Cleveland may not be the biggest, most populated, or even the capital of Ohio, but it's a city that's been on the rise over the past couple of years and deserves some well-earned recognition. Cleveland's food game is incredible, they have oodles of Metroparks to explore, and they have the Cleveland Browns, Cavaliers, Indians, and Monsters all downtown! There's something for everyone in Cleveland, Ohio.
Whether you're visiting Cleveland for a wedding, a weekend getaway, or are new to the area, we have 10 free things to check out when the mood strikes.
10 CLEVELAND MUSEUM OF ART
Unlike many major cities in the US, Cleveland's Museum of Art is free to the public. Found in University Circle, the surrounding area is filled with peaceful walks, cafes, and other fun things to do while taking a breather from the museum.
While some exhibits will come with a fee, most day-to-day admission is free for guests. The Museum of Art is open every day of the week except for Mondays.
9 THE METROPARKS
The gorgeous Cleveland Metroparks surround and interweave with Cleveland's neighborhoods. From grasslands to beaches to open trails, Cleveland has over 18 reservations to explore throughout the area. With 23,000 acres, you can spend an entire week learning and finding new things while hiking.
If it's the warmer months, you can rent a kayak or paddleboard to go for a ride down the Cuyahoga or Lake Erie, or you can even grab a map and go bird-watching. Cleveland may have a busy downtown area but it's not without some stunning natural landscapes as well.
8 UNIVERSITY CIRCLE
If you're heading to the Cleveland Museum of Art, you may as well stay in University Circle and roam around! It's here that you'll find Little Italy, the Cleveland Botanical Gardens, and the small city life in Uptown.
You'll also stumble across Wade Park Lagoon. It a gorgeous pond that has plenty of shade and benches to sit on and relax. You can even grab some lunch to go and have a little picnic on the lawn.
7 LAKE ERIE'S BEACHES
As one of America's five Great Lakes, you'll get plenty of views of Lake Erie throughout Cleveland. But you don't need to watch the lake from afar, you can sit, walk, or tan on one of Lake Erie's beaches to truly enjoy everything Cleveland has to offer.
Edgewater Beach is a popular spot for Clevelanders, especially those with dogs as there's a dog area of the beach. You can also check out Huntington if you're on the West side of the city or take the fairy to Kelley's Island.
6 WEST SIDE MARKET
The West Side Market is actually the oldest running market in the United States and you can totally roam if for free in the Ohio City neighborhood. After opening in 1912, the market is still open for business today and maintains the same old-time feel as it did when it opened.
Outside, you'll find a farmers market with plenty of local produce from nearby farmers. Inside the market, you'll find different local vendors serving up any kind of food, drink, or dessert you can imagine. When you're done strolling through the West Side Market, take a step outside and see what the Ohio City neighborhood has to offer.
5 OLD STONE CHURCH
Similar to the West Side Market, the Old Stone Church is one of the oldest churches in America. You can find it among the city buildings in Public Square and is mainly untouched from when they started building the church in the late 1800s.
There were some renovations, of course, for safety reasons but you can totally take a step inside Old Stone Church for mass or just to marvel at the old sandstone.
4 ROCKEFELLER PARK & GREENHOUSE
Within Cleveland's historical Cultural Gardens (which are also free to roam), you can find Rockefeller Park and Greenhouse. It's a beautiful indoor garden that is perfect to escape to in the colder months (especially when you miss seeing the beauty of plants).
RELATED: 10 Most Beautiful Springs In America
The greenhouse has been around since 1905 and has local and exotic plants growing inside. Rockefeller Park also has an outdoor garden with an adorable gazeebo to rest at but the real charm is inside the greenhouse.
3 PUBLIC SQUARE
If you look closely at this photo of Public Square, you can see Old Stone Church across from the greenery! This two-block square is an awesome meeting ground for new and old friends alike. It's an awesome place to stretch your legs and become more grounded in the middle of the city.
If you do some research, there are usually free activities going on in the square for the community. There are also spots to sit outside and eat and you can take some stunning photographs of the Civil War soldiers and sailors monument that stands over 120 feet tall!
2 CLEVELAND METROPARK ZOO (FREE ON MONDAYS)
If you're a resident of Cuyahoga County or Hinckley Township, the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is free every Monday (excluding holidays)! As of this article, tickets for adults are around $14.95 and kids are $10.95 for anyone who isn't a local.
At the zoo, you can find African elephants, massive primates, lions, bears — you name it! It's a magical place for both children and adults (they even have beer for adults!).
1 INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S AIR AND SPACE MUSEUM
If you're an aviation enthusiast, Cleveland has a small museum that's perfect for a quick day of education. The International Women's Air and Space Museum can be found inside the old Burke Lakefront Airport. The free museum is open every day until 8 p.m. and you can see the history of women's aviation right before your eyes.
From artifacts and collections to rare images, you're going to learn a lot about the nation's aviation history. This museum also hosts a variety of events for families and kids so keep your eyes peeled!