Free Things to do in Cleveland

A trip to Cleveland doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg, in fact Cleveland can be a fairly inexpensive vacation as there are a lot of free things to do in the Cleveland area.

Cleveland Museum of Art

The Cleveland Museum of Art features a permanent collection of more than 43,000 artworks and general admission to these permanent galleries is free to the public. There are 19 permanent galleries available to the public and several other special displays that are available with an admission fee. The museum divides its artwork into 15 different areas and holds work by such noted artists as Caravaggio, El Greco, Goya, Dali, Renoir, Monet, van Gogh, Picasso and many, many more. There is even a fairly substantial collection of late 20th century art from known artists like Warhol, Pollock, LeWitt and others. The Cleveland Museum of Art has been undergoing a major renovation since 2005 and is on scheduled to be completed in 2012.

Nature Center at Shaker Heights

The Nature Center at Shaker Lakes was founded in 1966 and sprung out of the community’s resistance to the parklands being destroyed for a new freeway. The Nature Center currently serves to keep the public educated about the importance of the natural habitats of the area. The parklands are registered as a National Historic Site. There are all sorts of programs happening at the Nature Center so check the website to see if one particularly appeals to you.

Great Lakes Brewing Company

The Great Lakes Brewing Company in Cleveland began in1988 with two brothers and beery dreams. It was the first microbrewery in the entire state of Ohio at the time and today is the most celebrated and award-winning brewer in the region. Free brewery tours are offered at the Great Lakes Brewing Company at the top of the hour between 5pm and 9pm on Fridays and 1pm and 9pm on Saturdays. You can also schedule a private tour for your group if you call in advance. While you’re at the brewery, make sure you stop in at the Taproom for a taste but also to view the Tiger Mahogany Bar, the oldest in Cleveland and one riddled with bullet holes attributed to Eliot Ness.

NASA Glenn Research Center Visitors Center

The NASA Glenn Research Center works with a variety of institutions to develop critical systems technologies and capabilities through world class research and technology for exploring the solar system and beyond. The facility’s main responsibility is the support all NASA missions and major programs. The Visitor Center at NASA Glenn Research Center features 6,000 square feet of interactive exhibits and is completely free of charge. In the Visitors Center you can explore the Aero Adventure which includes a flight simulator, learn about the John Glenn: Tribute to an American Hero exhibits, rediscover the Apollo Era, take a closer look at Space Flight, learn about the Solar System, listen to Space Communications, and settle in to the Auditorium for regularly scheduled videos and NASA programs.

The Money Museum

At the Cleveland Federal Reserve you’ll find the Money Museum a free look behind the scenes look at how money is made. Trained docents take tours through 25 hands on exhibits which lead to a greater understanding of the history and purpose of the financial system in the United States. The museum is open from Monday through Thursday except on holidays.

Cleveland Institute of Music

The Cleveland Institute of Music was founded in 1920 as a school of music where every student could find opportunity for the best musical education. Concerts at the Cleveland Institute of Music are free unless otherwise noted and seating is on a first come basis so be sure to get there early. If a capacity attendance is expected you can get seating passes in advance, these passes are available one week prior to the show. The performances at the Cleveland Institute of Music are the perfect way to wind down after an active day exploring the city of Cleveland.

International Women’s Air and Space Museum

The International Women’s Air and Space Museum is located in the Burke Lakefront Airport in Cleveland and is free to the public. At the museum you’ll be able to learn more about the contributions women have made to the fields of aviation and space exploration. Discover how women joined the space program, helped get the first airplanes off the ground, contributed to the war effort and served as barnstormers during the golden era of the 1920s and 1930s. The field of aviation has always had strong and important women leaders who are often largely ignored by history, take a moment to learn the roles they played and appreciate their contributions.

National Cleveland-Style Polka Hall of Fame

Forget about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, take your family to the National Cleveland-Style Polka Hall of Fame. Cleveland-style polka comes from Slovenian folk music so if you or your children are interested in music and dance, why not explore an entirely different form of dance. The museum is located is open five days a week and free to the public.

Hungarian Heritage Museum

The Hungarian Heritage Museum seeks to preserve and represent the Hungarian culture of northeast Ohio. In addition to a number of small and large scale exhibits the museum often schedules presentations and lectures that further understanding of Hungary and the immigrants that moved here.

Lake Erie Nature and Science Center

The Lake Erie Nature and Science Center is a great place for families, especially children. Founded in 1950 the center was originally founded by Dr. Elberta W. Fleming. She actually began five years prior in her backyard, teaching local children about the world around her through small animals. With the new facility Dr. Fleming was able to reach more people and incorporate more exhibits. The museum currently hosts more than 190,000 visitors each year in its 22,500 square foot facility. Admission is free and the center is open seven days a week.
Creative Commons License Photo credit: OhioJ