25 Free Family Friendly Things To Do in Cleveland - Cleveland West Side Moms

Cleveland is home to some really amazing attractions &
many of them are absolutely FREE!
To make things easier for you, I’ve rounded up
25 FREE things to do in our amazing city downtown & on the west side.

BONUS POINTS: They are all family-friendly!
(don’t forget to click on each location for additional info)

Original Image credit: Aerial Agents

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1. The International Women’s Air & Space Museum 

Located in downtown Cleveland, The International Women’s Air & Space Museum is such a fun location hidden in plain site in the middle of downtown CLE. There are some really amazing exhibits here highlighting notable women in the air & space industry. Model airplanes are also a hit with the kids to look at as well as some interactive controls they can play with. If you’re really lucky, you’ll see some planes take off & land since this is next door to Burke Lakefront Airport. Parking is free – make sure you don’t go into the lot that is in front of it & just park on the curb in front of the museum!

2. Cleveland Learning Center & Money Museum 

Cleveland’s Learning Center & Money Museum is currently closed due to COVID; however, keep this in mind for the future. It’s operated by the Federal Reserve of Cleveland with more than 25 exhibits all about the history & production of currency. They are offering virtual field trips so you can learn all about it from the comfort of your home.

3. Cleveland Police Museum

Another great attraction that is currently closed; however, there is a ton of virtual experiences to explore on their website. Keep this one in mind as well for the future – it’s a really neat museum. When we went a few years ago, the jail cell replica was a favorite. There’s a lot of other notable/historical things to see here as well.

4. Cleveland Public Library Main Branch

Cleveland Public Library’s Main Branch is an attraction all in itself. Besides the beautiful architectural structure, there are plenty of exhibits to see here. Our favorite thing to do here? Visit the observation deck on the 10th floor for great views of the city & don’t forget to spend some time in the beautiful reading garden.

5. Downtown Cleveland Trolley Rides

Trolley rides downtown are absolutely FREE. Days & times vary so be sure to plan ahead with this. This is a super fun way to explore Cleveland with your kiddos.

6. Cleveland Soldiers’ & Sailors’ Monument

The inside of this iconic Cleveland monument has limited hours but you could still have a great time checking out the incredible detail of this historical piece of Cleveland. Another fun thing to keep in mind for the future when they open up the free tours inside & underneath in the tunnels.

7. Visit The Free Stamp Downtown

This 35 ton sculpture is a Cleveland favorite. What better free activity is there to do than take a pic at The Free Stamp!

8. Go On A Free Self-Guided Walking Tour

The Land Studio has created a #TheCityisOurMuseum self-guided walking tour to celebrate the public art & public spaces in Cleveland. Download the tour & go explore!

9. Transformer Station

Transformer Station is a privately owned and operated art museum on Cleveland’s west-side. Located in Hingetown (on the corner of W. 29th St & Church Ave), the Transformer Station has quickly become an anchor destination in Cleveland’s rapidly evolving Ohio City neighborhood. The museum hosts four exhibitions annually.

10. Take A Pic With The Cleveland Signs

There are 6 Cleveland script signs spread throughout Cleveland. Make a day of it & visit them all. FYI – one of them is in the airport. I’m not sure if it’s accessible from the outside; we usually just always grab a pic when we get back home from a flight.

11. NASA Glenn Research Center

In normal times, the NASA Glenn Research Center offers guided tours for free with pre-registration. Right now, everything is virtual but another great thing to keep in mind for the future. We toured the center a few years ago when they had it open to the public & it was fantastic. We hope this will happen again soon.

12. Rocky River Nature Center

Located within the Rocky River Reservation, the Rocky River Nature Center is open 7 days a week! The center provides a full visitor experience with opportunities to discover and learn about current Ohio wildlife, ancient species such as Dunkleosteus along with prehistoric and pioneer cultures. HideAway Hollow, just recently renovated, is a giant oak tree where kids can play and discover.

13. Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

If you are a resident of Cleveland or Hinckley Twp, be sure to take advantage of FREE Mondays! Just be sure to have your driver’s license that proves you’re a resident or bring a current bill (from Memorial Day to Labor Day.)

14. Lake Erie Nature & Science Center

Located in Bay Village, the Lake Erie Nature & Science Center is a wonderful resource we have to visit for free. It’s home to a number of animal exhibits both indoors & outdoors along with interactive displays for the kiddos. For a small cost you can visit their planetarium.

15. Explore Cleveland Metroparks

One of my favorite things about living in Cleveland is the amount of beautiful parks we have. Explore all 18 Cleveland Metroparks or stick to the 8 that are on the west side.

16. Explore Lorain County Metro Parks

Neighboring Cleveland to the west is Lorain County. Lorain County Metro Parks is home to some of the most beautiful parks in our area. Be sure to keep a look out on the calendar here for all the fun events they have to offer.

17. Avon Lake Public Library DiscoveryWorks

Inside Avon Lake Public Library is DiscoveryWorks that is an incredible STEM based indoor learning center for kids. There are two spaces divided for younger kids & older kids each with their own unique sets of interactive activities to do. HIGHLY RECOMMEND!

18. Miller Nature Preserve

Part of the Lorain County Metro Parks, the Butterfly House at the Miller Nature Preserve is FREE & recently renovated. It is open seasonally from mid-June until Labor Day. If you’d like to visit the conservatory here, there is a small charge of $2 per person.

19. Visit A Playground

Our area is truly filled with such amazing playgrounds. No matter where you are, you’ll discover something new-to-you. Check out the list of 25 Best Playgrounds up above or here.

20. Visit A Storybook Trail

There’s about 15 storybook trails on Cleveland’s West Side. These are super fun trails with books along the way for your kiddos to read while enjoying a walk in a scenic environment.

21. Visit Lake Erie Beaches 

We are so lucky to have so many beaches on the west side from Edgewater all the way to the gorgeous islands. Soak up the sun & plan a day to explore a new-to-you beach.

22. Visit A Splash Pad in the Summer

There are seriously so many splash pads in the area. Cool off when it’s warm & have fun at one of the splash pads. Splash pads are typically open from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

23. French Creek Reservation Nature Center

The indoor space at French Creek Reservation in Sheffield Village is open again! Here you’ll find some animal exhibits along with a small play space that has some great activities for the younger kiddos like a rock wall & exploration areas.

24. Carlisle Reservation Nature Space

This is a fantastic indoor play space at Carlisle Reservation in Lagrange. It’s dinosaur themed with a lot of space to roam around & play. It’s also adjacent to the new nature space. While you’re there be sure to explore the outdoor children’s discovery trail with little cabins they can go inside & play in while learning about nature.

25. Schoepfle Garden

Schoepfle Garden is a gorgeous 77 acre garden in Wakeman & absolutely free. Part of the Lorain County Metro Parks, it features gorgeous blooms all year long as well as a children’s garden with playground, free carousel (see the calendar for days/times), & beautiful trails all throughout.

 

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