9 free indoor activities in Cleveland for cold months

What to do when the cold Northern months hit? Maybe you have a family clamoring for something to do. Maybe you're going a little stir-crazy with a bad case of cabin fever.
And maybe you just don't feel like throwing down a bunch of cash just because you want to leave the house. Sure, you can hike a winter trail for free, but what about when you need to escape the Winter's chill?
Here are nine free places in Cleveland that you can enjoy without leaving the warmth of the Great Indoors.

West Side Market

The subject of National attention anytime food-lovers list places they love to visit and shop, the West Side Market is a Cleveland treasure that’s provided the city with fresh meats, veg and every other kind of edible delight since 1912.

Is the food free? No. Should you try some of the food? Absolutely. Will anyone kick you out or care if you just want to walk around living history, soaking in all the amazing sights and smells? They will not.

Hours: Mon, Wed: 7AM – 4PM | Fri & Sat: 7AM – 6PM | Sun: 10AM – 4PM

1979 W 25th Street, Cleveland



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Cleveland Museum of Art

Ah yes, the granddaddy of all “free things to do in Cleveland”: the Cleveland Museum of Art.

The massive Cleveland Museum of Art is voted one of America’s top 10 museums in national polls every year, and it’s easy to see why. With over 61,000 works rotating in its permanent collection, some of America’s largest displays of Egyptian and Asian art, and a huge expansion less than ten years ago, it’s the go-to recommendation when out-of-towners ask “what to do”.

Open every day but Monday, the museums main exhibits are free to the public.

11150 East Blvd, Cleveland

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Rockefeller Park Greenhouse

The Rockefeller Park Greenhouse is open and free of charge every day of the week, including holidays. This four-acre collection of plants and flowers provides the perfect escape from gray skies and cold winds.

Established in 1902, the greenhouse features flora from Latin America, Japan, a wide variety or Irises, and a “talking” garden that assist vision-impaired guests in enjoying the plant life.

750 E. 88th Street, Cleveland

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Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

Want to see Elvis’s sequined jumpsuit, Joe Strummer’s guitar, and Bjork’s swan dress? Time to go to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

Are you a resident of the city of Cleveland? Then welcome to your Rock & Roll Hall of Fame VIP membership.

Locals can apply for free admission at at the Box Office only and is not available online. Residents of the City of Cleveland must show proof of residency such as a driver’s license, state ID, or photo ID with City of Cleveland addressed utility bill at the Rock Hall box office to redeem a CLE VIP ticket and a voucher for one free fountain drink.

1100 E 9th St, Cleveland

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Dittrick Museum Of Medical History

The Dittrick Museum of Medical History is part of the Dittrick Medical History Center of Case Western Reserve University.

The small but very unique museum has collections on everything from archives of Darwin’s letters to a visual collection of contraception. Also contained in the galleries are reproductions of doctors’ offices dating from 1875 (look for the human skeleton in the corner) as well as 1930.

The museum is getting a facelift at the moment, but will be re-opening in mid-January 2020.

11000 Euclid Ave, Cleveland

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Rocky River Nature Center

A part of the Cleveland Metroparks, Rocky River Nature Center provides a full visitor experience with opportunities to discover and learn about current Ohio wildlife, ancient species such as Dunkleosteus along with prehistoric and pioneer cultures.  Best of all, it’s free year-round, seven days a week.

24000 Valley Parkway, North Olmsted

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Cleveland Museum of Natural History

Want to visit with the dinosaurs?

You can get a family pass for free admission to the Cleveland Museum of Natural History with your Cleveland Public Library card! Simply use a valid library card to check out your museum pass at the circulation desk at any Cleveland Public Library location. Each pass is good for a one-time general admission for a household of six (toddlers 0-2 are always free) and includes a planetarium show.

Passes may be used at any time, including special family fun days.

1 Wade Oval Dr, Cleveland

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Lakewood Public Cinema

Free movie night! That’s what Lakewood Public Cinema is all about.

Every Saturday night at 6:00pm, the main library location screens a movie from a wide variety of genres and eras. From 1940’s crime noir, to current multiplex hits, there’s something for everyone.

15425 Detroit Avenue, Lakewood


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Mondays at the Zoo

Okay, this is partially outdoors – but the while the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo has plenty of outdoor animal environments, don’t forget the indoor aquarium, primate & cat house, and butterfly-filled greenhouse.

On Mondays, the Zoo (not including The RainForest) is FREE for residents of Cuyahoga County and Hinckley Township. To confirm your residency, bring your driver’s license or state I.D. or a current utility bill with your Cuyahoga Cty. or Hinckley Twp. address along with a photo ID.

If you qualify for free Zoo-only admission on Mondays, tickets for The RainForest may be purchased at the following rates: Adults (12 and older) are $6.50, Seniors (age 62 and older) are $5.50 Children (2-11) are $4.50, and children under 2 are free.

3900 Wildlife Way, Cleveland

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