Cleveland is a great city for sports aficionados, lovers of watersports, or those that just enjoy a good sunset or a good brew. Cleveland is also a great place for children! There are numerous museums and spacious parks. A day or a weekend with the family doesn’t have to cost big bucks though, here are five things you can do- for FREE- as a family.
Explore the West Side Market
The Ohio City neighborhood of Cleveland is home to the West Side Market. Over 100 years old, the market boasts produce, meat, bakery and even floral stalls. Your children will enjoy ogling at Oreo cookies decorated to look like Ninja Turtles, while your husband drools over stuffed peppers wrapped in bacon or a side of ribs! There’s something for everyone and your stomach will thank you (and while the market is free, the turtle Oreos will set you back $1.50 each).
Hike or Bike in Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Unlike many National Parks, there are no fees to enter Cuyahoga Valley. Located only 30 minutes south of downtown Cleveland, the park takes you away from big city living. Brandywine Falls, one of the most popular attractions within the park, is easily accessible from a short 1.5 mile loop trail. Or, if you need to bring a stroller, the Ohio & Erie Towpath trail is a hard packed path within the National Park, making it an easy way to take in some of the sights and sounds of the area. Visitor Centers and restrooms also lie along the Towpath. The park is open year-round. Older children may enjoy snowshoeing or skiing in the winter.
Enjoy history and serenity at Lake View Cemetery
When it comes to family-friendly destinations, most Americans don’t think of cemeteries as tourist locales, but Lake View Cemetery has a history that makes it worth considering for families. When the cemetery was created in 1869, there were no botanical gardens or city parks, so locals used this green space as a place to picnic, stroll, and rest. This is a great, open space for kids to play and enjoy the outdoors. Lake View Cemetery is also home to the James Garfield monument. Garfield was 20th President of the United States and the second President to be assassinated. This impressive building is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places. If you’re teaching your kids about American business, you can show them the massive monument that belongs to John D. Rockefeller. The 65’ tall piece of granite that weighs in at over 350,000 pounds is sure to impress. This park-like cemetery is free to visitors after registering at the cemetery office.
Stare at a masterpiece at the Cleveland Art Museum
It’s rare to find a museum of this caliber that is FREE. For moms of little ones, they offer stroller tours which are for exclusively for caregivers with babies under 18 months. Within the museum, there is an area known as Studio Play, where preschoolers and primary-aged children can explore with hands-on activities. Among 30,000 works of art there is sure to be something to entertain families of all ages or at least offer respite on a rainy-or more likely, snowy-day in Cleveland.
Enjoy a lakeside park
One of the major perks of Cleveland is its location on Lake Erie. A picnic and a swim is always an affordable option that is adored by kids. Our family enjoyed a picnic lunch at Voinovich Park, which is situated close to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Great Lakes Science Center. If you want to swim, Edgewater Park is popular among visitors and locals -- you can even bring your fishing pole and try your luck at getting some Lake Erie perch!