Things to do in Cleveland

This year we are focusing on experiences that we can do as a family. 2017 is about making memories! Since my oldest son is a HUGE Cleveland Cavaliers fan,  my husband and I thought it would be a great idea to surprise him with a basketball game in Cleveland. Seeing as it was only 4 hours away from Rochester, it would be a great weekend getaway. That’s less than driving down to NYC! We’re all about exploring different cities, and Cleveland was no different! There is so many things to do in Cleveland as a family. I fell in love with the architecture!

Where to Stay in Cleveland

There’s so many things to do in Cleveland, and we wanted to stay close to all the fun things we wanted to do. So we stayed at the Holiday Inn Express Downtown, which was perfect.  The hotel is located in a old 1845 bank. The lobby was gorgeous with marble floors and 1920’s touches.


The Mezzanine had an arcade, pool table and is where the free breakfast was served.

The biggest surprise for me was that not only was the room HUGE, but it had hardwood floors!! Have you seen any hotel without carpet? I thought it was such a great touch! Old and new at the same time.

Cleveland Hotel

We had a room with two queen sized beds, but they were both different. One was lower and softer, easier for the kids to jump on. The other was firmer and higher. If you didn’t like one you’d like the other. I usually see hotels that have firm and soft pillows to choose from but never beds! Between the free breakfast, the bed choice, hardwood floors and arcade it was such a family friendly hotel. Let’s not forget the free WiFi and huge selection of channels on the TV when we were relaxing before bed or getting ready in the morning eating breakfast.

Where to Eat in Cleveland

Right across the street from the Holiday Inn Express hotel was the Corner Alley. It had both a space to bowl along with a space to dine with great food and drinks. The boys were happy that there were TVs around because they don’t want to miss a basketball game. I’m sad that I didn’t take a picture of my burger…it was so delicious and I was so hungry I just jumped right in. And nobody wants to see a picture of an empty plate! We loved it so much we stopped by the next day again for a late lunch/early dinner on our way to the game. The Quicken Loans arena is within walking distance of the hotel and the Corner Alley so it was perfect. We weren’t the only ones there grabbing a bite before the game. Lots of fans wearing their Cleveland jerseys were getting a bite before walking through 4th street for the game.

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Fourth street is perfectly located. It is a small cobblestoned street where you can’t drive a car through. There are lots of pubs, coffee shops and bars. Lots of options to stop to grab a drink on the way to the game. I love that there’s no traffic on this small street. You can also find the Cleveland store on that block as well. They have everything from clothing to housewares that you can bring home as souvenirs. There was also a sax player right on the corner playing theme songs like the Addams Family, Batman and the Simpsons. Such a cool vibe!

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Things to do in Cleveland

cleveland aquarium entrance

There’s no shortage of things to do in Cleveland. We arrived Saturday afternoon and checked out the neighborhood. We went to the Greater Cleveland Aquarium and spent the afternoon there before dinner. The kids loved it, my four year old said that the “Fisherman’s zoo” was the best part of the trip for him! We loved seeing all those big fish up close but I think everyone’s favorite part was the sharks.

cleveland aquarium boys

I loved the shark sea tube that you can walk through and check out all the shark, eels and stingrays swimming around. It was so big that there was a boat in there! Watching how smoothly those shark swim around was the best. They swam so close to the glass too!

shark aquarium

You can find four species of sharks in the exhibit. The boys had a great time seeing everything and learning. There was an exhibit, named Plastic Waters, that showed the impact of pollution in the oceans and Great Lakes. We always hear about pollution and its impact on our lakes and oceans, but to see it gives it a different perspective.

Aquarium Junk

They had such an amazing time! They had so much to do and can’t wait to go back! The Greater Cleveland Aquarium is located at 2000 Sycamore Street in Cleveland OH. General Admission prices for Adults (13+) is $19.95, child (2-12) is $11.99 Toddlers under two are free!

Aquarium Collage

I couldn’t leave the Cleveland Aquarium without a souvenir or two (or more). The kids each got something to bring home with them. Of course a stuffed shark had to be purchased and I got a pen. My friends and family will tell you I have a serious pen fetish. I also got a starfish necklace look how cute this is! Makes me feel just like a mermaid!

starfish necklace

Bonus! We saw the coolest Prince street art on our way out of the aquarium. I absolutely had to take a picture. How cool is this picture?

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The Aquarium isn’t the only thing happening in town that’s family friendly. There’s also a zoo and lots of parks in the area. We’d love to go back to check it out in the summer!

My favorite thing to do while traveling is shopping. I like to shop local, and fashion is usually the souvenir I take back with me. I love a good mall, but small boutiques is where it’s at! There were two arcades by our hotel, but most places were closed and had weird hours. The best I could do was window shop.

arcade cleveland

We ventured out and found Steelyard Commons, a local strip mall right by the highway. We purchased a few things. We stopped at Marshall’s (and yes we have Marshall’s here!) but I feel like every Marshall’s has different stock and if there was something I needed to return, I figured I can still return it when I got back home. I found a faux suede taupe motorcycle jacket for $50. It was on clearance because there’s a small ink stain at the bottom of the jacket. I’m trying to figure out whether to return it or try to get the spot out. It’s such a cute jacket and I have been wanting a motorcycle jacket for a while.

marshalls bowls

Confession: I have a thing for small bowls. I have small glass bowls, salsa bowls, football ones and now I have these summer ones. They were only $1.99 so I grabbed three and thought they would work well for salsa or dips, or even for ice cream. They scream summer I can’t wait to use them! What else would you use them for? Another confession…I never use the small bowls!

This picture is probably my most favorite picture of our trip to Cleveland. I ended up getting it printed poster sized for my son’s room. His dream (and focus) is to get drafted into the NBA. Lebron James is his absolute favorite player. So this picture is everything to me. Side note: My Booba is actually one of the best players for his age, he’s got some serious skills and some serious goals. I hope we get to see his dream come true but I will never tell him how amazing his skills are because he’s so cocky about it! I guess he got the confidence I’m still working on!

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One of the best things to do in Cleveland is to check out a Cavaliers game! The stadium was amazing, and my oldest got a certificate because it was his first Cavs game. We all had a great time and the game was so competitive it went into double OT!

cleveland game

There’s also a huge casino and we didn’t get a chance to go to Tower City Mall downtown but that’s the first place we will head to when we go back! We are already planning another trip for October to catch another Cavs game. Whether you’re into sports, gambling, shopping or bar hopping there’s no shortage of things to do in Cleveland!

Things to do in Cleveland

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