If you didn’t already live in Ohio, the state’s northern corner would be a pretty cool place to travel from far away to visit.
There are miles of beaches, wineries to visit and more craft breweries than one could ever sample in just a day or two or three.
Heck, it might take a week just to walk from one end of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park to the other — best to take the scenic train that chugs through its natural splendor.
The region is even home to a super-cool small amusement park — Memphis Kiddie Park in Brooklyn — that is geared just for little kids.
Plus, it has two world-class zoos.
And if you want a Jersey Shore-type of getaway, there’s always Geneva-on-the-Lake tucked along the Lake Erie shoreline in Ashtabula County. This small town has been attracting families for close to a century with cottages to rent and its famous “strip” that is home to shops, go-karts, miniature golf, bars, places to eat including a 1950s-style hot dog and hamburger joint, a winery with a Ferris wheel overlooking the lake and one of the best family-owned doughnut shops around: Madsen Donuts that dates back to 1938.
Things to do in Ohio: Looking for activities this summer? There’s plenty in Northwest Ohio
Ohio summer fun: Here are some attractions worth visiting in the Columbus area
Here are just a few of our favorite places to play in Cleveland, Akron, Canton and surrounding counties.
Botanical gardens and zoos
Cleveland Metroparks Zoo
3900 Wildlife Way, Cleveland (Cuyahoga County)
Devote a full day to see everything at the zoo, with thousands of animals spread across nearly 200 acres. New this summer: Asian Highlands, with resident snow leopards, red pandas, takins and an Amur leopard. Other favorite areas include African Elephant Crossing, Australian Adventure and the Rainforest.
Admission: $15.95, or $13.95 for those 62 or older, $11.95 for children 2 to 11
Information: clevelandmetroparks.com/zoo, 216-661-6500
505 Euclid Ave., Akron (Summit County)
Compact and easy to negotiate, the Akron Zoo is perfect for an afternoon of animal exploration. Among the many highlights here: Tiger Valley, Penguin Point, Farmland and the Conservation Carousel. The zoo’s Wild Asia section is new this year.
Admission: $13, or $11 for those 62 or older, $10 for children 2 to 14
Information: www.akronzoo.org, 330-375-2550
Akron Zoo:Akron brewer toasts the city zoo’s beloved grizzly bear with a new hard seltzer
Cleveland Botanical Garden
11030 East Blvd., Cleveland (Cuyahoga County)
Tucked amid the bustle of the big city is this urban oasis, featuring indoor and outdoor spaces designed to calm, promote creativity and more. Highlights include the Madagascar and Costa Rican biomes inside the Eleanor Armstrong Smith Glasshouse, the Japanese Garden and the Hershey Children’s Garden, with plenty of family-friendly activities.
Admission: $15, or $10 for children 3 to 12
Information: cbgarden.org, 216-721-1600
9550 Sperry Road, Kirtland (Lake County)
Spend a day (or more) exploring the lush 3,600 acres of Holden Arboretum, one of the largest botanical gardens in the United States. Don’t miss the new Murch Canopy Walk — a 500-foot-long elevated walkway built 65 feet above the forest floor — and Kalberer Tower, which rises 120 feet for spectacular views.
Admission: $15, or $10 for children 6 to 18
Information: holdenarb.org, 440-946-4400
Outdoor music and drama
Blossom Music Center
1145 W. Steels Corners Road, Cuyahoga Falls (Summit County)
There might be no lovelier place to enjoy a summer evening than Blossom Music Center with the Cleveland Orchestra on stage. The amphitheater seats 5,700, with room for another 13,500 on the lawn. The orchestra plays weekends from July through early September. For a special treat this summer: There will be a salute to composer John Williams Sept. 4 and 5 as Hollywood film score conductor Richard Kaufman leads the orchestra through blockbuster favorites, including works by John Williams for films such as “Superman,” “Harry Potter,” “Star Wars,” “E.T.,” and much more.
During the summer, a wide variety of musicians will take the stage, including James Taylor on July 31, The Zac Brown Band on Aug. 30 and the Jonas Brothers on Sept. 22, plus many others.
Admission: ticket prices vary; children younger than 18 are admitted free to orchestra concerts
Information: clevelandorchestra.com, livenation.com
‘Trumpet in the Land’
Schoenbrunn Amphitheatre, 1600 Trumpet Drive NE, New Philadelphia (Tuscarawas County)
Paul Green’s “Trumpet in the Land” tells the true story of Moravian missionary David Zeisberger and his Christian Indian followers as they struggle to maintain their settlement in the years leading up to the Revolutionary War. Entering its 49th season, the show is set in the same Ohio hills where the story unfolded more than two centuries ago.
The play runs early July through mid-August. Also on stage at the Schoenbrunn Amphitheatre this summer: “The Sound of Music.”
Admission: $20, or $18 for those 60 or older and children 13 to 17, $10 for children 3 to 12
Information: trumpetintheland.com, 330-339-1132
Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
1100 E. 9th St., Cleveland (Cuyahoga County)
Cleveland’s shrine to rock music has a new sheen this year — in the form of several new exhibits and activities designed to update the visitor experience. Among the highlights: the enshrinement gallery and a special exhibit highlighting 55 years of Super Bowl halftime shows and the Legends of Rock exhibits.
And, of course, the museum is still loaded with costumes, instruments and other paraphernalia that track the revolution of rock through the decades.
Admission: $28, or $18 for children 6 to 12; online offers available
Information: rockhall.com, 216-781-7625
Rock Hall class of 2021::Tina Turner, Carole King, The Go-Go’s, Jay-Z, Foo Fighters, Todd Rundgren
Pro Football Hall of Fame
2121 George Halas Drive NW, Canton (Stark County)
Fans of football shouldn’t miss this temple to the sport, located not far from where the National Football League was founded in 1920. Highlights include the Hall of Fame Gallery, where more than 300 bronze busts of inductees are on display. Also: the Lamar Hunt Super Bowl Gallery; and “A Game for Life,” featuring Joe Namath in hologram form.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival runs July 25 through Aug. 9, with the enshrinement ceremony on Aug. 7 for the Class of 2020 and the ceremony Aug. 8 for the Class of 2021.
Admission: $28, or $24 for senior citizens 65 and older, $21 for children 6 to 12
Information: profootballhof.com, 330-456-8207
Things to do in Canton:Pro Football Hall of Fame is returning the full experience for guests and extending hours
Akron Art Museum
1 S. High St, Akron (Summit County)
The city’s art museum is housed in a distinctive glass-front building in the heart of downtown. It houses an impressive collection of some 6,000 works from 1850 to the present and is home to traveling exhibits. A temporary exhibit this summer includes “Totally Radical: Art and Politics in the 1980s.”
Admission: $6, or $5 for senior citizens, $4 for students.
Information: akronartmuseum.org, 330-376-9186
Things to do in Akron:Akron artist creates clay masks to represent loss amid the pandemic
Cleveland Museum of Art
11150 East Blvd., Cleveland (Cuyahoga County)
Cleveland’s art museum is considered among the finest in the world, with renowned collections spanning thousands of years. A recent major expansion made the space, located east of downtown in Cleveland’s University Circle neighborhood, even more impressive. General admission is free, though special exhibits often carry a price tag.
Special exhibit this summer includes “Private Lives: Home and Family in the Art of the Nabis, Paris,1889-1900,” which explores the work of Pierre Bonnard, Edouard Vuillard, Maurice Denis and Felix Vallotton, four members of the Nabi brotherhood. (July 1 through Sept. 19). Tickets cost $15, or $10 for senior citizens or $8 for children 6 to 17.
Information: clevelandart.org, 216-421-7350
Butler Institute of American Art
524 Wick Ave., Youngstown (Mahoning County)
Youngstown’s well-regarded art museum was the first in the world to focus exclusively on American art. Popular pieces include “Snap the Whip” by Winslow Homer, “Pennsylvania Coal Town” by Edward Hopper and “Lincoln the Railsplitter” by Norman Rockwell. Special exhibits this summer include the works of Sally Weber and Edith Bergstrom.
Art exhibits:Youngstown’s Butler Institute acquires major collection of 20th-century kinetic art
260 S. Court St., Medina (Medina County)
Billed as America’s largest year-round Christmas attraction, this museum that is all things Christmas is open for summer tours where guests can spend two hours or so seeing its collection of Christmas-themed movie and TV memorabilia and original props along with original Christmas window displays from New York’s famed department stores and other things collector Mark Klaus has picked up in his travels.
Admission: $21.50 for adults and $20.50 for kids.
Information: https://castlenoel.com/, 330-721-6635
Hale Farm & Village
2686 Oak Hill Road, Bath (Summit County)
This historic farm and village is run by the Western Reserve Historical Society and within the boundaries of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Guests can tour the working farm and historic buildings and interact with crafters including glassblowers.
Admission: $12, or $6 for children
198 Main St., Zoar (Tuscarawas County)
The village was founded in 1817 by a group of over 200 German Separatists seeking escape from religious persecution in their homeland. By building a “community of goods,” these Separatists thrived as a unique society for more than 80 years. Many of the historic buildings are open for tours.
Admission: $10, or $5 for children.
Information: https://historiczoarvillage.com/, 330-874-3011
Zoar Village:Specialty tours feature history of Zoar
Cleveland Professional Baseball Club
Progressive Field, 2401 Ontario St., Cleveland (Cuyahoga County)
Expectations are high again this year for the young team. Upcoming homestands include series against the Detroit Tigers (June 28-30) and the Houston Astros (July 1-4).
Admission: beginning at $15
Information: www.mlb.com/indians, 216-420-4487
More pro baseball in Northeast Ohio
• Akron RubberDucks: The Cleveland Class AA affiliate plays at downtown Akron’s Canal Park, 300 S. Main St., Akron (Summit County), with seating for 7,600.
Information: www.akronrubberducks.com, 330-253-5151
• Lake County Captains: This Class A affiliate of Cleveland plays in Classic Park, 35300 Vine St., Eastlake (Lake County)
Information: www.captainsbaseball.com, 440-975-8085
• Mahoning Valley Scrappers: The collegiate summer baseball team of the MLB Draft League plays at Eastwood Field in Niles in Trumbull County (www.mvscrappers.com, 330-505-0000; and the Lake Erie Crushers, part of the independent Frontier League, play at Sprenger Stadium in Avon in Lorain County (www.lakeeriecrushers.com, 440-934-3636)
Festivals and fairs
Twins Day Festival, Aug. 6-8
Glenn Chamberlin Park, 10260 Ravenna Road, Twinsburg (Summit County)
This annual event is the largest gathering of twins (and other multiples) in the world, drawing thousands of twins (plus thousands of non-twins) every year. Popular events include look-alike (and least-alike) contests, talent shows and more.
Admission: fee charged to enter grounds
Information: twinsdays.org, 330-425-3652
D-Day Conneaut, Aug. 19-21
Conneaut Township Park, 480 Lake Road, Conneaut (Ashtabula)
More than 1,800 reenactors are expected on the south shore of Lake Erie for this annual event, the largest D-Day reenactment in the United States. Activities include mock battles, living-history displays, demonstrations, seminars and more.
Admission: free, although donations are encouraged
Breweries and wineries
Lake Erie wine trail (Lake, Ashtabula counties)
Ohio’s best-known and most prolific wine-making region is east of Cleveland, along the Lake Erie shore. At last count, there were 29 wineries on the Lake Erie Vines & Wines Trail in Ashtabula and Lake counties, all of them worth a stop and a sip (or two). Among them:
• Debonne Vineyards, 7840 Doty Road, Madison, is the largest estate winery in Ohio, with 175 acres of vineyards and three dozen varieties of wine for purchase.
Information: debonne.com, 440-466-3485
• Kosicek Vineyards, 636 Route 534, Geneva, is a relative newcomer, founded in 2012.
Information: kosicekvineyards.com, 440-361-4573
Great Lakes Brewing Co. and more (Cuyahoga, Summit counties)
Craft beer drinkers, too, have plenty of choices in Northeast Ohio, including industry patriarch Great Lakes Brewing Co., 2516 Market Ave., Cleveland. The 30-year veteran in Cleveland’s Ohio City neighborhood is just west of downtown in the city’s burgeoning brewery district.
Information: greatlakesbrewing.com, 216-771-4404
Also in the neighborhood: Market Garden Brewery (marketgardenbrewery.com), Nano Brew (nanobrewcleveland.com), Hansa Brewery (hansabrewery.com), Platform Brewery (platformbeer.com) and Bad Tom Smith Brewing (https://www.badtomsmithbrewing.com/) just to name-drop a few.
Or head south from the city, where Fat Head’s (with locations in North Olmsted, Middleburg Heights, Canton and (gasp) Pittsburgh; fatheads.com) earns praise for its Head Hunter IPA and Bumble Berry Ale, among other brews. And in Akron: Thirsty Dog (thirstydog.com), Missing Falls (https://www.missingfalls.com/) and Hoppin’ Frog Brewery (hoppinfrog.com) are worth the drive for a pint. There’s also the Akronym Brewing in Akron that has a taproom on North Market Street and has put in an outdoor Biergarten on South Main Street. (https://akronymbrewing.com/).
Cuyahoga Valley National Park
1550 Boston Mills Road, Peninsula (Summit County)
Ohio’s only national park encompasses 33,000 acres between Akron and Cleveland, with numerous opportunities for outdoor fun. Among the many popular activities: biking along the Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail, hiking some of the park’s 100-plus miles of trails and hopping aboard the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, which travels straight through the park.
Information: nps.gov/cuva, 330-657-2752
Things to do outside in Cleveland area:Everything you need to know about visiting Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Mohican State Park
3116 Route 3, Loudonville (Ashland, Holmes counties)
The area around Mohican has become an outdoor adventurer’s dream, with scenic hiking, mountain bike trails, horseback riding and canoeing along the Mohican River and its tributaries.
Camping in Ohio:Itineraries come in handy on canoe trips — for starting campfires
Tree Frog Canopy Tours
21899 Wally Road, Glenmont (Holmes County)
With seven zip lines and two sky bridges that crisscross the forest, adventurers have ample options from which to choose.
Admission: starting at $75 for a three-hour tour
Information: treefrogcanopytours.com, 740-599-2662
More zip lining opportunities:
• Common Ground Canopy Tours, 14240 Baird Road, Oberlin (Lorain County): Soar through the treetops near Oberlin on this canopy tour, which includes seven zip lines and three sky bridges. Prices range from $49 to $79.
Information: commongroundcenter.org/canopy-tours, 440-707-2044
• Lake Erie Canopy Tours, part of Geneva State Park, 4888 N. Broadway, Geneva-on-the-Lake (Ashtabula County): This new tour offers a course with eight zip lines, including several with terrific views of Lake Erie. Also here: Two Adventure Challenge Courses for children and adults. Cost: $89 for zip line, $49 for Adventure Challenge, $19 for kids’ course.
Information: lakeeriecanopytours.com, 866-601-1973