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Free Things to Do in Cleveland (Part 4)


Cleveland Ohio has an amazing array of small museums, art festivals, and concerts, all available for free. Learn more about what to do in Cleveland and the surrounding area, without spending a dime. Part four in the series.

Rockefeller Park Greenhouse

Cleveland Greenhouse
(© 2006 S. Mitchell; Licensed to About, Inc.)

Cleveland's Rockefeller Park Greenhouse, located just off of Martin Luther King Blvd near University Circle, is a wonderful collection of exotic and native plants. Admission to the greenhouse is free and highlights include the extensive orchid and tropical plant exhibits as well as the spring bulb and December holiday plants displays.

Cleveland Cultural Gardens

Cleveland Cultural Gardens - Ukranian Garden - Cleveland Ohio
(© Stu Spivack; cc License)

The Cleveland Cultural Gardens are a collection of 24 ethnic gardens planted in Rockefeller Park along Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. Many of the individual gardens date back to the early 20th century. They represent the many ethnic groups that came together to form Cleveland's population. Among the groups represented are African-American, Chinese, Czech, German, Hebrew, Polish, Greek, and Ukranian. The gardens are open from dawn to dusk.

Cleveland Browns Training Camp

Cleveland Browns Training Camp, Berea Ohio
(Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

The Cleveland Browns Training and Administrative Complex, located on the campus of Baldwin-Wallace College in Berea, is open to the public during the Browns training camp, from late July to late August. Admission is free and it's a great way to see the new players up close.

Wade Oval Wednesdays

Enjoying Wade Oval Wednesdays, Cleveland Ohio
(courtesy of University Circle, Inc.)

Each summer, from mid-June to the end of August, the cultural institutions of University Circle sponsor a series of free Wednesday concerts, rangings from jazz to big-band to classical. Most of the events are in the evening with a couple of lunchtime concerts added. In addition to music, many of the area's museums offer extended hours and discounted admission and area restaurants offer samples of their cuisine.

Peter B. Lewis Building at CWRU

Peter B. Lewis Bldg.
(Courtesy of CWRU)

Set amidst the traditional buildings of Case Western Reserve University, at University Circle, is architect Frank Gehry's masterpiece Peter B. Lewis Building. The five-story, 150,000-square foot building is the headquarters of Case's Weatherhead School of Management. The building is noted for its asymmetrical design and curvilinear stainless steel roof.

It is closed to the public during the week, but free hourly tours are offered on Saturdays and Sundays, beginning at 1pm.

SPACES Art Gallery

SPACES Art Gallery, located at the top of the west bank of the Flats on the Superior Viaduct, is a non-profit, artist-run gallery. Open since 1978, the 5500-square foot gallery has featured the work of over 7000 artists, with emphasis on local talent. The gallery is located at 2220 Superior Viaduct, Cleveland. Hours vary. Call 216 621-2314 for current exhibit information.

Sculpture Center

The Cleveland Sculpture Center, located next to Lake View Cemetery, in Cleveland's University Circle neighborhood, offers a changing array of sculpture exhibits. The center is open Wednesdays through Saturdays and offers free parking as well as free admission.

Cleveland Police Historical Museum

The Cleveland Police Historical Museum, located on the first floor of Police Headquarters in the Justice Center in downtown Cleveland, displays an array of artifacts relating to Cleveland crime and police history. Among them are dead masks of the Kingsbury Run murder victims, the first police call box (a Cleveland invention), and information on the training of the K-9 unit.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day Free Museums

Every year on Martin Luther King Day (mid-January), Cleveland area museums offer free admission in celebration of the civil rights leader's birthday. Past participants have included the Cleveland Botanical Garden, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (cleveland city residents only), and the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. In addition, many venues offer free music and dance performances.

Cowan Pottery Museum

Cowan Pottery, the brainchild of artist R. Guy Cowan, produced Art Deco Style tableware, vases, and art pieces, in Lakewood and Rocky River between 1912 and 1931. The studio made over 850 shapes in 160 glazes and its studio artists included some of the best of the age, including Viktor Schreckengost. The Cowan Museum, opened in 1978, is located inside the Rocky River Library. The museum's collection includes over 1100 pieces, which are displayed on a rotating basis.

Old Woman Creek Nature Reserve

This state nature reserve, located on 572 acres about three miles east of Huron Ohio, is one of the few remaining freshwater estuaries in the Lake Erie region and an excellent site for viewing American water lotus beds and bald eagles. The reserve is open 8am to 5pm daily and the visitor center is open Wednesday through Sunday.

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