From Sprawling Art Galleries to Monuments of Music Memorabilia, Cleveland is Home to Plenty of Unique Museums
With nationally and internationally known institutions like the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and the Cleveland Museum of Art, it’s no wonder that Cleveland has made a name for itself as a cultural powerhouse. Cleveland and its surrounding communities are home to dozens of museums, big and small. Whether you’ve lived in Cleveland all your life and are looking for something fun to do this weekend or you’re trying to get the most out of your visit, we’re sure that Clevleand’s museum scene has something in it for everyone to enjoy.
Here’s a sneak peek at what we have in store for you today:
To make things easy, we’ve also picked out all of the locations on this list where you can use GiftYa as of this writing.
GiftYa is a convenient digital gift card option for people in Cleveland and all over the country. Just choose from thousands of local and national restaurants, museums, and more to get started. In just a couple of clicks, you can customize, schedule, and send your gift to anyone you choose. The recipient can use the GiftYa app, link their gift to a physical credit card they carry with them every day anyway to rack up those rewards points, or exchange/regift their card in just a few taps.
Head over to GiftYa to learn more and check out the entire catalog.
Now that we’re on the same page, let’s get to the good stuff and find you the next museum to explore in Cleveland!
11400 Euclid Ave | University | mocacleveland.org
Let’s start our tour of Cleveland’s museum scene a little off the beaten path at the Museum of Contemporary Art. While people sometimes shy away from modern art museums out of concern that they won’t “get” it, the Museum of Contemporary Art is a great place to try it out because admission is free to all.
Plus, the Museum of Contemporary Art is always refreshing the art on display. Since 1968, the museum has hosted works from over 2,000 artists, so you’re sure to find something in their diverse collection that sparks your interest.
“As an avid museumgoer around the world, I'm going to lay some truth in this review: contemporary art isn't for everyone and that's okay. Do not come here expecting CMA. Make an afternoon to peruse Uptown and give MOCA a shot. Its the beautiful building with a cool design. You can't miss it.” - Yelp Review
1309 E 9th St | Downtown | clevelandhungarianmuseum.org
Cleveland has many museums – some big, some small. This is one of the city’s more niche offerings, a true hidden gem tucked away inside the Galleria shopping mall. Hours are relatively limited – they are open only three days a week, but interested visitors can call ahead to make an appointment on another day if it fits their schedule better.
Once inside, you’ll find a fascinating collection of Hungarian books and artifacts. The museum traces the history of Hungarians in Northeast Ohio back to the Revolutionary War, providing a deep look at the community’s roots and evolving traditions for present and future generations to appreciate.
This small but mighty operation is continuing to grow – in 2020, they received a grant from the Ohio History Connection to improve their cataloging capabilities and further their mission of preserving Hungarian culture.
“I stumbled into this museum while walking around the Galleria mall. And it is quite a gem. It goes through the history of Hungarians in the US since the revolutionary war. I learned a lot while exploring the small exhibitions and old books. ” - Yelp Review
11150 East Blvd | University | clevelandart.org
Located in America’s heartland, Cleveland may not be the first city that comes to mind when you think of internationally renowned art collections. Founded in 1913 and opened in 1916, the Cleveland Museum of Art has been gaining a reputation as just that for the last century. The Cleveland Museum of Art’s permanent collection includes works by masters such as Caravaggio, Picasso, Gauguin, Rembrandt, Dali, Monet, Degas, Van Gogh, and more.
The Cleveland Museum of Art offers a variety of community education programs and tours geared toward art lovers of all ages, from pre-k children to seniors. And with new exhibitions and items on loan appearing in the galleries every year, there’s always something new to discover.
“I came to Cleveland to visit a friend and I didn't expect to find one of the most beautiful and well curated art museums! They have pieces from Picasso, Degas, Monet and Van Gogh!! I've left with a newfound appreciation for art!” - Yelp Review
1085 East Blvd | University | wrhs.org
If you’re looking for history museums in Cleveland, you can’t do much better than the Cleveland History Center. Founded in 1867, the Western Reserve Historical Society has been preserving the culture and history of Ohio longer than any other institution. Their collection spans centuries and includes documents and objects rich in local, regional, and national history.
Some of the historical society’s collections include:
“In a word diverse. From Lebron's shoes to a huge auto collection, to Victorian paintings and a historic library. Plenty to see and study - a beautiful museum and a worthwhile hour spent visiting.” - Yelp Review
601 Erieside Ave | Northeast District | greatscience.com
Sitting in a classroom trying to learn science and math can be boring, but STEM comes to life at the Great Lakes Science Center. Located on the shore of Lake Erie, GLSC imagines a world in which people don’t just appreciate the STEM fields, they use them to inform their decisions and lead richer lives.
Great Lakes Science Center offers a variety of kid-friendly events and programs, like build challenges and science demonstrations. Exhibits cover topics ranging from space exploration in the NASA Glenn Visitor Center to genomics, stem cells, and prosthetics in the BioMedTech Gallery. And don’t forget to catch a movie at the Cleveland Clinic Dome Theater. With a six-story domed screen and daily film screenings, there’s not another viewing experience quite like it in Cleveland.
“This is a fun place for all ages, they have a bunch of interactive activities. Many of which are designed to educate and my friends and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves as we meandered through the exhibits and tinkered with the displays.” - Yelp Review
1100 Rock and Roll Blvd | Northeast District | rockhall.com
The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame hardly needs an introduction, but I’ll do my best anyway. Established in 1995, the 160k foot museum is dedicated to recognizing and preserving the history of some of music’s biggest stars. The museum sits on the shore of Lake Erie and is housed in an iconic glass pyramid packed with music, memorabilia, live shows, souvenirs, and interactive experiences.
As of this writing, there have been 365 artists inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, ranging from Ray Charles and Stevie Ray Vaughan to Bruce Springsteen, the Ramones, Madonna, and Green Day.
“Where do you even start, here?! It's taken me a minute since my visit to process the awesome. One of the coolest exhibit establishments I've ever been to! My Mother is a total history buff & I can see why she's jealous, adding this to her bucket list. It was dang near overwhelming before you even enter the building. ” - Yelp Review
1501 N Marginal Rd | Burke Lakefront Airport | iwasm.org
Women have played an essential role in mankind’s aviation and aerospace ambitions. Many people have seen the iconic photo of programer Margaret Hamilton standing next to a towering stack of the code she wrote that would ultimately help put man on the moon in 1969. And of course we know Sally Ride and Amelia Earhart, but countless women have been involved in exploring the skies.
If our treks to the heavens spark your curiosity, stop by the International Women's Air & Space Museum to learn about the women who contributed to those efforts.The museum is located in an operational airport, but you don’t have to be catching a flight to visit. Since it is housed in a public building, museum admission is free to all.
“I love this little museum about woman and aviation! It's super informative and a self guided tour. The white and purple plane and it's story was my favorite! I didn't know so many women flew. Neat! And.. it's FREE. Inside the small airport within walking distance from the rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Great Lakes Science Center.” - Yelp Review
6601 Lexington Ave | Hough | baseballheritagemuseum.org
What’s more American than baseball? Maybe apple pie, or the stars and stripes, but there’s a reason that they say “to understand America, study baseball.” And the Baseball Heritage Museum does just that, putting America’s favorite pastime on display like never before. The museum’s mission is to entertain and educate, helping people understand the rich and multicultural heritage of baseball as players experienced it.
Check out game-used artifacts and memorabilia from the leagues that shaped the game – from Latin America and Caribbean leagues, to Negro and Women’s leagues, and beyond. Located at the original home of Cleveland Baseball, League Park, the Baseball Heritage Museum even has a field where the community can participate in games and other activities.
“Very limited hours but well worth them trip. Plenty of street parking. Awesome display of history. Enjoyed seeing all the old pinball games. Beautiful stadium for the community.” - Yelp Review
2155 Broadview Rd | Old Brooklyn | bucklandmuseum.org
When you think of witchcraft in America, the town that comes to mind is probably several states to the northeast of Cleveland. Even so, Cleveland is actually home to America’s first and only museum dedicated to witcraft, the occult, and their related cultures. Originally located in New York state, the now Ohio-based permanent collection includes magical talismans, ceremonial garb, and even pagan altars. Knowledgeable staff is on hand to explain the history and significance of different objects and traditions.
This museum is a little different than the others on our list today – after all, where else could you possibly find everything from ancient Egyptian ushabtis to pieces once owned by Aleister Crowley under one roof? If you’re looking for a unique museum experience in Cleveland, this is it.
“This small gem is a must-visit if you even have just a little bit of interest or curiosity in witchcraft, Wicca, or even just paganism. Reasonable admission fee. Guided tour. And then some time to wander and take photos. I left with a shirt and also a sticker for my collection of cool places I've visited.” - Yelp Review
From rock and roll to baseball, we’ve covered some of Cleveland’s most impressive monuments to American life, past and present, as well as its international attractions. We hope that you found a museum on this list that sparked your curiosity. If you’re looking for something else to do in Cleveland, head on over to GiftYa to check out the other activities and attractions in our catalog. Cleveland and GiftYa have something for everyone!