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FREE Things To Do in Northeast Ohio

Updated on February 17, 2013
Northeast Ohio spans all the counties in pink, #3.
Northeast Ohio spans all the counties in pink, #3. | Source

As a reader of this article . . .

what is your relationship to Northeast Ohio?

See results

Composition of Northeast Ohio - USA

Various listings classify the Northeast Ohio region as including anywhere from 16-20 counties in Ohio including:

  • Ashland
  • Ashtabula
  • Carroll
  • Columbiana
  • Cuyahoga
  • Erie
  • Geauga
  • Holmes
  • Huron
  • Lake
  • Lorain
  • Mahoning
  • Medina
  • Portage
  • Richland
  • Stark
  • Summit
  • Trumbull
  • Tuscarawas
  • Wayne

Exploring and enjoying Northeast Ohio does not have to be expensive. In fact, there are plenty of things to do that are free. Check it out!

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo
Cleveland Metroparks Zoo | Source

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

3900 Wildlife Way
Cleveland, OH 44109
(216) 661-6500

The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is open all year long to the public. Admission is free to Cuyahoga County residents every Monday. Proof of residence will be verified such as a driver’s license, state I.D. or a utility bill confirming your address. This offer applies to the zoo admission only. In addition, parking at the zoo is always free with shuttles running continuously between the main entrance and the parking lot.

Cleveland Museum of Art

11150 East Boulevard, Cleveland, OH 44130 (216) 421-7350

The Cleveland Museum of Art is one of the world’s most distinguished art museums. Founded in 1913 “for the benefit of all the people forever” with the highest professional standards possible, the museum strives to help its worldwide audience engage in the world’s greatest art. Admission is always free to the museum's permanent collection.

Cleveland Orchestra Community Concerts

Severance Hall, 11001 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44106 (216) 231-1111

The famous Cleveland Orchestra has been called “the finest in America.” They offer free community concerts throughout the year for citizens of its home town. The most notable free concert is held on the 4th of July weekend in front of the Terminal Tower on Public Square in downtown Cleveland.

Historic Cleveland Public Library
Historic Cleveland Public Library | Source

Cleveland Public Library

325 Superior Avenue East, Cleveland, OH 44114 (216) 623-2870

There are 28 branches of the Cleveland Public Library system with the historic main library in downtown Cleveland. Every location offers computer and free WiFi access. Over 10 million DVD’s, DC’s, tapes and books are available on loan for free to area residents. You can also request your selections online for them to be delivered to a branch near you.

Cleveland Public Theatre

6415 Detroit Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44102 (216) 631-2727

The Cleveland Public Theatre’s Student Theatre Enrichment Program (STEP) offers free summer performances. Contact the number above or visit the Cleveland Public Theatre website for more information.

State Road covered bridge in Ashtabula County.
State Road covered bridge in Ashtabula County. | Source

Covered Bridges of Ashtabula County

Covered Bridge Festival, 25 W Jefferson Street, Jefferson, OH 44047 (440) 576-3769

Ashtabula County, in the far northeast corner of the state, is home to 17 reconstructed, authentic covered bridges which include the shortest and the longest covered bridges in the entire United States. Touring the beautiful area and visiting the unique bridges will only cost the gas for your vehicle. The Ashtabula County Covered Bridge Festival is free to the public and held the second full weekend of October.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park

15610 Vaughn Road, Brecksville, OH 44141 (330) 657-2752

Entrance to the Cuyahoga Valley National Park is free, unlike many other national parks throughout the country. Enjoy this 33,000 acre park by driving, hiking, biking or horse trails. The park runs along the Cuyahoga River so there are many locations to camp, fish, golf, canoe and kayak too. Plan a relaxing picnic or simply visit for the fascinating bird watching. Ride the scenic railroad, attend a concert or explore the unique visitor centers. CVNP charges admission to some of their programs.

There are many locations to visit along Lake Erie!

Lake Erie:
Lake Erie

get directions

Northeast Ohio:
Ohio, USA

get directions

Lake Erie

Whether you simply would enjoy watching the sunset over Lake Erie, take pleasure in a picnic outing with a beautiful view, or go out onto the lake by boat, ski or swimming, there are many locations throughout Northeast Ohio to relax and have fun near the water.

Check out Edgewater Park on Cleveland’s near west side or Mentor Headlands Park east in Lake County. Plus, there are many additional locations where you can get near the shoreline with free parking and no cost to enjoy the scenery.

Lakeview Cemetery

12316 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44106 (216) 421-2665

Cleveland’s Lakeview Cemetery was organized in 1869 by wealthy Clevelander’s. It is modeled after extraordinary cemeteries found in England and France. Although it is known for its famous “residents” such as John D. Rockefeller and President James A. Garfield, anyone regardless of race, creed, religion or walk of life can be buried there.

The cemetery hosts free periodic events such as a Memorial Day ceremony and fascinating, historic walking tours throughout the 285-acre scenic park.

NASA Glenn Research Center

21000 Brookpark Road, Cleveland, OH 44135 (216) 433-9653

The NASA Glenn Research Center offers free tours for U.S. and lawful permanent residents of any age. For security reasons, government-issued photo identification must be presented by all visitors age 16 or older. Reservations are required by calling the phone number above to register and obtain a current tour schedule.

Nature Center at Shaker Lakes
Nature Center at Shaker Lakes | Source

Nature Center at Shaker Lakes

2600 South Park Boulevard, Shaker Heights, OH 44120 (216) 321-5935

The Nature Center at Shaker Lakes was founded in 1966 and boasts a newly expanded 11,000 square foot center featuring plant and animal exhibits, a library, class and meeting room space, a gift shop and observation deck.

In addition to the Wildflower Garden and the All Peoples Trail, the center maintains a variety of outdoor learning trails that illustrate the lake, stream, field, ravine, marsh and forest habitats. Admission to the Nature Center at Shaker Lakes is always free.

Enjoy Free Things To Do in Northeast Ohio

There are many more things to add to this list of free things to enjoy in Northeast Ohio. For example, the Emerald Necklace (metroparks system), the Geauga County Amish Country and all the antique districts in Northeast Ohio. I will add to the list as time permits, so be sure to stop back.

This is Sharyn's Slant


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    • Sharyn's Slant profile imageAUTHOR

      Sharon Smith 

      7 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      Hi Kel ~ well, I want you to visit! That would be so awesome. Although I do think you are much farther than 4 hours away. There are tons of things to do in the area that you and the family would enjoy. Thanks for stopping by :)


    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 

      7 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      I want to visit! What a great idea for a hub! I'm only about 4 hours away I think...seems like a great place to take the family for a weekend for me:)

    • Sharyn's Slant profile imageAUTHOR

      Sharon Smith 

      7 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      Hi Pam ~ So glad you enjoyed this walk down memory lane. There really are many great locations to visit in Northeast Ohio. I hope to be adding more sites to this list soon. Thanks for your feedback.


    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      7 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Sharyn, Since I grew up in Lakewood, so many of these places look familiar to me. I also had many relatives in the Ashtabula area and have driven through many of the covered bridges on my last visit. You covered some great spots to visit and I did not know about the NASA site. I'll always miss the area and I felt like this hub was a walk down memory lane. Voted up and awesome.

    • Sharyn's Slant profile imageAUTHOR

      Sharon Smith 

      7 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      Hi Glimmer ~ I didn't realize you are so close. Thanks so much for the votes and pin. I appreciate you stopping by!


    • Sharyn's Slant profile imageAUTHOR

      Sharon Smith 

      7 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      Hi Paula ~ I know you are in the know!!! There is a lot to do in the area and sometimes it helps when others point you in the right direction. I'm sure you'll be back in Ohio at some point and I hope we can get together. Thanks so much for your feedback!


    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Claudia Mitchell 

      7 years ago

      Voted up and awesome and pinned. I live in Northwest Pennsylvania so this is right next door! Thanks. Now I have more options for weekends.

    • fpherj48 profile image


      7 years ago from Carson City

      I'm in the know, Slant! As you recall, I told you about me having lived in N.Royalton.....and actually, I just recently spoke to my friend who lives on Edgerton.........There is so much to do, so many places of interest to see, it's never-ending.

      I am familiar with all of the special locations you highlight here.......some I've visited, others I had planned on seeing.

      I love the area and I'm not surprised that you do too.! UP+++

    • Sharyn's Slant profile imageAUTHOR

      Sharon Smith 

      7 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      Hi Carol ~ I am going to make you come back to Cleveland yet, ha. Thank you so much for stopping by and for your feedback.


    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 

      7 years ago from Arizona

      Mostly I loved seeing these photos of Cleveland where I was born. Though we left at an early age I have a special place in my heart for the city. Great job on sharing man highlights of the city. Voted UP+++


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