The kids are out of school and the summer sun has you looking out of your office (or home office) window wondering when the fun is going to start. Pack up the family and hit the road for two days of great food and amazing attractions for the whole squad in Cleveland. If you’ve never been here before, or if you’re just looking to hit the easy button on planning your staycation, we’ve laid out everything you’ll need for a 48-hour family getaway to The Land.
Image © Pro Football Hall of Fame
Huddle up for a hearty breakfast at Yours Truly (Rockside) in Valley View, which offers something for everyone including gluten-free selections. Kids will dig the Mickey-esque mouse pancakes, while parents can load up with dishes like Eggs Bruschetta, the five-pancake-high Big Stack or a cheesy Notso omelet.
More than 10 million fans have made the pilgrimage to Canton’s Pro Football Hall of Fame—why not you? Spend the morning admiring NFL greats in the Hall of Fame Gallery (housing 326 bronze busts) or trace the history of the Super Bowl…all the way up to the Browns’ win in 2022. (Okay, maybe not that last part…yet.)
Stop the world and melt with Melt Bar & Grilled in Independence. Cleveland’s unofficial grilled cheese capital offers 25+ varieties of gooey grilled cheese—plus burgers, wings, soups and more mac-n-cheese than you can shake a spoon at.
Head north to University Circle to do the educational thing at Cleveland Museum of Natural Historyand Cleveland History Center. At the former, get a unique window into Northeast Ohio life as far back as 360 million years (exhibit A: massive Dunkleosteus head), and at the latter, go deep into local history with the interactive “Cleveland Starts Here” exhibit.
Hit the bricks of Little Italy for your family’s very own Italian feast. Sicilian pizza is in store at Mama Santa’s, while Guarino’s and Trattoria Roman Garden serve up Italian favorites like wedding soup and gnocchi. (Save room for sweets at a local bakery like Presti’s or Corbo’s!)
Clinch your awesome CLE day at Rollhouse Entertainment Solon for a family game of cosmic bowling or bocce. (Don’t forget a much-deserved craft cocktail to wind down from the day—we suggest a Pumpkin White Russian in homage to The Dude.)
Make your game plan over breakfast at Grumpy’s Cafe, where the friendly staff are anything but that. Local flavor is incorporated in more ways than one, with the work of CLE-based artists dotting the walls. Order biscuits and sausage gravy just the way Mom made it or tease your taste buds with a spicy Jambalaya omelet.
Your next stop: Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. Get your Fitbit’s worth hiking its 183 acres—on which you’ll spot elephants, giraffes and zebras roaming the African Savannah; red pandas hanging out in the Asian Highlands; and the world’s funniest-looking creature, the anteater, chilling in the RainForest.
In this city, nothing beats lunch on the waterfront. Try Merwin’s Wharf, where the whole family can share a plate of chicken sliders, followed by the Hail Mary dessert—a platter of s’mores. Ready for an adult beverage? Make it a Middle West Manhattan with Ohio-produced bourbon.
With hundreds of hands-on exhibits, you’ll chalk up extra points with the kids at the Great Lakes Science Center. Construct your own parachute or light sculpture in the Cleveland Creates Zone or take a space suit selfie and see a real moon rock at NASA Glenn Visitor Center.
Snag some much-needed sustenance at Crocker Park, an outdoor shopping district where your family can choose from a long list of dinner choices. Burntwood Tavern’s menu offers eclectic fare, while Dave’s Cosmic Subs (a “Best of Cleveland” winner in 2019) is piled high with groovy options. Prefer to hang with the upper crust? 3 Palms Pizzeria is a good bet.
Take it to the end zone at one of Greater Cleveland’s many funplexes, such as Play: CLE or Main Event Entertainment (both in Avon), or Dave & Buster’s (in Westlake). Whether your squad is into indoor ziplines, laser tag or arcade games, you’ll find your version of fun at these high-energy spots.