Summer Guide: Get Outdoors

Share on Nextdoor

$20: Hermes Cleveland 5K Races, Various Locations

There are few workouts genuinely better than a good run on a sunny day. Those dashes through the neighborhood can also be incredibly fun and soul-nourishing if you're doing it right. Goal setting is an important part of that. Hermes Cleveland, the region's premier road-racing organization, hosts runs all over Northeast Ohio all year long. Sign up for a race, get prepared, and then go have a great time on race day. Most of these races are paired with a charitable cause and come with a festive environment: music, socializing, sports mascots, and more, all before the race even starts! Registration prior to the event often clocks in around $20, though do be prepared to pay more as race day approaches.

2425 West 11th St., 216-623-9933,

$0: Our Surprisingly Awesome Beaches

The Metroparks took over Edgewater Beach and — holy hell! — it is now like a mystical magical place you wouldn't expect to find in Cleveland. It's clean and secluded and boasts great views of the city and sandy accommodations you thought you had to get on an airplane to enjoy. Out east, Headlands State Park offers a huge expanse of lush Lake Erie beach life just 45 minutes or so from downtown Cleveland. Grab a towel, pack a cooler, grab a book, and while away the weekend hours enjoying the sweet, sweet rays.

$25: Cabrewing, Mohican Park

There's simply no better way to tan and get drunk at the same time than lazily canoeing down a river. For the low price of $25, Mohican Park offers a 7-mile canoe trip (estimated at about two hours) for which you ought to bring a cooler full of cold ones. (We're partial to Labatt Blue Lime or Cleveland Palesner). The canoe trip need not be strenuous. You can row and sip at your own pace. Enjoy the sunshine and the natural surroundings and experience day-drinking how god intended you to: on a river in Ohio. If you're a real fitness freak or something, or have nothing on the agenda, you can do the 15-miler, a four-hour trip, which costs only $8 more. A host of other canoe rental ventures offer similar trips. You can't go wrong with any of them.

3045 OH-3, Loudonville, 419-994-4097,

$10: Nine Holes of Golf, Washington Golf Learning Center

Experienced (or elitist) golfers might scoff at the idea of a par-three course in the sleepy hamlet of Newburgh Heights, but for $10 ($7 more for a cart), it's one of the best deals in town. Additionally — in part because there's seldom more than a handful of duffers out on the green — on Mondays through Thursdays, when you buy 9 holes, you get 9 holes free. It's an easy course (with free balls galore in the weeds and brush near the fairway), and you can play it in less than two hour, easy. Hit a small bucket of balls for $4 if that's more your speed, or practice your chips on a chipping green. It's a learning center after all, and it's a prime spot for beginners and early-season rust-dusters alike, because we all know all of our strokes come near the green. So go practice that stuff for a fistful of dollars.

3841 Washington Park Blvd., Newburgh Heights, 216-641-1864,

$6.27: Best View of the City, Terminal Tower Observation Deck

For a whopping $6.27 on the credit card of your choice, you can reserve one of 50 tickets per half-hour time slot to ascend the Terminal Tower (42 floors up) and take a gander at fair Cleveland from the sky. Yeah, it's really an outdoorsy thing, but you get to enjoy the outdoors with your eyes. The Terminal Tower is the only skyscraper in town to offer an observation deck, and if you haven't done it, you've gotta put it on your to-do list this summer. It's only a 30-minute time commitment, but it's a memorable experience and a view you'll never forget. Check the weather in advance and try to go on a sunny day. (And you can always follow @TowerLightsCLE on Twitter to get the latest on availability and promotions). The observation deck is usually open just on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Make it a date!

50 Public Square, 216-621-6060, @TowerLightsCLE.

$0: Critical Mass Bike Rides, Various Locations

Tune up the old 10-speed. ladies and gentlemen, or dust off the old coaster, or apply ample WD-40 to the old fixed gear, or find a long-lost love for the old tandem, or top off the old moped ... you get the idea. Get the wheels of your various two-wheelers pumped and ready to go for this free monthly group bike ride that takes you leisurely through the streets of Cleveland. It's Critical Mass! You'll get to chitchat while getting some easy exercise and enjoying the sights and sounds of downtown and the neighborhoods along generally improvised courses. There's always great conversation and, if you're lucky, a few beers afterwards. Meet at Public Square at 6:30 p.m. the last Friday of every month.

$13: Indians Game, Progressive Field

Wait, what? Tribe tickets for under $15? Why yes, yes indeed. For just 13 smackaroos, fans can snag a standing-room ticket to the Right Field Bar, which comes with a free drink, plus access to all of Progressive Field's new amenities, like the rooftop deck and open air fire pit. Pair it up with Dollar Dog Night, and you'll really be cooking.

$15: Slide the City, Downtown

We know $15 for a single turn sounds obscene, but when else will you have the chance to ride a 1,000-foot water slide through your city? Probably never. That's why you'll see us in line when Slide the City, a traveling water entertainment company from Utah, brings its enormous, two-lane water slide to Cleveland, Akron, and Youngstown this summer. Dates are set for Akron (June 27) and Youngstown (August 2), but we're still waiting on word for Cleveland.

$0: Bike Lessons, Velodrome

Sign up for beginners' classes for both kids and adults at the Olympic-style bike race track in Slavic Village. It's free — but make sure to sign up online — and you can use one of their track bikes while you learn about "fixed gear riding, stopping and starting, parts of the track, how to get on and off the track, how to ride a smooth line, what the different lines mean and basic track rules and etiquette."

5033 Broadway Ave.,

$0 to $13.25: Animals, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

There's a reason why the Metroparks Zoo is one of Cleveland's most popular attractions. With more than 2,000 animals from 600 species representing six continents, there's enough to see that you probably won't see everything in one day. It's just $13.25 for adults, $9.25 for kids aged 2 to 11, and free for those under 2 (knock a buck off by preordering online). Cuyahoga County residents get in free on Mondays.

3900 Wildlife Way, 216-661-6500,

$11: Nature, Cleveland Botanical Garden

With 11 gardens and a huge glasshouse with amazing butterflies and "some of the strangest plants you've ever seen," a trip to the Botanical Garden is the perfect summer activity for nature lovers. It's free for members (and for active military and veterans) or or $11 bucks for adults, $6 for children, and free for kids under 3.

11030 East Blvd., 216-721-1600,

$0: Old Time-y Fun, Stearns Homestead

The 48-acre homestead smack-dab in the middle of Parma dates back to the 19th century, making it a great place to show kids what life was like before video games. There are animals, two houses/museums with antiques, and events throughout the summer like the farmer's market that opens June 20.

6975 Ridge Rd., Parma, 440-845-9770,

$15: Stand Up Paddling, Lake Erie

Stand up paddleboarding is all the rage these days, and there are a bunch of different groups that can get you out on the water even if you don't have a board or any clue what you're doing. Check out the "SUP CLE" people (, who put on group lessons (including SUP yoga) and demos on Thursdays (5:30 and 7:30 p.m.) at Edgewater Park throughout the summer, and offer private and group lessons and rentals on Saturdays.

About The Author

Scene Staff

Scene's award-winning newsroom oftentimes collaborates on articles and projects. Stories under this byline are group efforts.
Scroll to read more Summer Guide articles


Join Cleveland Scene Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.