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25 + Fun Things To Do In Cleveland With Kids

by The Mom Trotter

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You may think of Cleveland as a place to take your children to for a fun vacation but you’d be very surprised to find put how kid friendly Cleveland is.

To some extent we think we need to head to a tropical island or famous theme park in order to take our kids on a great vacation, but that is simply not true. However, there are plenty of really fun things to do in Cleveland with kids.

How To Get To Cleveland With Kids

We purchased a round trip flight to Cleveland from Los Angeles on Spirit Airlines. We had no issues with our flight on both legs of the journey.

We traveled on a red eye flight which is our favorite way to travel because the kids can sleep the whole night, we get there early in the morning and then we have a whole day to explore the city.

How To Get Around Cleveland With Kids

We rented a car as soon as we landed. Uber and Lyft are also options for getting around Cleveland, however with 4 kids in tow, renting a 7-seater was the best option.

We rented a Dodge Grand Caravan and it fit all of and all our luggage perfectly. 

Where To Stay In Cleveland With Kids

We stayed at The Kimpton-Schofield Hotel which is an absolutely beautiful property in downtown Cleveland. We had connecting rooms, one with a king bed and the other with two queen beds which the kids shared.

Both rooms had a beautiful window view of the street which was nice.

Other family friendly hotels in Cleveland:

Things To Do In Cleveland With Kids

Keep in mind that although my list has 25 + things to do in Cleveland with kids, these are far from the only things to do while you are there! Cleveland is a great city that you are going to love your time there.

Things To Do In Cleveland With Kids Year Round 

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Did you have any idea that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame was located in Cleveland? That fun fact often takes people by surprise. Cleveland has been the home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame since 1986 and is a wonderful place to visit if you love music. 

At the museum you can see amazing exhibits such as costumes and guitars from some of music’s most famous faces or even the Beatles car!

It’s also worth noting that the exhibits here change often, so even if you have been here before, it’ll be worth a return trip to see more stuff!

The kids favorite part of this exhibit was being able to play the instruments. They had so much fun here they didn’t want to leave.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Great Lakes Science Center

If you do visit the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, make sure to take a little walk over to the Great Lakes Science Center?  This place will entertain you and your children for hours and hours. 

With a playground for young children, an interactive science center for all of the kids as well as gorgeous views of the lake and if you are lucky to be there during peak season, you might be able to hop on a cruise of Lake Erie. 

As an added bonus, if you happen to be a member of your local science museum, you might even find yourself with free or reduced admission. We are members of our science center in California so it was free for us.

Great Lakes Science Center

University Circle

Give your children the opportunity to see experience art and culture? University Circle provides you the ability to do just this! 

Here you will find the Cleveland Cleveland Museum of Art which is free and the Cleveland Botanical Garden. When visiting University Circle make sure to combine a visit to both places.

University Circle

  • Cleveland Museum Of Art
  • Cleveland Botanical Garden

The Children’s Museum of Cleveland

I love children’s museums because they are such a fun way for families to spend time together and that definitely goes for the Children’s Museum of Cleveland.

This museum is created inside of a beautifully restored mansion and is filled with kid friendly exhibits such as a craft area, a massive play structure, and a huge water activity lab. 

The Children’s Museum of Cleveland

Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Did you know that there is a national park just 30 minutes out of Cleveland? Plan to spend the day at Cuyahoga Valley National Park as there is plenty to do there.

In the 33,000 acres in the park you and your kids can take part in canoeing, kayaking, hiking, fishing, and even snowshoeing during the winter.  

One of the most popular things that bring tourists to the park though, is the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad.  This is a vintage railroad that riders can take to experience the park and all of the landscapes within it.

Be sure to check the park’s calendar too because the railroad often offers special event rides, such as princess and superhero rides. We didn’t get a chance to check out the railroad because it was very cold, but we did hike to Brandywine Falls which was beautiful.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Cleveland Museum of Natural History

The Cleveland Museum of Natural History is a great place to take your kids because, hello, DINOSAURS!  What child doesn’t love dinosaurs. There are also some really great planetarium shows at this museum too! 

In addition to the indoor museum, you will also find the Perkins Wildlife Center, which is home to over 100 mammals, birds and more that are native to to Ohio.

These include coyotes, otters, bobcats, raptors and more and they are showcased in awesome, outdoor exhibits.

Cleveland Museum of Natural History

West Side Market

No matter how old your children are, when it is time to eat, they are going to love the West Side Market. There are many different, fun and unique food choices to choose from.

There are also some delicious bakery vendors at the Market that you can enjoy right there while you shop. 

We stopped for cupcakes at one of the stalls and they had one of the yummiest red velvet cupcakes I have ever had.

West Side Market

Cleveland Playhouse Square

Did you know that the largest outdoor chandelier in the world is located in Cleveland? And you can find it right here in Playhouse Square. 

Also, if you love performing arts and you want to introduce your children to it while in Cleveland, you should head down to Playhouse Square. 

This Cleveland theater district is home to nine different theaters and performance centers where you can see a variety of shows.

Cleveland Playhouse Square

The Glass Bubble Project

Making an art project out of glass was listed as one of the bucket list items of things to do before you die. So it was no surprise that I had to book a class for all of us.

The kids each made a solid project (heart, square, egg and globe), and my husband and I both made glasses (shot glass and tall glass). Being able to experiment with hot glass, melt glass was everything for the kids. 

Bowling at The Corner Alley

What kid doesn’t like bowling? The kids were excited to go bowling at the Corner Alley. This place also has a restaurant so you can order food to eat while you bowl.

The kids favorite thing about this bowling alley – free arcade games. If you want to have a fun and affordable family night, then I highly recommend this place.

East 4th Street

Located downtown, this is a bustling part of Cleveland with plenty of restaurants that have outdoor patios especially perfect for the summer. It is also such a great place for a photo op, so make sure to add it to your list.

Other Things To Do In Cleveland With Kids

We wanted to do so much but we didn’t have much time, so below are some things that I put on my list for the next time we visit. If you’re spending more than four days in Cleveland I’m sure you’ll be able to see more.

Greater Cleveland Aquarium

If you want to see your child excited to be learning, a trip to the Greater Cleveland Aquarium will be an amazing way to spend time in Cleveland with your kids.

This aquarium has been built in a restored powerhouse on the Cuyahoga River. It is home to thousands of underwater creatures from all over the world.

This aquarium with its walk through “sea-tube” is a great place to head with your kids during your trip to Cleveland. 

Greater Cleveland Aquarium

Lake Metroparks Farmpark

Would you like your children to receive a hands-on view of what the agricultural industry is all about? Then you need to head on down to Lake Metroparks Farmpark.

Your children can visit this 235 acre park and milk a cow, take a seat on farm equipment, ride a farm wagon, milk a real dairy cow, and even meet other fun farmyard animals. 

Lake Metroparks Farmpark

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

At close to 200 acres, the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is home to over 3000 birds, fish, reptiles, mammals and more.

In addition, this zoo is located within one of the most beautiful park systems in the entire country, which makes the experience just that much better.

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

Sweetie Candy Company

Did you ever watch Willy Wonka when you were young?  Did it make you dream of walking through a candy paradise?  Well, this is one of those things to do in Cleveland with kids!

Taking your children to the Sweetie Candy Company means allowing your children into this amazing building filled with 40,000 square foot of candy! 

All kinds of candy too! Jellybeans, lollipops, and even blast from the past candies like Big League Chew, Candy Cigarettes and more!

Sweetie Candy Company

Cleveland Sports

If your family love sports, then you’ll love visiting Cleveland. Cleveland is home to the Cleveland Indians baseball team, the Cleveland Cavaliers basketball team and the Cleveland Browns football team.

  • Baseball – Celeveland Indians

Progressive field is home to the Cleveland Indians. You can watch a game, take a field tour, or check out the many kid-friendly programs that they offer throughout the year. Progressive Field

  • Basketball – Cleveland Cavaliers
  • Football – Cleveland Browns

A Christmas Story House

Have you ever watched the famous holiday movie, A Christmas Story?  The house from this movie is located in Cleveland, it has been completely restored and best of all, it is open for tours and you can even stay the night.

Reminisce over favorite moments and mementos from the film. There is also a museum dedicated to the movie right across the street from the home.

A Christmas Story House

Cleveland Public Library

No matter what city you are visiting, the Public Library is always a great choice of things to do. That goes for Cleveland as well!

The Cleveland Public Library is a wonderful place to take kids because they have not only a huge selection of wonderful books and videos, but there is a great kids section, entertaining classes and they even have some really fun exhibits.

Cleveland Public Library

Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum

If your kiddos love airplanes or cars, then the Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum is for you! 

There are over 170 awesome displays of different types of preserved transportation such as antique autos, bicycles, boats, motorcycles, aircrafts, carriages and sleighs for you to enjoy.

Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum

Things To Do In Cleveland With Kids In The Summer

We visited Cleveland in the winter so we couldn’t enjoy the activities below, so if you visit Cleveland in the summer make sure to add them to your list.

Memphis Kiddie Park

If you are in Cleveland during the summertime with preschool aged children, then I highly recommend a trip to the Memphis Kiddie Park!  This is a theme park designed for little adventure seeking kids!

Memphis Kiddie Park

Edgewater Park

Edgewater Park is one of the best places to take the kids in the summer in Cleveland.  This park has 147 acres, 9000 feet of shoreline, two different beaches, a marina and a yacht club.

Of course you can visit this park any time of year, but it’s great for summer because there is so much opportunity for playing on the water!  There are also plenty of picnic areas available, hiking trails, and even special events and programs for the kids (and you!) to enjoy!

Edgewater Park

Lakewood Park

Another great place to take kids when you are looking to cool down during the summer is Lakewood Park.  This lake-front park is 31 acres and is a great place to enjoy views of the lake, a beach volleyball court, baseball fields, tennis pools, a swimming pool, a wading pool, a museum and more!

Lakewood Park

Clay’s Park Adventure Water Park

While not exactly in Cleveland (it’s about 45 minutes away), Clay’s Park Resort Water Park is a wonderful place to take your kids during the heat of summer!

This isn’t the typical water park that you are used to seeing.  This water park is built around it’s main water feature, which is a lake! This man-made lake has a sandy bottom and was built for swimming, but it is a fun change from the typical swimming pools that we typically see at water parks.

This park has a splash pad for little ones, water slides, zip lines over the lake and more! 

Clay’s Park Adventure Water Park

Cedar Point

Also about an hour away from Cleveland, is this very popular amusement park also known as the rollercoaster capital of the world.

You definitely don’t want to miss out on when in Cleveland. Take a day trip to Cedar Point with you kids and you’ll be sure to enjoy all types of rides for younger and older kids.

Cedar Point

Where To Eat In Cleveland

Cleveland has plenty of amazing restaurants to choose from. We were very pleased with all of the places we ate at that’s for sure.

Shake Shack

Lucky’s Cafe

Mabel’s BBQ

West Side Market

Yours Truly

Sweet Moses

Mitchell’s Ice Cream

Grumpy’s Cafe

Cleveland Itinerary

Below is how we spent our 4 days in Cleveland. Hopefully this Cleveland itinerary should help when planning your trip.

Cleveland Itinerary Day 1

  • Arrive in Cleveland
  • Breakfast at Lucky’s Café  
  • Drive to University Circle Neighborhood (15 min from breakfast locations)
    • Natural History Museum
    • Cleveland Botanical Garden
    • Cleveland Museum of Art (free)
  • Bowling and dinner at The Corner Alley on East 4th Street

Cleveland Itinerary Day 2

  • Breakfast at Yours Truly
  • Playhouse Square – World’s Largest Outdoor Chandelier at Playhouse Square (3 min walk from Yours Truly)
  • Heinen’s Grocery store – great photo op inside
  • Both of these are within walking distance of each other
    • Great Lakes Science Center
    • Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
  • Lunch
    • Nuevo (Mexican food) located at North Coast Harbor 
  • Cleveland Sign and city backdrop – located at North Coast Harbor behind the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Nuevo
  • Dinner at Great Lakes Brewing Company
  • Mitchell’s Homemade Ice Cream for dessert
  • Tabletop – a board game café with games like Guess Who? And Jenga

Cleveland Itinerary Day 3

  • Breakfast at Grumpy’s Cafe
  • Cleveland Children’s Museum
  • Lunch at Mabel’s
  • Pick one or visit both if you have time
    • Cleveland Zoo
    • Cleveland Aquarium 
  • Dinner – Butcher & Block
  • Dessert – Sweet Moses
  • Superelectric Pinball Parlor 

Cleveland Itinerary Day 4

  • Check out of hotel 
  • Breakfast at Brewnuts
  • Glass Blowing class at The Bubble Project
  • Lunch – Gordon Square Neighborhood to get dinner at Happy Dog
  • Cuyahoga Valley National Park (Brandywine Falls is popular)
  • Head to airport / Head home / Head on a  road trip

If you have a few more days and want to check of more places on your list while in Cleveland, then check out the rest of our itinerary below:

Cleveland Itinerary Day 5 and 6

  • Drive from Cleveland Ohio to Niagara Falls, Canada or Niagara Falls, NY depending on whether you have a passport or not. Spend 2 days here exploring the area.
  • On this drive you will go through Pennsylvania and can add a stop here if you’d like.

Cleveland Itinerary Day 7

  • Check out of hotel in Niagara Falls
  • Drive from Niagara Falls, Canada to Detroit, Michigan 
  • Dinner in Detroit – Pho Lucky
  • Check into Detroit hotel 
  • Relax and pool time

Cleveland Itinerary Day 8

  • Spend most of the day in Detroit, Michigan and drive straight to the airport from there. We booked a flight that departed Cleveland, Ohio at 8:30pm for this reason giving us a whole extra day to explore.
    • Michigan Science Center
    • West Side Market

Thanks to This Is Cleveland #ThisIsCLE for hosting our family in Cleveland and sponsoring this post, we had an amazing time. As always, all opinions are my own.

Tips & Tricks For Booking An Affordable Family Vacation
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