Planning a Trip to Cleveland: When to Go and What to Take

A person sits reading on a park bench on a clear day with the downtown skyline visible across the water.

Enjoying the shore of Lake Erie and a view of Downtown Cleveland. Photo © Kenneth Sponsler/123rf.

Fall is the best time to visit Cleveland, to savor the vibrant fall foliage and crisp, dry air by hitting hike-and-bike trails, apple orchards, and football games. Autumn also signals the start of the abundant performing-arts calendar, filled with dance, theater, and musical productions.

Golfers should really consider bringing their clubs when visiting between May and October.If you really can’t stand cold weather, it’s best to avoid Cleveland December through March—but you will be missing out on quite a bit. The winter holidays here can be Dickensian, with downy-white snow blanketing the region as residents make the rounds at museums, theaters, and restaurants.

Spring can be frustratingly wet, even snowy, but it also can offer glimpses of the warm days to come. Folks here take advantage of these rare days atop bikes, in gardens, and on restaurant patios.

Summer is filled with Indians baseball games, rounds of golf, neighborhood festivals, visits to farmers markets, and fishing trips on Lake Erie. Nearly every restaurant takes advantage of the season by offering alfresco seating.

What to Take

Common sense and a good umbrella go a long way in Cleveland: This city fully experiences all four seasons (sometimes in the course of a single day). If attending a Browns game, for instance, it might be wise to dress as if one were leading an Antarctic expedition—baseball games at Progressive Field, depending on the month, weather, and time of day, can be scorching hot, miserably wet, or, in early spring, even snowy. For much of the summer, the plan of attack is layers, a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen. Appropriate footwear in C-Town can range from flip-flops to mukluks. Lightweight rain gear is always nice to have on hand, as is a sweatshirt. In the fall, temps can plummet from a balmy 75 degrees to a chilly 55 degrees just a minute after sundown.

Upscale-casual dress will work at almost any Cleveland restaurant. Most do get dolled up, however, when attending concerts at Severance Hall or the theater at PlayhouseSquare.

Golfers should really consider bringing their clubs when visiting between May and October. Northeast Ohio has some spectacular golf courses, with more than 120 public courses reachable in under an hour’s drive.


Excerpted from the Second Edition of Moon Cleveland.

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