A mark of a great city is always when I wish we had more time to explore. Granted, every city that we have been to I have felt like “I wish I just had one more day.” Cleveland definitely falls into this category too! We tried our best to dip our toes in the different districts of Cleveland from “the Flats” to the Gateway District where Progressive Field is located. We found out that Cleveland has so much to offer visitors and locals alike.
1. Catch a Gorgeous Sunset at The Flats
The Flats lie outside the immediate downtown area of Cleveland, so you will need to take transportation there. I recommend going for dinner and staying for the sunset along the Riverfront boardwalk.
For a family friendly dinner at the Flats, we recommend Lindey’s Lake House because the outdoor area has games like chess and cornhole to keep kids entertained. While we were walking around, we also saw Backyard Bocce Restaurant with actual bocce courts inside, great views of the Riverfront, and tables for people watching. My kids were begging to go inside, but it was getting late.
If you would like to get a birds-eye view of the sunset, get a prime lounge chair on the Landshark Rooftop Bar attached to Margaritaville! Be warned, once the sun sets, the party scene at The Flats starts revving up!
2. Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame was a highlight for my kids. I would say the museum is best for kids over 10, unless your kids are like mine and love Rock and Roll.
Top Tip: Get there as soon as it opens and buy your tickets in advance. We went in the middle of the week, and crowd levels were “moderate” throughout the day, and they never decreased. In fact, after lunch, the crowds increased with the arrival of tour buses.
Because the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is a top tourist attraction, we did have a lot of tips about seeing this museum with kids. A more in-depth blog post is coming soon!
3. Rock and Dock Marina
Once you visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, keep walking straight and you will find yourself at the Rock and Dock Marina. Of course, the views of Lake Erie are magnificent! Walk around, take in the sights, but don’t forget to get your iconic picture in front of one of Cleveland signs! These witty Cleveland signs are placed strategically throughout the Cleveland area!
A lunch option in this area is the Winking Lizard. The food was great and reasonably priced, and the selection of local beers made the grown-ups very happy too. Hubby highly recommends Fat Head’s Dortmunder (limited release) and I really loved their Bumble Blueberry beer.
4. Progressive Field
This family friendly MLB ballpark is a must see while in Cleveland! The Tribe Town spirit, local food options at the stadium, and Kid Clubhouse makes for an unforgettable Cleveland Indian’s night. To read more tips about visiting Progressive Park check out our blog post.
5. Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Thirty minutes outside of Cleveland is Cuyahoga Valley National Park. This national park has so many trails, but the most visited by far is the Bradywine Falls. The path to the Falls is an easy bridge and stair walk, and is great for younger kids. But crowd levels are high at peak times.
I recommend The Ledges Overlook Trail, which is slightly longer, but has a great view! It is short enough for young kids, and older kids will love running and climbing on the rocks on the trail.
We were running short on time, so we didn’t get to walk to Blue Hens Falls. This trail will be first on our list when we pass through Cleveland again!
6. Edgewater State Park
Many of the locals in Cleveland are very excited about Edgewater Beach, and I could see why. From a kid-friendly perspective, the beach has all the amenities that families want: Lifeguards, ample parking, bike paths, bathrooms, concessions and play areas.
However, the day that we went the bacteria levels were too high in Lake Erie to enter the water. Which, I must admit is a little unsettling. My son G* had his little heart set on getting into a Great Lake, and if your kids are the same, then I recommend checking the Cleveland Parks website prior to going to make sure the water is safe.
7. Visit Public Square
During warm days, put your kids in bathing suits and flip flops and go to Public Square! The splash fountain was refreshing and fun, and the views of the city as the sun set lower in the sky were amazing.
If you go during the day in the summer, The Cleveland Foundation sponsors Summer Splash in the Square, with family friendly activities every day of the week from 11am – 4 pm. And every Tuesday is Food Truck Tuesday at Public Square!
8. See the famous Arcade (and warn your kids, it’s not an actual Arcade)
A short walk from Public Square is the famous Arcade. And it’s a STUNNER, but most people just walk by the exterior if they don’t already know about it! The Arcade had just closed to the public for the night (only hotel guests were entering), so we got to see the Arcade empty and it was perfection!
By the time we walked over it was close to dinner time and the kids begged to eat at Pizza 216. This restaurant, which is inside the Arcade, specializes in fresh fire-oven pizza and they had some wonderful salad options too. It was my kid’s favorite restaurant on the trip, and definitely worth a stop if you are walking around Downtown Cleveland.
9. See the Giant Chandelier and Neon Lights on Playhouse Square
The locals are very proud of their Playhouse Square, and proudly tell visitors that it is second to only New York. While we were there, Cleveland was hosting a touring cast for Dear Evan Hansen. If you have time, you should definitely see a show while visiting.
The theater district at night is truly an unexpected gift. From the neon lights to the strings of lights criss-crossing the street, and of course, the Chandelier… Playhouse Square really lights up Cleveland when the sun goes down.
10. The Christmas Story House
Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to take the official tour of the Christmas Story House right outside downtown Cleveland in Tremont. However, my kids were very excited to see the house from one of their favorite Christmas movies and take a picture by the “major award.” Their website states that you can stay overnight at the house, which would be a really cool experience!
There is so much to see and do in Cleveland, and I highly recommend planning to spend a few days in “The Land”: the Birthplace of Rock and Roll. We can’t wait to go back and see more of this kid friendly, unique city!