When we hear folks say there's nothing to do in Cleveland, we wonder if those poor souls ever bother leaving their houses. As you'll see in the following pages, there's no shortage of festivals and attractions, goings-on high and low. (More on that in a second.) And if you're looking to make pals and get the blood flowing, Cleveland offers something for everyone, whether you're super competitive or simply looking for a lazy Saturday outing.
Smell the Nature
The Emerald Necklace might be Northeast Ohio's most underrated gem. Featuring 21,000 acres spread east, west and south, the Cleveland Metroparks are the outdoor playground other cities would kill for. Hike, bike, walk, rollerblade, hopscotch, skip, row, swim, golf, sled, ski, picnic, sit, sleep, bird watch—the list goes on and on from there. With the recent levy passage, the Metroparks also now run Euclid Beach Park and other beachfront properties, which is even more reason to get out and enjoy nature, one sweet breath of fresh air at a time.
You used to play soccer and then you stopped. Why? There's no better aerobic activity (and bonding opportunity) than strapping on a pair of shinguards and getting right back on the pitch. Intramural leagues dot the city, so geography is no excuse. And it doesn't matter whether you're an ex high school star looking to extend your career or a has-been little tike dropout, there's a skill level that'll make you feel right at home (and as skillful as David Beckham). Lost Nation out in Willoughby is one of our favorites, but check out Force Sports as well.
Play, Then Drink
Cleveland Plays is useful not just for newcomers but for longtime residents now in their 20s or 30s who are looking to do something fun and make a few new friends. On the docket: softball, flag football, floor hockey, dodgeball, volleyball and more. The best part? Yeah, it's the bar afterward, but that sweet relief of a cold, frosty one is well earned after a few hours playing around.
Swing the Sticks
It might feel like the golf season in Northeast Ohio is only a couple of months, but the truth is you can hit the links for the better part of the year. And unlike our fellow duffers in warmer climates, swinging through a quick 18 won't bust the bank in Cleveland. The Metroparks are an absolute bargain to begin with, and as pristine as any private course you've seen. Otherwise, check out EZlinks or comparable sites for basement-budget greens fees to the area's top courses. With a little prep, you'll have plenty of dough left over to hit the bar at the turn.
Go Back to Elementary School
Kickball? Absolutely. Channel your inner 10-year-old and sign up for a team with friends or find some new ones to run the bases with. Mulberry's on the west bank of the Flats is the gymnasium, if you will, and the cafeteria is the bar upstairs. Consider it recess, which you need after working all day at that job you totally love. That little ball is the perfect outlet for any pent-up aggression you might have from the aforementioned dream job.
Bocce ball is coming to Waterloo thanks to Alan Glazen and Operation Lightswitch. When that facility opens is still up in the air, but it'll be yet another reason to mosey down I-90 to Collinwood. In the meantime, Stone Mad in Detroit-Shoreway has a bocce court (and a tremendous bar, and tremendous food) and, naturally, there is Little Italy, which is exactly where you want to be playing bocce ball in the first place.
Cleveland's not blessed with many natural rock-climbing locations, but that doesn't mean your feet are stuck on the ground. The Cleveland Rock Gym, in Euclid, is the year-round home to gradual cliffs and fear-inducing heights. Stop by (with an appointment) for a beginner's class if you've never tried before and give your limbs the workout they deserve.
Trampolines aren't just for the kiddies in the backyard. The Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline Park in Westlake is basically a jumping dream come true—a room filled with padding and dozens of trampolines that'll have you acting like your favorite superhero. There are classes if you're interested in a proper workout, but plenty of open gym time if you simply want to jump, jump.
PEDAL to the MeTTle
Critical Mass rides are the perfect opportunity to drag your bike out to the streets, meet new friends, and see your city from a new perspective. On the last Friday of every month, join hundreds of other bicyclists—hipsters, tall bikes, newbies, and the casual participants—in a tour of the city. There's nothing quite like the sight and experience of hundreds of bikes taking over the streets.