In Cleveland, we’ve got world-class experiences without the world-class ego. And for that, you’re welcome.
Here in Cleveland, we’ve got beef cheek in our pierogi, truffles on our hot dogs and beer in our donuts. Balance.
Whether you’re into the thread count of your linens or just a place to crash for the night, we’ve got a hotel room with your name all over it.
You know those places only the locals know? Let our experts help you find them with free maps, itineraries and insider tips.
History hasn't always been easy on us. But pressure can create diamonds. Come check out our gems.
Forget “you get what you pay for” — we want great experiences, but we’re often strapped for cash (student loans + bills = womp womp). We certainly don’t want to skimp on romantic weekends, but we’ve got to treat bae and your bank account with tender love and care. Good news: as one of America’s favorite affordable getaways, Cleveland has a ton of things to do that are free or budget-friendly.
Here’s how to do it …
Image © Cody York
Start the day right by fueling up on excellent, inexpensive diner food at Hot Spot Cafe. One of the only places Downtown with both free WiFi and free parking (!!), the menu is simple, yet everything you want. Eggs? Check. Bacon? Check. Coffee? Yuuuup. Plus there are several healthy options, and Eggs Benedict of the Day, which, let’s be serious, is exciting to even the most casual breakfaster.
Cash factor: Breakfast and a beverage will run you about $5-10 per person.
Head east for a quiet morning at Lake View Cemetery. Take a date to a graveyard, you ask? Yeah, sounds cray, but it’s actually an amazingly beautiful 285-acre park, perfect for hand-in-hand strolls. Even better, there’s opportunity to show off your smarts and impress your date with historical references as you visit the final resting places of President Garfield, John D. Rockefeller, Garrett Morgan and Eliot Ness.
Cash factor: As they say, you can’t take money with you when you pass on. So, we see no need for it here, either. It’s free.
Nearby University Circle is a hotbed for culture, attractions and education, so naturally, it has plenty of brain food. Stop for lunch at The Jolly Scholar, where nearly everything on the (rather large) menu is under 10 bucks. Or, let your tastes wander to the far reaches of Asia by getting your fill of truly authentic Chinese fare at NÜJOY for about the same price.
Cash factor: Plan to spend $10 per person. NÜJOY runs specials from time to time that can save you even more.
Art museums can sometimes be stuffy, expensive and unwelcoming. But the Cleveland Museum of Art is sooooo the opposite of all of those things. A huge, enclosed atrium welcomes you to a permanent collection filled with more than 45,000 works of art spanning 6,000 years, including Monet’s famous lily pad oils, ancient hot bod Grecian statues, and 100 very vivid images of Marilyn Monroe thanks to Andy Warhol. You’ll find kids and hipsters mixed with professionals and octogenarians here — all types of people fall in love with this incredible, casual, renowned museum.
Not your thing? That’s fine. Change gears and get a little weird at the Dittrick Museum of Medical History instead, where you can peruse such things as original Darwin letters, devices from back when medicine was completely barbaric, and even an entire collection on historical contraceptive methods. Hey, whatever works for you, we don’t judge.
Cash factor: Both museums are free (except special exhibits). Yes, that includes one of the top art museums in the country.
Romantic Little Italy beckons with its authentic Italian vibe, bakeries, mom-and-pop shops and restaurants. Take a stroll along Murray Hill before dining at Guarino’s a longtime Cleveland staple owned by Sicilian family that preserves the tastes of the motherland. Bonus: free parking!
Cash factor: Everything is under $20, with most dishes running in the mid-teens.
Treat yourself to dessert at one (or two) of Little Italy’s adorable bakeries. Get into a lover’s spat over which is better: the cannolis at Corbo’s or the cassata cake at Presti’s.
Cash factor: Everything is a la carte and a couple bucks, so budget risk correlates to self control. Good luck.
Hoopples is one of those places that captures the essence of a city. It’s certainly not glitzy or glamourous by any stretch. But, with a great skyline view of Cleveland and a friendly, rock ‘n’ roll vibe, you’ll feel right at home while downing some suds to round out your night.
West Side Market Cafe sits inside the beautiful, historic West Side Market. Sunday brunch consists of a variety of ethnic options reminiscent of the multicultural stalls inside the market itself. Choose from huevos rancheros, Hungarian hash or Belgian waffles before taking a stroll down the aisles of the West Side Market.
Cash factor: Less than $10 per person will get your day started right.
Did you know Cleveland has beaches? Yeah, really. Beautiful ones, too. Edgewater Park has one such beach where you can walk with your toes in the sand, listening to Lake Erie waves lap up on the rocks. Take a romantic walk along the beach, sit under the swaying willow tree on the water’s edge, and grab an ice cream cone or beverage at The Beach House.
A little too chilly for the beach? Get into the woods at one of the 17 other Cleveland Metroparks, where you can bike, hike, kayak, fish or birdwatch (if that’s your thing). During the winter months, you can handfeed chickadees at the Brecksville Reservation, take a thrilling toboggan ride at the Mill Stream Run Reservation and winter hike to Squires Castle.
Cash factor: Entrance to all parks is free.
How do we even describe Happy Dog? It’s like you’re a kid and you just want a hot dog. But, the adult in you says, “Wouldn’t it be cool if it had pimento cheese on it?” Then the kid in you pops back up and says, “How about Froot Loops on top instead?” And then the adult says, “OK whatever, but we’re also getting a beer.”
And that’s Happy Dog. Oh, plus arcade games and occasional live music. Take your date to this bar/happy place for a new twist on an old favorite, including 50 topping options. Pro tip: Good for vegans, too — they have delicious, animal-free menu items.
Cash factor: Plan on about $10-15 per person if you do it right.
Cleveland is a great place to spot public art, including the lovey-dovey mural of two love birds on the Veteran’s Memorial bridge at Detroit and West 25th Street. Take a walk around this art-friendly city to catch sight of the many, many pieces of street art including murals, sculptures and rotating installations.
Afterwards, take advantage of the views from the Terminal Tower Observation Deck. At 42 stories above Public Square, it gives you a great excuse to cling to your sweetie while taking in the sights of Downtown Cleveland, the Cuyahoga River and the lake. It’s only open from noon - 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, so don’t miss your window.
Cash factor: Street art viewing is always free, and the Terminal Tower Observation Deck will set you back $5 apiece.
Don’t miss happy hour at Pier W in Lakewood, just west of Cleveland. Widely known as the Cleveland restaurant with the best views, this romantic gem has floor-to-ceiling windows and sits on a cliff above Lake Erie, with a downtown skyline view to drool over. Regular menu prices can get up there, but the happy hour (4-6 p.m. Saturday, 4:30-6 p.m. Sunday) is insane, giving you and your plus-one the chance to try some incredible small plates, wine and cocktails at deep discounts. Pro tip: Get there early — happy hour is only served at the bar and is first-come, first-served. Another pro tip: Stop up on the rooftop patio for a great photo op.
Cash factor: You can get full (plus a drink) for $20 per person with strategic ordering.
Close out your Cleveland getaway with a funky, fun night of bowling at Mahall’s in Lakewood. It’s an all-the-way throwback bowling joint where you keep score by hand. Decent bar food and live music complement the atmosphere for a totally welcoming, chill, fun date night that is oh-so-Cleveland. Matthew McConaughey even spent an evening here while in town filming a movie. Alright, alright, alright.
Cash factor: Bowling is $4, shoes are $2 and most of the food is under $10.
Choose from over 300 miles of scenic trails to hike, golf a pristine course or visit Cleveland Metroparks Zoo to make a difference for wildlife.
Considered one of the top art museums in the nation, visit for an hour or explore all day; free of charge to all. Renowned for the quality and breadth...
Corbo's Bakery has multiple locations throughout Northeast Ohio, but — without a doubt — it's at their location in Little Italy that you'll get the...
Explore the medical past, both familiar and strange, in our museum galleries, including new exhibits on the history of contraception and diagnostic...
Run, bike, swim or enjoy a beautiful sunset at Edgewater Beach, located on Lake Erie in Cleveland, just minutes from downtown. Grab a bite to eat at...
Little Italy in Cleveland, Ohio is home to some of Cleveland's best restaurants and cultural institutions. At Guarino's Restaurant, we're proud to be...
Cleveland's gourmet hot dog emporium, with 50 house-made toppings for their all beef hot dogs, vegan sausages, french fries & tater tots. A truly...
Open for breakfast and lunch M-S 7a-3p. Come enjoy our full-service menu, including gluten free and vegan options, and free Wi-Fi every day. Free...
Lorain County Metro Parks’ first lakeside recreational park, Lakeview Park, offers 20 acres along the north side of West Erie Avenue in Lorain, Ohio....
Located on a bluff overlooking the Cuyahoga River, the blue-collar joint offers a great view of the skyline and an even better feel for old-school...
Sweeping views of Lake Erie and Downtown Cleveland featuring the freshest seafood as well as beef, chicken, and pasta.
In 1903 Rose and Charles Presti Sr. opened Presti’s Bakery specializing in baking fresh bread. Fresh bread, donuts, cookies, cakes and pastries are...
Known for its ever-changing multicolors that sync with current events in CLE, the Terminal Tower is essentially the center of Cleveland. Located at 50...
Why is the historic West Side Market a favorite destination for locals as well as out of towners? There is something for everyone, from everyday to...