When is the best time to visit Cleveland, Ohio? That’s a great question!
Being a city located in the Midwest along Lake Erie, there is truly so much to do for everyone and in any season of the year.
There are frozen waterfall winter hikes in Cuyahoga Valley National Park, beautiful patio weather in late spring, lovely beaches to explore in the summer, and the most stunning fall foliage to enjoy in autumn.
Basically, when to visit Cleveland is kind of up to you and what you plan to do during your visit.
So to help you decide when to travel to Cleveland or have out-of-town friends/family come visit, we have a whole guide below based on each season!
Visiting Cleveland in the Spring
I’ll be honest that Cleveland in the spring can be a bit dicey when it comes to weather. Some days reach 70ºF and are sunny… and other days you’ll find that there is an inch or two of snow on the ground.
Yes, we’ve even occasionally had snow in May – it is the Midwest after all!
BUT spring for the most part is lovely. The weather starts to warm up, the wildflowers start blooming, and restaurants around the city start dusting off their patio furniture for patrons to get some much needed sun.
For an idea of visiting Cleveland in the spring, here are some things to consider.
Cleveland Weather in the Spring
- March: Average high is 47ºF, the average low is 31ºF, and precipitation averages around 3.06 inches during the month. Normal snowfall is about 10.8 inches.
- April: Average high is 60ºF, the average low is 41ºF, and rainfall averages around 3.75 inches during the month. Normal snowfall is about 2.7 inches.
- May: Average high is 71ºF, the average low is 51ºF, and rainfall averages around 3.79 inches during the month.
Pros of Visiting Cleveland in the Spring
- All the blooms in the Metroparks! Seriously, there’s Cherry Blossom Lane at Brookside Reservation, bluebells in Bedford Reservation, and all the wildflowers at places like the Rocky River Reservation Hauser Wildflower Garden.
- Saint Patrick’s Day in Cleveland is always a good time
- Baby animals! There are baby animals to see at the zoo, the Lake Metroparks Farmpark, and Majestic Meadows, just to name a few. So if you want to see adorable baby animals, spring is a great time to visit Cleveland.
- Waterfalls are stunning. The waterfalls around Cleveland are rushing after the snow melts, so going to places like the Great Falls of Tinkers Creek or the famous Brandywine Falls will ensure some active cascades.
- Enjoy all the Cleveland spring festivals like the Cleveland International Film Festival, Tremont Greek Fest, and Cleveland Asian Festival, among others.
- Cleveland Guardians Opening Day is always a reason to visit in the spring!
- Weather is vastly better than winter. This is perfect for exploring Cleveland on foot again, enjoying patios at restaurants, and going for hikes in all the best Cleveland Metroparks.
- It is also a cheaper time to visit when it comes to hotels versus summertime.
Cons of Visiting Cleveland in the Spring
- Weather can be unpredictable. Whether it’s a random snowstorm or lots of rain, spring gets about an average of 10 days of precipitation a month. So always be prepared for rain, sleet, or other unpredictable weather.
- Mud. If you plan to go hiking in the Metroparks or in Cuyahoga Valley National Park, be prepared for a lot of mud. Be sure to wear your waterproof hiking boots!
Overall, spring is actually a really good time to visit! Once those warmer temperatures begin, it feels like all of Cleveland wakes up to enjoy the sunshine. If you’re not from here, you’d swear the city’s population increases once we start to see longer days and higher temperatures.
So if you’re fine with being prepared for the weather, spring is a fabulous time to visit Cleveland.
Visiting Cleveland in the Summer
Cleveland is amazing in the summer! Yes, we get some hot and humid days, but the nights are perfectly breezy, the sunsets over Lake Erie are divine, and what more excuses do you need to find the best ice cream spots in the city?
Here are some considerations for visiting Cleveland in the summertime.
Cleveland Weather in the Summer
- June: Average high is 79ºF, the average low is 59ºF, and precipitation averages around 3.83 inches during the month.
- July: Average high is 83ºF, the average low is 63ºF, and rainfall averages around 3.67 inches during the month.
- August: Average high is 81ºF, the average low is 62ºF, and rainfall averages around 3.56 inches during the month.
Pros of Visiting Cleveland in the Summer
- The chance to visit all the beaches! From Edgewater to Headlands Beach and all the ones in between, it is a ton of fun to enjoy a warm, sunny day by the shores of Lake Erie in summer.
- Island hopping. Yes, Lake Erie does have islands, and some aren’t too far from Cleveland. Put-in-Bay is always a fun spot to visit, and Kelleys Island is a lovely, laid back getaway.
- Guardians games are in full swing, and what says “summer” better than a baseball game or two?
- Summer outdoor concerts at venues like Blossom and even at the Cleveland Metroparks.
- All the chances to get out on the water in Cleveland.
- Two words: Patio dining.
- Asian Lantern Festival at the Zoo usually starts in July and runs through the end of summer.
- Enjoy all of the outdoor festivals and events, including Taste of Tremont, Larchmere PorchFest, the Cleveland National Air Show, and more!
- Enjoy the stunning local lavender farms and sunflower fields!
- This is also a great time to go hiking in Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
Cons of Visiting Cleveland in the Summer
- This is the most crowded time of year to visit.
- The humidity can be bad (although not nearly as bad as in the South).
- Costs will rise for hotels as you get into summer, especially as there are plenty of events like Guardians games, concerts, etc.
- Construction. Folks, after all the potholes of winter, the roads and pretty much everything else will be under construction all through the summer.
Overall, I highly recommend visiting Cleveland in the summer. People are itching to get outdoors after our notoriously long and chilly winters, so the city really comes to life!
While crowds will likely be higher in popular places around the city, you can’t beat enjoying the best of Cleveland in summer, or those idyllic sunsets over Lake Erie.
Visiting Cleveland in the Fall
If you’re a fan of crunchy vibrant autumn leaves, a brisk chill to the air, and plenty of pumpkin picking, then Cleveland in the fall is a must for you.
The autumn months in Cleveland are exceptional, as the whole city also seems to really enjoy fall. The Browns are back, pumpkin beers abound, and, honestly, you can’t go wrong with enjoying the perfect fall foliage in Cuyahoga Valley National Park!
Here are some considerations for visiting Cleveland in the autumn.
Cleveland Weather in the Fall
- September: Average high is 74ºF, the average low is 55ºF, and precipitation averages around 3.93 inches during the month.
- October: Average high is 62ºF, the average low is 45ºF, and rainfall averages around 3.60 inches during the month.
- November: Average high is 50ºF, the average low is 35ºF, and rainfall averages around 3.37 inches during the month. Normal snowfall is about 4.5 inches.
Pros of Visiting Cleveland in the Fall
- Leaf peeping of course! There are SO many great places to do this from Rocky River Reservation to Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Think that the northeast or Michigan get all the glorious fall foliage? Think again!
- You can sign up for the Fall Hiking Spree in nearby Summit County and earn a hiking stick medallion!
- Enjoy fun fall festivities like Oktoberfest, Harvest Days at Hale Farm, the Old West Pumpkin Fest, and more!
- All the pumpkin and fall beverages from the Witches Brew at Brewella’s in Lakewood to Spooky Tooth Imperial Pumpkin Ale at Fat Head’s Brewery.
- Speaking of beer: Enjoy the Christmas Ale tapping in October for Great Lakes Brewing Company!
- The chance to catch a Browns game!
- Pick pumpkins and apples to your heart’s content at one of many farms near Cleveland.
- Fewer crowds than the height of summertime in the city.
- You can catch the last of patio season (we always have a “second summer” in September).
- Get into spooky season at places like Lake View Cemetery or the Buckland Museum of Witchcraft and Magick.
Cons of Visiting Cleveland in the Fall
- The weather can be slightly unpredictable. We’re talking 80ºF+ days in September and then snow sometimes in October. So be prepared.
Honestly, I can’t think of many downsides to visiting Cleveland in the fall, other than some unpredictable weather. But with an average of 3 inches of precipitation a month year-round, you’ll have that pretty much anytime – and believe me, Cleveland isn’t the only city in the world with this issue.
With a combination of fall festivities, pretty great weather, and amazing fall foliage, you can’t go wrong with a visit to Cleveland in the autumn months.
Visiting Cleveland in Winter
Like many cities in the Midwest, Cleveland in the winter gets a bad rap. And, honestly, some of it is totally fair. That lake effect snow is no joke, and the frigid below zero temperatures we definitely experience in the early part of the year can be brutal.
Clevelanders almost seem to go into hibernation in the months of January and February, as you’ll find few people out and about.
HOWEVER, while yes, winter isn’t always the best season for travel to Cleveland, there are plenty of great things to do in Cleveland during the coldest months of the year!
To prove it to you, here are some considerations for visiting Cleveland in the winter.
Cleveland Weather in the Winter
- December: Average high is 39ºF, the average low is 26ºF, and precipitation averages around 2.99 inches during the month. Normal snowfall is about 12.2 inches.
- January: Average high is 34ºF, the average low is 20ºF, and precipitation averages around 2.99 inches during the month. Normal snowfall is about 18.4 inches.
- February: Average high is 37ºF, the average low is 21ºF, and precipitation averages around 2.49 inches during the month. Normal snowfall is about 15.1 inches.
Keep in mind that Cleveland gets an average of 54 inches of snowfall a year!
Pros of Visiting Cleveland in the Winter
- ALL the Christmas festivities! Seriously, Cleveland really does Christmas well! From Cleveland Winterfest to all the holiday pop up bars and even Christmas markets and pop up shops, there is so much going on all of December.
- It’s a perfect time to visit holiday destinations near Cleveland in December from the Christmas Story House to Stan Hywet. Don’t forget about Castle Noel nearby too!
- This is also prime Christmas Ale season! So drink up!
- Aside from holidays, winter is a great time to spot amazing frozen waterfalls nearby!
- Cuyahoga Valley National Park is pretty much empty, making it perfect for hiking, cross country skiing, and even snowshoeing!
- This is a great time for skiing at places like Brandywine, or tobogganing in Strongsville.
- Winter festivals abound including Brite Winter in the Flats, Winter Beerfest, and even the Cleveland Polar Plunge in Lake Erie in February.
- This is a great time to enjoy indoor activities around Cleveland including the many museums.
- Y’all, it’s soup season! So why not find the best soups in the city?
- Also, igloo dining!
Cons of Visiting Cleveland in the Winter
- Snow… all that snow. It is absolutely beautiful when you have nowhere else to go or you’re looking to go skiing or snowshoeing! But yes, the snowfall can be quite intense, with sometimes feet of snow on the ground.
- It is freezing. Yes, it is true that Cleveland gets cold and pretty much stays cold most of the winter. If you visit during winter, you’ll definitely want to bundle up.
- Canceled plans due to weather. Due to the snow and freezing temps, you’ll definitely need to be flexible in your plans. It isn’t uncommon to see flight cancellations or even shops closing up early if a snowstorm is coming.
- It can be treacherous to drive (or sometimes even walk!) in the winter thanks to aforementioned snow. If you’re not used to driving in the snow/ice, then I wouldn’t recommend trying it here.
Yes, there are some definite cons to visiting Cleveland in the winter. I want to be completely honest with you about the weather, which is why I talk so much about the cold and snow.
However, it can be an incredible time to visit, especially for those who love the holidays and winter.
So don’t write off winter in Cleveland completely! It definitely has some great qualities!
When is the Best Time to Visit Cleveland?
Like I said before, it all depends on what brings you to Cleveland in the first place!
However, if I had to choose the best time to visit Cleveland, I’d say in the fall. September brings in the last wisps of summer, with fabulous sunsets on Lake Erie, a few good beach days, and great weather for fully embracing the outdoor activities in Cleveland.
October is dreamy with its fall festivities, bright foliage, and the occasional moody days that are perfect for checking out some spooky spots listed above.
November is also a great time to say farewell to the foliage, and hello to the beginning of soup season and the start of the holiday celebrations around town.
Fall is certainly a fabulous time to be in Cleveland indeed.
(Editor Amanda agrees, but thinks summer is a very close second!)
When is your favorite time to visit Cleveland?
Kat is a Cleveland transplant and has lived here for over 5 years. She loves to eat, drink, and explore all across the city, and has made it her personal mission to find the best breweries and pizza in Northeast Ohio. She also runs a couples travel blog and podcast called World Wide Honeymoon.