Spend one day at Cleveland downtown and Beaver Marsh

A Dream Come True

Ratings Best Travel Date Cost Length


April - October <$25 4-8 hours

TLDR tips:

  • Visit the Beaver Marsh at Cuyahoga Valley National Park if you are running short in time
  • Be patient and focus, and you may be able to see a beaver
  • Downtown walkthrough Cleveland is clean and refreshing
  • Don’t recommend the Greater Cleveland Aquarium

Time Stamps:

  • 10:00 AM: Park downtown and visit The Arcade
  • 10:30 AM: Walk through Cleveland downtown
    • 11:00 AM: Quick tour at “Rock Hall” and USS COD Submarine
  • 11:30 AM: Return to downtown parking spot
  • 12:00 PM: Lunch at West Side Market
    • (optional): Greater Cleveland Aquarium (1 hour)
  • 1:00 PM: Drive to Cuyahoga Valley National Park (1 hour)
  • 2:00 PM: Visit the Beaver Marsh at Ira trail (1.5 hour)
  • 3:30 PM: End trip


  • Parking: Free (for 2 hours)
  • (Optional) Rock Hall: $35 per person
  • (Optional) USS COD Submarine: $14 per person
  • (Optional) Greater Cleveland Aquarium: $20 per person
  • Cuyahoga Valley National Park: Free
  • Total: $0-70

The Arcade

First, we checked out The Arcade in downtown Cleveland. Super easy to park on the streets, especially on weekends when it’s free for the first two hours. Downtown’s actually pretty neat – clean and felt safe.

Walking into The Arcade, you’re hit with this old-school vibe. It’s a mix of a hotel and a mini-mall, but not too crowded. Just a handful of tourists snapping pics, some staff getting ready for an event, and a few folks chilling with coffee.

Couldn’t go upstairs where the hotel rooms are and most shops were shut, but the main level was open for a little exploring. Great spot for some cool photos to post on Instagram.

Beautiful interior of The Arcade

Downtown Walk

With our 2-hour free parking, we decided to stroll around downtown Cleveland. Picked a route that’d take us about half an hour, passing by a bunch of cool places and ending up at the pier by Lake Erie. Perfect way to see the city without worrying about the car.

Walk route

The Mall

Walking through downtown really gives you the feel of the city – like how well they keep up the roads and parks. Cleveland’s got some nice spots like the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Memorial, a cool fountain, and this meadow at The Mall. Plus, you’re not too far from the pier.

Soldiers' and Sailors' Memorial

Fountain of Eternal Liberty

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: “Rock Hall”

If you’re into music, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s a must. It’s $35, but you get the whole history of rock music. They even have free live shows in the plaza if you just wanna hang around.

People gathering at the Rock Hall and enjoying live music

USS COD Submarine Memorial

Right by the Rock Hall, there’s this old submarine, the USS COD. It’s like a museum now. They ask $14 for adults and $8 for kids. Didn’t go in though – seemed a bit pricey for what it was.

The USS COD Submarine gated

Other Attractions

West Side Market

Feeling hungry or eager to go to see some down to the ground local shops? West Side Market is where you can grab a quick bite and check out some local merchs.

Greater Cleveland Aquarium

Went to the Greater Cleveland Aquarium on March 13, 2019. It’s near Lake Erie, so I was pretty hyped. But, honestly, it’s kinda small and not super exciting unless you have kids. At $20, might skip it if you’re just adults.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park: Beaver Marsh

Don’t forget to chill at the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. No entry fee, which is great. The Ira Trail’s an easy walk and takes you right to Beaver Marsh. Saw a beaver zipping underwater and even some turtles!

Image Credit: Zen Life and Travel

Snapping Turtle in the Beaver Marsh

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