Summertime in Northeast Ohio is perfect for heading out for a bit of family fun — after all, the kids don’t want to spend their entire break from school holed up playing video games. However, all those outings can add up, so here are several places to go for free family-friendly fun.
Cleveland Museum of Art
The Cleveland Museum of Art is a beautiful place where history is displayed, including a collection of Picasso, Monet, van Gogh and Warhol. This is a world-class museum that is internationally recognized, and it’s just a short trip away, in Cleveland’s University Circle. Some special exhibitions may charge a fee, but to take a stroll around the museum is free. clevelandart.org
Free Mondays at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.
Mondays mean free Zoo admission for residents of Cuyahoga County or Hinckley Township. The zoo is the perfect place to take the kiddos for a day of fun and learning. Even if it’s raining outside, the RainForest exhibit lets visitors stay dry. clevelandmetroparks.com/zoo
Atwood Lake Beach in Mineral City
Who doesn’t love a little park and beach fun? Pack up the kids and the sunscreen and visit Atwood Lake Beach, located in Stark County, for the day. The possibilities are endless: swimming, basketball, picnic, fishing, dog park, and so much more. You even can rent out cabins if your family is planning a camping trip. atwoodpark.mwcd.org
Akron Art Museum
The Akron Art Museum offers free admission on Thursdays. Exhibitions at the gallery change out often, but those that are displayed for the summer months include “Please Touch” and “Family.” The museum also offers some special events for a small fee: Tots Create, Yoga, Night at The Museum, and more. akronartmuseum.org
A Local Farmers Market
There are dozens of farmers markets in Northeast Ohio (click here for a list), all of which offer a way for kids to learn more about where their food comes from and meet local farmers. Browsing is free, and many vendors offer free samples or host activities for kids. Farmers markets are comprised of more than just food, too, as many are home to local small businesses or crafters that sell products.
Head over to Cleveland’s Coventry Village to spend the day with the family. Window shop at more than 60 merchants that are all within walking distance of one another. Grab your blankets and enjoy a movie in the beautiful outdoors; a free movie is shown every Thursday in the Coventry P.E.A.C.E. Park beginning at 9 p.m. through Aug. 19. coventryvillage.org
Take a Hike
Take a Hike offers five free guided walking tours in the distinct neighborhoods in Downtown Cleveland (donations are accepted). The tours go through Sept. 17 and include sites like the Gateway District, Warehouse District, Civic Center, Playhouse Square and Canal Basin Park in the Flats. Tours last about 90 minutes, so make sure that you wear comfortable shoes. downtowncleveland.com/events/take-a-hike-tours
Don’t forget to check out local parks and events within your county; they usually have a lot of free events happening throughout the whole summer. If all else fails, you can’t go wrong with packing up a lunch and heading to the nearest park for the day.
For an extensive listing of area attractions and other places for seasonal family fun, check our Summer Fun Guide.