a BA in English and German Language and Literature, an MA in Current Linguistics, and she is currently pursuing a PhD in neurolinguistics.

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