I’m going to tell you a secret: As an expat having lived an inner-city lifestyle in cosmopolitan metropolises around Asia-Pacific, I wasn’t pleased with relocating to the quiet and comparatively rural setting of Northeast Ohio. Over three years later, including four long, snowy winters, this tropical butterfly is not sure she’s changed her mind. However, while I’m here I’m doing what an avid traveller and curious creative does best – explore! Here are my top things to do in Northeast Ohio that will charm even your most well-travelled self or visitor to the Midwest. Most of these are mere day trips from Cleveland and cover the arts, architecture, nature and culture.
Explore Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens
The Tudor-revival mansion designed and built for Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company co-founder Frank Seiberling is an impressive living museum. For more on the country manor, see the post Not For Us Alone – A Visit to Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens in Northeast Ohio
Journey the Cuyahoga Valley Rail
The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Rail journey is a relaxed way to observe the local countryside and seasonal changes throughout Northeast Ohio. If you’re feeling energetic, cycle the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail and make use of the Bike Aboard! train for your return journey.
Drive the Ashtabula County Covered Bridge Trails
Chasing the romantic covered bridges of Ashtabula County makes for a lovely Sunday drive. Two trails link bridges across the county which include the world’s longest and shortest covered bridges. Autumn’s coloured foliage creates a particularly beautiful backdrop to the bridges. Hop on over to The Covered Bridges of Ashtabula County for a pictorial of my autumnal drive and links to helpful resources.
Visit the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame provides a comprehensive history of rock that no music fan should miss. The Museum is housed in a glass double-pyramid with an abstract tower, designed by architect, I.M. Pei who also designed the Louvre. It contains everything from Beyonce’s stage costumes to large-scale props from U2’s Zoo TV tour. Music fans are likely to spend an entire day soaking in the exhibits.
Go Goodyear Blimp spotting around Wingfoot Lake State Park
This is one for all you aviation enthusiasts! There is a viewing area at Goodyear Airship Operations however the nearby Wingfoot Lake State Park provides picnic facilities and a children’s playground where you can enjoy the entire day, blimp or no blimp. Check the Blimp schedule for details.
Important Note: If you put “Goodyear Blimp Hangar” into Google Maps, it’s going to take you to the formerly Goodyear owned and operated hangar, now a Lockheed Martin facility. The correct address for the current hangar is 841 Wingfoot Lake Rd, Mogadore, OH 44260.
Peruse the Cleveland Museum of Art
The Cleveland Museum of Art houses a world-class collection including Asian, European, African, Islamic and North American art. The gallery spans drawing, print, photography, textiles, painting and sculpture, along with decorative art and design. Due to the great generosity of its donors, general admission to the Museum’s permanent collections is FREE! There may be a charge for entry to temporary exhibitions.
Hike the Metroparks
Cuyahoga County alone possesses more than 23,000 acres of reservations that include 300 miles of walking trails, golf courses, lakefront parks and a zoo. Not to mention Cuyahoga Valley National Park, which lies mostly within Summit County and the other 14 counties that make up Northeast Ohio. You can’t go too far without finding a great place to hike, canoe, snowshoe, cross-country ski, horseback ride, picnic and swim.
Experience Amish culture
Ohio probably isn’t the place you think of when you’re looking for a new cultural experience. However, did you know the Amish community in the northeast of the State is the largest in the world (sorry Pennsylvania). I for one am fascinated by the unique lifestyle of the Amish and appreciate their slow lifestyle, fresh food, beautiful quilts and hand-crafted furniture. Tour a traditional Amish home and barn, and take a buggy ride to get as close as possible to experiencing Amish life.
Additionally, Amish Country lays claim to supposedly the world’s biggest Cuckoo Clock in the “Little Switzerland” of Ohio – Sugarcreek. Along with great antique shopping, and for all you turophiles (cheese lovers), there are several cheeseries offering generous tastings and a look into the cheese making process. Read more on spending a day in Amish Country here.
Be entertained at Playhouse Square
Did you know Cleveland is home to America’s largest performing arts centre outside New York? Playhouse Square is the place to enjoy Broadway shows, concerts, dance, comedy and theatre.
Float the Cuyahoga River
Summer is a great time to enjoy a relaxing float down the Cuyahoga River. The River that is known for once being so polluted that it caught on fire, has now been nurtured back to a reasonably healthy waterway. Rent a tube from Float the River, or BYO tube and float from Brust Park in Munroe Falls all the way to River Front Park in Cuyahoga Falls.
Have you tried any of these things to do in Northeast Ohio? Let us know in the comments, and no matter where you are in the world or how far you travel, don’t forget to explore locally.
Peace, love & inspiring travel,