Don’t get me wrong – I love our new house in the ‘burbs and all that our new little city has to offer – but I do miss our lives downtown. There was always something to do, always something going on, and it was great walking everywhere (especially to work). And even after we got married and had kids – yes, there was still kid-friendly stuff to do!
Are you thinking of living in downtown CLE with kids? Or just looking for stuff to do with kids downtown? Here are some of the ways we had fun and the things I loved to do downtown with FW:
1. Take advantage of all the free attractions
When you’re a kid, there are so many things that are exciting — and the best part is, so many of these things are free! For example, FW, loves just watching trains, trolleys, buses, boats, etc. These are all things you can see— and ride— downtown. There are several trolleys that ride around downtown for free and you can hop on and hop off whenever you want. Also, FW LOVES looking at pretty much any vehicle, especially trains and boats and airplanes. The best place to do this? Walk down to Voinovich Park. On the walk, you’ll cross over train tracks. At the park you’ll see planes landing into Burke airport as well as boats in the water. If you walk down to the Flats, you’ll also get a glimpse of boats and trains. Walk along the waterfront path near FWD Night Club and you may even be able to catch not only a boat along the water, but also a train cross the bridge. Public Square is also a great, free place for kids. Not only can you watch the buses, but there’s also green space to run around, a splash pad in the summer, ice skating in the winter and plenty of year-round events.
2. Be willing to spend some money
In addition to the free attractions, there are other things to see and do right downtown. Some of the attractions that cater to children include:
3. Know the child-friendly restaurants
My husband and I lived in two apartments downtown, one near East 4th Street and one in Playhouse Square. Both areas had restaurants we’d frequent with our baby and toddler. Some of them include Winking Lizard (they have a kids menu AND a lizard that kids may enjoy checking out), Masthead Brewing Co. (they have high chairs and quick food, which is perfect for kids; it’s also loud, which is great for blending in with your loud baby), Corner Alley (they have games for older kids) and Hofbrauhaus (they have a giant enclosed patio with a playscape and live music). During sporting events or at night, these places can become not as friendly, so we stuck to them mostly during the day. Around the Flats, there also were so many places great for kids because they’re near the water (see above: cool views of boats and trains and bridges) and casual. Some of our favorites include Coastal Taco and Dante’s Inferno. Both are casual, have games for the older kids to play, and are on the louder side, so a screaming child may not get noticed.
There are so many great places to eat downtown, and the best part is, so many of them are child-friendly, especially if you go earlier in the day. If you’re not sure, definitely call ahead and ask.
4. Frequent the family-friendly events
All year long, Cleveland is home to child-friendly events. Most of these are events that people from all over Northeast Ohio attend. Some include:
- Fourth of July free concert and fireworks with the Cleveland Orchestra
- Cleveland Indians games
- The Cleveland Airshow
- Holiday Lights in Public Square, including the tree lighting event, Winterfest
- The Wooden Soldier Dance and Bruce the Talking Spruce in Tower City
- The Cleveland Marathon – and other race spectating (plus there is post-race entertainment)
- Take a Hike Walking Tours
Whether you’re looking to spend money or not, there’s so much to do in downtown Cleveland year-round. We loved our time living there with our toddler and hope you are able to enjoy some of the fun activities we loved, as well.
Do you live downtown with your baby or small child? OR do you spend a lot of time downtown with your kids? How do you keep them entertained?
A version of this post was shared on NortheastOhioParent.com.