Must-Visit Museums in Cleveland, Ohio

Want to get more out of your trip to Ohio? Carve out time in your itinerary to dig into all the best museums in Cleveland! A strong culture of supporting arts, science, and history makes Ohio’s second-biggest city a fantastic spot for a museum crawl.

Thanks to the city’s exciting heritage of Great Lakes sailing and automotive production, history buffs will have a fantastic time in Cleveland. Visit incredible maritime sites like USS COD and Steamship William G. Mather Museum. The Cleveland History Center will show you a lesser-known side of the city.

Find a treat for your ears at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and a treat for your eyes at The Cleveland Museum of Art. If you’re looking for Cleveland’s quirky side, check out the fascinating Buckland Museum of Witchcraft & Magick or the heart-warming A Christmas Story House.

Ready to combine education with a big pile of fun? Get stuck into this complete Cleveland museums guide!

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Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

Get into the rhythm at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Cleveland’s iconic musical history made it a top contender to host this incredible museum. Explore the evolution of rock and roll, from blues and gospel to modern-day superstars.

Over 50 interactive exhibits throw you into this ground-breaking music genre. Chart its beginnings from the devil’s music to the rising fame of pioneers like Elvis Presley. The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is home to important artifacts from the music industry. See the guitar once strummed by Jimi Hendrix and Michael Jackson’s legendary white glove.

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

Incredible architecture sets the scene for an epic day in Cleveland. An intricate mass of geometric shapes creates clean lines over the lapping shores of Lake Erie.

When you’re done exploring one of Cleveland’s coolest places to visit, stick around Downtown Cleveland and delve into the buzzing arts and entertainment scene. Take time to enjoy the exciting architecture, live music, and excellent museums like The Cleveland Museum of Art.

The Cleveland Museum of Art

Add a big dose of beauty to your day with a trip to The Cleveland Museum of Art. Take a journey through space and time with over 61,000 objects and 6,000 years. Add some light and color to your day with beautiful architecture, works from the greats, and pieces from far-flung corners of the world.

Whether you’re mad about impressionists or contemporary photography, you’ll find a fantastic range at The Cleveland Museum of Art. Get insight into fascinating sub-Saharan cultures in the African collection or leap across the Far East with a premium collection of Asian artwork.

The Cleveland Museum of Art

The stunning buildings combine neoclassical, Greek Revival, and Beaux-arts architecture, creating a flawless frame for the masterpieces inside. The building are connected by a stunning glass roof atrium for the ultimate feeling of light and space.

Step outside for some fresh air in the beautiful gardens. Admire the sculptures peeking from the landscape or embrace serenity in themed spaces like the Japanese Garden.

Cleveland Museum of Natural History

Want to know more about what makes up the world around you? Spend some time in the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. Its diverse collection helps you to explore all walks of life, from huge dinosaurs to minute insects.

Anyone interested in paleontology could spend hours at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. Meet the famous T-Rex in the Hall of Prehistoric Life. Go off the beaten path in the Ultimate Dinosaur exhibit. It’s home to lesser-known dinosaurs from the southern hemisphere, including the Suchomimus and Cryolophosaurus.

Animal lovers can learn more about the intricacies of modern-day ecosystems. Get a new perspective on your Cleveland surroundings with an entire exhibit on the habitats of Ohio. The on-site Perkins Wildlife Center lets you get up close and personal with eagles, otters, and foxes.

If you can’t find enough on earth to entertain you, look up! The planetarium gives you a prime view of the night skies.

A Christmas Story House

Get in the festive spirit at A Christmas Story House. This adorable spot is from the holiday classic A Christmas Story. Step into the restored house and immerse yourself in the movie, then head across the street and check out the museum full of memorabilia.

A Christmas Story House

A Christmas Story House has been restored to look exactly like it did in the movie. Step inside the quaint house brimming with 1940s charm. If you want to make your stay in Cleveland even more unique, why not book an overnight stay? Delightful suites give you the chance to sleep in the characters’ beds.

If you haven’t had your fix of holiday magic yet, cross the street and enter the museum. Look beyond the cameras with hundreds of behind-the-scenes photos. Original props and costumes include Randy’s snowsuit and the family car. Before you go, stop in the quirky gift shop and take a little bit of the movie home with you.

Great Lakes Science Center

Thought science was a snooze-fest? Think again! The Great Lakes Science Center wants to bring science, technology, engineering, and math to life. The fun, interactive exhibits at this top-notch science museum make STEM subjects fun for all ages.

At The Great Lakes Science Center, you can create the doctors, engineers, and inventors of the future. Manipulate magnetic forces, test the laws of gravity, or give yourself an electric new hairstyle. Leave the museum feeling like a brain box. In-depth exhibitions explore the world of biomedical equipment and nanotechnology.

Great Lakes Science Center

Why not catch a show at the Cleveland Clinic Dome Theater? The six-story high screen will immerse you in scientific wonders. See the fluffiest clouds and the veins on the tiniest leaf while you watch adventures through the wilderness.

The Great Lakes Science Center is also home to the Steamship William G. Mather. Step on board and delve into this piece of The Great Lakes’ history.

The Children’s Museum of Cleveland

Get young kids excited about learning at The Children’s Museum of Cleveland. The museum is full of hands-on activities to ramp up your little one’s creativity, curiosity, and problem-solving skills. Its exhibits are suitable for kids up to eight years old and are friendly for people with special needs, so everybody can have a fantastic and educational time.

What kid doesn’t love bubbles? At The Children’s Museum of Cleveland, there’s a whole exhibit dedicated to these floating pieces of magic. Make a bubble blizzard, or create a bubble bigger than you!

In Adventure City, your kids can be mini-adults with a whole town to explore. Shop at the farmers market or make an appointment at the doctor’s surgery.

Make a splash in the Wonder Lab, where you can experiment with water features, vacuums, and gravity. Budding performers can achieve stardom in the Theatre. Play with sound and lighting, and dress up in a great choice of costumes and props.

Buckland Museum of Witchcraft & Magick

Add a spooky touch to your Cleveland trip with a visit to Buckland Museum of Witchcraft & Magick, the first and only museum in the United States to celebrate witchcraft and the supernatural. Famous writer and wiccan Raymond Buckland started the collection to clear up the misconceptions around witchcraft.

The Buckland Museum of Witchcraft & Magick lived in New York, New Hampshire, and New Orleans before settling in Ohio. Although Raymond Buckland died in 2017, his legacy lives on, and part of the museum is dedicated to his life and work.

If you’ve ever wondered about witchcraft, the supernatural, or the divine, the Buckland Museum of Witchcraft & Magick will ignite your curiosity. Exhibitions and artifacts include a Pagan altar, rare talismans, and symbolic cloaks. You can also connect with your spiritual side with regular events like tarot and tea leaf readings.

Cleveland History Center

To get a real sense of the city’s heritage, check out the Cleveland History Center. The museum brings the history of Cleveland and North Ohio to life. For example, did you know Cleveland was once part of Connecticut? Items, artifacts, and documents tell the story of key moments in the area’s history.

The exciting collections at the Cleveland History Center explore important themes like community history, entrepreneurship, and technological innovation. Find inspiration in stories of black philanthropy and women in politics. Or throw yourself into fun with exhibits on Parisian fashion and holiday traditions.

One of its star artifacts is a restored carousel from Euclid Beach Park. It hadn’t been in operation for 45 years, but now, you can ride the stunning hand-carved horses once more. Also on show is a pair of LeBron James’ size 16 shoes.

Crawford Auto Aviation Museum

Get your engines going with a trip to Crawford Auto Aviation Museum. This museum takes you on a journey through our transportation history. Any car enthusiast, design lover, or mechanic will get excited about this epic collection.

The Crawford Auto Aviation Museum is home to over 170 antique automobiles. Go all the war from an 1897 Panhard et Levassor to DEXTER, an early self-driving model. Many of them played important roles in our history. Cleveland was once an automotive hub for the US, producing 80 different car brands. Admire the first ever Winton and a few Ford Model Ts.

You’ll also get a look at the early days of aviation. A collection of vintage airplanes and aviation artifacts and memorabilia tell the stories of pilots and pioneers. There’s a total of 12 aircraft in the collection, including the exciting P-51 Mustang racing plane.

International Women’s Air & Space Museum

You’ll find ultimate girl power at the International Women’s Air & Space Museum, the only museum in the world representing women in all fields of aviation and aerospace. Explore the history of women in aviation and space and look at where they’ll take us in the future.

The International Women’s Air & Space Museum has over 20,000 artifacts telling the inspirational stories of over 6,000 women aviators and aerospace professionals. Its setting inside the active Burke Lakefront Airport gives you a fun and immersive experience of the world of aviation.

Uncover the lesser-known stories of the women who made a huge dent in aviation history. Look at the possessions of WASP Ruth Fleisher or learn about Major Sheila Thompson, a former Air Force Navigator. You’ll also find out more about the Mercury 13, the women who passed the first astronaut test. Despite being fit for duty, NASA denied them taking part in the mission because of their gender.

Steamship William G. Mather Museum

Say “Ahoy!” to the Steamship William G. Mather Museum. This historic freighter was once a major player in the Great Lakes shipping industry. Climb aboard and learn all about the lives of the sailors and crew members.

This colossal black giant stands in stark contrast to the blue waters of Lake Erie, once a major trading route for the vessel. Explore the four stories that once carried 14,000 tons of cargo. Learn about the type of cargo these ships were transporting and the struggles the crew had to overcome.

Steamship William G. Mather Museum

Interactive exhibits on the Steamship William G. Mather Museum show you what life was like on board. Squeeze through cramped crew quarters and uncover the intricacies of the engine room.

Before you go, make sure you get a holiday snap on top of the pilot house. It’s a fun maritime setting with the beautiful Cleveland skyline as a backdrop.


Experience life below waters on USS COD. This National Historic Landmark is moored on the beautiful waterfront of Lake Erie. This WWII submarine will give you a deep dive into the history and life on board submarines during the era.


Step back in time on USS COD and get an authentic experience of wartime on a submarine. There are very few WWII submarines left still intact, not adapted for public access. USS was a true warrior; she sank over 12 enemy vessels and damaged over 36,000 tons of enemy shipping.

Clamber down the vertical ladder and into the tight quarters where fighters once lived out their daily lives. As you navigate the sleeping areas, dining areas, and control room, you’ll spot fascinating marine artifacts. You may get the chance to rotate the 5-inch deck gun, often still fired in demos by the crew!


Ryan O'Rourke is a seasoned traveler and the founder & editor of Treksplorer, a fiercely independent guide to mid-range luxury travel for busy people. With over 20 years of extensive travel experience, Ryan has journeyed through over 50 countries, uncovering hidden gems and sharing firsthand, unsponsored insights on what to see & do and where to eat, drink & stay. Backed by his travel experience and in-depth research, Ryan’s travel advice and writing has been featured in publications like the Huffington Post and Matador Network. You can connect with Ryan on Twitter/X at @rtorourke.

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