6 Kid-Friendly Activities in Cleveland

6th April 2018


The Cleveland Mall, a large square and park, in downtown Cleveland, Ohio, USA at dawn.

Why Go

Due to its industrial past and bad luck with sports teams, this isn’t usually the first destination would-be tourists think of when dreaming up a family vacation. But upon visiting, families are unexpectedly delighted at the region’s wealth of history, parkland, museums, cultural institutions and excellent restaurants. The downtown area is compact and easily walkable and boasts a lovely variety of architecture. Public Square, right in the heart of downtown, recently underwent a $25 million renovation, designed by landscape architect James Corner (of New York’s High Line fame). The new park offers amusement for kids with a large splash park in the warmer months and an ice skating rink in the winter.

Cleveland is relatively inexpensive, too, making it ideal for a family getaway. With weather similar to Chicago or Boston, enjoy the playing in the sun in warmer months or bundle up and get cozy in the winter.

What to Do

In addition to exploring downtown, several neighborhoods stand out as gems of this city. Five miles to the east lies University Circle, the city’s cultural hub. Take a walk around the wonderfully shaded one square mile neighborhood, said to be one of the world’s densest concentrations of museums, cultural centers and educational institutions. Just west of downtown is Ohio City, which boasts the West Side Market, many popular microbreweries and an array of farm-to-table restaurants (and adjoining Tremont is another great neighborhood for foodies). Head a bit further west along Detroit Road to W. 65th Street, where the Gordon Square area serves as one of the newer arts districts in town, with funky shops aplenty.

The Grat Lakes Science Center and a portion of the Cleveland, Ohio downtown skyline as seen from the North Coast Harbor on the shores of Lake Erie.

Activities abound and there’s plenty to fill your time whether you go for a long weekend or a week.


Cuyahoga Valley National ParkCuyahoga Valley National Park

Getting Around

Cleveland is conveniently situated on multiple interstate highways, including I-71, I-77, I-80 and I-90. The medium sized airport is clean and easy to navigate. A direct light rail line connects it to downtown, about 10 miles away. Akron-Canton airport is another option; it is served by several no-frill airlines and it is less than 45 minutes away. Amtrak also stops in Cleveland on its New York-Chicago line, but its middle-of-the-night embarkation times make it less than convenient for families.

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