Ten Ways To Explore CLE For Free

August 7, 2018


CLEVELAND (August 7, 2018) - When looking for things to do around CLE, there are plenty of free places to go where residents don't have to spend a penny. From museums to outdoor activities to summer festivities, Destination Cleveland recommends that locals get out and explore Northeast Ohio with experiences that don't cost a thing. 

Free Museums

Cleveland Museum of Art

Featuring the works of Picasso and Monet, an armor court and contemporary masterpieces, locals can meander through the permanent collection at the Cleveland Museum of Art at any time for free. The museum also has special, free exhibitions on display which currently include "Allen Ruppersberg: Then and Now," showcasing unique, illuminated photos of Cleveland taken from the vantage point of billboards across the city; and "Danny Lyon: The Destruction of Lower Manhattan," which highlights photos of New York City buildings and their transition over the years. Guests can even play games with art in the interactive ARTLENS Gallery, which uses innovative digital technology to learn more about the museum's extensive collection.

  • 11150 East Blvd., Cleveland
  • Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.; Wednesday and Friday, 10 a.m. - 9 p.m.

Baseball Heritage Museum

For an afternoon that is sure to be a grand slam, residents can learn about America's favorite pastime at the Baseball Heritage Museum. Fans can look back in time with stories, photographs, programs, uniforms and other game-treasured memorabilia. Located in the former ticket office at League Park, the museum holds artifacts like 1945 Cleveland Indians jerseys, photographs of women's baseball games and images from the Victory Parade after the Indians won the World Series in 1948.

  • 6601 Lexington Ave., Cleveland
  • Summer hours: Wednesday and Friday, 1 - 5 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.; Sunday, noon - 4 p.m.

Federal Reserve Bank - Learning Center and Money Museum

Clevelanders don't need to spend money to learn about money at the Federal Reserve Bank's Learning Center and Money Museum. Guests can stand beneath a 23-foot-tall money tree, identify counterfeit bills and make their own currency, among other hands-on, interactive exhibits, to learn about finance, economics and the history of money. And for fans of the musical "Hamilton," the museum has an exhibit running through September 27 focused on the Founding Father who was the first U.S. Secretary of the Treasury.

  • 1455 E. 6th St., Cleveland
  • Monday - Thursday, 9:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.

International Women's Air and Space Museum

Women have had an incredible impact on the history of air and space travel, and luckily, the International Women's Air and Space Museum landed in The Land so locals can learn about their influence in this industry. Located at Burke Lakefront Airport, the museum showcases memorabilia and historical artifacts from women in aviation and space like Amelia Earhart, Katharine Wright (the Wright Brothers' sister), Sally Ride and the Women Air Force Service Pilots (WASP).

  • Burke Lakefront Airport, 1501 N. Marginal Road #165, Cleveland
  • Daily, 8 a.m. - 8 p.m.

Free Sights

Cuyahoga Valley National Park

From views of the vast valley at the Ledges Overlook to the breathtaking waterfall at Brandywine Falls, visiting the Cuyahoga Valley National Park (CVNP) is a great way to spend the day without breaking the bank. CVNP is the only national park in Ohio and one of the U.S. national parks that has free admission. Residents can choose from a variety of outdoor activities from hiking on the trails to biking along the Towpath to picnicking and birdwatching. CVNP even offers free programs throughout the year to learn about and explore the different facets of the 33,000-acre national park.

  • Boston Store Visitor Center, 1550 Boston Mills Road, Peninsula

Cleveland Cultural Gardens

Locals can celebrate the diversity of Cleveland by taking a stroll through the Cleveland Cultural Gardens. The gardens reflect the different ethnicities represented in the region with spaces dedicated to various cultures and nationality groups. Residents can walk through 30 gardens at this only-in-CLE gem and see notable cultural figures and monuments like the Shakespeare statue in the British garden and the Confucius statue in the Chinese garden. While traveling through the gardens, locals can stop by the nearby Rockefeller Park Greenhouse to check out a wide variety of exotic gardens and plants. Residents can also mark their calendars for the Cleveland Cultural Gardens' One World Day on September 16, which includes a parade, live entertainment and tasty treats.

  • For more information on gardens' locations, please visit the Cleveland Cultural Gardens website. 

Free Shows

Wade Oval Wednesdays

If Clevelanders are looking for a way to relax in the middle of the week, they can grab a blanket or lawn chair and head over to Wade Oval Wednesday in University Circle. Each week features live music from different genres, activities for the family and food trucks (but to make it completely free, residents can even bring their own food and picnic). The event really WOWs residents with special experiences like a local market and a movie under the stars to make for a memorable summer evening.

  • 10820 East Blvd., Cleveland
  • Wednesdays, Aug. 8, Aug. 15 and Aug. 22, 6 - 9 p.m.

Flat Out Fridays

Locals can kick off their weekend with live music along Cleveland's waterfront in the Flats East Bank. "Flat Out Fridays," which take place on the second Friday of every summer month, feature a local band, sweet treats, refreshing beverages and other outdoor entertainment for residents to enjoy. Before or after the show, Clevelanders can round out the evening with a stop at one of the dining or entertainment establishments in the Flats, like Coastal Taco, Beerhead or Big Bang Dueling Piano Bar.

  • 1055 Old River Road, Cleveland
  • Fridays, Aug. 10 and Sept. 14, 6 - 10 p.m.

Free Fests

Feast of the Assumption

For a weekend full of Italian food and festivities (with loads of free sights, sounds and food smells), residents can go to the 120th Annual Feast of the Assumption in Cleveland's Little Italy neighborhood. Food vendors and a dozen area restaurants will be open for the duration of the weekend, and guests can enjoy live music, carnival rides and games. The four-day event also includes services to celebrate the Catholic holy day and two different processions through the neighborhood streets.

  • Holy Rosary Church, 12021 Mayfield Road, Cleveland
  • Wednesday, Aug. 15, noon - 11 p.m.; Thursday, Aug. 16, 6 p.m. - 11 p.m.; Friday, Aug. 17, 6 p.m. - midnight; Saturday, Aug. 18, noon - midnight

SPARX City Hop

On August 18, Clevelanders can hop around the CLE on a trolley during the SPARX City Hop. This one-day, self-directed tour celebrates the arts and culture in the city with stops at artist studios, galleries, retailers and restaurants. Residents will be able to choose from three different trolley lines with stops at locations like Playhouse Square, the Ohio City neighborhood and the Superior Arts District. SPARX City Hop also highlights special events like the Flats Festival of the Arts, the Veterans Memorial Bridge and Subway Station Tours and local music performances.

  • For stops and a detailed schedule, please visit the Downtown Cleveland Alliance website.

For more free activities or to learn more about Destination Cleveland or new attractions and activities, please visit thisiscleveland.com, follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram and subscribe to our channels on YouTube and Pinterest.

DON'T FORGET: Destination Cleveland's Concierge Team is also available to help residents and their visiting family and friends explore the region. Contact our team through email at cleconcierge@destinationcle.org, live chat at thisiscleveland.com or stop in the Cleveland Visitors Center (334 Euclid Ave., Cleveland, 44114) Mon. - Sat., 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. to plan your adventure.


ABOUT DESTINATION CLEVELAND: Destination Cleveland is Cleveland's convention and visitors bureau. This private, non-profit organization's mission is to drive economic impact and stimulate community vitality for Greater Cleveland through leisure and business travel. Cleveland welcomes 18 million visitors annually. For more information, visit thisiscleveland.com.

Articles Search

Download the Destination Cleveland App

The Destination Cleveland app is your guide to art, culture and rock ‘n’ roll in a city that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Grit meets sophistication in a town with world-class experiences without the world-class ego. And for that, you’re welcome.

Destination Cleveland
334 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44114
800. 321. 1001
Check out what other travelers say
about Cleveland on TripAdvisor.