Planning a weekend Cleveland getaway doesn’t need to break the bank. With careful preparation, you can enjoy C-town on the cheap. Not many things in life are free, but Cleveland provides a surprising number of activities that will leave your wallet full.
Affordable Places to Stay
Find Cleveland hotels within your budget at Hipmunk.com. For around $50 or less, you can book a hotel just a short drive away from the city at a Super 8 in Westlake or Strongsville. The airport area offers dozens of cheap options ranging from $50 to $75 – like the Ramada, Howard Johnson Inn, America’s Best Value Inn, Days Inn, or Best Western – many of them with free breakfast as well.
Cheap Places to Eat
Start your day with a free meal by picking a hotel with a substantial complimentary breakfast. For lunch, check out Happy Dog on Detroit Avenue, where they will load up your hot dog for $5, or add specialty $1 items like pimento mac and cheese or bourbon baked beans. On Thursdays, get ten cent tacos at Reddstone on West 76th street. Yep! These will only put you back one dime each. Better yet, head to Touch on Loraine Street on Friday nights for free sushi while it lasts!
Broaden your mind with a trip to the Cleveland Museum of Art, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland Learning Center and Money Museum, International Women’s Air and Space Museum, Cleveland Police Museum, or NASA Glenn Research Center (by reservation only from April through October). Follow Heritage Tourism’s costumed tour guides through the “Take a Hike Tour” program as they lead you through one of Cleveland’s five neighborhoods. The tours each last about 1 1/2 hours and are available from mid-May through mid-September.
Catch a free show at the Cleveland Shakespeare Festival or the summer concert series from Wednesday through Sunday nights. Party through the week, from Wade Oval Wednesdays (WOW) in University Circle, Lakefront Reservation on Thursdays, Euclid Creek Reservation on Fridays, Legacy Village on Saturdays, and Kamm’s Corners Farmers Market on Sundays. For a day of outdoor fun, head to the beach for an afternoon of kite-flying, sand castle-building, or catching up on your reading.
If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, look no further. Cleveland maintains 18 nature reservations with hundreds of acres of preserved wilderness. Meander along a forested trail or trek along a river past cliffs and wildlife. Kids enjoy the interactive exhibits and playrooms inside the free nature centers.
Bring your bike or your running shoes, as Cleveland boasts some of the most picturesque trails in the area. The Metro Parks Trail winds past the shores of Lake Erie, or head just 30 minutes outside the city to the 84-mile Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath trail. As you meander through the forests of Cuyahoga River Valley, you’ll bike along the river where mules once pulled barges.
Whatever your passion – museums, entertainment, outdoor activities, or food adventures – Cleveland offers a myriad of options for the traveler on a budget.
Laura Roberts is a freelance travel writer who has worked with clients such as Hipmunk. She loves the thrill of exploring a new place, whether it requires crossing a county line or another hemisphere.