25 Free Things To Do In CLE

25 Free Things To Do In CLELexi HotchkissDestination Cleveland

Zero. Zip. Zilch.

That's the sweet, sweet price of admission at dozens of Cleveland attractions.

So, save those pennies to spend on extra souvenirs and craft brews, because you're getting in free.


25. Art Walks/Events
Art walks throughout Cleveland not only offer a great way to explore the area's burgeoning independent art community, but they showcase some of the city's most unique neighborhoods.
Murray Hill Art Walk in Little Italy (East side)
Tremont ArtWalk (West side)
Third Fridays at 78th Street Studios (West side)

24. Cleveland Institute of Art - Reinberger Galleries (University Circle)
The world-renowned educational institution offers free access to its Reinberger Galleries, which not only present work from faculty and students, but international artists as well.

23. Cleveland Institute of Music (East side)
With many of its alumni working for some of the most prestigious orchestras and musical organizations in the world, the Cleveland Institute of Music has a student roster of future greats. You can hear them perform during live concerts in University Circle—most of which are free to the public.

22. Cleveland Museum of Art (East side)
It's surprising to learn that a museum housing a permanent collection boasting Picasso, Monet, Van Gogh and Warhol would be completely free and open to the public. Then again, Cleveland's a pretty surprising place. Check out this internationally-recognized museum in University Circle.

21. SPACES (West side)
Located on the Superior Viaduct in the Hingetown neighborhood, this truly innovative (and free) art gallery plays hosts to independent artists seeking to explore and experiment with their art.

20. Transformer Station (West side)
Examine contemporary art from around the world that now finds a home in the Transformer Station, a historic substation that is an anchor destination in the rapidly-evolving Ohio City neighborhood.


19. Amish Country (Village of Middlefield, 44 miles from Downtown)
Perhaps what our kids need is an understanding of life without technology. Enter: Amish Country. Geauga County, located just a 40-minute drive from downtown Cleveland, offers families the opportunity to truly immerse themselves in this unique culture.

18. Cleveland Cultural Gardens (East side)
Within a 1.5-mile stretch of land in University Circle are more than 30 individual gardens—complete with historical sculptures and unique horticulture signifying a different culture or country represented in Cleveland. Each garden is marked by the country's national flag.

17. Lake View Cemetery (East side, University Circle)
This incredible place is filled with sculpture, architecture and tributes to those who made great contributions to the area's industrial and civic development, including John D. Rockefeller and African-American inventor Garrett Morgan as well as the tomb of U.S. President James A. Garfield.

16. Soldiers & Sailors Monument (Downtown)
While Public Square is undergoing a facelift, one of its signature attractions—the Soldiers and Sailors Monument—is still open and free to the public. You can't miss the 125-foot bronze column topped with a statue of the Goddess of Freedom. Just below is the Memorial Room available to tour.

15. Stearns Homestead
Turn off the electronics and get your kids excited about life before Bubble Guppies and Doc McStuffins. Just under 10 miles southwest of Cleveland in Parma, you can get up-close with farm animals and learn about agricultural life from the early 1900s. Stearns Homestead is a working farm complete with animals, museums, gardens and historical displays.

14. Take a Hike Tours (Gateway District)
Ever wanted to meet John D. Rockefeller? Well, here's your big chance. Take a Hike Tours are unique walking tours of downtown Cleveland that come "alive" with costumed characters from Cleveland's past. Enjoy the beautiful Cleveland summer, walk off some of those vacation calories and get schooled on the history of this destination.


13. Free Summer Events
Having a great vacation and going broke are not synonymous. And, we'll prove it to you with these summertime events that showcase the best of Cleveland—all while offering free admission.


12. Cleveland Police Museum (Downtown)
From Prohibition to the infamous torso murders, you can take a dive into the history of Cleveland's law enforcement free of charge at the Cleveland Police Museum. See confiscated firearms, uniforms, artifacts and more from Cleveland's past.

11. Dittrick Museum of Medical History (University Circle)
We can't lie—some of the collections at the Dittrick Museum of Medical History make our skin crawl. That's because this unique museum collects, studies and documents 19th-century medical equipment and early forms of contraception. This is one sight not to be missed.

10. Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland - Learning Center & Money Museum (Downtown, East side)
Have you ever wondered how we bought things before money existed? And, who makes our money anyway? These questions and more are answered at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland's Learning Center and Money Museum.

9. International Women's Air and Space Museum (Downtown)
Learn about some of the female pioneers who paved the way for future generations at the International Women's Air and Space Museum at Burke Lakefront Airport. Past and present contributions from women to the fields of aviation and space are documented throughout.

8. National Cleveland-Style Polka Hall of Fame (City of Euclid, 11 miles from Downtown)
Did you know Cleveland has its very own form of polka? You do now. Check out the history of the "oompah" music in the city that rocks at this fun museum and hall of fame.


7. Cleveland Area Beaches
While surfing in Ohio might sound crazy, the truth is that Cleveland offers a variety of accessible beaches along its Lake Erie coastline offering swimming, sailing, and surfing—along with some of the best walleye, perch, and bass fishing in the world.
Edgewater Beach (adjacent to downtown Cleveland)
Fairport Harbor Beach(Painesville Township, Lake County)
Headlands Beach State Park (City of Mentor)
Huntington Beach (City of Bay Village)
Lakeview Park Beach(City of Lorain)

6. Cleveland Metroparks
From hiking trails, picnic pavilions, playgrounds and swimming spots, the 23,000-acre "emerald necklace" surrounding the city is a priceless Cleveland gem. Literally, priceless: there is no cost.

5. Cuyahoga Valley National Park (Village of Peninsula, 24 miles from Downtown)
If you want to experience the majesty of huge natural waterfalls or take in the breathtaking sunset atop a valley overlook, the Cuyahoga Valley National Park is calling your name. Good thing it's only about a 30-minute drive outside the city.

4. Nature Centers
The Cleveland area has a number of nature centers that are free and perfect for rambunctious little ones. And while they're burning off some energy, why not learn a thing or two?
Lake Erie Nature & Science Center (City of Bay Village)
Rocky River Nature Center (City of Rocky River)
Shaker Lakes Nature Center(East side)

3. Observatory Park (Montville Township, 44 miles from Downtown)
The Observatory Park, located in Geauga County, is a certified Dark Sky Park (it's only one of nine in the entire world). This 1,100-acre park inhibits light pollution to create an unbelievably starry sky, which means you can learn about how galaxies and the natural world connect in a completely one-of-a-kind outdoor setting.

2. Rockefeller Greenhouse (East side)
An afternoon walk through the Rockefeller Greenhouse offers an escape from the rigmarole of the typical vacation sights and sounds. The greenhouse features a wide variety of exotic gardens, flowers and other plants in its University Circle location.


1. Browns Training Camp (City of Berea, 15 miles from Downtown)
Does Johnny Football have his head in the game? What kind of season can the team expect? Head over to the Cleveland Browns Training Facility in Berea to see where Cleveland's NFL team will be prepping for the upcoming season.