What to See and Do in Kid-Friendly Downtown Cleveland
Visit Downtown Cleveland for a kid-friendly vacation. See the Cleveland Indians, Great Lakes Science Center, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Without a fun-packed itinerary, great eats, and reasonable costs, a family vacation in any city can flop but not in Cleveland. Located on Lake Erie’s southern shore, Ohio’s second-largest city has top-notch family attractions that make it an ideal “staycation” for cost-conscious travelers. Venturing past Downtown into diverse neighborhoods creates ideal side trips. Quaint Sandusky is an hour away, has water sports, the Kalahari Resort, and the Cedar Point Amusement Park.
Great Lakes Science Center
Great Lakes Science Center attracts 2nd-8th graders, which explains the elevated noise level here. The center embodies four teachings: physical science, bio-medical; space and aeronautics, and Great Lakes ecology. Touching a static generator can make your hair stand on end. Phase One of the NASA Glenn Visitors Center (one of ten nationwide) opened recently with 20 exhibits and artifacts. The six-story OMNIMAX theatre is showing Hubble through the fall of 2010 on a domed screen with surround digital sound. Dockside on Lake Erie rests the restored William.G. Mather 618-foot historic ship. Kids can roam stem to stern and visit its huge cargo holds. Free museum admission on Tuesdays for children under 18 accompanied by an adult.
Great Lakes Science Center. 601 Erieside Ave, Cleveland, OH 44114
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum is beside the Science Center. Seven floors and 150,000 square feet of space can take up to six hours to visit. About 60% of the memorabilia is on the ground level. Hand drawings by Jimi Hendrik are steps away from John Lennon’s 1960 passport and Elvis’ costumes. Photographs are not allowed except at the entrance level. Newest inductee Bruce Springsteen’s memorabilia occupies the two top floors. Guitar Hero kiosks entertain the younger kids who may grow weary.
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum, 1100 E 9th St, Cleveland, OH 44114
The Cleveland Indians baseball team plays 81 home games from early April through September at Progressive Field (“The Jake” to locals). Sunday is “Kids Fun Day” with activities until the fifth inning on the Plaza outside Gate A. The entire game experience is for and about kids, often ending with allowing them to run the bases. A $52 family package includes four seats, four hot dogs, and sodas.
Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse is home to the Cavaliers basketball team and star players Shaquille O’Neal and LeBron James. The Cleveland Gladiators, plus concerts such as Lady Gaga and family shows, occur year-round.
The country’s largest performing arts center outside of NYC is Playhouse Square. Its five theatres annually host more than 1,000 events that include Broadway shows, dance, comedy, musical concerts, and children’s programs.
Bowling is perfect family fun but before 9 pm at the16-lane Corner Alley on East 4th Street. Designed as an upscale entertainment experience with a martini bar, it also has a kids’ menu.
Playhouse Square, 1501 Euclid Ave #200, Cleveland, OH 44115
Family-Friendly Hotels in Downtown Cleveland
The Doubletree Cleveland Downtown Lakeside is steps from the Rock Museum and Science Center. Packages are offered for the Rock and the Cleveland Indians. The Renaissance Cleveland Hotel has an indoor swimming pool and is close to Tower City Center with its 100 specialty shops, six full-service restaurants, and an 11-screen theater. Embassy Suites Cleveland Downtown has cribs and high chairs.
Getting Around in Downtown Cleveland
Two free downtown trolley routes operate Monday-Friday and from 7am – 7pm. The E-Line serves the Warehouse District on West 9th and West 6th streets, Public Square, Tower City, the Entertainment District on East 4th Street, the theatres in PlayhouseSquare, Cleveland State University, and other commercial spots on Lower Euclid Avenue. The B-Line serves mostly public buildings.