The Best Outdoorsy Things to Do in Cleveland, As Voted By You

You spoke, and we listened. Here are the best outdoorsy things to do in Cleveland. Be sure to check out the other Best of Cleveland 2016 winners too.

Photos courtesy of Yelp and Flickr

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BEST DOG PARK: Lakewood Dog Park - You can take your dog to any old park and Fido will be pretty happy. But the allure of a dog park is two-fold: First, your pup gets pup friends. Second, you get to talk to other people about dogs, which is probably your favorite hobby. Whether you’re apologizing for your pup’s general lack of obedience or chatting up that single with the cute four-legged pal, it’s all about interaction for you and your poor dog, who, let’s be honest, sits around the house most days waiting for you to do something cool with him. The Lakewood Dog Park in the Rocky River Reservation is the place to go, with ample room for your dog to romp around and plenty of other owners to keep you company. 1699 Valley Pkwy., Lakewood, lakewooddogpark.com
BEST DOG PARK: Lakewood Dog Park - You can take your dog to any old park and Fido will be pretty happy. But the allure of a dog park is two-fold: First, your pup gets pup friends. Second, you get to talk to other people about dogs, which is probably your favorite hobby. Whether you’re apologizing for your pup’s general lack of obedience or chatting up that single with the cute four-legged pal, it’s all about interaction for you and your poor dog, who, let’s be honest, sits around the house most days waiting for you to do something cool with him. The Lakewood Dog Park in the Rocky River Reservation is the place to go, with ample room for your dog to romp around and plenty of other owners to keep you company. 1699 Valley Pkwy., Lakewood, lakewooddogpark.com
BEST SKATE PARK: Lakewood Skate Park - With 9,500 square feet of solid concrete all to themselves, skaters don’t need to worry about getting in anyone’s way at Lakewood Skate Park. The idea for the skate park was nearly 30 years in the making, after area skaters kept finding themselves in trouble with Lakewood police and looking for a place to call their own. Today’s Lakewood Skate Park comes with obstacles designed for all ages and skill levels, and bleachers if you’d rather just watch. The skate park shares the same hours as Lakewood Park, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. each day, weather permitting. Belle Avenue and Lake Avenue, 216-272-8603, lkwdskaters.org.
BEST SKATE PARK: Lakewood Skate Park - With 9,500 square feet of solid concrete all to themselves, skaters don’t need to worry about getting in anyone’s way at Lakewood Skate Park. The idea for the skate park was nearly 30 years in the making, after area skaters kept finding themselves in trouble with Lakewood police and looking for a place to call their own. Today’s Lakewood Skate Park comes with obstacles designed for all ages and skill levels, and bleachers if you’d rather just watch. The skate park shares the same hours as Lakewood Park, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. each day, weather permitting. Belle Avenue and Lake Avenue, 216-272-8603, lkwdskaters.org.
BEST ARENA/STADIUM TO WATCH A GAME: Progressive Field Progressive Field enhances the fan experience every single year, so it’s no surprise to us that Cleveland voters overwhelmingly handed it this award. With the addition of Momocho, Fat Head’s brewery and other local eats to an already impressive roster of unique food options, going to Progressive Field is like dining out in one of Cleveland’s hottest neighborhoods. The right field District tickets (which come with a beer) are only $13 and make for an incredible evening out. And with the summer sun just around the corner, there’s no better way to spend an afternoon or evening than cheering on the Tribe in one of the nation’s most cherished ballparks. 2401 Ontario St., 216-420-4487, indians.com.
BEST ARENA/STADIUM TO WATCH A GAME: Progressive Field Progressive Field enhances the fan experience every single year, so it’s no surprise to us that Cleveland voters overwhelmingly handed it this award. With the addition of Momocho, Fat Head’s brewery and other local eats to an already impressive roster of unique food options, going to Progressive Field is like dining out in one of Cleveland’s hottest neighborhoods. The right field District tickets (which come with a beer) are only $13 and make for an incredible evening out. And with the summer sun just around the corner, there’s no better way to spend an afternoon or evening than cheering on the Tribe in one of the nation’s most cherished ballparks. 2401 Ontario St., 216-420-4487, indians.com.
BEST BIKE ROUTE: Towpath Trail - 
There was a time in the not so distant past when the only reason to go down to the Flats was to drop a body or get blasted at a bar. Now the Flats is the end point for one of Northeast Ohio’s best bike paths. From Cleveland, the historic Towpath Trail stretches more than 100 miles to the south, following the canal system that once wound from Lake Erie to New Philadelphia. Yes, there are still a few unfinished stretches, including the part through Tremont connecting the Steelyard to Scranton. Still, few regions boast such a dang cool amenity, and with any luck, the final pieces in the puzzle will come together soon. More than 2 million visitors enjoy the Towpath in some form or another every year. You should probably join their ranks.
ohioanderiecanalways.com.
BEST BIKE ROUTE: Towpath Trail - There was a time in the not so distant past when the only reason to go down to the Flats was to drop a body or get blasted at a bar. Now the Flats is the end point for one of Northeast Ohio’s best bike paths. From Cleveland, the historic Towpath Trail stretches more than 100 miles to the south, following the canal system that once wound from Lake Erie to New Philadelphia. Yes, there are still a few unfinished stretches, including the part through Tremont connecting the Steelyard to Scranton. Still, few regions boast such a dang cool amenity, and with any luck, the final pieces in the puzzle will come together soon. More than 2 million visitors enjoy the Towpath in some form or another every year. You should probably join their ranks. ohioanderiecanalways.com.
BEST BATTING CAGES: Swings-N-Things - 
There are a million reasons to go to the batting cages. Kid’s gotta practice for that CYO team. You have to warm up for the Saturday beer league. You’ve got lots of stress to take out on some silly little balls. You’re bored. All good reasons, and all good reasons to head to Swings-N-Things. From 40 mph to 80 mph, for softball and baseball, they’ve got you covered. You can even get an all-day batting cage pass for just $8.99. That’s a steal, and you’ll be ready to play centerfield for the Indians in no time.
8501 Stearns Rd., Olmsted Falls, 440-235-4420, swings-n-things.com.
BEST BATTING CAGES: Swings-N-Things - There are a million reasons to go to the batting cages. Kid’s gotta practice for that CYO team. You have to warm up for the Saturday beer league. You’ve got lots of stress to take out on some silly little balls. You’re bored. All good reasons, and all good reasons to head to Swings-N-Things. From 40 mph to 80 mph, for softball and baseball, they’ve got you covered. You can even get an all-day batting cage pass for just $8.99. That’s a steal, and you’ll be ready to play centerfield for the Indians in no time. 8501 Stearns Rd., Olmsted Falls, 440-235-4420, swings-n-things.com.
BEST PUBLIC POOL: Beachwood Family Aquatic Center - 
The sun’s out, the temps are tipping toward the triple digits, and you can’t stand to be in your apartment one more minute. Where to? A pool, of course. But which one? Make the drive out to Beachwood’s outdoor pool and aquatics center. Trust us, and trust those who have piled the votes for this spot as high as the highest diving board. Residents can snag an individual season pass for just $50; non-residents can dip in for a day for just $10. They got slides, they got areas for the kiddos, they got comfortable lounge chairs, and they got a big, glorious pool in which to escape the rays.
25125 Fairmount Blvd., Beachwood, 216-292-1973, beachwoodohio.com.
BEST PUBLIC POOL: Beachwood Family Aquatic Center - The sun’s out, the temps are tipping toward the triple digits, and you can’t stand to be in your apartment one more minute. Where to? A pool, of course. But which one? Make the drive out to Beachwood’s outdoor pool and aquatics center. Trust us, and trust those who have piled the votes for this spot as high as the highest diving board. Residents can snag an individual season pass for just $50; non-residents can dip in for a day for just $10. They got slides, they got areas for the kiddos, they got comfortable lounge chairs, and they got a big, glorious pool in which to escape the rays. 25125 Fairmount Blvd., Beachwood, 216-292-1973, beachwoodohio.com.
BEST GOLF COURSE: Big Met - 
Any Northeast Ohio duffer worth his stroke — or not — has played Big Met. It’s not a rite of passage, per se, but it’s essentially the standard bearer for our region’s spectrum of playing levels. Whether you rock a two-handicap or you’re not even sure what a “putter” is, you’ll find good company on the links here. Everyone seems in fine spirits at this place always, so you know that you’ll have a comfortable day outside with your pals — new or old — while you duff your way into and out of the forested perimeter. Enjoy the glorious ascent to the 18th green, and know that you’re likely to return to the starter for another game right away.
4811 Valley Pkwy., Fairview Park, 440-331-1070, clevelandmetroparks.com.
BEST GOLF COURSE: Big Met - Any Northeast Ohio duffer worth his stroke — or not — has played Big Met. It’s not a rite of passage, per se, but it’s essentially the standard bearer for our region’s spectrum of playing levels. Whether you rock a two-handicap or you’re not even sure what a “putter” is, you’ll find good company on the links here. Everyone seems in fine spirits at this place always, so you know that you’ll have a comfortable day outside with your pals — new or old — while you duff your way into and out of the forested perimeter. Enjoy the glorious ascent to the 18th green, and know that you’re likely to return to the starter for another game right away. 4811 Valley Pkwy., Fairview Park, 440-331-1070, clevelandmetroparks.com.
BEST PLACE TO SKI: Brandywine - For some residents of Northeast Ohio, the arrival of winter is time to hunker down and dial up the Netflix and blankets. For others (and that category should include you), it’s reason to get the hell outside and enjoy the weather on the slopes. We all can’t jet off to Aspen, but we can make the short trip to Brandywine, which boasts 11 trails over 48 acres with hills for every skill level. Rent equipment if you don’t have it, enjoy the college ID night specials, go tubing and enjoy the powder on the weekends or under the lights. 1146 West Highland Rd., Sagamore Hills, 330-657-2334, bmbw.com.
BEST PLACE TO SKI: Brandywine - For some residents of Northeast Ohio, the arrival of winter is time to hunker down and dial up the Netflix and blankets. For others (and that category should include you), it’s reason to get the hell outside and enjoy the weather on the slopes. We all can’t jet off to Aspen, but we can make the short trip to Brandywine, which boasts 11 trails over 48 acres with hills for every skill level. Rent equipment if you don’t have it, enjoy the college ID night specials, go tubing and enjoy the powder on the weekends or under the lights. 1146 West Highland Rd., Sagamore Hills, 330-657-2334, bmbw.com.
BEST ROAD RACE: Cleveland Marathon - The 2016 Rite Aid Marathon has categories for folks at just about every fitness level, and with thousands coming out to watch the race, it’s as much about the city and our support of each other as it is about the runners themselves. This year’s marathon will be held May 15 in downtown Cleveland, and registration is still open. (The 5K and other events are held on May 14.) Run in the full, half, 10K, 5K or Kids’ Run, or simply come out and watch the festivities. This year marks the 39th anniversary for the race and it has long been one of the city’s signature events. clevelandmarathon.com.
BEST ROAD RACE: Cleveland Marathon - The 2016 Rite Aid Marathon has categories for folks at just about every fitness level, and with thousands coming out to watch the race, it’s as much about the city and our support of each other as it is about the runners themselves. This year’s marathon will be held May 15 in downtown Cleveland, and registration is still open. (The 5K and other events are held on May 14.) Run in the full, half, 10K, 5K or Kids’ Run, or simply come out and watch the festivities. This year marks the 39th anniversary for the race and it has long been one of the city’s signature events. clevelandmarathon.com.
BEST PLACES TO HIKE: Cleveland Metroparks - Lace up the boots, grab some trail mix and hit one of the many Cleveland Metroparks hiking trails, on both the east and west sides. With hundreds of miles of trails and more than 23,000 acres of land (and growing!), there’s something new to experience every weekend. North Chagrin, Mill Stream Run, Big Creek! With varying levels of difficulty and amazing views at every turn, what are you doing still reading this? clevelandmetroparks.com.
BEST PLACES TO HIKE: Cleveland Metroparks - Lace up the boots, grab some trail mix and hit one of the many Cleveland Metroparks hiking trails, on both the east and west sides. With hundreds of miles of trails and more than 23,000 acres of land (and growing!), there’s something new to experience every weekend. North Chagrin, Mill Stream Run, Big Creek! With varying levels of difficulty and amazing views at every turn, what are you doing still reading this? clevelandmetroparks.com.