Updated: Nov 21, 2022
Cleveland, Ohio is located along the southern shore of Lake Erie, across the U.S. maritime border with Canada and approximately 60 miles west of the Ohio-Pennsylvania state border. This was an unexpected place for me to visit. But I find that these can end up being the best destinations.
If you follow me on IG, then you know – Cleveland really surprised me! Not because I enjoyed it, but because of it’s incredible architecture and unique history. I decided to go to Cleveland because literally, all it takes is for a friend to be like hey I’m going to X want to come? And I’m in! Yes, that’s really how it happens for me.
Note: For the purpose of this post, everything on this list is “cheap” and while most things are free, it’s all under $15. I know cheap can mean something different to different people but hopefully, these things that are all under $10 are worth checking out!
PS – Looking for a cheap place to stay while in Cleveland that’s close to everything? Check out this amazing place hosted by Kimberly right in Ohio City. She was seriously the nicest and most responsive host I’ve ever had!
1. West Side Market free
This market was found in my favorite part of Cleveland, Ohio City. The market itself is really beautiful, but it’s also full of tons of local treats that you won’t want to miss. It was first built in 1840 and has been open since 1912 with iconic marquees and a grand ceiling that you’ll want to enjoy from the second floor. It reminded me of a smaller version of Pike Place Market in Seattle. There are sweets, specialty foods, meats, and groceries. It’s an awesome place to walk and snack through your morning.
Closed Tuesdays and Thursdays.
MONDAY & WEDNESDAY: 7am – 4pm FRIDAY & SATURDAY: 7am – 6pm SUNDAYS: 10am – 4pm
2. DIY Brewery Tour $5-15
As you hang out in Ohio City, you’ll start to notice there are a TON of breweries. That means it’s the perfect spot for a DIY brewery tour. This can obviously get expensive fast, but if you do smaller tasters, you can keep costs low. Great Lakes Brewery is an easy first stop right across from West Side Market. From there, walk over to Market City Brewery, Bad Tom Smith Brewery, and Nano Brewery. They’re all located within the same two blocks!
3. Enjoy Street Art in Ohio City free
Finishing off my favorites in Ohio City, there’s a ton of street art in this area. We were able to stroll to a bunch of different spots right along W 25th Street. Start at Chatham and 25th for the Visit Cleveland Mural, walk down Bridge Ave for this funky Geo wall, and end at the castle by Market Garden Brewery Store and Tours.
4. Stroll Public Square free
Public Square is located right in the center of downtown Cleveland. The architecture surrounding this area is stunning and you can walk in and out of the buildings. There’s a cafe and in the summer, fountains that kids love to play in. In the winter, this area turns into an ice skating rink! It’s beautiful. You can also check out the inside of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument for free there too.
5. Hang out on East 4th Street
Our hotel was right across the street from Corner Alley and it seems to be the spot people love going before or after a game. The sports stadiums are all located really close to downtown and this is definitely a popular spot for before a game. Most spots have a great happy hour (like a whole pizza for $5!) so you won’t have a hard time finding dinner on a budget. It’s also fun to come back late at night if you want a cool view from above. Greenhouse Tavern also does a fun drag show on Saturdays a few times a month so check them out for something different and fun!
6. Christmas Story House $13
I was not coming to Cleveland without visiting here! My family watches this movie every Christmas so it was on the list. Sadly, it is near nothing else and so you will have to Uber here and take some time out of your day to get here. However, it’s fun to hear the history of this house and it looks identical to this day to the movie.
7. Walk and Shop the Arcades free
If you didn’t know, Cleveland used to be the richest city in the world at one point in time. This means the concentration of wealth in the city was incredible and there are remnants of that today still in the city. One of the ways it is most apparent is in the architecture.
The Arcades in Cleveland are one of the pieces of architecture left from that time. There are two main halls that are just down the street from each other. One is now a hotel and sooooo pretty! We stayed here two nights and loved it. The other is full of shops and really fun to walk through as well and definitely beautiful as well.
8. Enjoy River Views in the Flats free
The Flats are located on the banks of the Cuyahoga River. It’s a newly developed area with tons of bars and restaurants. It’s a perfect spot for an afternoon drink (happy hours even on weekends!) or a stroll along the river in the evening. There are tons of places to choose from. We loved stopping in at Lindey’s Lake House and Alley Cat Oyster Bar.
9. Enjoy the View from the Cleveland Script Sign free
Can you say you came to Cleveland if you didn’t spend some time along Lake Erie? Cleveland is located on Lake Erie and from the banks of the Cleveland Pier you can take in the ships and city views. Plus this cool sign is a great photo op!
10. Enjoy art at the Museum of Contemporary Art free
Located in University Circle, this museum is free and open to the public! It’s near the very beautiful Cleveland State University. The building is really cool and the museum itself does not take long to walk through.
Tuesdays-Thursdays: 11 AM-6 PM
Fridays: 11 AM-9 PM
Saturdays-Sundays: 11 AM-5 PM