25 Free Things To Do In CLE

July 4, 2015
25 Free Things To Do In CLE

Put your pocketbooks away – these are on us!

Lexi Hotchkiss

Zero. Zip. Zilch. Nada. Ne. Nein. Nothing. FREE.

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

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


25. Art Walks/Events

Art walks not only offer a great way to explore Cleveland's burgeoning independent art community, but they showcase some of the city's coolest neighborhoods.

24. Cleveland Institute of Art - Reinberger Galleries

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

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

It's surprising to learn that a museum that contains 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 at zero charge to you.    


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

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

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

Within a 1.5-mile stretch of land in University Circle are more than 30 individual gardens - complete with historical sculptures and unique horticulture - that signify a different culture or country represented in Cleveland. Each garden is marked by the country's national flag.

17. Lake View Cemetery

Admittedly, going to a cemetery may not initially seem like a great idea. But Lake View Cemetery is different. This incredible place is filled with sculpture, architecture and tributes to those who made great contributions to the area's industrial and civic development like John D. Rockefeller and African American inventor Garrett Morgan, as well as the tomb of a U.S. president. 

16. Soldiers & Sailors Monument

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. 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: Through Sept. 16

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

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

11. Dittrick Museum of Medical History

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. Yikes! Gotta see it to believe it.

10. Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland - Learning Center & Money Museum

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  

Who says women can't do anything they set their minds to? 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. Women's past and present contributions to the fields of aviation and space are documented throughout.

8. National Cleveland-Style Polka Hall of Fame

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 (and FREE) beaches along its Lake Erie coast with swimming, sailing, surfing and some of the best walleye, perch and bass fishing in the world.

6. Cleveland Metroparks

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

5. Cuyahoga Valley National Park

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 20- to 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?

3. Observatory Park

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

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  

Does Johnny Football have his head in the game? What kind of season can the team expect? Find out the answers to these questions by heading over to the Cleveland Browns Training Facility in Berea to watch Cleveland's NFL team prep for the season.

Hey Clevelanders: We know this list could be big - like Lebron James big. So, tell our visitors, what free stuff did we miss?

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