12 Best Museums in Cleveland (By a Local)
As a city with a rich history and a plethora of cultural attractions, there are all kinds of incredible museums in Cleveland. From the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to the Baseball Heritage Museum, visitors have a lot of options to choose from.
During the 10 years I lived in Cleveland, Ohio, I experienced many of the best museums this northeast Ohio city has to offer. Whether you’re interested in art, science, history, or film, there is something here for you. I’ve put together a list of worthwhile Cleveland museums that make the city one of the best places to visit in Ohio.
Let’s start our look at the best museums in Cleveland!
Table of Contents
- 12 Cleveland Museums
- Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
- Great Lakes Science Center
- Cleveland Museum of Art
- Cleveland History Center/Crawford Auto Aviation Museum
- Dittrick Medical History Center
- The Children’s Museum of Cleveland
- Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland
- Cleveland Museum of Natural History
- International Women’s Air & Space Museum
- Baseball Heritage Museum
- Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland Money Museum
- A Christmas Story House
- FAQs About Museums in Cleveland
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12 Cleveland Museums
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Seven floors of everything you ever wanted to know about rock and roll.
📍 Google Maps | Museum Website | Cost: $35 for adults, $25 for children (6-12), free for children 5 and under | Hours: 10 am – 5 pm, Fri-Wed; 10 am – 9 pm, Thu
No list of the best museums in Cleveland would be complete without the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. This museum is dedicated to the history of rock music and features a variety of popular exhibits. There are tons of valuable artifacts. These include the costumes and guitar of Jimi Hendrix, handwritten lyrics from the Beatles, and tons of other memorabilia.
Located in downtown Cleveland, you can’t miss this building. From the ground, it looks like a pyramid. If you get the chance to see it from up above, it’ll look like a record on a turntable. You’ll enter the building on the third of seven levels, all full of amazing rock history.
Great Lakes Science Center
A world that spins science into fun for everyone.
📍 Google Maps | Museum Website | Cost: $19.95 for adults, $14.95 for children (2-12) | Hours: 10 am – 5 pm, Mon-Sat; 12 pm – 5 pm, Sun
The Great Lakes Science Center is an excellent science museum located right on the shores of Lake Erie. You can learn all about the natural science of the Great Lakes region and a ton about other branches of science as well.
Walking in, you’ll see a wind turbine and solar panels, which help power the Science Center. You can learn about the physics of flight, the science behind musical acoustics, and much more. I definitely recommend the IMAX Dome Theater for a truly immersive experience!
Astronomy buffs can check out the NASA Glenn Visitor Center as well. There are many fascinating interactive exhibits to enjoy here.
Cleveland Museum of Art
Six millennia of art from all over the world!
📍 Google Maps | Museum Website | Cost: free | Hours: 10 am – 5 pm Tue, Thu, Sat, Sun; 10 am – 9 pm Wed & Fri, Closed Mon
The Cleveland Museum of Art is one of the most interesting parts of the University Circle neighborhood. The building itself is a work of art, built in the grand neoclassical style. It is not only one of the best museums in Cleveland but one of the best art museums in the entire country.
Check out over 45,000 pieces of art created over a 6,000-year range, from all over the world. Admire the masterpieces of Monet, Picasso, Van Gogh, and many other household names. Then, learn about fascinating African and Asian pieces. What I found really cool was that it’s all organized chronologically – you can see the development of art over time.
The Cleveland Museum of Art is one of the best free admission activities in the city.
Cleveland History Center/Crawford Auto Aviation Museum
A wealth of information about the Cleveland area, along with an incredible car/plane museum.
📍 Google Maps | Museum Website | Cost: $15 for adults (13-61), $13 for seniors (62+), $8 for children | Hours: 12 pm – 8 pm, Thu; 10 am – 4 pm, Fri-Sun; Closed Mon-Wed
The Cleveland History Center is a great place to visit if you want to learn about the history of northeast Ohio. It is run by the Western Reserve Historical Society. You can learn a lot just by going to the library within the museum and doing some research. Browse through the permanent exhibit, as well as all of the local history artifacts.
The museum houses the iconic Grand Carousel, which used to belong to Euclid Beach Park.
It also contains the Crawford Auto Aviation Museum. Here, you can learn all about the history of transportation with a variety of exhibits and artifacts. Any car enthusiast will love looking at the 170 antique vehicles at different stages of development.
Dittrick Medical History Center
A collection of medical equipment, documents, and artifacts that will change your view on medicine.
📍 Google Maps | Museum Website | Cost: free | Hours: 10:30 am – 4 pm, Fri; 12 pm – 4 pm, Sat; Closed Sun-Thu
The Dittrick Medical History Center is a museum in the Allen Memorial Library of Case Western Reserve University (free admission). You can learn a ton about the history of medicine here, particularly the history of women’s health and contraception. View a collection of rare books and artifacts that you won’t be able to see anywhere else.
Just a fair warning – you might find some of the medical equipment on display to be disturbing!
The Children’s Museum of Cleveland
An activity-filled museum that feels more like a play center.
📍 Google Maps | Museum Website | Cost: $15 per person, free for children 11 months or younger | Hours: 9 am – 1:30 pm, Fri-Wed; Closed Thu
The Children’s Museum of Cleveland, located on Euclid Ave., is a great option among family-friendly museums in Cleveland, OH. Many interactive exhibits will keep both adults and kids entertained while also being educational.
Kids can examine tiny dioramas, play in humongous doll houses, and socialize with others. They will love the two-story Adventure City, where they can put their designing and building skills to the test.
The Wonder Lab is an industrial science lab where kids can learn about experimental science by playing with diverse faux equipment. There’s also a bubble laboratory and a theater where children can stage their own performances.
Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland
A novel take on the world of art, housed in a piece of contemporary art.
📍 Google Maps | Museum Website | Cost: free | Hours: 11 am – 5 pm, Thu-Sun; Closed Mon-Wed
The Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland (MoCA), was founded in 1968. This stunning triangular building, covered with mirrors on the exterior, is home to some of the best contemporary art you will find.
See rotating exhibits that feature international/national artists and local up-and-comers. There is always something new to see. Be prepared to see jarring, even disturbing, work at times.
You can see all sorts of paintings, sculptures, and multimedia. In addition, this museum hosts unique programs and guest speaker appearances. There are Poetry Unplugged nights that involve an open mic and audience participation. Alternatively, you can go to an open studio session or yoga program.
Even more amazing is that you can experience all these art pieces and programs with free admission!
Cleveland Museum of Natural History
A place to learn about the past and future of all life.
📍 Google Maps | Museum Website | Cost: $10 for adults (19+), $7 for seniors (60+) and children (3-18), free for children 2 and under | Hours: 10 am – 5 pm, Tue-Sun; Closed Mon
There are a variety of displays at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, including animal specimens from all over the world. There are exhibits on local animals and a great outdoor animal display that the whole family will love.
Upon entering, you’ll see Steggy, the famous Stegosaurus mascot. Once you’re inside, you can observe tons of dinosaur fossils and even human skeletons. Perhaps the most famous of these is “Lucy,” a skeleton of one of humanity’s first ancestors.
In this awesome place, you can also see a taxidermy version of the beloved Balto, a Siberian Husky who led a pack of sled dogs to fame in 1925.
In addition to the anthropology, paleontology, and zoology exhibits, experience Shafran Planetarium. At night, you can locate Polaris from the sloped roof.
International Women’s Air & Space Museum
A tribute to women who have contributed to aviation and space exploration.
📍 Google Maps | Museum Website | Cost: free | Hours: 8 am – 8 pm, daily
The International Women’s Air & Space Museum at Burke Lakefront Airport allows you in with free admission. It started as a committee of female pilots who set out to collect these artifacts and memorabilia.
Today, it’s a unique museum that celebrates the history of women who succeeded in the historically male-dominated fields of aviation and aerospace. View a collection of fascinating artifacts that provide an interesting perspective on these women’s contributions.
Baseball Heritage Museum
A collection of artifacts that present a unique view of baseball.
📍 Google Maps | Museum Website | Cost: $10 for adults, free for children 9 and under | Hours: 9 am – 3 pm, Thu-Sun; Closed Mon-Wed
The Baseball Heritage Museum is a chance to see all sorts of interesting baseball memorabilia that you won’t see anywhere else. Get an inside look at the stories of different players through pictures, programs, letters, and other artifacts. You’ll have an opportunity to learn about the culture and heritage behind other leagues, including Negro, Latin, Caribbean, and Women’s leagues.
This building in the former League Park ticket house was once the home of the Cleveland Spiders, an MLB team between 1891 and 1957. It also holds various youth events.
Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland Money Museum
A museum where they’ll show you the money!
📍 Google Maps | Museum Website | Cost: free | Hours: 9 am – 2 pm, Mon-Thu; Closed Fri-Sun
The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland Money Museum is a prominent financial institution in Cleveland. The museum is very informative when it comes to the history of money. You can experience interactive exhibits focusing on the history of money, economics, and finance.
At this museum, you get to learn by doing. Simulate your own trade on Barter Islands, and see if you can identify counterfeit bills. You can even make your own currency! Book a free tour in advance, and learn even more!
A Christmas Story House
The house used in exterior shots for a classic Christmas movie.
📍 Google Maps | Museum Website | Cost: $18 for adults, $16 for seniors (60+), $13 for children 3-12, free for children under 3 | Hours: 10 am – 5 pm, daily
Fans of the popular Christmas movie “A Christmas Story” will definitely want to see this. The house that was used in this movie has now been repurposed for tours. You can learn all about the history of the house, as well as how it was chosen for the movie.
There are plenty of original props and costumes from the movie, as well as a gift shop where you can buy your own leg lamp! There’s also a great café across the street.
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FAQs About Museums in Cleveland
Are Cleveland museums free?
Some Cleveland museums are free, including the Cleveland Museum of Art, Dittrick Medical History Center, and Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland. Others require admissions fees.
How much are tickets to the Natural History Museum in Cleveland?
Tickets to the Natural History Museum in Cleveland are $10 for adults 19 years of age and older, $7 for children (ages 3-18), $7 for seniors (ages 60 and older), and free for children 2 and under. Online reservations in advance are required for all tickets, even free ones.
How long does it take to tour the Great Lakes Science Center?
It takes approximately one to two hours to tour the Great Lakes Science Center, depending on how comprehensive the tour is.
I hope you enjoyed reading this guide to the best museums in Cleveland! Want to learn more about this fun city before your visit? Check out my article on interesting facts about Cleveland.
(Featured Image Credit: Allen.G / Shutterstock)
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