Cleveland is a city that’s friendly to both those who like to splurge and those with more frugal tendencies. Spending a fun day in this city doesn’t have to cost you a dime. Whether you want to explore activities around the city or simply enjoy the sunset, there are tons of options when it comes to free activities in Cleveland and we’re here to help you find them!
1. Mondays at the Zoo
Want to spend the day surrounded by members of the animal kingdom? Head over to Cleveland Metroparks Zoo on Mondays. Residents of Cuyahoga County and Hinckley Township get in free with proof of residency (such as a current utility bill or an ID). If you’re not a resident of theses Counties, you can still head out to Cleveland’s zoo for an amazing afternoon with a reasonable admission. Meander around the expansive park while taking in sights of animals from around the world, an activity that the whole family can enjoy!
2. The Cleveland Museum of Art
Spend time appreciating the artworks of both classic and contemporary artists at The Cleveland Museum of Art – free of charge. Located in the Wade Park District, the museum is home to more than 45,000 pieces of fine art, which are split into 16 departments. However, the art isn’t the only thing to be admired at the museum. The exterior of the building is a grand sight to be seen and the grounds feature a lagoon and sculptures, all wrapped up in a tranquil park setting.
Throughout the year (especially in the Summer) free concerts are peppered throughout Cleveland. Ranging from blues to jazz to tribute bands, these concerts are some of the best free activities in Cleveland and give residents and visitors a chance to get together and enjoy some music without having to break the bank. One of these concerts, The Star-Spangled Spectacular, draws crowds of up to 80,000 people and concludes with a dazzling firework display.
Another fun and unique location to catch free concerts in Cleveland is at the Hard Rock Cafe. Located inside Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park, you can grab a signature drink, enjoy a bite to eat, and catch a free show! That’s right, every Friday and Saturday night this location provides free live music, right on the cafe stage. Live music starts at 10 p.m. and goes on until 1 a.m., so stop by and enjoy some music to help you shape the perfect weekend.
One of the most stunning displays of nature’s beauty can be enjoyed from a variety of vantage points in Cleveland (without breaking out your wallet). Cleveland locals would agree that the sunset is best enjoyed amongst the city’s natural beauty. Lake Erie is the perfect spot to catch the sun’s descent reflected in glassy waters. The many nature preserves around Northeast Ohio give you the opportunity to get lost in nature before beholding the vivid colors of the sunset.
5. Nature Center at Shaker Lakes
Cleveland is home to hundreds of species of birds, animals, plants, and insects. Immerse yourself in the city’s rich ecosystem by paying a visit to the Nature Center at Shaker Lakes. Of course, you won’t actually be paying – admission is always free! The center not only preserves the natural landscape but also provides educational programs and events for those looking to deepen their education.
6. Rockefeller Park Greenhouse
Considered a hidden gem and one of the best free things to do in Cleveland, Rockefeller Park Greenhouse provides a lush oasis to residents and visitors alike. Plants and flowers vary according to the season, but they’re gorgeous all year round. This is a great place to escape for some peace and quiet, some fresh air, or simply a beautiful sight. Throughout the year, the greenhouse hosts events to bring the community together in the name of nature.
7. Take a Hike or Walking Tour
From May to September, Clevelanders are able to take walking tours of the city, free of charge. The tours cover districts of downtown Cleveland, including Playhouse Square, Warehouse District, Gateway District, and Civic Center. The tour schedule varies based on the day of the week, offering guests the opportunity to take multiple tours without repetition. Passionate tour guides bring the city’s history to life with engaging stories and role playing during this fun and free Cleveland activity.
8. Wade Oval Wednesdays
Wade Oval Wednesdays, affectionately nicknamed WOW Wednesdays, provide Clevelanders with some midweek fun and free things to do. Every Wednesday from June to August, a free concert takes place in the heart of University Circle. Guests can bring picnics or shop from delicious food trucks and vendors. Each week brings something different with theme nights and activities sprinkled in throughout the Summer.
9. Walkabout Tremont
Tremont is a historic Cleveland neighborhood teeming with culture. This culture is brought to life via Walkabout Tremont, a favorite free activity of Cleveland locals. Every second Friday at 5pm, the neighborhood comes together to showcase the creative works of local street performers and artists. Galleries, restaurants, bars, and shops participate in the event by offering specials and staying open late. Walking tours are available during Walkabout Tremont, exhibiting to visitors the plethora of attractions to see and explore throughout the city.
Cleveland is a city packed with things to do, people to meet, and places to see. The good news is that a large portion of those are free of charge. Free activities in Cleveland include concerts in the Summer, biweekly art walks, greenhouse visits, and informational walking tours. Visitors and residents can have fun exploring and participating in community events without spending a dime, proving once again that Cleveland is the city that rocks.