The Great Lakes Science Center is located downtown on Cleveland’s Lake Erie shoreline between the Cleveland Browns’ Stadium and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, making it an easy one-tank trip from most of Michigan, Pennsylvania and all of Ohio. The Science Center is surrounded by several other great spots for fun family touring including the early 20th century steamship Wm. G. Mather and Cleveland’s Omnimax theater. Other nearby great spots for family fun include the World War II submarine USS Cod and local favorite cruise ship Goodtime III. The new Horseshoe Casino is within walking distance as are the Indians and Cavaliers stadiums.
From the south drive toward Cleveland on I-77 or I-71. When these routes end, continue East on I-90. Take exit 174B to Ohio 2 West toward Lakewood. From the east take I-90 West; as you approach downtown Cleveland stay on Ohio 2 West as it separates from I-90. From the west: Take I-90 east, exit 174B for Ohio 2 west toward Lakewood. From Ohio 2 west take the East Ninth Street exit. Turn right onto East Ninth Street. Drive 167 feet, then turn left onto Erieside Avenue. The Science Center is on your right at 601 Erieside Ave., see the dome of the OmniMax theater, between the Rock Hall of Fame and the Browns’ Stadium. Park in the Science Center’s garage.
Great Lakes Science Center
601 Erieside Ave.
Cleveland, OH 44114
Price: $12 youth younger than 18/$14 adults
Cleveland’s beautiful Great Lakes Science Center is open every day except Saturday. It’s a gorgeous building designed with huge windows, an open atrium and accessible balconies, taking full advantage of its outstanding site on Lake Erie. The center is full of hands-on exhibits that are fun for the whole family, including experiments focusing on sound and musical notes, on the math behind calculating volumes, and on wind and light. Play a maze game made out of old-style switching equipment, fill a balloon with hot air to sweep it up to the ceiling, use a rudimentary synthesizer to make “Good Vibrations” like the tones used in the Beach Boys’ recording, and play songs on a laser harp.
The Science Center includes a good cafeteria upstairs with views of the building’s atrium and exhibits. The Science Center ticket can be combined with tickets for Cleveland’s Omnimax theater, which adjoins it, and tickets for the historic Steamship William G. Mather docked next door. If you have time to stay overnight in Cleveland, consider seeing the Science Center, Omnimax show and the Steamship Mather one day, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame another day. If you’re here in the summertime, it’s great fun to tour the USS Cod, a submarine from World War II, which is on display about a half mile east on the lake front.
Other Sights to See:
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum
1100 Rock and Roll Blvd.
The Rock Hall offers an excellent opportunity for music lovers to gain insight into their favorite performers’ lives. See John Lennon’s glasses and report cards, Aretha Franklin’s dresses from her very young years, Bruce Springsteen’s hand-written lyrics, Janis Joplin’s car, Johnny Cash’s tour bus and artifacts from the Commodores. Don’t miss out on the Grateful Dead’s “Long, Strange Trip” exhibit this year.
1034 North Marginal Road
Cleveland, OH 44114
Cleveland’s authentic World War II submarine features guided tours by volunteer veterans during summer months. See the crew’s cramped quarters, the diesel engines, the 1940-era telecommunications equipment, the periscope and the machine gun on the deck in a trip back in time like none other.
Cleveland Browns Stadium
100 Alfred Lerner Way
Cleveland, OH 44114
The Browns play exhibition games at home against the Philadelphia Eagles on Aug. 24 and against the Chicago Bears on Aug. 30. The regular season begins Sept. 9 with the Philadelphia Eagles in Cleveland again. The Buffalo Bills will be here Sept. 23. You may also tour the stadium, but schedule the tour seven days ahead and pay in advance.
Brownstone Inn Downtown
3649 Prospect Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44115
Price: from $65
This Victorian home from the 19th century sits not far from the Science Center and other Cleveland hotspots. Look for the blue door and elegant wallpaper. Amenities include air conditioning, satellite/cableTV and a fireplace. If you’re staying a few days, you may appreciate the laundry facilities available as well.
Stone Gables Bed and Breakfast
3806 Franklin Blvd.
Cleveland, OH 44113
This inn is located in Ohio City, an older section of Cleveland west of the Cuyahoga River. It’s less than a mile from downtown Cleveland, surrounded by gardens and filled with the innkeeper’s art. It offers WiFi and a four-course gourmet breakfast. Enjoy every whimsy detail, from a working player piano to private parking surrounded by raspberries. Amenities include air conditioning, satellite/cable TV, WiFi and whirlpool/hot tub.
Michael Symon’s Lola Bistro
2058 East 4th Street
Cleveland, OH 44115
Perhaps the most famous venue in this area is chef Michael Symon’s Lola Bistro. Symon always offers interesting specials, making it an absolute treat to eat here any day of the week. Recent menus featured oysters mignonette, veal sweetbreads, beef cheek pierogi, and lobster salad with tarragon and grapefruit. When the weather is nice, dine outdoors on East 4th Street’s attractive pedestrian mall.
323 Prospect Ave. East
Cleveland, Ohio 44115
Nearby on Prospect Avenue, Flannery’s Pub is a perennial favorite. There’s a long, elegant bar and plenty of Irish food, as well as tables for more formal dining. Flannery’s also offers a few outdoor tables on Prospect Avenue. From time to time, live bands play music inside on its small stage. Its lunch menu offers combo platters with a half sandwich and soup, or salad. Naturally, there’s a selection of Irish beverages including beer and whiskey, and good coffee or tea served in mugs.
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